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Old 10-12-2010, 06:31 PM   #1 
rejohnson53
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Walstad tank not behaving

My 3 gallon tank is set up as a Walstad tank (i.e. 1 inch topsoil, 1 inch filter gravel, more live plants than I'd care to admit) and I havn't had any problems with it until now.

I must have gotten salt in the water somehow, probably by cross-contaminating my tank water with the salted water I use for baths, but it caused the leaves on my bacopa plants to rot. So I tried to drain as much of the water as I could and added clean, fresh water. Now the plants are recovering, but I'd noticed much more particulate mater in the water column, and it wouldn't seem to settle out. Now Two-Tails has fin-rot. Is this from there being too much sediment in the water?

Also since the water change the algae in the tank has exploded. I'm trying to bring it under control by giving them less light and hoping the larger plants will out-compete the algae.

Does anyone have any advice at all? I'm at a loss. Thanks guys!
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Old 10-13-2010, 08:56 AM   #2 
Oldfishlady
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How long has the NPT been set up, what kind of filtration, what kind of plants and how many, any plant food used, what is the kelvin rating on the light and age of bulb, what was the photo period and what did you change it to, do you have a cover between the light and the water and is it clean, do you have anything large sitting on top of the soil like a rock or wood...etc....do you have trumpet snails or any snails or shrimp in the tank, what kind of water changes did you do before it started to have problems, are you feeding the plants any fish food, what kind of algae is it-is it on everything...can you post a pic?
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Old 10-13-2010, 10:22 AM   #3 
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It's been set up for about a month and a half.
I have a mess of hornwort, 12 small (ailing) lemon bacopa, a small anubia, and a wisteria. No plant food, just fish poop and the occasional uneaten bloodworms. I assume they're getting enough nutrients because the hornwort was growing like a weed before these problems started.
The type of light bulb is an unknown LED that came with the tank. I've had the tank for over a year, so the bulb is about a year old. I may replace it soon.
The photoperiod is usually 14 hours on, 10 hours off, but it varies. I don't have it wired up to a timer. Now it's more like 8 hours on, 16 hours off. There is a clear cover between the light and the water, cleaned regularly.
Just gravel on top of the siol. No trumpet snails yet, but I was thinking of adding some.
I did what must have been ~75% water change to get as much of the salt out as possible. I left 1/2 in of water above the substrate.
The algae that has taken over is green of blue-green algae, I'll take a closer look when I get home. It's mostly growing over the gravel on the bottom, as a film on the top of the water, and almost like a web between the plants, like nasty green cobwebs.
I'll also post a pic asap, along with filter specs.
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Old 10-13-2010, 11:23 AM   #4 
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It sounds like BGA or cyanobacteria not an algae but a bacteria-especially if it has a smell-is it easily removed and then come right back-the floating hornwort can block light to the other plants and suck all the nitrate out of the water and the BGA will thrive and plants have trouble growing ----also what about water movement???

Your lights are on too long-good that you reduced that and your bulb is too old-once you get this cleared up get a new bulb in the 6700k range and start the photoperiod at 8h and move up to 10-12 per plant growth....my NPT all vary with photoperiod from 8-12h..each are different.

You need more stem plants planted to help keep the soil oxygenated since you don't have trumpet snails to do it for you

The set-up is still in the early stage and has not settled yet-it can take 3 month with some of them

I would remove all livestock-remove all the BGA with a water change and do a 4 day black out-cover the tank with blankets and don't peek...lol......after 4 days do another big water change and remove any dead or dying plants and replace them with lots and lots of stem plant like-naja grass, hygrophilia, rotala, mexican oak leaf, wisteria, water sprite.....elodea and ceratophyllum demersum are good and secretes antibiotic substance to help prevent BGA.

Stay on top of water changes during the first 3 month-on some of mine I had to do daily to every-other day-weekly...etc.....until they settled and became stable before I could cut back on the water changes.

They are great set-ups once you get them balanced.
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Old 10-13-2010, 11:41 AM   #5 
wallywestisthebest333
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Good luck with your NPT! =] Hope the bacteria problem clears up soon! =]
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Old 10-13-2010, 04:29 PM   #6 
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Oh wow, thanks Oldfishlady. I'll get right on that when I get home tonight and keep you posted on its progress.

On a related note, do you know where I could get trumpet snails short of ordering them off of aquabid?
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Old 10-13-2010, 04:44 PM   #7 
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Most LFS should have some crawling (slithering? idk) around in their tanks and on their plants. =] Otherwise idk. =/ Plus you might or might not have a LFS.
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Old 10-17-2010, 11:25 PM   #8 
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Ok, this is the last day of the blackout. The wisteria is looking pretty sorry but the others appear to have pulled through. I'll do a big water change tomorrow once classes let out.

I got some MTS off of aquabid, so they should be here next week-ish. Should I just toss them in lol? I'm still searching for a good

It's quite a trek to my "local" aquatic plant dealer. I'll try and make it up there and get some replacement plants as soon as possible.

Will any 6700k bulb do, such as a comp. fluorescent? Or do I need to track down a full spectrum light. I just have a clear cover over the tank, not a hood, so lighting is a bit tricky. Turns out the light in the fixture that came with the tank was just some halogen.

Let's hope this works!
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Old 10-18-2010, 10:22 AM   #9 
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I get the daylight 6700k bulbs at wal mart for about 5 bucks each and use them on my NPT-they can make the tank look a bit yellow but the plants grow great and its affordable to change them out every 6 months

MTS-toss them in and let them go to work keeping the soil aerated for you along with some more stem plants

You may need to stay up with some daily to every other-to-3 day water only changes and suck any BGA out as it appears-it took me a month to get rid of it without going the antibiotic route-also you may need to increase water movement for awhile too.
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Old 10-18-2010, 10:29 AM   #10 
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My filter can move the surface water quite a bit if I take the baffle off and move the hornwort out of the way, so that shouldn't be a problem.

I'll check out the daylight bulbs as soon as I can.
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