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Journal About My No-tech Experiment

Discussion in 'Journals' started by Alfatype, Dec 30, 2018.

  1. Alfatype

    Alfatype New Member

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    Hello everyone!!
    This is my first post here, so I'm gonna give an introduction here as well. I have been into planted tank hobby for a year now and I have made 7 tanks (all less than 15 gallons) for my experimentations.
    I have tried everything I thought I would like to try, including high tech tanks, dry start high techs, low techs and of course, no tech tanks.
    At the same time, I've been breeding cherry shrimps for like 3 months but stopped that because of new job situations :D

    Okay, I have always heard "Aquarium is too hard to maintain and is so messy" from everyone and that kept me out of the hobby for years. When I started my first tank, I was already thinking about developing a "no water change, no cleaning" method. And the sound of water pumps in my bedroom added "No filtration" to the list as well. And high costs of fertilizers in my area added "no fertilizer" to the list I've tried the Walstad method, but the potting soils I could buy were causing a mad meltdown of plants. I consider all 3 of my Walstad experiments a single tank, but they all failed.

    So, I decided to experience with some aquarium approved soils. I read about nutribasis 6 in 1 soil and tried to buy it and I found a similar handmade product in my local aquarium shop which was way chipper. It is rich in all the nutrients that plants need to absorb from roots and to complete the list, I added the orange special fertilizer to the list. I topped up the 3cm thick soil layer with 2cm of sand. (the tank is 15 liters)

    My plant choice was as follow: Eleocharis, Rotala, limnophila, and only 3 leaves of duckweed

    atm, 7 months have passed by, I have almost 12 guppies (not fully grown) and lots of babies in the tank, I have only added ferts for first 3 weeks, exactly no water changes, just topping off the tank. For light, I am using a mixture of blue, pink and white LED lights at around 25 watts, almost on for 10 hours a day.

    Everything is stable and safe. water is a bit hard. and it has been so for like 6 months. All the plants are healthy, Guppies are all healthy and having babies. Absolutely no Algae.
     
    #1 Alfatype, Dec 30, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2018
  2. Alfatype

    Alfatype New Member

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    Now, I want to repeat the same experience in a 50 liters tank, separated into 4 sections for betta tank.
    My questions are as follow:
    1- Can a betta fish thrive in hard alkaline water? I've read conflicting info on this subject. (I don't want to breed them) general hardness is 20 and karbonate hardness is 15, while ph is 7.5
    2- In one of the sections I want to grow monte carlo, (starting from tissue culture ones) can I give it 10 days of dry start to let the roots get established, then increase the water level by only 3 cm for a week? (so that the plants are totally beneath the water) The lower the water level, the higher the CO2 level would be. So I want to avoid flooding, and just making a shallow water condition to boost the growth by the atmospheric CO2. I am planning to increase water level by 5cm every week after that to slowly acclimate it to the tank conditions. Would that be fine? (I know how to fight algae, that's not a concern. just the plant growth and meltdowns are my concerns)
    3- What other carpeting plants would you suggest for such an environment? I want all 4 sections to have unique looks.
    4- Same question as question 3, what background plants other than rotala and limnophila?

    Thank you soooo much. (Pictures would be possible after the next clean up :D )
     
  3. tiger15

    tiger15 Member

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    Every one who starts out with plants the first time prefers a low tech to no tech approach. Who doesn't want the lazy approach: No water change, no fert, no CO2, just feed the fish and make up for lost water, then wishfully everything is fine. Only when they found out it doesn't work out will they be converted to tech, or give up.

    You said your tank was lush and stable after 7 months with no tech. Wait a few more months and come back to report the status.

    I did the same, nothing, for my planted shrimp bowl except make up for lost water. The hair grass spread well and carpeted the rich soil substrate in lush green in a few months, but now a year later, I started to see yellowing out telling me something is missing. Rich soil will eventually run out of nutrients and the plants suffer. I started dosing and make water change.

    Just making up evaporated water with no water change will raise the TDS indefinitely, and may accumulate certain heavy metals that come with your tap or fish food to levels harmful to plants and inhabitants.
     
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  4. Alfatype

    Alfatype New Member

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    Well, I'm not looking for the "Lazy Approach" as I am running other high tech tanks. I'm looking for a self-sustaining aquarium. And for experienced aquarists, there exist obvious chores that literally can't be eliminated.
    Those chores are as follows:
    1- Duckweed + Guppies = lots of fallen roots on the substrate, if you don't vacuum them out, they will form a nasty brownish pillow on the substrate. Siphoning them out inevitably siphons out some water / heavy metals, especially since they are denser near the substrate. No one likes to look at an ugly thing. (Not to mention fish waste which makes the substrate look ugly as well)

    2- As a former shrimp breeder, I know I should replenish the lost minerals that cant come from the substrate. That enters the ecosystem while I mineralize RO water before topping off my tank since tap water is a really unreliable source of minerals.

    3- Testing your water parameters for at least once a month when the tank is established. Every week for at least first 2 months.

    So basically I am adding the inevitable things a responsible hobbyist should add :D literally anyone who doesn't at least do a gravel vacuum should look for another hobby, right?

    I totally disagree with you on the danger of *algae*, cause algae need to fight over nitrate in my tank with duckweed. Duckweed is already established in my tank, to a point that I always get a near 0 color out of nitrate test. I really don't think algae can grow in a 0ppm nitrate environment, nonetheless. In the case of your bowl, I bet you had nitrate stacking, and lack of water test made you unaware of that. When nitrate exists, microalgae will start forming, and then if it doesn't get lowered and if you don't remove the microalgae through a water change, they will form macroalgae anyways. So, of course, any tank which has a 5+ppm nitrate for a week needs a water change to reduce the number of microalgae.

    And you are right, any substrate will one day run out, then you will see deficiency signs. For my high tech tanks, that means I should add fertilizers. Cause the build is so expensive that I hate to add more money to it. But one year would be enough time for a no-tech, cheap tank with a really cheap (0.5$ per litter) substrate. I will definitely re-scape the tank after one year which means I'll change the substrate anyway.

    I should apologize for the confusion I made, I thought to mention all the experiments I've done would tell I am doing the basics of owning an aquarium, while not being clear enough :D
     
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