Aquatic Plant Forum banner

1 - 3 of 3 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone.

I have 2 walstad tanks and love them to pieces, but I'm having trouble understanding something. I know that I'm supposed to get rid of the decaying aquatic leaves in order to keep organics manageable. However, I know some biotopes utilize a great deal of decaying terrestrial leaf litter. So, why is the principle, that aquatic decaying leaves = bad, but terrestrial decaying leaves = good?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
25 Posts
Hi everyone.

I have 2 walstad tanks and love them to pieces, but I'm having trouble understanding something. I know that I'm supposed to get rid of the decaying aquatic leaves in order to keep organics manageable. However, I know some biotopes utilize a great deal of decaying terrestrial leaf litter. So, why is the principle, that aquatic decaying leaves = bad, but terrestrial decaying leaves = good?
Im not entirely sure about the idea of removing dead vegetable matter, leaves and so on. because they're 'bad' In her book Walstad talks a lot about decomposition and its benefits, which are entirely positive. (in the case of leaves etc sitting on the substrate) releasing nutrients back into the water column as well as humic substances. both of which are extremely useful. The only green stuff i remove is whats 'in my face'. the rest... I dont touch.

If you have snails or shrimp in the tank then these will speed up this recycling process. But the bacteria that live there will do this quite happily.

Looked at in this way there is no distinction between plant types... 'aquatic' leaves for a black water tank (for instance) stain the water as a natural side effect and lower the ph to an extent. this is desirable for those types. but really theres no difference as far as i can see between a decaying echinodorus leaf and an almond leaf when you get down to the basics. the almond leaf will just decay at a much slower rate.

as an example I have several 'matts' of dead hornwort leaves that due to currents have collected in a few places. Im not going to touch them.. i think they look really natural. and thats what its all about.


You might consider reading her book.. it will give you a greater understanding of this topic.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
5,833 Posts
From what I've read, the leaves recommended for the black water biotopes are Indian almond, beech, and oak. These species (and others) release tannins which are beneficial for fish species coming from these habitats. Another reason is to create the complex physical environment that some of these fish like. Tannin-rich leaves decompose much more slowly than other types of leaves. And the recommendations emphasize that the leaves should be dead and thoroughly dry, not fresh.

These leaves have specific benefits that other types of decomposing vegetation does not.

All that said, I am far from diligent about removing dead vegetation from my tanks. I do notice that heavy accumulation of dead leaves in my outdoor ponds creates anaerobic conditions and releases hydrogen sulfide, which is definitely harmful. So I clean those up. But the amount of leaves in one of my ponds, even after cleaning, is MUCH more than I would tolerate in an aquarium.
 
1 - 3 of 3 Posts
Top