• You are viewing the forum as a Guest, please login (you can use your Facebook, Twitter, Google or Microsoft account to login) or register using this link: Log in or Sign Up
  • You can now follow UKAPS on Instagram.

Walstad revises

Soilwork

Member
Joined
22 Nov 2015
Messages
507
I've read on a few forums now that D.Walstad now advocates water changes and filtration? And the lack of is what is causing problems in some cases but I am yet to find any direct quotes from Diana herself.

Does anybody know where this was said/stated? I don't want to become a victim of regurgitation without having seen the original text.

Thanks
 

dw1305

Expert
UKAPS Team
Joined
7 Apr 2008
Messages
13,699
Location
nr Bath
Hi all,
I've read on a few forums now that D.Walstad now advocates water changes and filtration? And the lack of is what is causing problems in some cases but I am yet to find any direct quotes from Diana herself.

Does anybody know where this was said/stated? I don't want to become a victim of regurgitation without having seen the original text.

Thanks
(Inactive) UKAPS member "@Ghosty" had a conversation with Diana, here <"Talking with Diana Walstad....">, there is also an interview on <"Aquariss.net">, where she specifically mentions water movement.
.....I have filters or aerators to create mild water movement. This speeds up decomposition and the recycling of fish wastes into plant nutrients and CO2.
cheers Darrel
 
Last edited:

Soilwork

Member
Thread starter
Joined
22 Nov 2015
Messages
507
Thanks for the links. It's still not clear cut in these posts about water changes in general. Perhaps when first laying the soil that's a given.

I was under the impression that she had changed her opinion on water changes but it seems that this is not the case. I think she has always encouraged water movement but not much aeration.

I think I failed because I had little flow, little aeration, little oxygen and failing plants. I would lose a fish every few weeks.
 

dw1305

Expert
UKAPS Team
Joined
7 Apr 2008
Messages
13,699
Location
nr Bath
Hi all,
She mentions water changes in "Small Planted Tanks for Pet Shrimp" on page 9.
My DSM tanks require more maintenance than the bowls. They are move vulnerable to algae.

I had to change water at least once every week during the first 6 weeks following submergence. Occasionally, I had to remove small algae mats (using a toothbrush) that threatened to spread over the plant carpet.

However, I noticed that the algae retreated considerably once the Frogbit started growing well. I continue with biweekly water changes and thinning out excess Frogbit.
Cheers Darrel
 

alto

Member
Joined
24 Dec 2014
Messages
6,228
She did some interviews on sites that are no longer active ... I don't recall where I read the discussion(s); as you may be aware, she experienced mycobateriosis in her rainbow fish populations (eventually she shut down & sterilized tanks), she felt that lack of water changes may've contributed & began to advocate water changes ... I don't recall the details
I've not read new editions of her book


I think I failed because I had little flow, little aeration, little oxygen and failing plants. I would lose a fish every few weeks.
In theory, the plants will provide oxygen - there are planted tank water column measurements where water is "supersaturated" with oxygen, & even initial photoperiod measurement show good oxygen levels

I never felt comfortable with the concept of no water changes on a system with livestock - there are too many variables, especially when first starting out
 

Soilwork

Member
Thread starter
Joined
22 Nov 2015
Messages
507
Cheers to both.

Alto. You are correct however, in order for plants to produce oxygen they have to be photosynthesising and in my case they were just dying. I had a severely underpowered filter with little aeration, a freshly submerged soil with little water changes and poor plant health.
 

dw1305

Expert
UKAPS Team
Joined
7 Apr 2008
Messages
13,699
Location
nr Bath
Hi all,
You are correct however, in order for plants to produce oxygen they have to be photosynthesising and in my case they were just dying. I had a severely underpowered filter with little aeration, a freshly submerged soil with little water changes and poor plant health.
I think this is one reason why floating plants (usually Eichornia or Pistia) are used for <"phytoremediation">, they have access to atmospheric gases.

cheers Darrel
 

PARAGUAY

Member
Joined
13 Nov 2013
Messages
2,634
Location
Lancashire
It just goes to show a well respected person like Diana Walsted can prove that despite the science,experience etc that nothing is permanent and it's truly refreshing to validate us all from experts to hobbyists to question things,try things and learn more ,Everything is always evolving
 

dw1305

Expert
UKAPS Team
Joined
7 Apr 2008
Messages
13,699
Location
nr Bath
Hi all,
It just goes to show a well respected person like Diana Walstad can prove that despite the science,experience etc that nothing is permanent and it's truly refreshing to validate us all from experts to hobbyists to question things, try things and learn more
That is it.

