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Old 01-11-2015, 08:37 PM   #1
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Starting A Walstad - Plant types, dirt?

Hello everybody,

I'm restarting my 10 gallon tank after my last fish (a platy) died. I've had him for almost two years, and after a week of mourning, I decided that I will restart the tank and use dirt.

I have a 10 gallon with two florescent lights: I'm not sure how many watts they have, but I'd estimate around 2-3 watts per gallon.

I tried growing aponogetons and red lilies before, but they died off, probably because they ran out of the food in their bulb and because of the plain gravel substrate. I also have a marimo moss ball which is 3 inches in diameter.

What types of plants would you recommend for this tank? Also, I've read about mineralizing soil or soaking it for a few days before adding to the tank. Should I do this?

Also, the temperature outside is below 30 F. Should I hold off on setting up the tank? Or would it be ok to put the dirt in then wait a while?

Thanks all for your help!

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Old 01-12-2015, 12:39 AM   #2
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Have you read Diana Walstad's book? It gives tons of really technical info about starting this kind of tank. I tried it once and didn't like it. I can tell you that you should use organic soil. I messed up by not capping the soil with enough sand. The soil came up through the sand and made a mess. Good Luck!

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Old 01-12-2015, 03:06 AM   #3
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Starting A Walstad - Plant types, dirt?

The simplest way to do a dirted tank is to use organic potting soil or mix. Sieve out the big stuff. And then cap it with clean sand.

Read up on dirted tanks. If you want to do mineralized top soil that's fine.

Just realize that no matter if you use dirt or mineralized topsoil, any substrate will eventually be exhausted, and you will need to use root tabs anyway or reset the tank.

Dirted tanks grow plants very well.
But read up. There are details that you need to know.

If you want a Walstad tank, do it.

I'll be over here with my happy sand tanks 😉

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