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3gal Walstad Method

Discussion in 'Journals' started by AquaGillie, Aug 18, 2019.

  1. AquaGillie

    AquaGillie New Member

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    I've been a keeper off and on over my lifetime but no tanks for a few years. I am slow (translate:lazy) cycling a three gallon drink dispenser.
    6wks post mud puddle in glass:

    1" organic soil
    1.5-2" river pebble cap
    1 (awesome) Dwarf Water Lily
    1 Cryptocornye Lutea-still recovering
    1 Cryptocornye Lucens-doing well
    1 Echinodorus Vesuvius corkscrew-still recovering
    1 small colony of water lettuce
    20-ish Malaysian Trumpet snails <--excavation crew
    Water as hard as a brick,
    some minor NH3+4 fluctuation due to the soil
    N02 & 3 0ppm
    Lighting: 1 EarthTronics LED equiv=60watt, 5hrs evening+ tank sitting just west of large south facing picture window.

    I did everything we tell new aquarists not to do except fishcycling meaning; I added the MTS too early due to early arrival and very late arrival of my API kit. Nope, no idea what my numbers were before adding the MTS. I did drip acclimate them in a separate container and gave them a slice of cucumber, waited 36-ish hours then sink or swim boyos.

    I've never intentionally done a 'pure' Walstad but always intended to. Most of my experience has been 5-20gal tanks, the most recent being two 10s & 1 5g. Lowish-light & weekly maintenance until my mom got sick. Then they were neglected for months, like no food, no ferts, no water changes, nothing except lights on a timer and HOB filter. Much of the livestock survived, the plants overgrew as I was only home 1 day in 30 while taking care of mom. I learned from that swampland experience that I was a little to "helicopter-keeper."

    Walstad Pros: Low (not no) maintenance, specimen plants and/or livestock, very budget friendly and easier to stabilize with low water volume.

    Walstad Cons: speaking for the nano in my case, limited choice of livestock in that I cannot have all my favorites in one tank as I have in the past.

    Future: still awaiting verifiable stability before adding any other livestock. However, after a little tweaking I can choose some shrimp. If I want neocaridina shrimp, I have to get my ph down. If not, Sulawesi shrimp are the only realistic choice. Sometime in mid-September I will toss in 3-5 glass shrimp to see how well they do and because I love their personality. If they do well enough, then before it gets cold I'll make the other shrimp variety choice.
    So off we go into the freshwater wild lands!

    IMG_1433.JPG
     
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  2. AquaGillie

    AquaGillie New Member

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    I took a realistic look at where the tank is after the lazy cycling and where I would like to go with it over time. The first consideration is the Dwarf Water Lily; she's doing a bang up job of keeping the water chemistry stable. However, pruning of all the leaves that reach mid-level in the column is usually 2x per week if I get them right away. The result is she doesn't like it and her effort to thrive is producing runners, good for her!
    The next consideration is the Malaysian Trumpet snails; they have adapted however; they cannot get into the substrate due to the size of the pebbles, easily. Sooooo...I procured sand from the tiny beachfront on the lake and will replace a large percentage of the pebbles with sand for them. I didn't really want sand but for them it is necessary.
    The weather guessers told me there would be thunderstorms this morning (none in sight) therefore; today is re-scape day. Here is a shot of the tank as is and I will post another later this evening, when all the work is finished.
     
  3. Bignon

    Bignon New Member

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    I always thought a water dispenser was a smart choice for small tanks. Turn on the tap and all the scum exits during the water change. I assume there would be little to no vacuuming necessary.
     
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  4. AquaGillie

    AquaGillie New Member

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    I am not actually using the spout for that purpose at this time. I do not want the hassle of clogged intake despite the fact I used river pebbles for passive filtration. In future, I will install a stainless screen at the point of outflow and a stainless spout. Till then it is traditional siphon but I will be updating this tank log and let everyone who is interested know how that works out. Thanks for the comment!
     
  5. AquaGillie

    AquaGillie New Member

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    I've redone the 3gal Walstad and chosen a slightly different purpose, as it really had no purpose other than something interesting for me to work on and look at. Longer update later today, as I will be working on another project with a friend part of the day.
     
  6. AquaGillie

    AquaGillie New Member

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    It took 36 hours to take out all the plants and livestock, drain, replace the cap with common sand, refill, wait-out the mud milkshake and reverse the process.
    During that time the Dwarf waterlily really impressed me with her runners. It occurred to me this 3gal nano would make a good grow-out for plants and maybe shrimp fry.

    To that end, I removed 3 of the lily's runners and planted them. The Crypt. Lutea & Lucens were also throwing out a couple of babies, I separated them and planted. The Malaysian Trumpets survived save 1-3. They are acclimated no matter what I do however; the change of cap from river pebbles to sand was for their benefit.
    They were nose-diving for food within 20 minutes.

    The tank had haze for about another 36-ish hours but by this morning, is clearing on it's own. I do not see any Crypt stress, everything has straightened up and back to doing plant things.

    But what about that lily? Well, she gets her own 1/2g mason jar for the time being.

    However, one thing was overlooked in this rescape for the MTS benefit and assigning a purpose to the 3gal; the little green nutrient cleaning machine...
    Not sure what exactly to do with the Water Lettuce. I do not want to put it in with the lily at this time. Too much hassle getting it out for water changes. It would block too much light for the plantlets in the 3gal. What to do, what to do....perhaps a trip to the local resale for a low, wide, shallow "chip bowl" might be in order sometime soon...got ideas?
     
  7. AquaGillie

    AquaGillie New Member

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    Drifting away from pure Walstad method tank in that an airstone/airpump sponge filter was added for circulation, yesterday. The Malaysian Trumpets love it. Since they are the current residents, it's their kingdom. Staurgyne Repens was also added in an attempt to restart a carpet.
    Water parameters are starting to bug me a little; NH3+4- 0.25ppm/ NO2 0-0.10ppm /NO3- 0ppm. It is as if this tank never completed a cycle and keeps restarting. Live nitrifying bacteria this weekend. I understand so-called live bacteria has an iffy survival rate however; I will not be able to use lake water during the winter as a supplement.[​IMG] I'd like to move on to livestock but until I get consistent water tests, no go.

    Nymphaea Stellata still has no home and the 1/2 gal mason jar is adequate for now as she is still growing roots like crazy.

    Snap01.jpg
     
  8. AquaGillie

    AquaGillie New Member

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    I've fielded questions on several platforms re: the drink dispenser as an aquarium. In truth I do not use the spigot for water changes as many have commented on. It works however; when used for that purpose, you're basically pouring yourself a silty, mud milkshake. I looked into a couple of products advertised as down tube covers of sorts to protect fry from taking the ride of their lives into the filter mechanism. I was unconvinced the cylinders were fine enough for my purposes.
    I then looked at fine mesh twill weave hardware cloth rated for both water and pollen filtration. I am undecided if I will actually set up a demo video. Purchasing the parts to do so wouldn't really benefit me as I just use the good old bulb siphon to drain, at less than two minutes in such a small tank. But if there is interest in the various places I've fielded questions, I could be persuaded.
    At any rate, here is the video and as pointed out in the vid, my particular drink dispenser is no longer made by Anchor Hocking. Enjoy...
     
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