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Discussion Starter #1
Synopsis:
So i started a new planted tank. I have a heater, the standard LED light that came with the starter kit from TopFin. I have a heater and an air stone for circulation. Here are the situations I've seen since i started. I've added 9 ghost shrimp and 8 nerite snails to try to help with the process of any algae growth and get bacteria in there. I'm using Seachem Black Sand As the base. That doesn't seem to be an issue as one of the snails love to dig into it.

The issues i'm having:
The air stone seemed to be pushing all the CO2 out of the tank so i cut it off. 7 of my 9 Shrimp have died but i haven't lost any snails. Some of my plants are still dying yet others seem unchanged. I've tried using algae wafers and fish food to feed the shrimp and snails. They don't seem too interested. I've even tried a cucumber and they just moved away.

Final Thoughts:
Should i be worried about any of these problems? I know I started everything at once so nothing really had time to adjust before it was almost overloaded. But i'm curious if there's anything i can do to correct and help growth. I've tested ammonia and it is 0. My Nitrite and Nitrates are where they should be. My PH is on the higher side but I believe cutting the air stone off will help with that. I'm also doing 50% water changes every 3 days.


I really don't want to use a filter as i want this as natural as possible but if there's any advice or ideas that you could give to help would be great.
 

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An aquarium is fake... so not wanting a filter - an important part of the system - is like wanting a car without an engine.


But, if you want any chance of success... get more and larger plants.

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I have heard of a few people having luck with blanched lettuce or vegetables with nerites - but I've also seen a lot of people not have nerites touch anything that's not growing algae/algae film on the tank walls and plants. Mine will only eat the regular stuff. And I've heard of no one having any luck with wafers for nerites.

Hopefully you'll have enough for your guys once things get going. As often suggested by RussellTheShihTzu on the sister site Bettafish.com, you can put some rocks in water in the window to try to grow some algae to get to your nerites, then rotate the rocks while one is in the window, one is in the tank.
But you might get some natural algae for them going soon hopefully.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the information!

Beaslbob - i am working on getting more plants. They are not cheap and I am unemployed until the beginning of June. So i'm working with what I can get if that makes sense. But i will be sure to add more as soon as possible.

AussieJJDude - I appreciate your opinion. But there are a few books and many other resources that show you how to do this. At most instead of having a filter i just do more frequent water changes until the tank is stable. Then i can spread them out. "The Ecology of a Planted Aquarium" By Diana Walstad is a great resource on this information if you are curious. It's more like having a sail boat instead of a motorboat. It will get you where you're going if you plan it out right and use all the tools necessary.

Cranly - I literally cannot get them to eat anything i've added in there. On the more annoying side the two shrimp (that thankfully have survived) took the wafers and smeared them all over the place so it is near impossible to clean up. I'm hoping that creates some algae that the Nerites' will go after. Since i cut the stone off they all have seem less active. But I haven't seen any behavior that would make me believe they won't make it.
 

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I know that this is a common method to run filterless. But a lot of people who try fail very quickly, especially those who aren't experiences. I still think that a filter - even if it is small - is a basic necessity to every aquarium unless heavily planted - which this is not.

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Discussion Starter #7
Hey Aussie.
I have sense planted 6 sets of java fern. Some vallisneria and a few other assorted plants. I have 1 shrimp left. But my tank seems greener and after re-arranging my tank i can now see growth. I agree that this can fail quickly. But without trying you cannot gain experience. I have lost my shrimp but I've kept all my snails and have had some decent plant growth since I've started. I'll post a picture next week to show where it is at now. I am also getting some duckweed to place across the back line where i have nothing planted to help with filtration as well. I have already made a trap to keep it there.
 

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understand about costs. So I would just take it slow and let the plants grow and expand with the tank.


Then add the bioload slowly so everything keeps in balance.


my .02
 

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Agree, there should be some circulation regardless of a filter or not. Keep the airstone going at least, the decomposition of soil releases co2. You could also use a simple small powerhead or internal filter (without media if desired) just to create movement.

Diana suggests heavily planting the tank from the start, otherwise, there is too much nutrient from the dirt and algae can take advantage. The idea is to use up all the nutrients by having roots (eventually) everywhere. If I look at the substate from underneath my dirted tank (it's on a metal stand) I can see roots covering the bottom. It's actually pretty cool. Large rooting plants like Amazon sword and crimuns use up more dirt than stems like hygrophila and plants that do not root into the substate like anacharis and java fern barely use up nutrients from the dirt and get their nutrients from the water column, so plant the tank accordingly. The plant roots also help to aerate the soil, preventing anaerobic bacteria accumulation. You really can't skip anything when it comes to a Walstad tank, as mentioned, there's a lot to learn and understand if you want success.
 
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