The tanks of Diana Walstad
Q. Before concluding this interview we wanted to ask you one last thing: is it possible to have some pictures of your tanks with a brief description of how they are set up?
It would be very interesting and would help us a lot; in Italy we say: «An image explains better than a thousand words…»
50 gal tank setup in 2008 For the substrate I used 5 gal of an organic garden soil. I mixed in 2/3 cup of Bone Meal (organic, phosphate-rich fertilizer). On top of this I added 3 cups of clay soil to provide iron. At 3-4 weeks post-setup, the fish began to show distress. In response, I did large (80%) water changes every 2 weeks for the next 6 weeks and kept fresh charcoal in the filter [the problem was inhibitory oils (allelochemicals?) released by the soil’s wood matter]. I described the setup more thoroughly in a 2009 article in The Aquatic Gardener (vol. 21, no. 4).
Same 50 gal Tank in 2017. Tank includes my last surviving pair of Rainbowfish, at least 12 year old. In 2018, I finally tore the tank down, because I was worried that the tank, being 30 years old, might suddenly break open (plants and substrate were still doing fine 10 years after first setting it up).
Summer Tubs (2018). Each plastic tub holds about 10 gal and up to 50 juvenile guppies. I cover the tubs at night. No filters, no lights, no aerator (I use heaters when night-time air temperatures get below 65F).
Thank you very much for your time.