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Old 06-02-2013, 05:52 PM   #1 
Saphira101
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Do I have to use soil in an NPT?

Hey guys, I want to set up an NPT, but I want to know if I have to use soil, or if I could simply use gravel/sand for the plants.

Thanks!
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Old 06-02-2013, 06:02 PM   #2 
lilyth88
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You could, but then it wouldn't be considered a NPT, it would just be a planted tank. You'd also have to use fertilizers.
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Old 06-03-2013, 06:21 AM   #3 
Hallyx
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If you have enough plants actively growing that they absorb all the ammonia and you don't really need a filter and nitrifying bacteria, then you have a NPT regardless of type of substrate or lack of it.

Most tanks use a combination of plants and nitrifying bacteria to remove ammonia. Those are planted tanks.

If you'll be growing a lot of rooted plants, you may want to stick with just sand (or gravel). Check the plant section for further advice. Yes, you'll probably have to use some fertilizer.
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Old 06-03-2013, 01:15 PM   #4 
Nicci Lu
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An NPT, also known as El Natural or a Walstad tank, must use soil. It is a theory created by biologist Diana Walstad, and the soil forms a key component in order for this style tank to work. I could try to explain it, but it would be better to just check out the entry 'Walstad method' in the Aquarium Wiki. The entry gives lots of good links to sources explaining the theory behind a Walstad tank, including an article by Diana Walstad.

Like lilyth88 said, without soil it's just a planted tank. Which is perfectly fine- some prefer not to do NPTs. Tom Barr has some good theories on planted tanks that are not Walstad style tanks.
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Old 06-03-2013, 01:16 PM   #5 
lilyth88
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nicci Lu View Post
An NPT, also known as El Natural or a Walstad tank, must use soil. It is a theory created by biologist Diana Walstad, and the soil forms a key component in order for this style tank to work. I could try to explain it, but it would be better to just check out the entry 'Walstad method' in the Aquarium Wiki. The entry gives lots of good links to sources explaining the theory behind a Walstad tank, including an article by Diana Walstad.

Like lilyth88 said, without soil it's just a planted tank. Which is perfectly fine- some prefer not to do NPTs. Tom Barr has some good theories on planted tanks that are not Walstad style tanks.
You explained it much better than I did, Lol.
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Old 06-03-2013, 03:10 PM   #6 
waterdog
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Short answer.....no you do not need soil to grow plants in an aquarium. I have 5 tanks, 75 gal to a 2.5 and none of them use soil and the plants grow great. Lighting plays the biggest role I find for no soil plants. I never use fertilizers as they make the algae go bonkers. A 50/50 bulb and weekly water changes have grown my jungles for years.
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