Help me plan my Walstad bowl (:

andrearamirezo91
  • #1
Hello everyone! :;bananahi
Old user here, it's been a while but it's good to be back!

I haven't had a fish tank in a while and I'm planning on starting a 5gallon Walstad planted bowl, which I'm super excited to plan with you! I have always gotten awesome advice and ideas here :)

The plan is still very fresh but this is what I'm thinking:
- 5G bowl
- 7 chilli rasboras (or 7 galaxy rasboras)
- cherry shrimp
- male betta plakat
- Full spectrum LED mini light (should I do 5W or 9W?)
- Should I add a snail or two for the algae?


Plants and aquascape:
- Organic potting soil topped with aquarium medium (not sure which yet, suggestions welcome)
- Montecarlo carpet (i'm also open to DHG or an y other sugggestions but I'd rather have something that's easy to carpet)
- Dry-start method for the carpet

Questions:
- Any comments on the fish/quantity?
- How would you stock the bowl if I were to downgrade it to a 3.5G?
- It's my first time setting up a walstad tank. I have researched but all tips are welcome
- Any discrete and effective way to heat the water? I was excited about not having ugly cables dangling out of my low tech bowl but then I remembered my betta will need a heater :(
- What beginner/intermediate plants do you recommend for this setup? I'd love to add driftwood, rocks, and maybe smaller or more delicate plants to give the impression that you're looking into sort of a miniature world
- Easy colorful plants??
- Would you still use something like Tetra Safe Start to speed up the cycling process of the tank?
- At what point do you add fish to the bowl? How long would it take approximately for a 5G planted bowl to be ready for fish?
- feel free to share photos of your aquarium scapes for inspiration, it will be very much appreciated! :)

Thanks in advance :happy:
 

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JustAFishServant
  • #2
That sounds awesome! But to me it sounds over stocked. Maybe I'm not imagining it correctly...

For my walstad tanks and bowls, I'd always used miracle gro potting mix (.5-.75" in small tanks, 1-1.5 in big tanks) capped in black diamond sand - this is for sandblasting machines in both course or fine. I got both 50% off at my tractor supply co and have bebe using it for many years. However, my tank is 3 gallons with ramshorns and 3 coral red dwarf platies. The plants need a trim at least every 2 weeks!

Montecarlo is awesome. I highly recommend it. I also recommend the dry start method. It's cheap and quite easy!

If it was a 3.5G, I would only have the CPD, chilis, or shrimp - no bettas (they're more active than a lot of folks realize.)

No heater, no problem! Neocaridina shrimp don't need it, and I don't suggest having a betta in this tank with ALL of the other tankmates anyway. If you were to have the betta however, my research shows that bettas in the wild and in captivity can live happily in temps from 74-84°F (NOT 78-80°F that most people suggest - it's too high for some and too low for others.)

One of my favorite plants is Hygrophila polysperma - in moderate to high lighting it has bright pink leaves! Very colorful in my opinion.

Yeah I guess you can use TSS. My favorites are TSS, Stability, and Fritz. They all work the same, but stability is by far the cheapest and works for me every time :)

Add fish when there's no ammonia, ammonium, or nitrites preferably. But just remember; nitrites aren't usually toxic, and ammonia is only toxic in a pH of over 8.5

When established, my tanks' pH stabilizes to 6.4 - 6.6 partially thanks to the acids produced from the tannins of the soil (oh yeah, it's important to mention that a lot of tannins will leach out so if you don't like them, do water changes.)

My tank has The Curse of Forever Bad Photos. I probably won't be able to share a pic, but I will if I get a good one!
 

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andrearamirezo91
  • Thread Starter
  • #3
Thank you so much for all the info!

I'm a little bummed out about the tank being overstocked lol. I've always loved how those nano fish look in planted tanks, but bettas are by far my favorite fish and if I had to choose I think I'd prefer a single betta with a few shrimp in a 5G. I have never seen chilli rasboras in person but from my understanding they're tiny so I was hoping I could make it work! :emoji_sweat_smile:

Very excited to try the montecarlo!!! I've heard awesome things about growing it in a low tech tank and I can't wait to try it!
 
andrearamirezo91
  • Thread Starter
  • #4
Update, just bought montecarlo, anubias nana, and hydro tripartita! I also
Have a 5G bowl on the way with a 7W lamp!! I’ve always wanted hygrophila in one of my tanks, hopefully I can find some to throw in there!
 