Experiments have shown that your original theory wasn't quite right, so you develop a new theory, if possible one that you can test empirically. It is how science moves forward.

If some-one can prove that the speed of light isn't absolute then all the laws of physics are wrong and we have to start again. It is Karl Popper's <"Philosophy of Science">, because the law that states that the speed of light is absolute is falsifiable.

The problem in Ecology is that there aren't any laws, it is nearly all conjecture (see <"Thomas Kuhn">), so we are into the realms of consensus and <"probablility">, and probability is an area where a lot of people (including many scientists) struggle.

cheers Darrel
 

Soilwork

Member
Thread starter
Joined
22 Nov 2015
Messages
507
You are both quite right. I have lost count of the amount of times I have read her book or picked it up for quick reference. I was an avid believer in her approach as a more natural means of system stability appealed to me and was logical.

There were probably a multitude of reasons that this didn't work for me. I have been in the shadows for quite some time before I joined this forum and as a result I am well aware of the importance co2 plays in underwater plant growth and the importance of oxygen in this system and what is means when there is a lack of.

To be fair I was probably trying plants that are just not cut out for the method because ethe Anubias and crypts did pretty well.

The carbon subject was the one I was looking forward to covering in her book but I quickly found that it was the weakest.

If I was to use soil again (just dug it all out) I would mineralise it and have a lot more flow and do bi-weekly water changes. I would have a nice ripple up to to reduce biofilm accumulation and choose more plants that are suited to the environment. Most of my plants died and I would lose fish regularly. Since then I have gone down the injection route with EI.

I would like to try the low tech approach again knowing what I know now. Maybe in the future.

Edit: the point of this thread was to clarify that what I had been advising people with regards to D.Walstad rethinking things was accurate.

I'm still not convinced she would wholeheartedly say that her method needs revising, especially if other have success. After all, at what point does it stop being the Walstad method and just a regular low tech approach if these changes were to be implemented?
 
Last edited:

Manisha

Member
Joined
1 Apr 2016
Messages
762
Location
Bangor Northern Ireland
I've really enjoyed reading this thread because I maintain a low tech aquarium but wouldn't feel comfortable with few water changes or topping up. Although the traditional Walstad tank is achievable (I immediately think of Big Tom's Bucket of Mud) I think very few people would be able to maintain a balance between basic inputs & outputs. In my case, choosing to keep Angel fish means the 'input' is high & would have to be very on point with my outputs wrt filtration & plant choice or increase my tank volume & plant mass. I think its important to remember a fish tank is a closed system in comparison to what occurs in nature & I think it would take a great deal of experience to achieve this without water changes.

Hi all, That is it.

Experiments have shown that your original theory wasn't quite right, so you develop a new theory, if possible one that you can test empirically. It is how science moves forward.

If some-one can prove that the speed of light isn't absolute then all the laws of physics are wrong and we have to start again. It is Karl Popper's <"Philosophy of Science">, because the law that states that the speed of light is absolute is falsifiable.

The problem in Ecology is that there aren't any laws, it is nearly all conjecture (see <"Thomas Kuhn">), so we are into the realms of consensus and <"probablility">, and probability is an area where a lot of people (including many scientists) struggle.

cheers Darrel

Great links - took me a while to read. I find these ideas & theories facinating. I think we build ourselves on ideas (& forget they are ideas) & as we age, this worsens! :) Because the building block we started with holds many others. However we look towards older more experienced folk (perhaps more set in their inaccurate ways?!) Rules & models...:)
 

dw1305

Expert
UKAPS Team
Joined
7 Apr 2008
Messages
13,699
Location
nr Bath
Hi all,
I'm still not convinced she would wholeheartedly say that her method needs revising, especially if other have success.
I'd have to say straight away that, despite having some reservations about the lack of water changes etc, I still think her book is an absolutely fantastic resource, and no-one else has attempted to write a book with similar scope or scientific rigour.

