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Thread: The Diana Walstad method and sunshine

  1. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by PK1 View Post

    Thanks, I'd love to learn about the tricks that you have mentioned, can you elaborate a little? Also, if you have a picture of the entire tank, by all means, please post it. I'd like to see what plans you are keeping in it.
    Boy, tricks over the years. Where to start.
    I guess the first thing is how the sunlight gets into the tank. You don't want full sun getting into the back of the tank. In nature, there is no 'back or side of tank'. A part from midday, light enters obliquely. This light can never shine directly on lower parts of the column. Thus, if you don't regulate light with Venetians, use several strips of shade cloth. More layers (getting darker) as you go down so that less light reaches the lower column through the glass.
    In my current tank I use a three D background.

    People seem to think only certain fish and shrimp eat algae. Not so. There are many other critters from microscopic to almost visible that enjoy this little dish. The issue is that people go to the lfs and buy fish, crustacea, plants etc, but where to buy the other hundreds of organisms? I scoop the top layer of a 20 year old open rain water storage system now and again and dump that into my tank. I can see mosquito larvae and some smaller critters in there but there are millions of others I can't see.

    Why is it that algae grow on 'sick' or old leaves but not on healthy? And why mainly on the edges. I think that healthy aquatic plants have a mechanism to keep algae off the production areas. Healthy plants don't just out-compete algae, IMO, they kill it.

    I once cleared BBA by simply adding a little potassium to the tank. The plants picked up and the algae went away. Although this was an artificially lit tank.

    Then there is the UV component of sunlight. What effect does this have on the upper layers of the column? Glass inhibits shorter UV wavelengths so I open the window and remove the lids. (I have to be careful here as I have 'jumpers' in the tank.) We assume that only certain small areas of the spectra are good for tanks, I don't think so, but unless you have small portable fusion reactor you're stuck with artificial light.

    Balance is key. If you don't have the hundreds of flora species the balance is harder to maintain long term so people end up fiddling around with phosphate levels, lighting, CO2, nutrients etc. Very frustrating.

    I only have a few plant species in this tank. Ambulia, Wisteria, Echinodorus etc. Nothing special. The first two grow very very rapidly and help me export excess nutrients out. I need bushy areas for some fish to spawn or hide. Other than that it's a blackwater tank with more dead wood and leaves than plants.

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    Last edited by papwalker; 03-19-2013 at 01:34 PM. Reason: speeling

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Thanks! Nice pics.

  3. #13
    Thanks but probably not as nice as your plan
    Hope it works out.

  4. I had one in my sunroom for years. Finally gave up. Very high light=very high fert./CO2 demand=very high growth rates. Thus if you forget for a few days with fert's, or run out of CO2, you get a mess. And it'll require lots of pruning. Small mistakes, forgivable in an artificially-lit system (you can turn off the lights for a few days, change the water and things aren't all that bad) get amplified in a sunroom aquarium.

    If you're really dedicated and consistent, it can be done, but it's a major commitment. I have a video on Youtube ( of the aquarium in its' prime.


  5. #15
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Was the tank actually exposed to direct sun light? I was going use material to ensure the tank wouldn't see direct sun, but the room itself is still very bright.

  6. It would see some sun, but that depended on the season and height of the sun above the horizon. When my neighbor trimmed a big maple, it got noticeably worse, due to a more open western exposure.

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