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Walstad Method?


Tristen
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What's your take on the infamous Walstad method?

How did you go about setting yours up?

Can I use soley ecocomplete and no soil as a planted tank? Or should/could I cap the soil with ecocomplete? Or should I go the Walstad Method all the way?

I want to keep this tank as low tech as possible. I'm thinking a heater and a bubbler in a 5.5 gallon. I also have plants picked out recommended by Diana Walstad ready to order.

Do you gave any other advise for me? 

Edited by Tristen
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 This thread has a lot of good answers in it. 
 

this thread is documenting @Daniel’s foray into the Walstad methodology for substrate. 
 

I have not yet been brave enough. I have used jars however to basically do movable mini-Walstad planters inside aquariums and those have worked. I like being able to change things easily if I need to. 

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@Tristen, if you are interested in running an organic-soil tank, you need to use organic soil. I would really recommend reading her book:

img_0534-e1563908298260.jpg?w=640
DIANAWALSTAD.COM

Purchasing information for Diana Walstad's books ‘Ecology of the Planted Aquarium’(3rd Edition) and ‘Family History of a Doctor's Daughter’ (2017). Free articles on planted tanks, fish diseases, guppy breeding, etc.

I normally use 1.5" organic soil, capped with 0.5" sand, and 1.0" small gravel. Some of my tanks have slightly different cap layers. I like the gravel to allow the mulm to absorb, and the sand to keep the soil down.

I plant as many plants as possible, do not gravel vac, and try to avoid moving plants.

You will have to practice patience, and let nature work.

Edited by Streetwise
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I'm a few weeks into my first Walstad and haven't followed the method to a T but have really enjoyed it so far (alongside the results).

I think the main place where people trip up is they rescape or mess with the substrate and break the cap before the biofilm is well established and end up with a mess to clean up, but haven't experienced it yet personally. The only thing I've added to the substrate since starting my current tank was a tiger lotus and it doesn't come near breaking the cap so haven't gotten to stress test.

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I'm a huge fan of dirted tanks but I don't really follow the wastad method.

I try to fully mineralize my soil before setting up the tank. Meaning I try to get all the organics in the soil to break down fully. This results in a very nutrient and mineral rich soil that is (mostly) inert meaning that while it contains many elements plants need and will help them grow it will not be a significant source of ammonia/nitrite/nitrate because there is no decaying organic material.

To my understanding this is similar to products like Ecocomplete which is also a mineral rich planted substrate that is actually inert. 

The pros of my method is its dirt cheap (pun intended) compared to planted tank substrates like ecocomplete and it halps avoid the huge paramater swings and early stage algae blooms for a true wastad tank. 

The cons are it still needs an nitrogen source (I use easy green) and unlike ecocomplete it needs to be capped. 

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20 minutes ago, ChefConfit said:

I'm a huge fan of dirted tanks but I don't really follow the wastad method.

I try to fully mineralize my soil before setting up the tank. Meaning I try to get all the organics in the soil to break down fully. This results in a very nutrient and mineral rich soil that is (mostly) inert meaning that while it contains many elements plants need and will help them grow it will not be a significant source of ammonia/nitrite/nitrate because there is no decaying organic material.

To my understanding this is similar to products like Ecocomplete which is also a mineral rich planted substrate that is actually inert. 

The pros of my method is its dirt cheap (pun intended) compared to planted tank substrates like ecocomplete and it halps avoid the huge paramater swings and early stage algae blooms for a true wastad tank. 

The cons are it still needs an nitrogen source (I use easy green) and unlike ecocomplete it needs to be capped. 

I started testing something like this a couple days ago, though I think a little more extreme than just mineralizing my dirt.

Back in April I started my first attempt at a dirted tank. Heard about washing dirt before using it so I figured I’d try it with a little amount of dirt in a Tupperware container to see how it worked.  It didn’t, I felt like I was wasting way too much dirt and ended using the dirt as is, wet it, capped it, and water changed till it ran clear.

While out of laziness I left the Tupperware container outside, so it’s been sitting out there 6 or so months in sun and rain.

9AECD785-CD82-4F80-BFBD-2C13535F3D0F.jpeg.4b9ea7315988e30146a8ddd737eb20c3.jpeg

I drained it and brought it in the other day, capped it, planted it, and have it under 12 hour high light no filter.  Looking forward to seeing if I end up with an algae farm after a couple weeks or if I’ve kinda balanced those initial issues out by letting it run as an outdoor algae farm over summer:

4A6C7553-A3A7-4125-AA9D-9D854529FAD8.jpeg.3e89708fb9a45ffd3d9158f396396424.jpegCC85E90D-C001-4A84-A2B3-94342FA776F6.jpeg.379fb0b18a748634af034fd64b97cffe.jpeg

If this works, I’m probably going to run any future dirted tanks with a 1 - 2 month high light algae farm cycle before planting to balance the tank and with out it planted it should be super easy to remove the algae when I am ready to plant it.

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I believe the soil element of it is totally unnecessary and is a detriment because it basically makes a huge mess every time you need or want to move a plant.

I have been able to grow 100+ species of plants in cheap sand with some diy root tabs for some plants but found them unnecessary for many species. 

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In Chapter XI, Section D, Diana Walstad recommends not using stones or pebbles in your cap, saying they are unfriendly to plant roots and can risk trapping uneaten food that could go anaerobic.

She also recommends that the sand layer be no more than 0.50-0.75 inches to prevent suffocating the soil.

For the gravel layer, she recommends no more than 1.00 inches of gravel that is 2-4 mm wide.

Edited by Streetwise
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