Walstad/Beaslbob/NPT Questions
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Walstad/Beaslbob/NPT Questions

This is a discussion on Walstad/Beaslbob/NPT Questions within the Beginner Planted Aquarium forums, part of the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium category; --> I am considering doing a NPT or Walstad method in my 75 gallon. I'm just in research mode right now and the only planted ...

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Walstad/Beaslbob/NPT Questions
Old 12-09-2013, 10:39 AM   #1
 
Walstad/Beaslbob/NPT Questions

I am considering doing a NPT or Walstad method in my 75 gallon. I'm just in research mode right now and the only planted tank I have experience with is the 2.5 gallon in my bathroom that only gets light from the window it's near. It has Java Fern and Crypt Wendtii with no ferts and a .5" course sand substrate.

I WOULD like to pretty heavily filter my 75, which isn't done in most NPT/Walstad tanks. I will be running two Emperor 400s. I will most likely be making a polystyrene and cement background to hide the heater and filters. As far as substrate, I would like to use an inch of Miracle Grow Organic Potting Mix with a play sand cap. I have NO clue what to do as far as lighting. The tank doesn't have a hood yet (Do they even sell hoods for 75 gallons??) so I was thinking about getting a 48" shop light and building a hood for this tank to hold the light and make it look nice. I don't know what I want as far as plants, but I know for sure I don't want to use CO2 and I will want dwarf hairgrass. My pH is very high out of the tap at 8.4, will this harm plants?

I like densely planted tanks, but I will probably be keeping it a bit more minimal, keeping it dense in the back and sides while the middle is carpeted, maybe with a "sand river". I do like to have SOME swimming room for the fish. Another thought was doing what I saw on another thread, a Beaslbob, but I cannot get ProChoice in my area, I want to run filters and I want a sand cap.

Again, I am just exploring my options and learning before I decide what to do with this tank. Any advice would be appreciated,

Flint
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Old 12-09-2013, 12:17 PM   #2
 
Actually any aquarium gravel can be substituted for the pro choice select.

I would caution against miracle grow as it has added nutrients. I tried that once and had to kill the lights for a week or two due to an algae bloom. Which is why I recommend the peat moss. But mifacle grow should work. Just a little harder to get setup.

I would use the shop lights with 6500k tubes. 4 34 watt tubes would be almost 150 watts (ok ok 136 watts LOL) or right at 1.5 watts per gallon. if you had enough space for a third fixture (196 g) would approach 3 watts per gallon. Either should grow plants nicely.

I would not add a filter or circulation for the first few weeks. To let stuff settles down, become water logged, and for the plants to be in control. I guess you could add a filter later if you want. I don't and just let everything become plant food.

Let us know how it works out.


my .02
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Old 12-09-2013, 01:01 PM   #3
 
Can I put a sand cap on the gravel or no? If not, I'll do gravel I'm just curious. And how will my pH affect the plants/fish?
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Last edited by Flint; 12-09-2013 at 01:06 PM..
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Old 12-09-2013, 01:17 PM   #4
 
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Can I put a sand cap on the gravel or no? If not, I'll do gravel I'm just curious. And how will my pH affect the plants/fish?
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Sand will just fall between the cracks of the gravel. Soo that's not really a good idea unless you like that look.

I have used MGOCPM several times capped with sand with no problems. I never had an algae break out due to it. As for lights this going to depend on the plants you will be wanting to grow. A shop light with 6500k bulbs will do nicely tho I would have to say I personally wouldn't not go with more then 2 48" bulbs on a natrual planted tank. Two would be plenty to grow lots of plants. In my 55 gallon (same height as a 75 gallon) I could grow micro chainsword with just two 48" bulbs. Now it was slow growth but none the less growth. Never tried dwarf hair grass tho. Personally I think if you go with more light you would have problems with balancing the amount of light and nutrients in a npt tank. Could be wrong here but that would be my thinking.
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Old 12-09-2013, 01:19 PM   #5
 
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Can I put a sand cap on the gravel or no? If not, I'll do gravel I'm just curious. And how will my pH affect the plants/fish?
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I would not recomnd a sand cap on the gravel. But I guess you could.

The peat moss is to keep KH and gh from increasing. The sand cap is to "trap" the peat under the sand. But even if you don't do that, all you get is a real mess for a couple of days, some surface film and floaties for a few months. With the cap the tank looks nice almost immediately.

