Betta Fish Forum banner

1 - 20 of 25 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
474 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hello All,
I've seriously been considering starting up a natural planted tank (Walstad Method), and considering the fact that I will be going home for the summer break, this sounds like a fun/exciting project to take on!
Well, I haven't fully made up my mind on the details of the tank, but I'm basically just trying to use equipment that I have on hand from the past. This is what I'm considering using so far:

  • 2.5 gallon minibow aquarium (purple, not like the color matters haha)
  • red sea deco art nano filter (correct me if I'm wrong, but I know filtration is not necessary, or even recommended in such a setup, but I mostly want it for purposes of water circulation)
  • heater
  • 1 male betta :-D
  • malaysian trumpet snails
  • Alot of plants! (I'm still not sure what kinds though :-?)
  • 10 Watt CFL
  • organic potting soil and either sand or medium fine gravel
If anyone has experience with this type of setup, any advice and tips are greatly appreciated! :) Concerning the plants, and keeping in mind the tank size, what type of plants should I get? Around how many do you recommend?


Thank you! :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
785 Posts
OldFishLady has tons of these kinds of tanks I am going to setting one up soon as well.
From what I know:
You will need at least 1 in of the potting soil and 1/2 in of sand to keep the soil from getting mixed in the water. You will need 3-4 stem plants and 2-3 rosette plants. This gives the tank diversity as well as the stem plants putting in oxygen to the soil so you won't get rotting soil(Malaysian Trumpet Snails also help with this).
Put in a rock or drift wood to add a more natural look and it should be pretty good.

When putting in the soil and sand you will be doing a few water changes before you insert your plants to get the soil in the water settled and once again when your plants are inside. OFL had put in her fish on the same day that she set her tanks up, but me personally I would wait maybe 1 day so I can run some tests with the water parameters.

You will have to keep tabs on your water level and plant growth as time goes on, be sure to smell your tank as well it you can smell rotting something is wrong.

I had a sticky note with more information but I seemed to have left it in my car.

-Good luck
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
474 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Thanks so much for the response! Yes, I messaged OFL a few days ago because I know she's greatly experienced when it comes to this type of setup :) I've been doing some research as well, and from what you just told me, most other sites seem to offer the same information :) Yes, I most definitely plan to add driftwood of some sort as well! :) If you don't mind me asking, what size tank and type of plants are you planning to use for your NPT?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
785 Posts
I'm going to start off with a 2 gallon Kritter Keeper(Use this as a snail and shrimp tank). I have Anacharis, Java Fern, Brazilian Pennywort, Crypts and Duckweed. I have other plants I wish to add but again I had that on my sticky note in my car. Though I think I will probably get a 5 gallon as an upgrade because I know that the pennywort likes to grow tall.

Also from what I read/saw in OFL's posts your plants should be growing rapidly in the first few months so you will most likely have to keep them in line by pruning their leaves every week or so.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
474 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Thanks! Yeah, those plants are along the lines of what I'm thinking about adding. Upgrading to a 5 gallon would definitely be great. Yes! Let's hope that's the case! I can't wait to get started :) BTW, do you know how the water change schedule is supposed to be like?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
785 Posts
From what I read these tanks don't have to have water changes, they are naturally filtered by the plants by using the ammonia, nitrite, and nitrates as food for their growth and whatever is evaporated you should just top it off with fresh dechlorinated water.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
474 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Ahhh, I see. I thought so too, based on info from a couple of sites, but I don't know if it was on this forum or another site, but I believe someone mentioned making some type of water change a few times a year. I could be wrong, or I'm probably just confusing it with topping off the evaporated water like you mentioned.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
474 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Also, concerning the wattage of my light bulb, will that be sufficient for a low light, low maintenance tank? Thanks! :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
785 Posts
I'm fairly certain that it is 1-2 watts per gallon for a low light tank. I would guess that you can raise the light make it a little less for your tank.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,971 Posts
Watts are just for a general guideline...what is more important is the color temp of the bulb or Kelvin....you want 5000-7000k with 6500k being ideal and more like the color temp of the sun.

In small/shallow tanks you have to be careful with too high watts since that can cause algae problems-

With planted tanks its all about balance......
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
474 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Yeah, I totally forgot about the Kelvin rating. It is indeed 6500K. Well, I would like to keep the hood that comes with the tank, it only has room for 1 bulb. Can I still keep it like this?