I'd also recommend <"The "Optimum Aquarium" by Horst and Kipper">, I only <"read it recently">, following a recommendation on this forum (it was published in the 1980's).
Although the traditional Walstad tank is achievable (I immediately think of Big Tom's Bucket of Mud)
I think tank volume, and architecture, has a considerable bearing on the likelihood of success. If I was going to have a "strict Walstad" tank, I'd make it a <"large volume, but shallow, tank">.

cheers Darrel
 

zozo

Member
Joined
16 Apr 2015
Messages
8,292
Location
Netherlands
For the people who understand the German language or maybe still want to try to learn it.. This might be a very intersting source.. It's from MyFish.org it's a German radio channel/talkshow about pets and care, every thursday evening they have 1 hour about everything you like to know about aquarium.. These are interviews with people who are almost all over 30 years active in the aquatic hobby or professionaly involved in the bussines from plant nurseries, fishbreeders, fish doctors, university professors, field researchers etc. and talk about all sorts of issues encountered in aquaristic.. Some very interesting and sometimes very different theories, statements and ways of viewing are shared. Some are realy puzzling others again realy inlightening.

Here are the recorded podcasts of this radio program..
http://www.haustier-radio.de/shows/my-fishorg-aus-freude-an-der-aquaristik.html

Unfortunately only in German.. But Germany is a very big country and has done a lot in the history of aquarium hobby.. So there are many interviews with very professional people in this field.
 
Joined
26 Feb 2013
Messages
3,395
I've read on a few forums now that D.Walstad now advocates water changes and filtration? And the lack of is what is causing problems in some cases but I am yet to find any direct quotes from Diana herself.

She was active on a forum called aquarium plant central. As an answer to some poster's question she mentioned her changed opinion on water movement, i.e. oxygen related. I can't remember the exact words but the idea is that decomposition of organics produces CO2 in the presence of oxygen. Lack of oxygen or low oxygen will also impact the co2 produced from decomposition, and in turn can also lead to anoxic conditions that would affect negatively both fish and plants. She initially thought that too much CO2 would degas if there is a lot of water movement but in fact the water movement is essential for the co2 production because of the better oxygen exchange.

When I set up my walstad tanks, I set them up with mineralized soil, excessive flow and plenty of surface movement. I haven't had a problem that way. I did regular water changes too. I tried with no water changes for 5-6 months at some stage during the years and it surely didn't work. The TDS of the tank shot very high, nearly doubled up in that amount of time. My plants liked it, but my fish surely didn't. Some of them got sickly during that period so the no water changes experiment ended. My tank at the time was lightly stocked.
 

zozo

Member
Joined
16 Apr 2015
Messages
8,292
Location
Netherlands
That, whole no water change concept is imho something for tanks with no lifestock.. Me too i did it for a i do not even remember for how long, only topping off the water level without water changes. And this was all about 30 years ago. At that time it was very common and freqeunt water changes wasn't realy recomended in any book available for what i remember. Actualy back then, all information was rather very one-sided and short compaired to what available nowadays..

In the end the chances that no water changes doesn't work is higher than the other way around, because there are some may things that can have impact on a small confined ecosystem as an aquarium. And the majority aint even visible with the naked eye and the longer you are into the process the narrower the turning point can get. The moment it becomes visible, 9 out of 10 times you are to late and there already will be damage done.

Preventing is beter than curing..

In theory it might well be possible but in practice it stays a gamble even if you are very experienced.. And we should not experiment nor gamble with the health of our precious fish etc. ANd we certainly should not see our hobby as a sport to proof theories.

With all respect to Diana Walstad here books are realy very interesting.. But what's in the end the point of not having the need of doing water changes?
Is it to benefit your expenses and make it cheaper? Or because the water from the tap actualy aint aquarium suitable and need a lot of work to condition it, which makes it such a hassle? (Rather lazy than tired?)