Called pro choice and they referred be to Tibgo nursery which I googled and couldn't find. But Gibco is a landscaping frim about 1 1/2 hours away. awaiting call back now. You cold try contacting them. Here in huntsville from another vendor, I got 4 50# bags of pc select for under $35. But they had to special order it.

Finally, the real question is not how your ph will affect the plants and fish but rather how the plants and fish will affect your pH. As the plants consume the co2 from the fish causing pH will rise. True in all my tanks with or without peat moss. api test kit is purple (8.4-8.8). Fish do just fine.

It is hardly a bad thing for fish to have a low co2 environment.

my .02
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Old 12-09-2013, 01:42 PM   #6
 
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You could just use sand. Keep in mind that the sand would sift down through the gravel to the bottom. Unless you add a lot of sand, the substrate surface would have some gravel on it. CO2 should lower your PH. I would think that the concentration of CO2 would determine how low the PH goes. My PH is very close to yours and I haven't had " problems " with the plants or fish. That's not to say that they are in peak condition. A lot depends on the fish you intend to house. The plants aren't as sensitive to PH.
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Old 12-09-2013, 02:02 PM   #7
 
Why do people use so many layers if just sand can be used? I am looking for good growth with minimal care. I have heard horror stories about root tabs and I don't mind dosing liquid ferts here and there but I really don't want to fuss with the plants often.

I have never been above a 7.5 or below 7.0 as far as pH and am missing my tetras and such. I will be doing a community tank with a large spiny eel. I'm going to be using RO in my 10 gallon brackish but I do not want to lug 75 gallons worth of RO from the LFS to my house on a regular basis. Even 25 gallons for a PWC in the back of our ranger for an hour isn't worth it.

Is keeping the softer water fish possible again with a NPT? I don't understand how the pH can be off the charts yet you can keep neons.
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Old 12-09-2013, 02:11 PM   #8
 
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Why do people use so many layers if just sand can be used? I am looking for good growth with minimal care. I have heard horror stories about root tabs and I don't mind dosing liquid ferts here and there but I really don't want to fuss with the plants often.

I have never been above a 7.5 or below 7.0 as far as pH and am missing my tetras and such. I will be doing a community tank with a large spiny eel. I'm going to be using RO in my 10 gallon brackish but I do not want to lug 75 gallons worth of RO from the LFS to my house on a regular basis. Even 25 gallons for a PWC in the back of our ranger for an hour isn't worth it.

Is keeping the softer water fish possible again with a NPT? I don't understand how the pH can be off the charts yet you can keep neons.
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the idea of the layers is to trap the peat moss under the sand.

Pure sand IME resulted in very high kh an dgh values and neon tetras did not do will.

pH is off the carts high because the plants have lowered carbon dioxide. Happens with and without peat moss. The tank becomes a net consumer of co2 and supplier of oxygen. What did change was the peat prevented high kh and gh values. And neons thrived with the peat moss even although pH was 8.4-8.8. Again, it is hardly harmful to any fish to lower the co2 and raise the oxygen. Regardless of what pH results.


my .02
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Old 12-09-2013, 02:17 PM   #9
 
My kh and gh are 14 and 15 from the tap. Would peat benefit my tank by lowering these? Also, you use 1 male livebearer and 2 females for your 10 gallon. So, would I follow the same standards for my 75 (assuming it's 80 gallons) doing 8 males and 16 females?
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Old 12-09-2013, 03:53 PM   #10
 
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My kh and gh are 14 and 15 from the tap. Would peat benefit my tank by lowering these? Also, you use 1 male livebearer and 2 females for your 10 gallon. So, would I follow the same standards for my 75 (assuming it's 80 gallons) doing 8 males and 16 females?
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the peat may lower both with hopefully the mose effect on the kh. Actually it kept my tap values constant which started out as 4 degrees kh and 9 degrees gh. But I have heard the peat does some kind of ion exchange to lower hardness.


I add the male the second week. With no feedings. then add the gals the third week and start very light feedings. I think that can be scaled up. I in fact did use 5 male mollies in my 55g saltwater years ago. Even if you didn't scall it up you would have plenty of fish in a few months.

But I think you got the point.

read pm? pro choice select is $11.20 in Bunke La
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