Walstad Method For Planted Aquarium

SelkieMaiden

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So I've been wanting to create a planted aquarium ever since I got back into the hobby and just recently heard about the Walstad method. Has anyone tried it and if so what have your results been or what are your opinions? Also, do I HAVE to use a gravel cap, or can I use sand?

(I have many more questions, so if someone is willing to listen or if there is an extensive faq about it let me know)
 

DuaneV

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The majority of my tanks are dirted. Before the "Walstad" method, we called them dirted tanks. My gramp was doing this back in the 50's and I was shown how to do it when I was a kid.

As far as a cap, I prefer sand to gravel. A nice inch or so of sand on the dirt works great and is very natural. In the wild most plants grow in sandy/mucky bottoms, not gravel.
 

ZeeZ

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Sand is preferred. Patience is required when doing a Walstad tank but it can work. You'll still have to do regular water changes though not as much. It's recommended you have livestock like shrimp or snails to help keep the water circulating.

Here's a few of my past setups.

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SegiDream

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walstad is basically a densely planted dirted tank without a filter, preferably sunlight for lighting, and very light bioload. You can go as far in that direction that you want. Keeping a filter in the tank should allow you to keep more stock. I prefer to use a sponge filter at the very least.
 
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SelkieMaiden

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Thank you! I currently have a nerite right now and was planning to move him over when the time comes. I want to add shrimp too and more snails if need be. My tank is really empty right now and I just don't like the look of fake plants, so when I can get my five gallon up and planted/dirted/established I'm going to move my betta over and give him something pretty to swim around in.
 

Baba

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You can use sand, Diana Walstad did also used pool filter/play sand in some of her setups. I did a dirted bowl with sand and I love the look with sand cap. It's up for 2 weeks now so I can't comment on long term success but it looks good so far.
I think the most important thing is to go heavy with the initial planting. If you can't afford the plants you like right now, get cheap ones and a lot of them and replace them as the tank matures.
 

Fahn

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So I've been wanting to create a planted aquarium ever since I got back into the hobby and just recently heard about the Walstad method. Has anyone tried it and if so what have your results been or what are your opinions? Also, do I HAVE to use a gravel cap, or can I use sand?

(I have many more questions, so if someone is willing to listen or if there is an extensive faq about it let me know)
I have a 2 month old Walstad tank that is wildly successful at the moment. I used an organic potting soil base that I sifted until very fine. I then placed a 1" layer on the bottom and capped it with an inch of ceramic spheres 2-3mm in diameter. Any small, fine gravel or coarse sand will work, I used this for aesthetic appeal.

Then I planted it very, very heavily from the beginning. This is important in that it greatly reduces the likelihood of algae and other issues. Your water will be very dirty for a while so several water changes will be necessary. Also adding lots of plants will prevent the ammonia in the bowl from spiking too high, as it will be absorbed by the heavy plantload.

At first all it had was a light, but remained stagnant and had a lot of floating debris. I added an airstone for circulation and it stays crystal clear.

Then wait, and be patient. I waited 2 months before adding a single Amano shrimp to mine and did thorough testing of the parameters beforehand. Now it contains around 20 blue dream shrimp and is a healthy, thriving ecosystem. I will post pictures from day 1 and from last week.
 

Fahn

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Nice bowl! Is this the 16" from Michael's? Do you have a build thread for this one? I don't want to hijack this thread with my questions.
Probably but I'd have to hunt it down and necro it lol. You can just PM me if you want .

Not 16", I think it's 12". Right around 3 gallons, paid like $12 from Walmart.
 

-Mak-

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I had the privilege of meeting Ms. Walstad last Thursday at our local aquarium club meeting. I fertilize pretty heavily following the EI method, and asked about fertilization. She told me she only fertilizes with fish food (basically fish waste in the end). Personally if I weren’t heavily stocking the tank, which isn’t possible with some smaller tanks, I would monitor nitrate levels and keep an eye out for deficiencies.

She has a website with some articles that you can find by googling her name
 
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