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Thread: A series of Diana Walstad-styled setups

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    A series of Diana Walstad-styled setups

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    Hi folks,
    I've just finished setting up a full-echi tank [1] (well, almost [2]) but ain't very satisfied with it... something seems to be missing.

    Substrate is aquatic compost laid over with gravel and as with the earlier low-cube tank, there'll be no aeration, fertilization and piped COČ, receiving only ambient lighting.

    Tell me what you think while I let the tank cycle.


    Gallery link is here.

    [1] Echi-list;
    Echinodorus 'Rubin', E. grandiflorus, 'A-Flame', E. martii, E. tenellus, E. uruguayensis, E. amazonicus, E. latifolius and two reddish hybrids. I'll try to fill up foreground with E. quadricostatus... another excuse to raid the plant farm!

    [2] For lack of something tall and flowy like vals, I have two 'dunnowat' Aponogeton plants in there until a suitable replacement is available.
    I'm back & keeping 'em fingers wet,
    Ronnie Lee

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    Ronnie,
    I like that piece of driftwood in your tank !
    If you are into Nature, check out the new NSS Nature Forum.
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    That woodie is on T-loan from Kho and yup, it looks pretty good. Plenty of hiding space for pygmy corys too!

    Gan, I can't help but feel that the setup looks pretty naked esp. on the right side, or perhaps I'm too used to having vals as a backdrop.

    Anybody knows if there's an echi that's almost equivalent to vals? Maybe more 'Rubin' or uruguayensis?
    I'm back & keeping 'em fingers wet,
    Ronnie Lee

  4. #4

    Re: Walstad-styled Echinodorus tank

    Quote Originally Posted by RonWill
    Substrate is aquatic compost laid over with gravel and as with the earlier low-cube tank, there'll be no aeration, fertilization and piped COČ, receiving only ambient lighting.
    Hi Ronnie,

    I don't know what type of aquatic compost you are using, but if the substrate is not rich enough and you are not dosing liquid fertilizer, after all the echinodorus has settled down, I think there might be a possibility of nutrient defficiency. Those echinodorus are heavy feeders.


    I'll try to fill up foreground with E. quadricostatus... another excuse to raid the plant farm!
    Having E. tenellus and E. quadricostatus together as foreground plant is not a good idea, as when they are mixed, the foreground will look untidy. Unless you are deligent enough to make sure the runners do not cross path.

    The E. latifolius (which is the synonyms of E. bolivianus) will 'run' around like E. quadricostatus, though it will take a little while for the mother plant to build up enough energy to put out it's first runner.

    However, E. bolivanius can be kept as a solitary plant if the runners are pruned. It will grow to a bushy plant about 15cm tall.


    For lack of something tall and flowy like vals, I have two 'dunnowat' Aponogeton plants in there until a suitable replacement is available.
    Try E. berteroi. It has nice transparent delicate leaves like Aponogeton.



    Tan SW

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by RonWill
    Anybody knows if there's an echi that's almost equivalent to vals? Maybe more 'Rubin' or uruguayensis?
    Or you can try E. angustifolius? Suppose to run around and grow like vals.


    Tan SW

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    Re: Walstad-styled Echinodorus tank

    Hi SW, glad that you can chip in.

    I'm using J.Arthur aquatic compost and will be using fertilizer sticks when the need arises. As the light level is low, compared to full-blown planted aquaria, I suspect that nutrient uptake is further slowed down by lack of CO2 fertilization. That ought to buy me some time.

    Having E. tenellus and E. quadricostatus together as foreground plant is not a good idea, as when they are mixed, the foreground will look untidy. Unless you are deligent enough to make sure the runners do not cross path
    I'm far from diligent but you have a point. The setup is suppose to be low-maintenance and no, I wouldn't want to chase down the runners.

    For lack of something tall and flowy like vals, I have two 'dunnowat' Aponogeton plants in there until a suitable replacement is available.
    Does the E. berteroi have short leaf petoide (sp?) or leaf stalk. I'd like to have a 'curtain' effect with the leaves starting close to the gravel.

