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Re: [APD] Walstad

Hi Stuart and all,
I am not sure by the tone of your email whether you were offended by my
reply.   That was certainly not my intent.  I will try to explain why I
wrote what I did.

First, I am not going to edit a Wiki.  I would feel much better if someone
more qualified than myself did that.  There are many aquarists more
qualified on this subject, and especially many distinguished people on this
list better suited to this task.  

If you want to test your water every day, that’s fine, many people do, but
Walstad was into simplification.  If there is Chloramine in your water, then
every time you change the water you add a neutralizer.  You don’t need to
test for Chloramine every time you do a water change.  Years ago I had a big
water problem that turned out to be Chloramine, and the kind people on this
list helped me figure out what was going on.  Once I switched from a product
that bragged it "broke the chloramine bond" (and released ammonia!), to one
that actually neutralized it, my fish stopped dying.  I haven't moved to
another location since then, and haven't done any water testing in years.  I
suggest that anyone who has an aquatic tank problem do or get some good
water testing.  But it is a personal thing and once you are familiar with
your environment, its OK to stop if you're using the Walstad method.  Like I
said previously, once you determine through testing that your water isn't
"poison", you can relax your testing a bit or even stop.  Even Mr. Barr has
said that it is better to "read" the tank, than to rely on test kits.

OK, I still interpret the Walstad method as being low light., (2 W/Gal for
traditional fluorescents, and perhaps 1W/Gal for the new CF with efficient
reflectors like the AHS ones).  This was brought up before on the list about
the efficiency of newer lighting systems requiring less Watts, even for high
light systems.  Also you need to keep the lighting low enough so that you
don't starve the plants of CO2 and nutrients.  If you turn the lights up
enough, you will need to inject CO2 and dose nutrients often.  Otherwise
algae will take over and the plants will starve.  High light requiring added
CO2 and fertilizers is not the Walstad method.

If you change your CF tubes every nine months then please send them to me
and I will gladly run them another two years.  However, Tom Barr already has
dibs on these as he mentioned this to the list years ago.  On a low light
tank especially, the dimming isn't going to affect much.  

Ms. Walstad uses daylight and so do I, but it is controlled.  Don't get the
idea she advocates a lot of light,

You are right about the 2 Watt per gallon.  When I viewed the information on
her tanks I discovered I added wrong.  Sorry.  But please realize that 2
Watts of regular fluorescent lighting is equivalent to less than 1 Watt of
CF lighting in an efficient reflector.

As far as using a powerhead, these are usually used to agitate the water,
aren't they?  She uses Eheim pumps like I do to move the water a minimum
amount.  The more you move the water the more CO2 is lost from it.  CO2 is
like gold in a low light Walstad type of tank.  Don't waste it. On page 100
of the first edition she states:
"If the hobbyist uses natural means (e.g. decomposition) to provide CO2, it
is especially important to limit CO2 loss from the aquarium.  CO2 because it
is a gas, will be lost by all measures that increase air-water
I have also found it essential to have a tight fitting top on the tank.

I have probably read that book 10 times and feel quite saturated about it.
I think I'll wait until I hear about a book written by Tom Barr on the
subject of planted aquaria, and get that book and read it probably more than
10 times.

Your Walstad tanks are nice.
See my Walstad tanks at:

Steven Pituch

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