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Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys,

For almost a year I've been watching videos and reading the forums about Walstad method and I am interested in making my own tanks. It all started with someone who gave my daughter some fish and as an animal lover I hate the culture of treating pets as objects. So out of the different methods Walstad is the one I've liked the most.

I am interested in having two tanks, one for a betta and the other for guppies and a few other fish. Convinced the wife to give me part of the living room for two tanks that I was gonna have made but found 2 15gl (approx.) with curved front which in my opinion look great! Measurements are 50x34x34CM, 5MM, 57L/15G (brand is Dophin). I'd put them both on top a metal furniture that it's been made by a friend. Attached is an example of how it looks:
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So! Questions and feedback:
- Light-wise, I thought about a NICREW light. Either ClassicLed plus (which supposedly help plants cuz of the red light) or the Nicrew G2 (without red lights)
- Should I start both at the same time? Or can i focus on one then when stable use part of it water to help setup the 2nd one?
- Is adding an ancistrus or cory a good idea?
- About water agitation...do I need it? I've seen a few tanks with it, others without it...I could add a filter if needed.
 

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That Classic LED light fixture looks good for that size tank. It looks like it will give you around 50 PAR at the substrate, which is as much light as you should use when you aren't going to use CO2. If it was me doing that I would start both tanks at once, unless the cost of the plants was too high. I would also use 3 or more small Corys, just because they are so entertaining.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
That Classic LED light fixture looks good for that size tank. It looks like it will give you around 50 PAR at the substrate, which is as much light as you should use when you aren't going to use CO2. If it was me doing that I would start both tanks at once, unless the cost of the plants was too high. I would also use 3 or more small Corys, just because they are so entertaining.
Thank you! Do you know which carpet plant would be good in this case?

Also, now that I think about it, the cost of plants will be too high if I start both...
 

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Since this is your first experience with these kind of tanks, I'd suggest you start with one and focus on that one. I am sure there will be many things you will like to do differently after 6 months of your first tank. Also, you will already know of some plants that do well in your setup, and probably have some excess ones for your new tank.
 

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Carpet plants generally need lots of light to do well, probably more than you will have. With lower light they tend to grow taller, reaching up to the light, if they grow at all. One that has grown well for me, with low light is Marsilea hirsuta. I liked it, but it can become nuisance by spreading all over the tank.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
That's gonna be a tough one. I don't think there's anyone with that plant in my country. The guy who had it is sold out.
 

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A lot of people have success with dwarf sag carpets too. I think there was a recent(ish) thread on carpet plants that work in NPTs, you may want to check that out for suggestions.
 

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Dwarf Sagittaria does grow very well in NPT's and it has big root systems which lets it get nutrients from the substrate. But, when I used it it grew too high, destroying the "carpet" effect. It grew so well it became a nuisance. I don't know if you can "mow" dwarf sag carpets without harming them.
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
I was thinking the following plants:

- Spirodela Polyrhiza o Giant Duckweed (calles rat's ear in my country)
- Hornwort (cat's tail)
- Guppy grass
- Hairgrass, lilaeopsis brasiliensis, marsilea or montecarlo
- Ludwigia (red one?)
- dwarf anubia

Thought about having these but not sure
- Java Fern
- Java Moss

I know vallisneria and amazonian swords are great but I really don't like how they look.
 

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Try to get in some plants with stronger and deeper roots like Sagittaria, Echinodorus, Cryptocorine or Vallisneria.
 

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For a semi-carpet, we found dwarf (or pygmy) chain sword (Helanthium tenellum or formerly Echinodorus tenellus) to be very nice. It took a while to start spreading for us (but then our tank had a bit of a rough start).

But I reckon the advice to buy lots of species and as many plants as you can is good. Fill the tank up with plants. Our little 7.5g (28l) cube has 12 or 13 species in it. So far (7 months) we haven't "lost" any -- the Vallisneria and Christmas moss both seemed like they had failed, but out of nowhere they came back. Several species were put in just as "fast growers" to get the tank established as we didn't care for their looks, but now we've grown to like them and can't imagine the tank without them, so they stay. (The one exception is the Anacharis elodea, which we are cutting back in stages in hopes that we can eventually remove it entirely.)
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Try to get in some plants with stronger and deeper roots like Sagittaria, Echinodorus, Cryptocorine or Vallisneria.
I can get the cryptocorine. Not sure about the rest. I really did not want the vallisneria because of looks. I know is kind of superficial but after convincing my wife to give me part of a wall on our living room, I wanna make sure she likes the tanks haha.

A mix of as many plant species as you can afford is my advice. Not all of them will work out.
Thank you! I think I read on your book that one of your tanks had over 20 or 30 different types of plants. Wish I could get that many!

For a semi-carpet, we found dwarf (or pygmy) chain sword (Helanthium tenellum or formerly Echinodorus tenellus) to be very nice.
That one is huge! I was looking for a smaller carpet plant BUT I think this one would work in the tank with guppies and the rest of the fish. For the betta tank I wanted something different.
 

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Sorry I must have seen the wrong picture. That's a nice "grass" look right?

Sent from my Pixel 3 XL using Tapatalk
Yes, it grows in rosettes (tufts) so it's not entirely a "blanket" appearance, but the tufts do look like grass. It's quite lovely in my opinion. I'll try to snap a pic and post it.
 

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Here's a close up.

The small brown smudges are TINY (1-2mm) snails on the front glass.

EDIT: and there's a frond of Christmas moss on the right of the pic too. That should give a sense of scale, as this is a single strand of moss.



EDIT 2: Decided to add a pic of the whole tank (from front) so you can see just how small these plants are. This is a 28L cube, so not big at all.

 

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Discussion Starter #20
Thanks for sharing guys! Furniture to set up tanks is ready.
IMG-20210202-WA0151_1612470353671.jpg

Also, I was able to find a supplier of plants and I'll be planting a good variety of them.

My last thing is the soil/dirt to use. Apparently in my country they only sell "soil" and "hummus". You can find different types of soil but none specify what it is or has. There's only one brand that says "soil from the woods". Should I go with that? Or with hummus?
 
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