Walstad Tank (fishless For Now): Green Water!

AleNanoTank
  • #1
Hello all! Finally, I'm stepping up from a 6-gallon to a 29-gallon tank (tall kind). I tried to set it up according to the Walstad method (or sort of): organic pot soil, carefully sifted, capped by black sand (using the Black Diamond blasting sand, medium grain). I have some rocks as decor, but I placed them in the tank before the dirt and sand; so, the substrate is not pressed by the rocks. I planted immediately with what I had (not as large plants as I wanted, unfortunately): anacharis, hornworth, two banana plants, Temple Compacta, Rosetta Sword, Amazon microsword, Dwarf hairgrass, and, then, a number of smaller plants (Java fern, one Cuban plant I can't quite remember the name, and a few others); I also have one Marimo moss ball, and a couple of stones with Flame Moss attached.

I am running a HOB filter, with sponge and biological filter only (i.e., I removed the carbon filter); I purchased one for 20 gallons, as I wanted only moderate filtration and water movement. Last night, I also added a bubbler I had, to increase water movement. I have kept the temperature at around 77 degrees for now.

The tank's hood has a dual strip of LED's, white with some blue's; nothing fancy but it seems to give good light.

For about a week, the water has been somewhat whitish cloudy. That did not worry me. Also, with the plants, I had brought in some brown algae or the like; I removed that manually to some extent.

Last night, I installed the bubbler. This morning, the water had turn green :-( It's still clear (that is, only a bit cloudy, and not more cloudy than before) BUT it is clearly going green.

I started a water change (changed about 20% I would say), but then I stopped: I should ask the community first; maybe with the Walstad approach, when the water turns green, water change is NOT the route to take?

The photo has been taken after the water change.

Any feedback will be greatly appreciated!
 

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Ryan P
  • #2
Hello all! Finally, I'm stepping up from a 6-gallon to a 29-gallon tank (tall kind). I tried to set it up according to the Walstad method (or sort of): organic pot soil, carefully sifted, capped by black sand (using the Black Diamond blasting sand, medium grain). I have some rocks as decor, but I placed them in the tank before the dirt and sand; so, the substrate is not pressed by the rocks. I planted immediately with what I had (not as large plants as I wanted, unfortunately): anacharis, hornworth, two banana plants, Temple Compacta, Rosetta Sword, Amazon microsword, Dwarf hairgrass, and, then, a number of smaller plants (Java fern, one Cuban plant I can't quite remember the name, and a few others); I also have one Marimo moss ball, and a couple of stones with Flame Moss attached.

I am running a HOB filter, with sponge and biological filter only (i.e., I removed the carbon filter); I purchased one for 20 gallons, as I wanted only moderate filtration and water movement. Last night, I also added a bubbler I had, to increase water movement. I have kept the temperature at around 77 degrees for now.

The tank's hood has a dual strip of LED's, white with some blue's; nothing fancy but it seems to give good light.

For about a week, the water has been somewhat whitish cloudy. That did not worry me. Also, with the plants, I had brought in some brown algae or the like; I removed that manually to some extent.

Last night, I installed the bubbler. This morning, the water had turn green :-( It's still clear (that is, only a bit cloudy, and not more cloudy than before) BUT it is clearly going green.

I started a water change (changed about 20% I would say), but then I stopped: I should ask the community first; maybe with the Walstad approach, when the water turns green, water change is NOT the route to take?

The photo has been taken after the water change.

Any feedback will be greatly appreciated!
seems like an algae bloom, how long do you have the lights on an is it close to any natural lighting(windows)?
 
PeauMon
  • #3
seems like an algae bloom, how long do you have the lights on an is it close to any natural lighting(windows)?
you can see the windows in the reflection of the tank

Limit the time of your lighting, only turn on the light for 6-8 hours.

Place your fish tank away from the windows.

Perform partial water changes.

If it didn't work, try doing a black-out.
 
Jocelyn Adelman
  • #4
For a walstead to work as a walstead you would need about 4x the amount of plants you have in there, as well as a few other modifications... if you are just going for a dirted tank entirely different story...
Also, have you put some water in a clear glass to confirm the green? Looks more like a tanning stain in the picture, likely from the dirt or wood if you have any...

How long ago did you first fill the tank?
 
AleNanoTank
  • Thread Starter
  • #5
seems like an algae bloom, how long do you have the lights on an is it close to any natural lighting(windows)?
Yes, I have left the lights on for too long I think. And yes, there is a large window not far from the tank. On the latter point, though, I thought that the Walstad method called for access to natural light. Doesn't it?

My main worry is whether the option that is normally recommended - large water changes (and, of course, light reduction) - has any caveats when we deal with a dirted, Walstad-style tank.

you can see the windows in the reflection of the tank

Limit the time of your lighting, only turn on the light for 6-8 hours.

Place your fish tank away from the windows.

Perform partial water changes.

If it didn't work, try doing a black-out.
Thanks! I will reduce the light. I can't reasonably move the tank elsewhere unfortunately :-(

So, from what you are saying, there is no counter-indication to water changes. It won't affect the cycling for example? Will it affect the "natural" establishing of the Walstad tank, in which the plants' flourishing contributes to having a healthy and algae-free system?

