Thinking About a Walstad Tank

  • Thread starter

MaximumRide14

Well Known Member
Messages
2,966
Reaction score
898
Points
148
Experience
2 years
I'm thinking of making a walstad tank, but I've never had a tank that I didn't need a filter before. It would be either a 2.5 gallon or 5 gallon. I'll move my betta to it as well (and maybe get some ghost shrimp), since I want to use that tank for pea puffers (there's a lot of snails). Are there any recommendations for substrate or soil? Are there any lighting requirements, or does it just depend on the plants? I'm terrible at aquascaping but I'm willing to give it another shot.
 

Nobote

Well Known Member
Messages
547
Reaction score
350
Points
83
Experience
More than 10 years
Organic topsoil mixed with a little 10/10/10 cowmanure or worm castings and small amount of a medium sized gravel.
Cap with whatever sand you like...make a ring of your cap material around the edge of aquarium so you dont have soil touching glass.

I would get the best/ most lighting you can afford.

You need some water movement..a bubbler at least. If theres no current things go south pretty quick.
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter

MaximumRide14

Well Known Member
Messages
2,966
Reaction score
898
Points
148
Experience
2 years
Nobote said:
Organic topsoil mixed with a little 10/10/10 cowmanure or worm castings and small amount of a medium sized gravel.
Cap with whatever sand you like...make a ring of your cap material around the edge of aquarium so you dont have soil touching glass.

I would get the best/ most lighting you can afford.

You need some water movement..a bubbler at least. If theres no current things go south pretty quick.
I'm looking on Amazon for bubblers or air stones, but all the ones I see are too strong. I actually have an air stone but it was wayyy too strong and really loud. I'm trying to find something relatively quiet.
 

Nobote

Well Known Member
Messages
547
Reaction score
350
Points
83
Experience
More than 10 years
Cap off your air hose and poke 8-10 pin holes on the end above the cap
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter

MaximumRide14

Well Known Member
Messages
2,966
Reaction score
898
Points
148
Experience
2 years
Nobote said:
Cap off your air hose and poke 8-10 pin holes on the end above the cap
Ok thanks. Would peat moss be alright in place of the soil, or is it not enough nutrients for the plants. I already have a lot of it, so it would be nice to save money if I can.
 

PascalKrypt

Well Known Member
Messages
2,377
Reaction score
2,342
Points
273
Don't need any water movement with a betta in such a small tank. Just make sure to plant well. You can add an air stone if you want though, but it doesn't really add anything (and make sure the stream of bubbles isn't strong. A 2.5 is really small and bettas hate lots of surface agitation).

Also would advice against putting manure in your soil unless you know what you are doing. I put a little bit of regular (fertilised) potting soil on my substrate once and it was leaching massive amounts of ammonia for months.

Shrimp do amazing with this kind of set-up, and actually help keep a filterless tank in order by consuming plant waste and other organic debris.

If you are going zero tech, make sure not select very strong lighting as you will likely end up battling algae. Also look into different types of plants and make sure you base your plant choice on these (include enough fast-growers and an emersed plant is strongly recommended).
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter

MaximumRide14

Well Known Member
Messages
2,966
Reaction score
898
Points
148
Experience
2 years
PascalKrypt said:
Don't need any water movement with a betta in such a small tank. Just make sure to plant well. You can add an air stone if you want though, but it doesn't really add anything (and make sure the stream of bubbles isn't strong. A 2.5 is really small and bettas hate lots of surface agitation).

Also would advice against putting manure in your soil unless you know what you are doing. I put a little bit of regular (fertilised) potting soil on my substrate once and it was leaching massive amounts of ammonia for months.

Shrimp do amazing with this kind of set-up, and actually help keep a filterless tank in order by consuming plant waste and other organic debris.

If you are going zero tech, make sure not select very strong lighting as you will likely end up battling algae. Also look into different types of plants and make sure you base your plant choice on these (include enough fast-growers and an emersed plant is strongly recommended).
I might have a spare desk lamp that isn't too bright. So would the peat moss be okay? It would help my pH since it's like 8.2, but I don't know if it'll be good enough for growing the plants.
 