    Edited: Jul 14th
    "leaf petoide (sp?)" should have been petiole, if I had bothered to check up on plant morphology
    http://www.csdl.tamu.edu/FLORA/201Ma...leaftypes.html

    By botany terms, the petiole is defined as "the stalk by which a leaf is attached to a stem. Also called leafstalk".

    ... and plants ain't just about root, stem and leaf
    http://www.uri.edu/artsci/bio/plant_...ems_and_leaves

    So folks, now you now.
    I'm back & keeping 'em fingers wet,
    Ronnie Lee

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    SW, I checked on the angustifolius at Tropica and it grows to a max of 30cm, which is still a little short.

    Besides the frogbits, long leaves floating at the surface will provide security for killies and makes them less skittish... so they don't jump!

    Since most of the light is radiated from the front and sides, I'm not concerned about light being cut off from the top. Any more suggestions?
    I'm back & keeping 'em fingers wet,
    Ronnie Lee

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    Ron,

    The wood (nice!) and the Ech Rubin were the points of focus in your tank and rightly so. The rest of the plants (limit them to 3 types) you need is just to cover them green. Let them mature for a month or so before further change.

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    Try to get more cheap plants in there...the plant mass seems pretty low to me. Fertilization for non-CO2 tanks are not necessary except for an occasional dosing of baking soda and seachem equilibrium every couple of months or so plus no water changes unless you decide to move the plants around. Balancing the critter loading vs plant load is the way to a well run non-CO2 tank.

    Regards
    Peter Gwee :wink:

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    Sze Wei,
    E. tenellus and E. latifolius are interspersed in the mid/foreground. I'm not sure how the foliage will develop in my tank's condition but I'll see which leaf-form better compliments the overall look and will remove as needed.
    ----------------------------------------------

    Freddy,
    The focal points were the E. 'Aflame'* (not 'Rubin') and the driftwood but I wasn't getting the desired result.

    Swapped Kho's driftwood with Gan's piece that's soaking in my 4footer, added more plants and still that wasn't it.

    Removed Gan's with one I have in the ANN tank and I'm beginning to like it. Experimenting with different 'supporting actors' was the key and now, I can let the setup mature.
    ----------------------------------------------

    Peter,
    Thanks for looking into this thread. I was hoping to hear from you as well.

    I'm a fish-person, maintaining 'fish tanks with plants' as opposed to 'planted tank with fish', preferring to plant densely from the onset. Was bothered by the low plant-count but that was what I had at hand.

    With more plants added and a change in driftwood, this is what it looks like this morning...

    Jul 11th Jul 14th

    Closer views:
    Left side Right Side

    You mention adding baking soda or seachem equilibrium... what purpose would that serve and based on your experience, how would you decide whether critter load/plant load is balanced?

    * The alleged Echinodorus 'Aflame' was said to be a Tropica cultivar and it's a beautiful plant, having deep red (almost burgundy) color. Surprisingly, there's little information to be found on the Net. I would appreciate it very much if someone who's familiar with the 'Aflame' can share it with us.

    Echinodorus 'Aflame' - new submerged leaves??

    More pics at the gallery.

    BTW, someone PM'ed saying that my tank (24"L x 12"W x 14"H) is smallish and short to accomodate so many echinodorus. I would agree with that but I'm still game to see how many echis would grow with it's foliage emersed (that would compensate for the lack of COČ fertilization) and go on to sprout flower stalks.

    The setup still has a long way to go but it's progress would be interesting to observe.
    I'm back & keeping 'em fingers wet,
    Ronnie Lee

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    Hi Ronn,

    I would suggest Echinodorus Parviflorus "Tropica" (yes, that little cute plant you have emersed), to fill the middle ground slightly to the right and front fo the wood. As for flowy long leaf Echinodorus, you can try Echinodorus sp "Long Leaf".

    Pardon me from saying, isn't Echinodorus Aflame a little too scrawny and wrinkled to be a focal point? Personally I would do up the wood to be a focal point.

