Walstad Tank issues - Betta Fish and Betta Fish Care
 
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-07-2019, 07:09 AM Thread Starter
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Question Walstad Tank issues

Hello, I have recently had to start up my tank again after moving, and I decided to try a new method, the Walstad Method. I have used potting soil, and under half an inch of sand, just because it would be too much because it's a lot more compact compared to gravel and I didn't want to suffocate the bacteria.

I don't have a light for my tank, so I've decided to go with low light plants.

The store sold me CYPERUS HELFERI, Blyxa japonica and some small Sword Plant. Oh, and a floating water wisteria (c).

Basically the Blyxa japonica is dying, going brown and mushy, though the Cyperus and Sword Plant seem to be holding on. The store recommended those to me, so now I've just decided I might as well come here to ask for advice on what types of plants to get.

For the record I am planning on using this tank to breed Betta's.

My question is, should I pull the Blyxa's out? Or wait for them to completely die?

My second question is what are some good low light plants? Ones good for breeding and just for the whole natural setting to the tank, something to mimic the Betta's environment. The wisteria seems to be doing good, so I'm guessing the other Blyxa's are dying because they actually require STRONG light.

P.S: I live in Australia, so some plants aren't available to me and I'm very limited here, but your help is still very appreciated.

Thanks!
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-08-2019, 02:40 PM
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I haven't used the Walstad Method to know what exchanges happen with that thin of a layer of sand. You should also measure the water parameters to see if there's any ammonia leeching.

Unfortunately, for the plants Cyperus Helferi and Blyxa Japonica as you've found out, are both med to high light level plants and could benefit from CO2. Depending on the sword, it's most likely not too far off on it's light requirement either, medium light. Most new plants will melt when transplanted as they adjust to their new water parameters and will generally grow back, but with them being essentially high light level plants, I'm not sure how they would fare without a light.

If you're feeling like experimenting, leave them in to see if they will recover.

I'll let someone else chime in about breeding bettas as it is not something to be taken lightly. The breeding setup is completely different from their regular habitat and you need to have a plan all the way from cultivating food for the fry to what is the plan for about 100 juveniles.

For advice on specifically breeding bettas, you could start a post in the Breeding Betta Fish section for the members who frequent that area..
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-08-2019, 11:20 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Veloran View Post
I haven't used the Walstad Method to know what exchanges happen with that thin of a layer of sand. You should also measure the water parameters to see if there's any ammonia leeching.

Unfortunately, for the plants Cyperus Helferi and Blyxa Japonica as you've found out, are both med to high light level plants and could benefit from CO2. Depending on the sword, it's most likely not too far off on it's light requirement either, medium light. Most new plants will melt when transplanted as they adjust to their new water parameters and will generally grow back, but with them being essentially high light level plants, I'm not sure how they would fare without a light.

If you're feeling like experimenting, leave them in to see if they will recover.

I'll let someone else chime in about breeding bettas as it is not something to be taken lightly. The breeding setup is completely different from their regular habitat and you need to have a plan all the way from cultivating food for the fry to what is the plan for about 100 juveniles.

For advice on specifically breeding bettas, you could start a post in the Breeding Betta Fish section for the members who frequent that area..
Thanks. Reading Diana Walstad's book she actually said she breed Betta's a couple times. The soil helped form Dapimia or whatever it's called, so the fry could eat. Something like that. But I trust that her method is most likely the best for fish, mimicking an ecosystem.
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-01-2019, 09:45 PM
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I don't know if you read the Walstad book? I haven't read it in years, so this might be from a different source! But what I recall is that when I started with soil + sand tanks, I had specific instructions:


You have to start with fast-growing plants that will oxygenate the soil with their roots and prevent anoxic conditions, which you can always get rid of later (can tell you how to do that without disrupting the soil if you want), then move toward the slower growing plants (like swords) + start with floating plants to suck up the ammonia and excess nutrients in at least in the beginning. If you haven't read this thread yet, it has some great info: https://www.bettafish.com/147-plante...nted-tank.html


Re low light- Yeah those first two are def high light and the sword is medium- but if you don't have a light at all I think it would be difficult for anything to grow. On this forum there are many who use inexpensive, clip on lights with specific bulbs- if you look for it you can find specifics. (I was too lazy to set that up, so I have a Finnex Stingray and it has been fabulous, grows everything).


