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Our School's Walstad Bowls.

Manrock

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15 Dec 2007
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225
This journal has been completed by the children in my class (they are 9-10 years old) so please go easy with any comments please guys. I have added some comments in brackets to their original text just to show them that they needed to be clearer with their instructions. Hopefully we can get time to add more as the project progresses. Thanks again to all of you who have helped by sending us plants. You may not see them in the photos but be assured that either my class or the class next door have found a home for them. Mr Driscoll, class teacher.

Hi,our year group (yr 5) have made and looked after our own Walstad bowls. We would like to share with you how we set them up.
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First of all our teacher had brought in a fish tank and over the summer holidays he set the tank up. When we came back to school we were amazed how impressive the tank looked. We wanted to make our own and he agreed to let us make the Walstad bowls. He came on to this forum and asked for donations of plants. We can't thank you enough for all your donations of plants. We were thrilled to get so many. Thank you all! :thumbup:

Firstly we cleaned out the bowls (Mr Driscoll got 11 off of E-Bay for £25) very carefully so they didn't break. Then we laid out all of the plants, rocks and substrates at the front of the class so that we could get to them easily.
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Secondly we carefully laid down the fine sub-strait about 3 centimetres from the bottom of the bowls.
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Next we gently added some bigger, coarse substrate on top (to 'cap' the finer substrate) and wetted (added an inch or so of planted tank water) the substrate and put our hand out on top of the bowl (so that the substrata would not be disturbed by the water flow too much).
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Then we very carefully added some of your lovely plants, and got some rocks from the beach.We tied plants to the rocks (with cotton) and poked (carefully planted) the plants into the substrate and tied (some of them) with lead (around their base).
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After that fill it with pure rain water and put your hand at the top of the bowl as you pour the water into your palm. This will stop the water gushing and disturbing the substrate, which would cloud up the water.

To maintane your walstad bowl you will need to do the following: 50% water changes every 2-3 days; add shrimps and snails. After a couple of days they eat the algi. Add led lights shortly after this to help the plants grow (make sure they work).
5sd hope our instructions were useful!
 

OllieNZ

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11 Nov 2009
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990
Location
Witney, UK
Top notch school project way better than anything I ever got to do. Looks great :thumbup:
 

Ian Holdich

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18 Feb 2010
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Location
lincoln uk
Really good...why not buy some live food, maybe some brine shrimp and it will add a different dimension.
 

nayr88

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4 Feb 2010
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2,101
Looks really good, Id love to set up another one myself :)

Thanks for the inspiration :)


Ian Holdich said:
Really good...why not buy some live food, maybe some brine shrimp and it will add a different dimension.
Because BRINE shrimp live in brine silly :)

Unless you mean for the fish to eat on which case fair point ;)
 

BigTom

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1 May 2009
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2,281
Location
Edinburgh
Great project for the kids. Mum just retired as a head teacher and the schools in her area were all involved in some sort of killifish hatching/breeding project. Aquaria can be a really good way to demonstrate all sorts of biology and ecology I reckon.
 

Manrock

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15 Dec 2007
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225
Thanks for all the positive comments, I'll share them with the kids on Thursday.

The idea was to create a balanced mini-ecosystem in a bowl (to teach habitats and the Nitrogen Cycle) but the children really want to take it further and breed shrimps now (I put my shrimp poster up from Aquatics Live and that was it)! I've told them that once the bowls are stable we can have a go at breeding (maybe different species if we can get some donations) and they have been incredibly patient waiting for this to happen!

Hopefully we can give regular updates from different children - the two that wrote the first input today were so excited to be doing this on UKAPS (it was 'awesome' and 'so cool').

Keep up with the positive comments.
 

OllieNZ

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11 Nov 2009
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990
Location
Witney, UK
It might be interesting to get some plain old cherries and try selective breeding for colour.
 

Clifford

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23 Oct 2012
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Location
Leighton Buzzard
Truly inspirational teaching there.

The journal entry also shows just how much they understand already.

Well done kids and well done teacher(s).

Only trouble is my (year 4) 8 year old daughter wants one, too. She's already surveying the house for a likely spot and it's all your fault!
 

Manrock

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15 Dec 2007
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Update.

Here are some of our bowls just after we added the water. They were a bit cloudy but we were really amazed at how they looked!:clap:
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And here they are all together. Some have LED's and some have desk lamps which have speacle daylight bulbs in them. The lights are more like natural daylight like the sun, which helps the plants grow stronger.
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Manrock

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Thread starter
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15 Dec 2007
Messages
225
Update;
Here are some of our bowls today, just after a 50% water change. You can see some of the shrimps if you look carefully, they seem to be doing really well but are not breeding. We think they are not because the water is to cold (below 20c)... actually we just checked and it is 15c. Do you think it is too cold for Red Cherry Shrimps to breed?

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dw1305

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7 Apr 2008
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nr Bath
Hi all,
We think they are not because the water is to cold (below 20c)... actually we just checked and it is 15c. Do you think it is too cold for Red Cherry Shrimps to breed?
Probably is, but I think they should start breeding as soon as the water warms up in the spring.

I forgot to ask did the Riccia arrive OK? and has it stayed attached. I've still got plenty more.

cheers Darrel
 

Manrock

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Thread starter
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15 Dec 2007
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225
did the Riccia arrive OK? and has it stayed attached.

Yes - thanks Darrel (thought I sent an e-mail). The class next door have used most of the Riccia and attached it to a rock. We have a little clump floating around in each bowl too (as you suggested) - to see how it grows.

Thanks for the offer and if this batch goes well we would love some more but at the moment, as you can see from the bowls, we really need a few more stems plants and sag or vallis to fill the space. The cold has slowed any growth right down and they are not filling out as much as expected!

Thanks again

Mr Driscoll 5SD
 

Manrock

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Thread starter
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15 Dec 2007
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225
We decided to rescape one of the bowls using an idea from here. We used some moss from the nano tank and covered an old cd with it. In the hole we planted a plant (an ID would help - we can't find out what it is). There are 3 cherries and 3 (so tiny they are almost invisible) crystal reds as well as some healthy Ramshorns.

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If we trim the moss will it grow back thicker?
Also - here is our rescaped nano. We have only 4 plant species in here, Christmas Moss, Hydro. Japan, crypts and frogbit. We have also added 10 Crystal red shrimps, 3 Ottos and a shoal of mature Microrasbora Kubotai. They are very green! Can we paint something onto the heater to hide it?
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Class 5SD
 
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