walstead method questions - Page 3 - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #21 of 25 Old 04-29-2013, 06:27 PM
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A true walstald tank done right can be stocked on day 1 XD I really think that's the greatest thing about it :3
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post #22 of 25 Old 04-29-2013, 06:30 PM
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's true, I agree! But without past experience. . . well, I'm always the nervous one. . . I'm still planning to check and recheck before I put animals in :)
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post #23 of 25 Old 04-29-2013, 06:51 PM
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Originally Posted by aokashi View Post
A true walstald tank done right can be stocked on day 1 XD I really think that's the greatest thing about it :3
Done right are the key words there. The soil tanks that I have setup (past and present.) have never shifted in parameters and I could have stoked from day one but chose to wait.

I wouldn't advice that with someone starting out until they know the risks and how to do it. right.
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post #24 of 25 Old 04-29-2013, 07:27 PM
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Everyone on here knows I do not recommend soil substrates. The reason being that I have so far not found any substantive benefit, to compensate for "likely" problems. So although I have no direct experience, I have done my research, including Walstad's book, articles and her forum.

One thing that has to be made clear is the method. The "pure" Walstad method is one thing, but adjusting various components means you are no longer doing a "Walstad" method but something else. And as methods differ, so do results. It is obvious from the posts of other members in this thread that there are many possible means to a thriving planted tank. But one has to understand the method, and be prepared for what may occur.

If you want to set up a fish tank in one day, with fish in it, soil is not the way to go. I have done this dozens of times using plain sand or plain gravel, and never see ammonia or nitrite. This is much more difficult to do with soil, and from what I have read it is perhaps impossible (at least when dealing with an existing full tank of fish). Walstad warns of likely ammonia and sometimes at high levels, and for the first couple of months, which is why she uses so many stem plants and floaters to help take this up. Other equally-qualified authors suggest not adding fish for six months until the tank's biological system has settled. Many recommend dry starts as being safer. Redchigh should be in this discussion as he has gone down some of these roads.

Mitch, I am going to be completely frank here, as anything less to me is not helpful. With the issues you have had, which were due solely to high light, you are not going to solve them with a soil substrate. To get back to my opening comment about the "pure" Walstad method, you need to reduce you light at least by half. And if you are going to do that, why not just do it with your present setup and not add further issues?

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Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]

Last edited by Byron; 04-29-2013 at 07:30 PM.
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post #25 of 25 Old 04-30-2013, 02:09 PM
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the soil tanks I've had that were the most successful were in windows with sunlight and supplemental lighting, underfiltered, heavily planted, and lightly stocked.

I also have the best luck with topsoil or 'dirt', rather than expensive name-brand 'potting mix'. potting mixes usually have a lot of peat, which is light and airy. Great for terrestrial plants, but the air locked within often encourages anaerobic spots when submerged. clay-rich dirt is ideal, or even dirt from a body of water (washed and baked repeatedly to sterilise).

A small bit of dirt (a tablespoon or so) from a wooded area (dig down a few inches, and get dirt, not compost) mixed into a bagged mix or sterilised aquatic soil does seem to help, by introducing bacteria and such.

To further descrease the potential for hydrogen sulfide and get rid of potential nitrogen spikes,sifted topsoil or dirt (to throw away the clumps) can be mineralised by repeated cycles of moisture and dryness.

most people mineralise on a tarp outside, by spraying the soil with a hose, using the tarp to turn it, letting it dry in the sun, and repeating several times.

I reccomend a thick cap.
Also, not much soil is actually needed. Lately, I only use a half-inch to inch of pure soil in the back half of the tank, capped with a inch of soil/sand mixture, then everything capped with minimum of an inch of clean sand.

I also plant rooted plants before the final clean sand cap (or put more clean sand around them after planting).

check out my guides in my sig. they are outdated, so where there are conflicts, use this post instead. still good info though.
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Last edited by redchigh; 04-30-2013 at 02:12 PM.
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