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[APD] Setting up a Diana Walstad tank

I've set up a 60L Natural Planted Tank like Diana Walstad talked about in 
her book "Ecology of the Planted Aquarium" and I was wondering if anyone 
else had done so?

I'm a little unsure of what the tank's early days should be like. Today is 
its 3rd day.

I used 1" of Aquatic soil (sold for use in ponds) and 1" of Dorset pea 
gravel and then planted about 10 Tropica plants which are claimed to be 
'fast growth and easy'.

Echinodorus osiris (background)
Rotala rotundifolia (sides)
Sagittaria subulata (foreground)

I also planted 1 or 2
Cryptocoryne beckettii
Hydrocotyle verticillata
I took out of  2x25L tanks

Lastly I planted a Nymphaea lotus (zenkeri) taken from another tank.
Its leafs were 3" too short for the new water level and I was amazed to see 
one of its leafs grow an extra 3" in a day in order for it to reach the surface.

The tank has 2x 15W compact fluorescent 'household' bulbs in it though they 
are white to the eye I've no idea of the colour temperature of them!
I estimate the water I used was 50 litres.
Converting to US gallons I make that 13.2G and so a 2.2wpg lighting.

As my tap water here in Scotland is very soft I added a teaspoon of Calcium 
carbonate and a tsp of Potassium bicarbonate to get the KH and GH up from 
virtually zero.

This is where I differed from Diana Walstad guidelines.
I decided to give the plants some food to kick start them as it were.
I added 5ml (EI dosage) of Potassium Nitrate and put in a temporary bit of 
CO2 from a Tetra Plant CO2 bottle. This is a small 10g CO2 bottle and each 
morning you fill a submersed plastic pipe with CO2 and the membrane slowly 
releases it over several hours.

3rd day now and the water is still hazy (it could be a bacteria bloom?).

I've got all young fish. 7 young corys, 5 glowlight tetras, 3 zebra loaches, 
2 DAFs and 3 Mollies in it (I had to break down 2 25L tanks to make room for 
the 60L).

So perhaps too much animal. I'll have to remove the mollies I guess.


NO2/NO3 seems to have climbed up over night, probably because the fish were 
fed yesterday so I've added some SeaChem Prime.

I probably need to add some more Potassium bicarbonate to get the KH up.

Any advice from more experienced 'El natural' tank aquarists?

Stuart Halliday
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Aquatic-Plants at actwin_com