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Old 04-11-2012, 01:41 PM   #21 
a123andpoof
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Well for me soil would be cheaper as I am going to get it out of a yard. And then I am just going to put dirt. it may be a little harder but I personally don't mind as I have been wanting to switch most of my tanks over anyways. And I like the look. Thank you for your input though!
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Old 04-11-2012, 01:46 PM   #22 
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This is something I strongly disagree with, there is nothing unnatural in using sand or gravel and there are numerous places in the regions these fish and plants live that are sandy or rocky.

Success can be had using either substrate, with equal effort. Soil is actually one of the most difficult substrates to work with initially, and isn't something I would recommend to someone doing their first planted tank. If you like to start with hard and want the challenge go for it. I've nothing against people using soil in their substrates but I suppose it is a pet peeve of mine for people to say it's better, or it's easier. It isn't, success can be just as easy with plain gravel/sand.

As a case in point I'll reference another users tank that is low tech and uses regular play sand for a substrate: Amazonian Riverscape 115g - 115 gallon Freshwater fish tank

In regards to the use of fertilizers, only substrate rooted plants will benefit from nutrients in the substrate. All other plants get their nutrients from the water column.

A good place to start is here: http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/a...um-part-34861/

Tropicalfishkeeping.com is the parent site of bettafish.com, this is only a small sub-forum of a much larger community. It's a good place to go if you want more specific advice on aquarium plants with several knowledgeable people. You probably don't even need to make a new account to post there, since they are technically the same site. At least I don't, but I created my account there.
I suppose I should have been more specific and used the term "Walstad natural planted tank," because that's what I'm talking about. I don't think it's hard (Walstad NPT, that is, with soil substrate) at all to set up and keep going... because you don't need fertilizer and you don't have to vacuum or change water. The mulm produces fertilizer for the soil and the water column.

Last edited by kfish; 04-11-2012 at 01:49 PM.
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Old 04-11-2012, 02:28 PM   #23 
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I suppose I should have been more specific and used the term "Walstad natural planted tank," because that's what I'm talking about. I don't think it's hard (Walstad NPT, that is, with soil substrate) at all to set up and keep going... because you don't need fertilizer and you don't have to vacuum or change water. The mulm produces fertilizer for the soil and the water column.
You don't have to clean the substrate regardless, however in terms of no water changes that is extremely dependent on fish load and does not work with the stocking levels most people prefer to go with (speaking of community aquariums here). There is a lot more to consider with water changes than just nitrate levels. Most with heavily planted aquariums only use a filter with mechanical media in it to remove floating objects and keep the water clear, they do not use chemical (carbon) or bio media (ceramic rings, balls, etc).

The nutrients in soil is a short term solution, they will eventually run out just like they do in terrestrial gardening.

Is is just a different method to the same result, that's all I'm saying.
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Old 04-11-2012, 02:51 PM   #24 
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You don't have to clean the substrate regardless, however in terms of no water changes that is extremely dependent on fish load and does not work with the stocking levels most people prefer to go with (speaking of community aquariums here). There is a lot more to consider with water changes than just nitrate levels. Most with heavily planted aquariums only use a filter with mechanical media in it to remove floating objects and keep the water clear, they do not use chemical (carbon) or bio media (ceramic rings, balls, etc).

The nutrients in soil is a short term solution, they will eventually run out just like they do in terrestrial gardening.

Is is just a different method to the same result, that's all I'm saying.
Nutrients in the soil are replenished by the mulm. Fish and snail poo and decaying plant matter. Just like in terrestrial organic gardening. Sometimes it is appropriate to break a tank down and re-soil it, but this is only to eliminate anaerobic pockets after a few years of a Walstad tank being set up.

In a WNPT, if you stock appropriately and have good plant growth, regular water changes to remove nitrate are not needed, as there should be none. Presence of nitrate means there's something wrong with your Walstad planted tank and you need to figure out the balance. However, in a Walstad tank it is ideal to do 2 water changes a year, if for nothing else than to maintain GH and kH. GH can't be added by soil, so people add crushed coral or non-pH affecting sea shells. Water changes add it, too, as long as the water source is good. GH and kH should be checked, anyway... I check mine once a month to make sure I don't need to change a bit of water out to adjust those levels. I check the GH and kH of the tap first to make sure it's as hard as it should be.

I don't use biomedia or carbon in non-planted tanks, either... foam works fine for holding bacteria and removing debris. I don't think it's necessary in any tank, but especially not in a NPT of any kind.

I don't think one is better than the other - it's based on personal preference and what someone thinks looks best... I personally prefer soil substrate for NPTs.

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Old 04-11-2012, 06:23 PM   #25 
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Well for me soil would be cheaper as I am going to get it out of a yard. And then I am just going to put dirt.
Will it be necessary to cap the dirt with some sand or something?


Also, I am not sure how expensive plants are over there, but $25 won't get you all that many here - most are $6.95 each or more. Probably the best value for volume IMO was the java fern - I bought two bags of it for six dollars each and this gave me a pretty large, dense clump. Not enough to stock a 5g NPT of course, but it fills a whole corner of my 3.5g planted tank and apparently does a lot to help keep the water clean, so it's definitely value for money.
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Old 04-11-2012, 06:28 PM   #26 
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So talking to OFL she said I should get at least 2 or 3 different stem plants, and a lot of floating plants. I am looking at hornwort, water wisteria, moneywort, anibus, java fern. I am hoping that petsmart may also have the floating plants. What did you use for your tank?

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Old 04-11-2012, 06:32 PM   #27 
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Will it be necessary to cap the dirt with some sand or something?


Also, I am not sure how expensive plants are over there, but $25 won't get you all that many here - most are $6.95 each or more. Probably the best value for volume IMO was the java fern - I bought two bags of it for six dollars each and this gave me a pretty large, dense clump. Not enough to stock a 5g NPT of course, but it fills a whole corner of my 3.5g planted tank and apparently does a lot to help keep the water clean, so it's definitely value for money.
Yeah I am beginning to see that. And its okay. Though if they have the plants I am looking at and the prices are around the same in store as online I think I can get away with under $40.
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Old 04-11-2012, 07:13 PM   #28 
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Originally Posted by a123andpoof View Post
So talking to OFL she said I should get at least 2 or 3 different stem plants, and a lot of floating plants. I am looking at hornwort, water wisteria, moneywort, anibus, java fern. I am hoping that petsmart may also have the floating plants. What did you use for your tank?
I used hornwort, anacharis, pennywort, java fern, anubias (doesn't really help with the start up thing because it grows so slowly, just looks pretty XD), wisteria. I already had them all so I can't give you an idea of start up cost...

I did spend about $40 on rooted plants shortly after, though, because of anaerobic pockets: Amazon sword, red rubin sword (mine died back a lot but it's coming back now!!! so excitedddd... the plants HATED my parents' super soft water so everything's doing a million times better at my apartment now), vals, dwarf sagittaria, dwarf lily (not really rooted, it's a bulb), and some other stuff that died (>_<).
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Old 04-11-2012, 07:15 PM   #29 
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Okay. I hope I can get all the right plants. Hopefully can get to the store tomorrow and then will find out.
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Old 04-11-2012, 07:19 PM   #30 
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Okay. I hope I can get all the right plants. Hopefully can get to the store tomorrow and then will find out.
If not, shipping at plantedaquariumscentral.com is flat rate priority mail. So get everything you need at once and use the coupon code. ;)
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