PascalKrypt

Well Known Member
Messages
2,377
Reaction score
2,342
Points
273
MaximumRide14 said:
I might have a spare desk lamp that isn't too bright. So would the peat moss be okay? It would help my pH since it's like 8.2, but I don't know if it'll be good enough for growing the plants.
Hmmm. Peat moss is traditionally used to seriously lower your PH (as in, to <5), so I wouldn't use it unless you also plan on using R/O or rainwater. Because otherwise water changes will lead to serious parameter swings every time as your tap water will be rather different from the settled tank water. Also the amount of peat moss you would need to allow plants to properly root will probably turn your water solid black.
AKA I wouldn't advise it in this case.
 

Nobote

Well Known Member
Messages
547
Reaction score
350
Points
83
Experience
More than 10 years
Theres peat on organic potting soil...and manure.

I like organic TOP soil and mix in a couple cups manure or worm castings and add a few handfulls of gravel.

The water.movement isnt for the fishes sake...you need some kind of energy in the system or you get a lot of biofilm on the surface and stuff takes forever to root...because it isnt being encouraged to root and nutrient dont move around in the water.
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter

MaximumRide14

Well Known Member
Messages
2,966
Reaction score
898
Points
148
Experience
2 years
PascalKrypt said:
Hmmm. Peat moss is traditionally used to seriously lower your PH (as in, to <5), so I wouldn't use it unless you also plan on using R/O or rainwater. Because otherwise water changes will lead to serious parameter swings every time as your tap water will be rather different from the settled tank water. Also the amount of peat moss you would need to allow plants to properly root will probably turn your water solid black.
AKA I wouldn't advise it in this case.
Nobote said:
Theres peat on organic potting soil...and manure.

I like organic TOP soil and mix in a couple cups manure or worm castings and add a few handfulls of gravel.

The water.movement isnt for the foshes sake...you need some kind of energy in the system or you get a.lot.of.biofilm on the surface and stufr takes forever to root...because it isnt being encouraged to root and nutrient dont move around in the water.
Ok, I'll try to get some soil tomorrow. I'll add peat moss and put the gravel on top. I can't find the cord for the desk lamp, which is unfortunate. Hopefully I can make this work.
 

Leilio

Valued Member
Messages
110
Reaction score
104
Points
53
Experience
Just started
If you really want to add airstone, try to divide the air pump three ways using valves and tubes. it decreases the air stone's power
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter

MaximumRide14

Well Known Member
Messages
2,966
Reaction score
898
Points
148
Experience
2 years
Leilio said:
If you really want to add airstone, try to divide the air pump three ways using valves and tubes. it decreases the air stone's power
I would prefer not to have a bubbler, mainly because of the noise, but I am a little worried about stagnant water. I did that once while waiting for plants, and after two weeks I had mosquito larvae and mosquitos in my room for a long time. Though maybe having a betta in there would help with that.
 

Nobote

Well Known Member
Messages
547
Reaction score
350
Points
83
Experience
More than 10 years
If you havent read Walstads nook or at least a bit about it online you may want to start there.
 

Leilio

Valued Member
Messages
110
Reaction score
104
Points
53
Experience
Just started
MaximumRide14 said:
I would prefer not to have a bubbler, mainly because of the noise, but I am a little worried about stagnant water. I did that once while waiting for plants, and after two weeks I had mosquito larvae and mosquitos in my room for a long time. Though maybe having a betta in there would help with that.
I understand. The betta would definitely be interested in the mosquito larvae, they are littler buggers who love little bugs? Stagnant water, however, can have protein film on top tho.
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter

MaximumRide14

Well Known Member
Messages
2,966
Reaction score
898
Points
148
Experience
2 years
Nobote said:
If you havent read Walstads nook or at least a bit about it online you may want to start there.
I haven’t read her book, but I’ve been doing research. I think I’ll go with either the soil you suggested or miracle gro potting soil (because I know where I can find that). I can mix a small amount of peat moss in there as well. I’ll find some gravel too. I think I’ll test the water for the first couple days and wait about a week before putting my fish in to be sure.

Leilio said:
I understand. The betta would definitely be interested in the mosquito larvae, they are littler buggers who love little bugs? Stagnant water, however, can have protein film on top tho.
I could try manually mix the water every other day just to separate the film, or buy the bubbler later on if it just gets too unbearable :)
 

PascalKrypt

Well Known Member
Messages
2,377
Reaction score
2,342
Points
273
Nobote said:
Theres peat on organic potting soil...and manure.

