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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I am an avid supporter of Diana Walstad's method and set up this 1.2m aquarium 2 years ago.

The substrate comprises of:
splattering of clay balls from the river - baked in the oven for 2hrs @ 200deg Celcius
4cm 50-50 mixture of river soil (dug deep from the river bank) and rose and shrub potting mixture
2cm layer of fine gravel (2-3mm stones)

mainly Java fern
Crypt lucens
Crypt tonkinensis
Crypt blassii
Crypt wendtii brown
crypt balansae
monosorium tenerum
(thats' about it)

There is a heater in.
120W lights (4x30W 865s of which 60W is 2yrs old)
A canister filter.

5x botia kubotai
4x java loaches
3x kuhli loaches
2x weather loaches
13 harlequin rasboras
10 scissor tail rasboras
15 red line rasboras
2 moonlight gouramis
6 pearl gouramis

I never do water changes (ok, maybe 10-20% once every 6-8 months).
I never clean the filter.
I clean a slight film of algae off the front glass once a month (not much).
I don't dose fertiliser at all. I feed the fish and put in a bit extra for the plants.

My question: can I remove the filter? I want to use it to start up a cube. As far as I am concerned, it should be ok to do so because of all the plants I have (especially the java fern, which are very nitrite and amonia hungry)

What do you think?

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I understand about the equilibrium and like the idea of gently phasing out the canister so as to give the echosystem chance to adjust. I was in fact hoping to be able to simply transfer the good bacteria along to the cube.

As for setting up the cube WITHOUT a filter... that's a bit scary for me. It will be a South American aquarium having E. tenellis, valisneria, maybe E. ozelot or E. aflame, and some java moss. Fish will be: 15-20 rummynose tetras, pair of angels, 6 corydoras, and a bunch of otos. Will it be wise to set this one up without a filter? The cube is 700x700x700mm, so it will make better sense to put the canister in there than using an internal filter. It will hold 300L water as opposed to 200L.

Coming back to the question of removing the canister from the Southeast Asian aquarium: I understand about the equilibrium, and also about having a slight water current. SO - would it then be a better option to put in a small interal power head with a sponge filter whilst gradually removing the canister instead of a sudden death, cold turkey - ZERO canister. Zero filter.

(By the way: The aquarium is not using sunlight).

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
So here is what really confuses me... You are willing to throw a tank out of equilibrium to add a filter to a new tank. You are not however willing to start a new tank without a filter, thus establishing its equilibrium without a filter? .
El Exorcisto you are quite right - it does not make sense. However, when I initially posted, I had ZERO intention of getting another filter, or power heads, etc. Simply removing the filter.

However, we can put this matter to rest. I have managed to secure another canister (a small one 750L/hr) for R100 (approx 12USD) which I will put in the proposed angel aquarium (300L) because they like slow water movement. When I do that, I'll seed it with media from the existing canister (Cascade 1000)

Hiowever, my initial question has still not been answered.

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Firstly, thank you for all the comments. It seems as though the Walstad method has come under some controversy with some saying change water, add filters, and others not. We have a local biochemistry professor who swears that her methods are flawed. I use a bit of both schools and generally have a lot of success.

What I have done in setting up my Brazil Stream Biotope is as follows:
I used 30% of my South-east Asian community aquarium water, and also all the mulm and 1/2 the filter medium from the Cascade 1000.

I set up using a soil substrate (mixed with more coarse sand than usual) and a topping of coarse river sand. Total substrate is very thick (10cm) because I believe that is what Echinodorus sp. like.

I introduced 7 otocinclus and 3 rummynose tetras the following day (along with some MTS).

The aquarium has been running since the 17th and so far no problems. I don't expect any either. I'll introduce more fish in 2 weeks time.

Thanks for the info.

Please post a photo of your aquariums. I would love to see.
Glad to, Jimbo. (Thanks for asking) :cool:

Southeast Asian Community aquarium (1.2m; 200L)

Brazil Stream biotope (700mm cube; 300L)

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks Alex
The milkyness in th water is neither algae or bacteria. It was taken 2 days after setup. The water is crystal clear now but I didn't have time to take another photo.

As for "flaws" in Diana's method, I can't lis tthem as I don't really care about them. I am an avid Walstad'ter and have 3 aquariums working like that (no filters, heaters, light and only water top-ups when it gets a bit low) with NO problems whatsoever. And the water is drinkable and tastes lovely! ;)

However, in my Brazil Stream biotope, I will try and do some water changes because I am not fa,iliar with Echinodorus sp. and have no idea what they require or not. So I'll change water save every month and dose with the proff's fertiliser mixture. I've seen his tanks and the plants grow well.

Other than that, I do as little as possible.

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