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I currently have a 1.5g shrimp walstad that has been going on a year now. I haven't fed them or done any water changes in 6 months and they are still alive and kicking.

I'm looking to step up my game and make a 16g 'el natural,' as you guys put it. As this is new territory for me, I want to make sure I'm on the right path and especially want to make sure I'm not overstocking it.

For soil I'll use a sifted organic top soil or potting soil, 1" thick, mixed with some basic scent-free, non clumping cat litter or saf-t-sorb.

For a cap I plan to use about 1" of pool filter sand, probably less.

For stocking I'd like to do 12 chili rasboras, 7 pygmy cories, an assortment of red cherry shrimp, and a colony of malaysian trumpet snails to turn the sand up.

I'm going to have a low flow circulation pump and a heater housed behind a very small mattenfilter. The filter is to prevent the pump from getting gunked up, but it will provide a small filtration boost.

Anyway, like I said, just wanted to make sure I'm on the right track and not at risk of overstocking it. My thought was that these are tiny fish with a small bioload, but the parameters and mechanics of a walstad are totally different than a traditionally filtered tank.
 

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Welcome to APC!

Pool filter sand is not ideal as a cap. The particles are too small, inhibiting gas exchange between water and soil. This may result in anaerobic conditions in the substrate. If you are determined to use pool filter sand (it looks nice!), make the cap and soil layer thinner, reducing both to 1/2" or 3/4". This should not be a problem with the tiny fish you are planning.

I recently set up a 3 gallon tank with 1/2" of soil and cap, with shrimp and Malayan trumpet snails. It is about 3 months old now, with no problems.

Please let us know how the mattenfilter works out. I've wanted to try one in a Walstad tank but haven't done that experiment yet.

Your stocking plan is great, the tank will not be overstocked. Show us photos!
 

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It reduces the overall organic content of the substrate, which in turn reduces the chances of problems with anaerobic conditions. Also, these fired clay products have high cation exchange capacity. They have the ability to absorb nutrients from the soil and water, holding them until plant roots can use them. Less nutrients in the water means less food for algae.
 

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It reduces the overall organic content of the substrate, which in turn reduces the chances of problems with anaerobic conditions. Also, these fired clay products have high cation exchange capacity. They have the ability to absorb nutrients from the soil and water, holding them until plant roots can use them. Less nutrients in the water means less food for algae.
That's awesome. I am starting 2 Walstad tanks together and I didn't know this. I can find kitty litter non-scent...no idea if it's the non-clumping type.
 

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Usually the absolute cheapest cat litter is best. I have been told that Walmart's Special Kitty is suitable. Check the ingredients, and if the only one listed is some type of clay it should be good. Clay comes in many varieties. You want to avoid perfume, deodorants, clumping agents, antimicrobials, etc.
 

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Thank you for supplying this information. That seems to be exactly what we can use, and at a very low price. I didn't know Tractor Supply was a place to get pet supplies!
My pleasure! I didn't know they sold pet supplies either. The power of The Google. :rolleyes:
25 lbs is enough to do a lifetime of tanks!
 
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