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Old 05-06-2012, 12:07 AM   #1 
Scienceluvr8
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Cool Advice Concerning Natural Planted Tanks

Hello All,
I've seriously been considering starting up a natural planted tank (Walstad Method), and considering the fact that I will be going home for the summer break, this sounds like a fun/exciting project to take on!
Well, I haven't fully made up my mind on the details of the tank, but I'm basically just trying to use equipment that I have on hand from the past. This is what I'm considering using so far:
  • 2.5 gallon minibow aquarium (purple, not like the color matters haha)
  • red sea deco art nano filter (correct me if I'm wrong, but I know filtration is not necessary, or even recommended in such a setup, but I mostly want it for purposes of water circulation)
  • heater
  • 1 male betta
  • malaysian trumpet snails
  • Alot of plants! (I'm still not sure what kinds though )
  • 10 Watt CFL
  • organic potting soil and either sand or medium fine gravel
If anyone has experience with this type of setup, any advice and tips are greatly appreciated! :) Concerning the plants, and keeping in mind the tank size, what type of plants should I get? Around how many do you recommend?


Thank you! :)
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Old 05-06-2012, 12:43 AM   #2 
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OldFishLady has tons of these kinds of tanks I am going to setting one up soon as well.
From what I know:
You will need at least 1 in of the potting soil and 1/2 in of sand to keep the soil from getting mixed in the water. You will need 3-4 stem plants and 2-3 rosette plants. This gives the tank diversity as well as the stem plants putting in oxygen to the soil so you won't get rotting soil(Malaysian Trumpet Snails also help with this).
Put in a rock or drift wood to add a more natural look and it should be pretty good.

When putting in the soil and sand you will be doing a few water changes before you insert your plants to get the soil in the water settled and once again when your plants are inside. OFL had put in her fish on the same day that she set her tanks up, but me personally I would wait maybe 1 day so I can run some tests with the water parameters.

You will have to keep tabs on your water level and plant growth as time goes on, be sure to smell your tank as well it you can smell rotting something is wrong.

I had a sticky note with more information but I seemed to have left it in my car.

-Good luck
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Old 05-06-2012, 12:50 AM   #3 
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Thanks so much for the response! Yes, I messaged OFL a few days ago because I know she's greatly experienced when it comes to this type of setup :) I've been doing some research as well, and from what you just told me, most other sites seem to offer the same information :) Yes, I most definitely plan to add driftwood of some sort as well! :) If you don't mind me asking, what size tank and type of plants are you planning to use for your NPT?
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Old 05-06-2012, 01:10 AM   #4 
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I'm going to start off with a 2 gallon Kritter Keeper(Use this as a snail and shrimp tank). I have Anacharis, Java Fern, Brazilian Pennywort, Crypts and Duckweed. I have other plants I wish to add but again I had that on my sticky note in my car. Though I think I will probably get a 5 gallon as an upgrade because I know that the pennywort likes to grow tall.

Also from what I read/saw in OFL's posts your plants should be growing rapidly in the first few months so you will most likely have to keep them in line by pruning their leaves every week or so.
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Old 05-06-2012, 01:15 AM   #5 
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Thanks! Yeah, those plants are along the lines of what I'm thinking about adding. Upgrading to a 5 gallon would definitely be great. Yes! Let's hope that's the case! I can't wait to get started :) BTW, do you know how the water change schedule is supposed to be like?
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Old 05-06-2012, 01:20 AM   #6 
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From what I read these tanks don't have to have water changes, they are naturally filtered by the plants by using the ammonia, nitrite, and nitrates as food for their growth and whatever is evaporated you should just top it off with fresh dechlorinated water.
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Old 05-06-2012, 01:38 AM   #7 
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Ahhh, I see. I thought so too, based on info from a couple of sites, but I don't know if it was on this forum or another site, but I believe someone mentioned making some type of water change a few times a year. I could be wrong, or I'm probably just confusing it with topping off the evaporated water like you mentioned.
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Old 05-06-2012, 04:32 PM   #8 
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Also, concerning the wattage of my light bulb, will that be sufficient for a low light, low maintenance tank? Thanks! :)
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Old 05-06-2012, 04:43 PM   #9 
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I'm fairly certain that it is 1-2 watts per gallon for a low light tank. I would guess that you can raise the light make it a little less for your tank.
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Old 05-06-2012, 04:58 PM   #10 
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Watts are just for a general guideline...what is more important is the color temp of the bulb or Kelvin....you want 5000-7000k with 6500k being ideal and more like the color temp of the sun.

In small/shallow tanks you have to be careful with too high watts since that can cause algae problems-

With planted tanks its all about balance......
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