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Old 03-27-2011, 03:41 PM   #1 
KayDowson
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Talking Natural Planted Tanks

So I'm gonna take all of my tanks all natural with the live sand and plants... I'm gonna take out my old decor (minus the live plants and caves) and start new... I guess my question is how many live plants is too much... I don't want to over crowd them but i love the benefits of live plants and the looks of npts are beautiful. I just dont want to overdo it and not have enough room for the fish. I have (2) 10 gal (1) 3 gal (2) 2 gal (1) 1.5 gal and (2) 1 gal and I'll be getting a 20 gallon here in the next week or two... Any suggestions on the right amount of plants? (and snails)
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Old 03-27-2011, 04:38 PM   #2 
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I'd say use enough plants to line the back of the tank (tall plants), 2-3 in the middle (shorter plants), and a few in the front of the tank (think mosses so you don't obstruct the view of the fish). I hope this helps! Also, maybe add a nice piece of driftwood in the middle of the tank as a centerpiece.
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Old 03-27-2011, 04:40 PM   #3 
russalka
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If you are interested in setting up a Walstad natural planted tank, there is a great step by step guide here.

http://thegab.org/Plants/step-by-ste...nted-tank.html
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Old 03-27-2011, 04:53 PM   #4 
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K thanx so much guys! I'll make sure I post pix cuz its gonna be the prettiest thing u ever say lol
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Old 03-27-2011, 05:04 PM   #5 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by russalka View Post
If you are interested in setting up a Walstad natural planted tank, there is a great step by step guide here.

http://thegab.org/Plants/step-by-ste...nted-tank.html
If you have natural dirt topsoil in your area, skip using the potting soil and actually go out someplace to get the dirt.

I've found that a thin layer of fine gravel placed on top the dirt makes a huge difference in the management of the tank.


Too many plants? Well, the Walstad is based on having enough plants to support the fish, so if you have tons of fish in your plans you need tons of plants. The easiest way to plan this is to get several large plants and many many small plants then plant them all. Java fern like much rockier soil than dirt and it would not be un-healthy to have a small rocky area someplace in the tank to accommodate such a hardy plant.

The method I used in my boosted walstad tank was to spread out the dirt about half an inch thick then stir in actual aquarium water from an existing tank. Then add more layers of dirt like cheese on a pizza while adding just enough sprinkled water on to wet it all. Once I had one and a half inches of dirt I then leveled it out evenly by hand by patting and smoothing.
I then put on a three quarter inch layer of wet black flourite (expensive) to keep turbulence from being a problem and moved the tank to where it was going to spend its life. Be careful if you assemble the mud bottom before moving, they get very very heavy and you'll need gloves to protect your hands.

Once I had it where it was going to go I added four inches of water and stuck a wooden wand much the size of a drummer's stick down in the dirt and patted the side of it for every square inch. Bubbles in tons, live bacteria.

Cycling a walstad is painful, the dirt has its own ideas as to what the PH should be and changes its mind every day or so, large plants won't help any more than properly planted small plants but you want to use actual rooted plants or root-bulb plants. Onion and Lilies are great, so are Crypto, Wendtii and some others. I've had no luck with Cardinal but other soft broadleaf plants have done great in it.

I have a Crypto with a ten inch root reach after one year.

If you use actual yard topsoil instead of potting soil you avoid a great deal of the troubles normally had with potting soil; decay, peat, additives they lie about, animal wastes, litter and debris. Some places actually decay road kill inside their mulching piles to produce the finished product...

Before adding fish but after the dust has settled out well you want to run carbon filtration for one week when you use yard soil if you're anywhere near industry.
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Old 03-27-2011, 05:19 PM   #6 
KayDowson
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ok that sounds great... thanks... i guess my only question right now is do i still ad my conditioner to the water or will the plants filster through all of that after its had a chance to cycle thru
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Old 03-27-2011, 05:20 PM   #7 
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and how often should i do water changes if at all after i take out the filter or does everything jus kind of run itself after that... and whats the smallest tank size u recommend?
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Old 03-27-2011, 05:21 PM   #8 
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and where do i get black flourite and what is it?... im full of questions lol
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Old 03-27-2011, 05:38 PM   #9 
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also will the plants require an air pump
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Old 03-27-2011, 05:41 PM   #10 
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The black flourite is kinda expensive, like fifteen to twenty four per 10g tank's worth. You can use regular fine rock from aquarium stores just not more than three quarters of an inch on top of the dirt.

You CAN make an area where the dirt isn't and its just rock to the bottom of the tank for planting things that like a more gravel bottom.

add your conditioners to any water that goes in the tank, the chlorine will hurt the water plants as well as the fish, carbonate ballancers like Neutral Regulator or pH7.0 are fine as well. Remember to use existing tank water from a water change to start the soil up.
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