For a walstead to work as a walstead you would need about 4x the amount of plants you have in there, as well as a few other modifications... if you are just going for a dirted tank entirely different story...
Also, have you put some water in a clear glass to confirm the green? Looks more like a tanning stain in the picture, likely from the dirt or wood if you have any...

How long ago did you first fill the tank?
Thanks! Actually, yes, I guess I'm going more for a dirted tank than a Walstad. (I might even start adding ammonia to speed up the cycling, since I do have a bio filter after all.)

I set up the tank about one week ago. The water is certainly green. The picture was taken after the water change, so there is less green than what I found this morning, and there is some floating debris (which has since settled).
 
AleNanoTank
  • Thread Starter
  • #6
Quick, additional but related question: should I put the carbon filter back? Will that help against the green algae? I know that, with Walstad tanks, the carbon filter is dis-recommended because it takes away nutrients the plants might use. Yet, I am, after all, doing a dirted tank more than a Walstad tank, as Jocelyn Adelman pointed out.
 
Ryan P
  • #7
Quick, additional but related question: should I put the carbon filter back? Will that help against the green algae? I know that, with Walstad tanks, the carbon filter is dis-recommended because it takes away nutrients the plants might use. Yet, I am, after all, doing a dirted tank more than a Walstad tank, as Jocelyn Adelman pointed out.
I'll leave the carbon filter out, quick simple solution would be reducing light and doing water changes until it all clears up again
 
AleNanoTank
  • Thread Starter
  • #8
I'll leave the carbon filter out, quick simple solution would be reducing light and doing water changes until it all clears up again
Thanks! I'll follow your advice. The lights were off all day today, though - as it was pointed out - there's natural light coming from the window. Good to know that the algae bloom is reversible, and that water changes is the way to go!

Any thoughts on whether I should begin the cycling process, with ammonia added to the water, or whether instead I should let the dirt and the plants do their job?
 
Ryan P
  • #9
Any thoughts on whether I should begin the cycling process, with ammonia added to the water, or whether instead I should let the dirt and the plants do their job?
I had the problem ony 5 gallon and was fixed after a week or less.

When I did mine on my 60 gallon I Kickstarted it with 4ppm ammonia but never had to feed it again since the dirt was supplying the rest. 3weeks got the tank cycled
 
AleNanoTank
  • Thread Starter
  • #10
I had the problem ony 5 gallon and was fixed after a week or less.

When I did mine on my 60 gallon I Kickstarted it with 4ppm ammonia but never had to feed it again since the dirt was supplying the rest. 3weeks got the tank cycled
Nice! I am really looking forward to experiencing the benefits of having a dirt substrate (well, dirt capped by sand). Hopefully, at some point, I will be able to post pictures showcasing some nice flora and fauna
 
Ryan P
  • #11
Nice! I am really looking forward to experiencing the benefits of having a dirt substrate (well, dirt capped by sand). Hopefully, at some point, I will be able to post pictures showcasing some nice flora and fauna
Tbh never had any experience with other setup since this is my first tank as well but so far results are promising. Waiting for my carpet to grow still but, it took me a while to gey the lighting setup I wanted since I have a tall tank.

P. S. sorry for the light took this picture when lights are full blast

20180321_172905.jpg
 
AleNanoTank
  • Thread Starter
  • #12
Tbh never had any experience with other setup since this is my first tank as well but so far results are promising. Waiting for my carpet to grow still but, it took me a while to gey the lighting setup I wanted since I have a tall tank.

P. S. sorry for the light took this picture when lights are full blast
View attachment 421812
WOW absolutely beautiful. Thanks for sharing!

Which plant is the one that looks like spaghettI going straight up? It looks very interesting, stylish.
 
Ryan P
  • #13
WOW absolutely beautiful. Thanks for sharing!

Which plant is the one that looks like spaghettI going straight up? It looks very interesting, stylish.
Thank you

That's a giant hair grass. Which is propagating crazy I think it like the dirt and sand combo.
Still waiting for that to fill the back but lots of new growth after a month and a half of it being set up
 
AleNanoTank
  • Thread Starter
  • #14
Thank you

That's a giant hair grass. Which is propagating crazy I think it like the dirt and sand combo.
Still waiting for that to fill the back but lots of new growth after a month and a half of it being set up
It seems that plants are best purchased on line. The local (big chain) pet stores just don't have most of the most interesting plants.
 
Ryan P
  • #15
It seems that plants are best purchased on line. The local (big chain) pet stores just don't have most of the most interesting plants.
Yeah got it from an LFS most of the chain stores carries just the regular stuff. I think it looks good on on a lower tank specially when it outgrows the tank and part of it becomes immersed. I have 2 strands like that so far
 
AleNanoTank
  • Thread Starter
  • #16
Yeah got it from an LFS most of the chain stores carries just the regular stuff. I think it looks good on on a lower tank specially when it outgrows the tank and part of it becomes immersed. I have 2 strands like that so far
Very interesting plant. My tank has a hood. So, though it is a relatively tall tank, might not be a very good candidate for plants that go higher than the water surface.
 

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