JustAFishServant
  • #5
Update, just bought montecarlo, anubias nana, and hydro tripartita! I also
Have a 5G bowl on the way with a 7W lamp!! I’ve always wanted hygrophila in one of my tanks, hopefully I can find some to throw in there!
I was going to mention hydrocotyle tripartita! It's an easy, awesome plant (looks like clovers IMO)

If you like bettas so much, use the 5G bowl for a betta and maybe some snails. Shrimp never end well with bettas, in my experience...

I've been keeping bettas for almost 12 years. I'd recommend them. Females are my fav; their big personalities, food aggressiveness, and chubby, flarey selves. Most people prefer males because they think they're more colorful and have longer fins but that's certainly not always the case. I've had stunning girls with very vibrant colors, long fins, and highly aggressive personalities.

I can share my most stunning girls rescued over the years (for context - I've rescued over 400!) I plan to make a post about them :)
 
andrearamirezo91
  • Thread Starter
  • #6
I was going to mention hydrocotyle tripartita! It's an easy, awesome plant (looks like clovers IMO)

If you like bettas so much, use the 5G bowl for a betta and maybe some snails. Shrimp never end well with bettas, in my experience...

I've been keeping bettas for almost 12 years. I'd recommend them. Females are my fav; their big personalities, food aggressiveness, and chubby, flarey selves. Most people prefer males because they think they're more colorful and have longer fins but that's certainly not always the case. I've had stunning girls with very vibrant colors, long fins, and highly aggressive personalities.

I can share my most stunning girls rescued over the years (for context - I've rescued over 400!) I plan to make a post about them :)
Oh please do!! I’d love to see that post I absolutely adore bettas :emoji_heart_eyes:My first pet ever was a betta when I was like 4, his name was Clio. Then I rescued a betta named Martini like 11 years ago (you can still find my posts in distress somewhere around this forum, I had a hard time getting his fins to grow back in :emoji_laughing:I’ll forever thank Martini though because he brought me to this awesome forum), and I haven’t stopped ever since. I had one sweet boy that used to jump out of the water and catch his pellets directly from my finger too. He was a cutie:rolleyes:

All my bettas have been long finned males, mostly half moons or deltas (except for a red veil tail I once had called Pedro ), but this time I’m REALLY feeling a plakat for the first time. I dream of having a massive discus tank someday, but in the meantime my heart will always be full with a betta :rolleyes:
 

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VSA
  • #7
If you have experience with bowls then please ignore.

Bowls tend to favour smaller fish simply because of the shape of the bowl making fish seem larger than they are. I used to have a betta in a 64 litre tank that began leaking and I moved her to a 40ish litre bowl while her new home was set up and personally I found it to not be a great combination in terms of viewing as the fish appeared disproportionately larger to the hard scape and plants.
 
andrearamirezo91
  • Thread Starter
  • #8
If you have experience with bowls then please ignore.

Bowls tend to favour smaller fish simply because of the shape of the bowl making fish seem larger than they are. I used to have a betta in a 64 litre tank that began leaking and I moved her to a 40ish litre bowl while her new home was set up and personally I found it to not be a great combination in terms of viewing as the fish appeared disproportionately larger to the hard scape and plants.
Hi VSA!! I’m actually looking forward to the magnified effect of a bowl :D I’m planning on playing with that perspective a little by using only plants that look tiny, to make it feel like you’re almost looking into a tiny world. Montecarlo, hydrocotyle, and anubias nana is what I’ve gotten so far. Still trying to figure out what else to put in! I wanted to add fox moss, but I’m questioning it because I know moss likes higher circulation. I just love the look of that moss! So delicate and intricate. And when it comes to the fish, I was debating getting a giant betta a couple years back just because they’re more visible. So I’m not totally opposed to my boy looking bigger in a bowl!:)
 
VSA
  • #9
Hi VSA!! I’m actually looking forward to the magnified effect of a bowl :D I’m planning on playing with that perspective a little by using only plants that look tiny, to make it feel like you’re almost looking into a tiny world. Montecarlo, hydrocotyle, and anubias nana is what I’ve gotten so far. Still trying to figure out what else to put in! I wanted to add fox moss, but I’m questioning it because I know moss likes higher circulation. I just love the look of that moss! So delicate and intricate. And when it comes to the fish, I was debating getting a giant betta a couple years back just because they’re more visible. So I’m not totally opposed to my boy looking bigger in a bowl!:)

Hi! That is a very interesting take on it and I can’t say I personally have thought of doing that. Look forward to seeing your tank.
 

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