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Newbie 20 gallon walstad journal


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Hello all, been lurking here a while and greatly enjoying the content. I thought I might contribute back to any other newbies with experiences similar to mine who don't know how big plants will get, etc. I have a 20 long pseudo-walstad I've been working on for a while. It was initially planted a few months ago:


Most of the plants were purchased from the Co-op: Vallisneria, Chain sword, Water sprite, Hydrocotyle tripartita, Windelov java fern, a lily bulb, and a few Cryptocoryne wendtii brown and dwarf sagittaria I already had from another tank. Soil layer was about and inch thick with a half-inch of sand per Dr. Walstad's reccommendation in her book. The hardscape is placed on a hill made of filter bags full of Seachem flourite, to keep pressure off the dirt. I didn't originally plan to document this, so unfortunately I didn't take a picture of that stage.

I had a very heavy algae and bacteria bloom for the first few weeks but it eventually resolved itself with time and pest snails. I had to remove the coconut, as it created a dead spot and had a heavy amount of bacterial growth inside.


Here is a few months later:


As you can see, everything is extremely overgrown. I think the lily may have been a poor choice for a tank this size, as the lily pads have to be trimmed almost bi-weekly to keep it from shading out the other plants. And the sword is filling in extremely slowly, making the right corner look a little more empty than I intended. I also added an Aquaclear 30 to the right side, so I suppose this is more of a pseudo-Walstad dirted tank than a true Walstad aquarium, but whatever. Sponge intake cover is also from the co-op. I have a few guppies and approximately 15 or so fry in the tank, all doing well.


One more picture from this morning, after I added some pearlweed and Hydrocotyle leucephala courtesy of LRB Aquatics (does he have an account here? would tag him if I knew the handle):


Thanks for looking 🙂

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6 hours ago, Emika_B said:

Gumbo99 - Looks great!  I love the foreground planting.  Is that the dwarf sag?

The dwarf sag is on the left-hand side in front of the hardscape, mixed in with the h. tripartita japan. It hasn't really taken off in this tank, which seems odd because it is running wild in my other tank with a sand substrate. The grassy plant to the right is dwarf chain sword.

9 hours ago, H.K.Luterman said:

I love this! I'm a fan of Walstad tanks, although I don't currently have one set up. This post really makes me wish I had one!

I have enjoyed it so far, it was a little hairy to set up because I accidentally stirred up the dirt through the substrate a few times and made a big mess. Other than that it's been pretty smooth sailing. It seems like the key with a dirted tank is to follow Dr. Walstad's advice and plant very heavily. A lot of posts you see where people have problems, they always have way too few plants.

I forgot to mention, the floating plant with roots hanging down is Amazon frogbit.

Thanks for all the compliments, I'm pretty happy with how its all turned out, if only that melon sword would fill in and round out the right corner...

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On 1/20/2021 at 10:53 AM, wilkyb said:

I think the overgrowth looks great

have you considered trying out some red plants? I think  3-4 stems here & gives the tank a bit of visual weight!

I had considered it, but I was under the impression most red stuff was "high light." Anything you might recommend that a gen one stingray would be enough for?


On 1/18/2021 at 9:26 PM, Streetwise said:

Your project looks cool!

Thanks, I have been following all your stuff on here for a bit as a lurker, it was partially what encouraged me to give it a shot. 

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