    Last but not least, Echinodorus Rubin "narrow" will be a nice addition to your tank

    Cheers
    Vincent

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    Vincent,
    The emersed E. parviflorus "Tropica" is now residing in Kermit's home but have another (grown-submerged) sending out plantlets on flowering stalks. Your suggestion is noted and will do the transfer when the plantlets are stable (or the other echis aren't already overgrown).

    As for Echinodorus sp "Long Leaf", I've never heard/seen one before. Any link or pics?

    It's my first experience with the E. "Aflame" and already thankful if I didn't buy the wrong plant! Hopefully, I've not gotten the foliage mixed up with E. hormanii (Red) but in it's submerged form, doesn't it look like this? (I'm a 'fish-person', remember? :wink: )
    (Pic taken from my bro-in-law's tank)

    On the brighter side, if the "Aflame" did end up looking "too scrawny and wrinkled", I'll console myself saying that it added some color contrast!

    Last but not least, Echinodorus Rubin "narrow" will be a nice addition to your tank
    I used to have that in my old setup and had that in mind for a nice backdrop instead of the regular broad-leaf. Teo's farm is out of it and as from what I understand, it's in short supply.

    Any idea how or where can I get my hands on the Echi. sp "Long Leaf" and the "Rubin" Narrow?
    I'm back & keeping 'em fingers wet,
    Ronnie Lee

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    Ron, on Tropica's site there is a plant called Echinodorus "Red Flame". Could this be the Aflame echi you're talking about?

    As for the Rubin narrow, you should try giving Karin at FEA a call. If I'm not wrong there was a new shipment of plants from Tropica. There might be a Rubin narrow in that shipment.
    Fish.. Simply Irresistable
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    As for the long, flowy swordplant, why not try E. uruguayensis. From the pic on Tropica it does look pretty long and flowy. Grows up to 20-55+ cm.
    Fish.. Simply Irresistable
    Dawkinsia assimilis, Heros efasciatus - Looking for Pelvicachromis taeniatus
    -back to old school fish-

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    Jian Yang, Tropica's Echinodorus "Red Flame" is a spottier cultivar from the "Ozelot", completely different (I believe) from the "Aflame". Lack of relevant info on the Net doesn't help with identification, of course.

    As is, I've about 7 E. uruguayensis in the Echi-Tank (former Mixed killie grow-out 'dump tank') and that's sufficient. Any more and I'll have to hunt for my fishes!!
    I'm back & keeping 'em fingers wet,
    Ronnie Lee

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    Hi,

    Ronn: I think I made a mistake. I thought E.sp Long leaf is suppose to be long and flowy, but it turns out that it looks quite rigid.

    Image from http://www.israquarium.co.il

    Jianyang: E.Aflame and E.red flame is 2 different plants.

    Cheers
    Vincent

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    Ronnie, what's your main choice of critters for this tank? If you are not going to have bottom feeders, I just feel that the plant mass is simply too low. Make sure the entire ground is filled with plants...more and more plants. Don't hold back on that..it will set the tank in better and faster. As for the floating plants, 10-20% of the entire surface area would do it..you do not want too much of them as they are nutrient hogs and can block off alot of light. The main idea behind floating plants in non-CO2 tanks is act as an insurance in case you overfeed or so. They have plenty of CO2 to themselves and can be a big competitor to those submerse ones...so better keep them in check.

    Regarding the dosing of baking soda and seachem equilibrium, they are mainly nutrients for the plants. Since you are not going to do water changes for a pretty long time and there might be a potential of stocking some plants which use bi-carbonate as a source of carbon. If that happens, you would get pretty nasty pH swings when the KH bottoms out. With respect to equilibrium, you may or might not want to use it depending on the situation (plants go after the Ca/Mg as plant nutrients..in a non-CO2 tank, water changes are almost non-existant and the fact that our tap water's GH isn't that high speaks of a potential need to dose it in order not for that nutrient to get bottom out. Just an insurance..your killies might not like the harder water though. ).