If you want any crypt wendtii brown (not fast growing, but a hardy take-over kinda plant), jungle val (fast growing, takes over everything), salvinia minima (floating nutrient hog, but can easily be removed once the tank is stable unlike duckweed) or subwassertang, I just threw a bunch out of all of the above today as I often do- can ship them? Just private message me, but it will be a couple weeks for me to get to it. (Some might be illegal in some states as due to being invasive if they are released, so would depend a bit- I'd just ask you to pay for shipping.)
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-02-2019, 08:39 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by MadtownD View Post
I don't know if you read the Walstad book? I haven't read it in years, so this might be from a different source! But what I recall is that when I started with soil + sand tanks, I had specific instructions:


You have to start with fast-growing plants that will oxygenate the soil with their roots and prevent anoxic conditions, which you can always get rid of later (can tell you how to do that without disrupting the soil if you want), then move toward the slower growing plants (like swords) + start with floating plants to suck up the ammonia and excess nutrients in at least in the beginning. If you haven't read this thread yet, it has some great info: https://www.bettafish.com/147-plante...nted-tank.html


Re low light- Yeah those first two are def high light and the sword is medium- but if you don't have a light at all I think it would be difficult for anything to grow. On this forum there are many who use inexpensive, clip on lights with specific bulbs- if you look for it you can find specifics. (I was too lazy to set that up, so I have a Finnex Stingray and it has been fabulous, grows everything).


If you want any crypt wendtii brown (not fast growing, but a hardy take-over kinda plant), jungle val (fast growing, takes over everything), salvinia minima (floating nutrient hog, but can easily be removed once the tank is stable unlike duckweed) or subwassertang, I just threw a bunch out of all of the above today as I often do- can ship them? Just private message me, but it will be a couple weeks for me to get to it. (Some might be illegal in some states as due to being invasive if they are released, so would depend a bit- I'd just ask you to pay for shipping.)
I have contacted Diana and she responded, she said so far everything is fine and that I should just let nature take it's place. And sure, I'll message you to see if I might be able to buy some plants off of you, ty :).

P.S: Any tips for removing plants without having dirt leak into the water, it always happens, it won't hurt my tank will it?

Last edited by Sappire; 09-02-2019 at 08:53 AM.
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-02-2019, 07:19 PM
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Re removing plants:
Do you have the tools (e.g these are < $11, https://www.ebay.com/itm/5PCS-Aquari...323495594874)?

I don't think I've ever removed a plant and all its roots- that would be disruptive.

For shallow rooted plants (e.g. Jungle val, swarf sag, crypt) I just use the curved tweezer to lift the plant up a teeny bit and then the curved scissors to snip them off at the rots. The roots will just rot in the soil, contributing nutrients- but that means there should be other plant roots (and I always have Malaysian Trumpet Snails) keeping the soil aeration happy. A teeny bit of soil might come up, but it settles and is fine.

For more deeply rooted plants (swords, or bulbs, like lily), I will often just cut the leaves off at the base and leave the part that's in the soil. Sometimes a few leaves grow back that I then snip.

Dunno if that helps!
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-03-2019, 11:20 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by MadtownD View Post
Re removing plants:
Do you have the tools (e.g these are < $11, https://www.ebay.com/itm/5PCS-Aquari...323495594874)?

I don't think I've ever removed a plant and all its roots- that would be disruptive.

For shallow rooted plants (e.g. Jungle val, swarf sag, crypt) I just use the curved tweezer to lift the plant up a teeny bit and then the curved scissors to snip them off at the rots. The roots will just rot in the soil, contributing nutrients- but that means there should be other plant roots (and I always have Malaysian Trumpet Snails) keeping the soil aeration happy. A teeny bit of soil might come up, but it settles and is fine.

For more deeply rooted plants (swords, or bulbs, like lily), I will often just cut the leaves off at the base and leave the part that's in the soil. Sometimes a few leaves grow back that I then snip.

Dunno if that helps!
Sweet that helps! I don't have the curved fancy stuff, but I do have scissors! And regular large tweezers. The ebay link isn't working for me unforunately.
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-15-2019, 09:54 PM
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Well.... regarding a light even Walstad herself recommends using one. She incorporates a "siesta" time for the lighting (on 5 hours off 4 hours back on 4 hours) which with all due respect I think is pseudo science. Whatever - You could probably find a full spectrum Chinese knockoff for cheap.

I know there's a lot of restrictions in Australia but a really fun, cheap ($2.99 in U.S ) fast growing indestructible low light stem plant is Creeping Charlie. Any of the Ludwigia would do the job (assuming you get a light).

Best of luck with your tank - please post photos!

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