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Yes, yes I am a glutton for punishment, and I just cannot be happy with how my tanks look. Nooo, I have to go and overhaul them every year or so, and this years project is breaking down the 10 gal, and redoing it as a natural planted tank, because the fiasco I had a couple years back when I first tried a natural planted tank was not enough punishment.

I did however learn some stuff last time.

1. Perlite floats and never goes away.
2. Why yes, the sand cap really does need to be at least 1 inch thick, they are serious about that.
3. Wood chunks, when left in the soil, form gas pockets that never stop no matter how much you poke the soil or how many MTS you have burrowing.

Yesterday, and today, I spent a good 5 hours washing dirt, uhh organic potting soil, to rid it of wood chunks, floating debris, and perlite. Perlite, how I hate thee, let me count the ways... I now have very clean dirt, and feel that I should go check myself into the nearest mental hospital because I must have lost it.

Anyway either tomorrow, or the next day, I'll start tearing down the tank and washing the sand since I'm using the sand already in the tank and it needs a cleaning before being reused.

I'll post some pictures once it's set up.
 

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Oh you Brave, Brave Person. That is one thing I will never try. There is no way I would be able to fight with the cloud that would take over the tank. I do wish you the very best of luck and really want to see the results.
 

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Here's a picture of the overhauled 10 gal. I'm ordering 3 more plants to go in it, and when I do water changes tonight I'll snatch a couple of the crypts from my 20 gal, and a different type crypt from the 2.5 gal. Second picture is Hendrix in the 1.5 gal. The plants in it are anubias and anacharis.

Fingers crossed that the Nomaphila Siamensis Dwarf aka hygrophila, Hadi Red Pearl Amazon Sword, and Lobelia Cardinalis, ship well and do good in the tank!
 

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Those last two don't look like jungles to me. Very pretty!
Thanks!

Those are my 2.5 gal and my 3 gal. I can't let them get too overgrown or my betta's have no room to move around. Those two are a balancing act between letting them get full, but not letting the plants choke the space.
 

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Well, the new plants came in today, and most arrived in pretty good shape, although they are all small, the biggest being the sword.

They are all planted, and now I get to wait to see if they decide to grow or melt. Fingers crossed that I do not loose to many!
 

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Bravo @Rainbo I salute you!

I really wanted to try a NPT as per Walstad but I read about plenty of people who don't get her results and didn't have time to experiment. (Barr report is an excellent resource on NPT).

Ultimately I went with ADA Aquasoil "Nature Tank" edition. I didn't cap it. I didn't anticipate how much it would settle, so two inches eventually reduced to approximately an inch and I'm not sure what do accept redo it in 7 months or less. I don't think there's enough soil right now to support the swords, crypts and stems, but they must be happy in the "Nature Tank" Aquasoil because everything is growing.

Question por favor? When you break down and redo your tanks, do you just uproot your plants and replant? And they're okay with that process?

Thought you might like attached soil - NO PERLITE or other floaties.

I know regular "potting" soil must be repeatedly washed over about five days to get rid of perlite, pieces of wood, etc.

Your tanks look awesome and I'm going to be following this thread for updates and Protips.
Keep the photos coming!

Also attached is my "NPT" experiment about 90 days in. I don't know if Aquasoil labeled for "Nature Tank" is cheating? ;-)


One last thing that might interest a NPT enthusiast. See that Pothos on the right? The roots used to be massive I just trimmed them.
It seems like this plant sucks up all the nitrates because I never get any hint of orange.
No algea problems of any kind despite leaving the light on longer than it probably should be (I know, I know...)

So theoretically this tank could go a lot longer than a week without water changes - I think that was one of Walstad's points in her book?

Apologies for the lengthy post - I'm just fascinated by the idea of a practically "maintenance free" tank based on supposedly ecologically sound principles and curious about how well they do in the real world.

I'm also curious as to what extent you're planning on sticking to Walstad's method i.e. Siesta photo periods, etc?

Cheers!


Sent from my Pixel 3 XL using Tapatalk
 

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Thanks!

Yes, I uprooted all the plants including that huge sword and the crypts. What I do is drain water from the tank into however many buckets of water I need to put the plants in, then I uproot them and put them in the buckets. I've done that a number of times when I've redone tanks and have yet to hurt any of them. The main problem I have is that full grown plants are a bit of a pain to get back into the substrate because their roots are so extensive. I like to never get that sword replanted!

I probably didn't wash the soil as long as I should, I only washed it twice, but I did lose a good 1/2 the "soil" just in those two washings. I basically got rid of anything that floated, and kept the stuff that sank.

I think my last NPT lasted around a year before I just could not take it anymore. The plants loved it but it looked horrible, and was a huge headache. With your tank you may be able to add the aquasoil to your tank using a water bottle as a funnel, that's how I add new sand to my tanks when I don't want to break them down and redo them. I'd experiment with it though and make sure you won't turn your tank into a soil cloud if you decide to try it.

I don't follow the Walstead method, but have read about it a little. I mainly use the instructions found here https://www.bettafish.com/147-planted-betta-tanks/114575-how-natural-planted-tank.html I do keep the lights out on my tanks once a week, and I guess that could count as a siesta period? One of the things mentioned in the thread I linked to is that the tank should not need real water changes once it's up and running, it should only need top offs. I'll see how it goes. I know it's supposed to be a mini ecosystem, and when I last tried it I didn't add any ferts to the tanks, just iron every now and then for the swords. I'll probably either add some shrimp, or cory cats, maybe both, once the plants fill in, they'll help feed the plants.

Thanks for the hint about the Miracle Grow! I'll have to check out that formula of it, the regular organic one is what I tried the first time and it had so much wood and perlite that it was unreal. I'm talking huge chunks of wood that caused my tank to be an NPT black water tank without my even wanting it to be. I got SunGro Black Gold organic soil this time and it wasn't bad with the wood, but it was loaded with perlite.

Ohh I'll have to get some pothos! My towns water company insists that the nitrites in the water is just fine, my API test shows that they are at least 5PPM.... I'm still fighting with them and fixing to take a water sample to the lab in the next town, since the one in my town is saying that the level is 0.8555. No, it's not my test as it will give me different readings depending on where I get the water from. Sooo, I'll be cross referencing the water test at another lab. Anyway, I'm off on a rabbit trail, that pothos will come in handy since my tanks nitrite and nitrate levels are spiking. (thank you water company -,-)
 

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Nice! Where'd you get a sword that size?!

Are you planning on ferts?

Sent from my Pixel 3 XL using Tapatalk
Thanks! Believe it or not that sword was from PetSmart, but it wasn't even half that size when I bought it. It seems to really like it's home in front of my kitchen window and decided to grow like a weed. I've the same type in my 20 gal and they do not look anything like that one, and are only around 6" tall the only difference in care is the one in the 10 gal gets natural light.

I'll only use ferts if the plants look like they need them, the only exception is iron for the swords.
 
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