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Walstad Tank


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I've got my first ever 4 foot tank on laybuy :) I'm planning a Walstad style tank (natural, soil based) but not sure what plants are best? The light I'll be getting is a twin reflector with one 40W T8 sunlight and one 40W T8 tropical tube.

Most of my plants will be from Livefish.com.au purely because I can't get much here in my part of NSW

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For a naturally planted Walstad style tank, rooted plants should be your priority at first. Swords, Crypts and Valisnera varieties do well in my experience. Tenellus or the smaller Chain Swords can make a nice forground even in a low/medium lighting setup.

Sure Matt will weigh in soon enough with other options :D

Also, check out some of these sites for aquatic plants. Much better range and value IMO.

www.aquaria.com.au

www.liverpoolcreekaquariums.com

www.aquagreen.com.au

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Have you ordered the light yet? I would ditch the T8 tube and go for T5HO fitting from guppies. Cheap as chips :) will get you a link later.

Plant wise, I use plants like broadleaf chainsword, vesuvious sword, pretty much any sword, lotus, crypts, blyxa, aponageton and Val. I don't like E. Tennulus (sorry Sarah) i use staurogyne repens (tropica) instread. Keep it trimmed and it will stay low. One of my favourite plants is blyxa for these tanks, lovely deep rooted stem. Start with 1 or 2 and you can divide it every few weeks. During start up you need fast growing stems, ambulia and milfoil work great. Hope I was off some help, please ask if you want to know anything else.

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Here is the light, if you only have 2 tubes it would only be low light and you couldn't grow as many plants. I have the 3 foot one over my 4 foot and it works great :) http://www.guppysaquariumproducts.com.au/florescent-light-fittings-and-accessories/t5-florescent-light-fittings-supreme-aqua/t5-aquarium-overhead-light-4x54w-hi-output-120cm-long/prod_229.html

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Thanks Matt and Sarah. Have looked at Guppies (have it bookamrked :D) and there is the perfect light there, for cheaper.

My only other questions are:

1) is a filter needed? Will a sponge suffice?

2) I'm looking at a pair of kissing gourami and some smaller schooling fish (probably danios) + shrimp, are these guys ok in this kind of setup?

I forgot how different fishkeeping is to chicken or axolotl keeping!!

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A filter isn't needed but I would recomemnd one in the first few months while the tank is establishing. You need at least a powerhead to move the water around, otherwise it will go stagnant, A sponge filter is no good. They de-gas all the co2 the plants need. FIlters compete with plants for amonia so I don't cycle my filters before hand.

I'm not familiar with kissing gouramis, as long as they don't get to big, eat plants or dig your fine :)

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Gee haven't seen kissing gouramis around for ages.... they won't dig or chew plants so should be fine.....

I echo the plants options mentioned by Pyrefly..... very good quality plants supplied by Jeff at liverpool creek and Dave at Aquagreen - haven't used the other place though.... and don't forget someone probably stocks some nice plants there as well as some fish that would be great for a planted tank and she ships anywhere....

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Liverpool Creek and aquagreen are great! Jeff (liverpoolcreek) seems to have the more high end high tech plants and Dave (aquagreen) has something for everyone. Jeff has some crypts and swords I beleive but he is still low on some stock from Cyclone Yazi.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I depends how fine it is, pool filter sand would be the finest you could go. Axies won't work in a tank like this though, they have no eyelids do the light will be to bright, when they snap at food they disturb the substrate heaps which would bring up the soil, I wouldn't recomend it sorry :(

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  • 3 weeks later...

As Matt would be aware i am in process of setting up a walstad tank too for cherry shrimp. I really struggled to get soil which didnt have added fertilizer or the water stuff. Ended up getting a basic one from flower power which is believed to have no added stuff :). As soon as i get plants i will be putting the soil in the tank as its currently holding my kuhli loach since i intended on my shrimp tank being normal cycled with gravel.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hey guys and girls I was wondering how fine you sifted your soil before chucking it in the tank? I think my colander was too fine and hence the soil never settles?

Hi Rhys

Sorry but I have not used the walstad method but I dont understand why there would be a need to run soil through a colander?

I use good ol werribee soil substarte in my tank and in the pots I use for growing out plants and have never done anything more than crumble it up a little for an even level of substrate

From my experience it all turns to much once it is wet?

Ray

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Huh! Ok then! I was somehow under the impression that you needed to sift out all the large stuff like twigs and clumps of dirt stones and bark and things. LOL, my bad!

You have done nothing wrong

As i said I just dont understand the reason for doing it and if thats the way it should be done then do it the right way.

Perhaps some others can comment on what they do?

It is just me being slack maybe the problem? but when ever I use soil I just pull out any rocks or anything else I feel or see in it.

I guess it will come down to the source of the substrate and what is in it that will detrmine how much work is required.

Ray

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The first NPT I did, I used soil straight from the bag. I found over time, tannins from the bits of wood chip and twig leached into the water but also, the twiggy bits would end up above the gravel cap after planting, since they were lighter than the stone and soil. Nothing bad about either result, just unappealing aesthetically for many setups, and something I try to avoid in general. Hence I put the soil through a strainer (Its actually a seed tray base, wide holes but perfect for my needs).

Edited by Pyrefly
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Ok so you are all using a pre packed soil like something you buy from bunnings?

I collect my soil and it can have a little crap but generally I have found it good.

Rhys if you travel to Melbourne stop of through werribie and collect some soil, the more red it is the the better also generally the higher the clay content It is reffered to as laterite but from what I have read laterite only comes from tropical areas but it does have the same propertities?

It has been used in many DIY substrates for years by people growing plants in aquaria and the reason for the area being market gardens in it day is because of the nutrients and high iron content in the soil.

something to try your next time around

Ray

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