If one of the points above is the argument.. You actualy should not have an aquarium at all and look for another hobby.. ;) Something like a poodle maybe, also a pet you can scape with..
 

zozo

Member
Joined
16 Apr 2015
Messages
8,292
Location
Netherlands
Yes an Iwagumi poodle. Who knows it might be a commercial break through too.. :)
 

dw1305

Expert
UKAPS Team
Joined
7 Apr 2008
Messages
13,699
Location
nr Bath
Hi all,
With all respect to Diana Walstad here books are realy very interesting.. But what's in the end the point of not having the need of doing water changes?
I just think that when she had found just how effective plants were in maintaining water quality she got a bit carried away and began to see plants as an alternative to water changes rather than an adjunct.

I was just looking at this post (on Aquatic Plant Central) <"Diana Walstad and Discus">.
And this was all about 30 years ago. At that time it was very common and freqeunt water changes wasn't realy recomended in any book available for what i remember. Actualy back then, all information was rather very one-sided and short compaired to what available nowadays..
I think this is a very valid point, I used to <"kill my fish with sickening regularity when I started fish-keeping">. Aged, yellow tinted, water used to be looked on as a good thing, rather than as an, invariably toxic, brew.

cheers Darrel
 

zozo

Member
Joined
16 Apr 2015
Messages
8,292
Location
Netherlands
I think that in nature in what we consider small bodies of water there will Diana's theories be spot on.. But in a fishtank with in comparison only a few litres of water it is a ticking time bomb where you just might get lucky. Most of the times if it goes south it usualy goes south very hard.. And indeed if you are not among the lucky ones you probably end up with sick and dead fish..

But in nature it probably functions excactly the way she describes it.. If you look at the drainage reservoirs wich are dug next to the motorways and how fast such a small body of water is teeming with life with loads of plants and fish in no time brought in by the birds. And can be perfectly healthy and crystal clear for decades and only fed with rain water now and then.. I know a few 20 metres long and 8 metres wide maybe, 1 metre deep depending on the rainfall. Where i did catch beautiful fish as a kid with a net also 30 years ago and it is still there today with kids fishing in it..

Aged, yellow tinted, water used to be looked on as a good thing, rather than as an, invariably toxic, brew.

Yes this indeed was the case, that i also remember from back then, the older the beter.. It even was adviced to keep your hands out of the fishtank as much as possible, like cleaning the tank was a sin. Little substarte syphoning with such an air driven sucker and filter cleaning that was it.. And if there where problems, you go to the LFS and they sell you some medicin and a bag of carbon and still nobody said do a partial water change. I remember blaming myself that it was me sticking hands in the water was making the fish sick.. It's actualy sad and hilarious at the same time, but we didn't know any beter..
 

Manisha

Member
Joined
1 Apr 2016
Messages
762
Location
Bangor Northern Ireland
That, whole no water change concept is imho something for tanks with no lifestock.. Me too i did it for a i do not even remember for how long, only topping off the water level without water changes. And this was all about 30 years ago. At that time it was very common and freqeunt water changes wasn't realy recomended in any book available for what i remember. Actualy back then, all information was rather very one-sided and short compaired to what available nowadays..

In the end the chances that no water changes doesn't work is higher than the other way around, because there are some may things that can have impact on a small confined ecosystem as an aquarium. And the majority aint even visible with the naked eye and the longer you are into the process the narrower the turning point can get. The moment it becomes visible, 9 out of 10 times you are to late and there already will be damage done.

Preventing is beter than curing..

In theory it might well be possible but in practice it stays a gamble even if you are very experienced.. And we should not experiment nor gamble with the health of our precious fish etc. ANd we certainly should not see our hobby as a sport to proof theories.

With all respect to Diana Walstad here books are realy very interesting.. But what's in the end the point of not having the need of doing water changes?
Is it to benefit your expenses and make it cheaper? Or because the water from the tap actualy aint aquarium suitable and need a lot of work to condition it, which makes it such a hassle? (Rather lazy than tired?)

If one of the points above is the argument.. You actualy should not have an aquarium at all and look for another hobby.. ;) Something like a poodle maybe, also a pet you can scape with..

I think if you were a hobbyist but worked away from home a lot, a fishless planted tank would be a good compromise :)
 
Top