Thanks everyone :) OFL, I was reading over that link you placed concerning an NPT for pet shrimp by Diana Walstad, and I was wondering if I could follow those same steps, but in my 2.5 gallon?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,066 Posts
May I ask what soil you are using? I'm also going to convert most of my tanks to NPT in the near future, I was thinking about using MiracleGro's Organic Potting Soil, will that suffice?

Also another question is about Malaysian Trumpet Snails, I'm probably not going to be able to get my hands on these little guys, without the aeration they provide, will you have to aerate the soil yourself?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,971 Posts
Yes, that link on the NPT shrimp bowl is a good general plan/guideline for the NPT setup.

Since the bulb is a 6500k ...that great....however, if the bulb is old going into 1 year of use...its needs to be changed....the intensity can be lost over time....you can see the light but the plants can't to use it for energy....

The lights can make the difference between success and failure with planted tanks in general....without the proper lights, photoperiod the plants can't grow well or take care of the water and this is really important in soil based systems.....

Soil-potting soil organic, top soil or dirt that is free of pesticides and any added ferts....added ferts can go toxic in the tank as well as cause algae problems....

Lots and lots of stem plants and floating plants....if you can't get MTS you can poke the soil with a chopstick, fork and the like until the stem plants take off -their roots help by pulling oxygen into the soil to help prevent anaerobic spot.

This is the link Scienceluvr is referring too...it a good read to give general guideline for small NPT's....for shrimp and/or Betta keeping.
http://www.atlasbooks.com/marktplc/00388Shrimp.pdf
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
474 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
Thanks so much OFL! :) Yup, I will definitely not reuse my bulbs; thanks for letting me know. Also, concerning the photo period, I'm going to try out the "siesta method" that Diana refers to. Do you have any experience with this?

@Micho:
Yup, I'm just going to use Miracle Gro's Organic Potting Soil. Also, do take a look at that link. It is very helpful :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,066 Posts
Yeah I've seen that link before, when I was researching about RCS I stumbled upon it, it's a very good read, sadly I cannot do what she does, where I live winter is long and harsh and summer is short. My RCS tank is very different from hers, I'm using only sand and low-light plants which are Java Fern and moss.

Also, I'll be buying some of that potting soil too then. :) Although the woman in the link uses different soil, I might try that one instead of the organic potting soil.

Also thanks OFL, I'll be sure to poke the soil.

Can't wait, I'm so excited to start this whole NPT project, I hope it won't fail on me. ):
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
474 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
Oh do you mean if affects you in the sense that you won't have enough natural light? I'm not going to use natural light at all just because I'm wary of this causing algae issues (though I know this can happen with either artificial or natural light) and potentially causing fluctuations in my water temp. Plus, since this is going to house a betta I will have a heater.

I know! I can't wait to start either! I'm so excited, but nervous at the same time, haha. Hopefully all goes well for the both of us :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,971 Posts
No, I don't do the siesta method, I don't really have bad algae problems in my tanks and plus...I am forgetful....lol......and can't remember to do it...lol....if I had timers I might-but thats a lot to figure out with so many tanks....lol....I turn my lights on a 8am and off at 8pm......

I get awesome plant growth-that is one of my biggest problems with the soil based NPT's.....lol....so not really a problem.......As the tanks mature and you start to get natural decomp this decomp also creates CO2 for the plants.

I look forward to following both your NPT's as you get them setup....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
474 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
Ahhh, I see. It would make sense to not use that method with so many tanks, haha. I'm definitely going to be using a timer, but I'm still not sure if I want to try it. I'll probably just use the same method as you....we'll see lol.

Sorry for all the questions, but more and more things are always occurring to me, haha. What do you find works best for a cap on the soil? Pool filter sand, medium fine gravel, or something else?

Thanks! I really am looking forward to getting started on this project! I just can't wait to get home, haha.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,066 Posts
Also another question, I'll be attempting either a 20g or a 29g NPT first. With a tank over 5g you'll have to cycle it right? Do you have to cycle tanks that are becoming NPTs?

I'm assuming no, but it never hurts to ask.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
785 Posts
The whole point of a NPT is to make it as self sustaining as possible so cycling the tank will not do you any good as the water parameters should be 0 across the board. The plants should be eating all the ammonia, nitrate and nitrite.

Once I find a cheap reliable supplier for RCS and Nerite snails I will begin my escapade towards making these awesome tanks.
 
1 - 20 of 25 Posts
Top