walstead method questions - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 25 Old 04-29-2013, 02:41 PM Thread Starter
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walstead method questions

so im getting ready to change to sand hopefully this weekend or next, ive been looking into doing a "dirty tank" from what I understand of the walstead method is you don't need to ever add any ferts or root tabs or anything of that sort and that soil actually produces Co2 from all of the TDS it contains. but during the first month or two you can see spikes but these will stop occurring once the soil "matures" correct?
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post #2 of 25 Old 04-29-2013, 03:02 PM
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This is just the method I use not necessarily a Walstad method exactly. I use Miracle Grow Organic Potting Mix about 1/2" and cap it with about 2" of sand give or take. You need to plant heavily from the get go. Let the tank run for 2 weeks without fish. Durning this time you may or may not see spikes in ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates. If they will shift they will most of the time do it during the that time. Its very important to plant heavily. After the time period or any shift are back to normal you can add fish but I would stock slowly.
You won't have to add any root tabs but will or should still add liquid fertilizer. Some say you don't. I personally do. For the first couple of months you need to keep an eye on your parameters as they could still shift some say up to 6 months. I haven't had that but just keep it in mind.

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post #3 of 25 Old 04-29-2013, 03:21 PM
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Originally Posted by MoneyMitch View Post
so im getting ready to change to sand hopefully this weekend or next, ive been looking into doing a "dirty tank" from what I understand of the walstead method is you don't need to ever add any ferts or root tabs or anything of that sort and that soil actually produces Co2 from all of the TDS it contains. but during the first month or two you can see spikes but these will stop occurring once the soil "matures" correct?

could be for all I know.

IMHO the co2 comes from the fish and surrounding air.

In my tanks the nutrients comes from the fish.

With Walstat I think they use potting soil which also containes nutrients over and above the fish load.


my .02

maintain Fw and marine system with a strong emphasis on balanced, stabilized system that as much as possible are self substaning.

have maintained FW systems for up to 9 years with descendants from original fish and marine aquariums for up to 8 years.

With no water changes, untreated tap water, inexpensive lighting by first starting the tank with live plants (FW) or macro algae( marine)

see: http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/a...-build-295530/
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post #4 of 25 Old 04-29-2013, 03:31 PM
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I'm following the same method as boredomb does, although I went heavier on the MGOCPM and less on the cap. This is my second time doing it and I did initially have ammonia, but added a seeded filter and tons of floaters cleared that up. Even so I'm only adding my fish back today after about a month and a half. I didn't have any shifts in parameters after the initial ones, I was just finishing the plantings.

One thing that no one mentioned is that once you scape a soil tank than that is basically it. You don't want to be rescaping it. So if you like to fiddle with where you have the plants placed avoid soil.
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post #5 of 25 Old 04-29-2013, 03:36 PM
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Originally Posted by blackwaterguy View Post
I'm following the same method as boredomb does, although I went heavier on the MGOCPM and less on the cap. This is my second time doing it and I did initially have ammonia, but added a seeded filter and tons of floaters cleared that up. Even so I'm only adding my fish back today after about a month and a half. I didn't have any shifts in parameters after the initial ones, I was just finishing the plantings.

One thing that no one mentioned is that once you scape a soil tank than that is basically it. You don't want to be rescaping it. So if you like to fiddle with where you have the plants placed avoid soil.
I have done thicker and less of cap before.
BWG is right about placing the plants and forget about moving them. Sometimes you can get away with moving stems but that's about it.

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post #6 of 25 Old 04-29-2013, 04:05 PM Thread Starter
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so its rocky at best with a start and you want to hold until adding fish for a month or two? is walstead method much better then root tabs flourish and higher light? what would be the benefit of me switching to a walstead from what I have now?
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post #7 of 25 Old 04-29-2013, 04:07 PM
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If you love moving your plants around, I dont recommend this method XD
but otherwise it grows plants most fabulously~
Walstald's book is also worth getting :)
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post #8 of 25 Old 04-29-2013, 04:12 PM Thread Starter
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I don't generally move plants around, lately it seems im planting plantlets from the others more so then moving around.

are the benefits from walstead that much more great then using liquid fert/root tab? im curious about the Co2 it produces compared to just plain sand.
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post #9 of 25 Old 04-29-2013, 04:19 PM
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so its rocky at best with a start and you want to hold until adding fish for a month or two? is walstead method much better then root tabs flourish and higher light? what would be the benefit of me switching to a walstead from what I have now?
I have added fish after the first 10 days and been okay but that was with a heavily planted tank and with a seeded filter. It can be a rocky start but the plants do grow pretty well. You do get Co2 from the breakdown of organic in the soil. Also I have been told the soil will last for years (3) before its exhausted. Really and truely its personal preference.

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post #10 of 25 Old 04-29-2013, 04:24 PM Thread Starter
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well my tank as it sits I would say is a "heavily" planted tank and the fitler of course is also nice and seeded. thing is I only have 5 gal buckets and my 55. safe to add soil cap with sand then add plants and fish all within the same day?
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