Hello all! I recently have become deeply interested in Walstad tanks and the concept of a self sustaining echo tank systems. I went into this with very little knowledge and I still have a lot to learn but so far the mistakes I have made have been insightful. After the past few months I find myself always coming around here and lurking for the answers to my questions. So time to take the plunge and say hello!
Sorry in advance for the wall.
So I am a little concerned at the moment and have read multiple things which have me confused. Hopefully someone can clarify or enlighten me. A little detail on my tank, my issues and concerns and my objectives.
My current set up involves a 33gal long tank. I use a pretty cheap filter system with bio-wheel and a heater set to 76 degrees on the right end. Towards the middle I Installed a simple bubble stone buried under rocks and sand for simple current movement and aesthetics. For the dirt I used a pure organic garden soil, maybe to pure as it had a lot of wood bits and roots. Great soil overall but I made my first big mistake with the amount I used. I thought a varied landscape would look nice, but in the end some areas had well over two inches of dirt. Rushing into things and being eager, I called it good and filled it with water. Once the dirt settled after a few days, I added my sand and gravel substrate and realized my mistake. Well I rolled with it, ran the tank empty for a week and a half, changed about half the water and added some planets. I added a mix of moneywort, cabomba and wisteria. The cabomba and wisteria took off like wildfire but the moneywort is sickly. I have read that its common for the bottom leaves to go brown and melt away, so I'm not terribly concerned. Why however would the other two thrive while this one is struggling in comparison.
Another issue I am struggling with is water discoloration. The tank has been going for about a month and a week. It has a slight yellow/brown tint to it. Should I let this resolve on its own, or is a 1/4 to a 1/2 water change in order? Is it due to the plants and other forms of decomposition and/or bacteria growth? Along with it is the alarmingly high ph level. It is always seems to ride at 8+. I have hard water in my area to start with. GH
always tend to be on the high end with my ph coming out of the tap at around 7. NO2
&3 don't seem to be to high, reading around 3 and 80 respectfully. I have read that a high ph is common for starting/establishing Walstads. Did I just doom everything that's already in place?
I also jumped the gun and dropped in 10 ghost shrimp and two mystery snails. The Snails are doing well from the looks of it, but I have lost 3 shrimp in 1 1/2 weeks. I am assuming I didn't let the tank cycle proper and the spikes in everything might be doing the poor critters in. They are creepy little things but I am becoming a fan of them. I think my biggest fault is that I never picked up Diana Walstads book, which would have saved me some time, money and embarrassment.
Thanks for taking the time to read this mess.