    Last but not least, the balancing of the bioload vs plant load. Its difficult to tell how much critters to stock but do go with a light one..but not too light. With light stocking levels, you can overfeed slightly with no issues. One tell-tale sign of overstocking is an onset of an algae bloom or green water. Remember that pulsing of ammonia by the critters must not exceed the uptake threshold of the plants and bacteria in the tank or else you will get algae.

    Regards
    Peter Gwee :wink:

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    Quote Originally Posted by PeterGwee
    snip...

    Regarding the dosing of baking soda and seachem equilibrium, they are mainly nutrients for the plants. Since you are not going to do water changes for a pretty long time and there might be a potential of stocking some plants which use bi-carbonate as a source of carbon. If that happens, you would get pretty nasty pH swings when the KH bottoms out. With respect to equilibrium, you may or might not want to use it depending on the situation (plants go after the Ca/Mg as plant nutrients..in a non-CO2 tank, water changes are almost non-existant and the fact that our tap water's GH isn't that high speaks of a potential need to dose it in order not for that nutrient to get bottom out. Just an insurance..your killies might not like the harder water though. ).
    snip...
    Hi Peter,

    What is the GH (and KH) of typical Singapore water? My only impression is from the relatively hard water that accompanies commercial shipments from there, and I would like to get a better feel for the true water conditions encountered by the list members around SG. From the messages here, I get the impression that most are still hung up on the old pH myths and rarely check the dissolved stuff that's actually important to plants and fish.

    "Equilibrium" and baking soda are not just plant nutrients, by a long shot. All living things need proper electrolytes in their body fluids, and can die if they become deficient or get really out of balance. For example, adding salt to RO or distilled water can be like adding poison, for the cells need Ca and Mg and K for proper nutrient transport across the cell membranes that are trying to keep the soft water from diluting the blood electrolytes.

    I learned this the hard way, when I moved from the SF bay area to Modesto. The water was essentially zero GH and KH and had a tds of about 30 ppm out of the tap. The high pH (10+) suggested most of the dissolved solids were as sodium silicate, so buffering was present but very very weak. Atmospheric CO2 quickly brought it down to a pH in the high 7s.

    Folks in San Francisco and Alameda used to puzzle me when they said salt harmed their plants and killed their fish. They were getting the same Sierra snow-melt water as I was getting in Modesto, so yes, salt was toxic in pretty small amounts. [Many used Lonestar "Lapis Lustre" gravel, and that quickly fixed things, because it contained chips of raw sea shells.]

    Killies usually love hard water, but some rainforest killies have adapted so well to really low tds that the slight hardening of the egg chorion, by Ca and Mg, keeps them from hatching properly. A few SA Annuals and quite a few W. African forest dwellers seem to have this problem. Fishes from the savannah and E. Africa may come from very soft water, but seem to do better in harder water, in captivity. If peat or other organic humins are added to their soft water, some rainforest fishes do much better because most of the harmful bacteria are killed at very low pH.

    The soft water killies will still do OK in water that is at least a GH of 3 to 5 degrees. A KH of 4 or more gives the system a lot of stability. If your water is deficient, adding "Equilibrium" and baking soda can correct those respectively. When I lived in Fremont, my water was 300 ppm, out of the tap, and 200 ppm of that was as CaCO3 for a GH of about 11-12 degrees. I diluted it about 50/50 with RO water for the Chromaphyosemions and other rainforest denizens whose eggs needed the softer water. I raised them, otherwise, in the hard tap water, carbon filtered to remove chloramine. [It was too tough to do water changes on 150 containers if I had to do too much mixing.]

    I feel my (free, and worth it) advice can be much better, if you could give me a bit of solid information on the SG water. What is in it and how it varies from one district to another (if it does) would be most useful.

    Thanks,

    Wright
    01 760 872-3995
    805 Valley West Circle
    Bishop, CA 93514 USA

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    See here for Singapore potable water analysis.

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    OT, Wright, I started a new thread in Killies Arena for further discussion on the elements found in local tapwater here in Singapore.
    Fish.. Simply Irresistable
    Dawkinsia assimilis, Heros efasciatus - Looking for Pelvicachromis taeniatus
    -back to old school fish-

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