I like organic TOP soil and mix in a couple cups manure or worm castings and add a few handfulls of gravel.

The water.movement isnt for the fishes sake...you need some kind of energy in the system or you get a lot of biofilm on the surface and stuff takes forever to root...because it isnt being encouraged to root and nutrient dont move around in the water.
I'm speaking from experience. You don't need water movement. As long as you get the rest of the balance right, your water will be just fine.
The films are particularly prompt to forming if you have nothing breaking the surface (hence, get at least some floating or emersed plants or both) and if you allow for a large temperature difference and dry air above the tank. In other words, use a lid or cling foil or something to trap a decent amount of hot, humid air (or just humid air if your tank is coldwater).
 

oldsalt777

Well Known Member
Messages
2,353
Reaction score
859
Points
148
Experience
More than 10 years
MaximumRide14 said:
I'm thinking of making a walstad tank, but I've never had a tank that I didn't need a filter before. It would be either a 2.5 gallon or 5 gallon. I'll move my betta to it as well (and maybe get some ghost shrimp), since I want to use that tank for pea puffers (there's a lot of snails). Are there any recommendations for substrate or soil? Are there any lighting requirements, or does it just depend on the plants? I'm terrible at aquascaping but I'm willing to give it another shot.
Hello Max...

The Walstad method is okay for plants, but fish won't do well in this type of an environment long term. You need to have a means of keeping the water replenished regularly with oxygen and minerals. Even plants won't thrive after six months or so, because the bottom material runs out of nutrients. There is a much better way called a "Terraphyte" tank. This type can support both fish and plants indefinitely without ever changing the tank water.

Old
 

PascalKrypt

Well Known Member
Messages
2,377
Reaction score
2,342
Points
273
oldsalt777 said:
Hello Max...

The Walstad method is okay for plants, but fish won't do well in this type of an environment long term. You need to have a means of keeping the water replenished regularly with oxygen and minerals. Even plants won't thrive after six months or so, because the bottom material runs out of nutrients. There is a much better way called a "Terraphyte" tank. This type can support both fish and plants indefinitely without ever changing the tank water.

Old
Could I ask what makes your think this style of tank is any different - or better - from a walstad? I tried looking it up but from what I can see, I don't really get it.
 

Nobote

Well Known Member
Messages
547
Reaction score
350
Points
83
Experience
More than 10 years
I have done Walstad aquaria and Modified Walstad and I agree...without at least water movement and nutrient addition at the 6-8 month mark they get to be pretty labor intensive and finicky. I use biological filtration in mine now with at least enough flow to turn the water in the aquarium over 5 times an hour. It made things a lot more maintenance free and uiu can keep a few small fish in them without crashes and wild water variance.

W no flow plants root less, grow slower and you absolutley get biofilm on the surface that has to be siphoned...plus wierd odors.
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter

MaximumRide14

Well Known Member
Messages
2,966
Reaction score
898
Points
148
Experience
2 years
Nobote said:
I have done Walstad aquaria and Modified Walstad and I agree...without at least water movement and nutrient addition at the 6-8 month mark they get to be pretty labor intensive and finicky. I use biological filtration in mine now with at least enough flow to turn the water in the aquarium over 5 times an hour. It made things a lot more maintenance free and uiu can keep a few small fish in them without crashes and wild water variance.

W no flow plants root less, grow slower and you absolutley get biofilm on the surface that has to be siphoned...plus wierd odors.
Ok thanks, I'll get the bubbler.
oldsalt777 said:
Hello Max...

The Walstad method is okay for plants, but fish won't do well in this type of an environment long term. You need to have a means of keeping the water replenished regularly with oxygen and minerals. Even plants won't thrive after six months or so, because the bottom material runs out of nutrients. There is a much better way called a "Terraphyte" tank. This type can support both fish and plants indefinitely without ever changing the tank water.

Old
I'll do some research on this method and see if there's anything else to change with my plan. Thanks!
 
Toggle Sidebar

Aquarium Calculator

Follow FishLore!





Top Bottom