One of the most common stereotypes in our hobby is the following:
In order to have an aquarium you have to spend money and buy extra expensive technology!
Our forum oppose this idea, resisting like the gallic village of Asterix and Obelix against the Romans.
Nevertheless our genealogical tree is very respectable.
Starting from Nathaniel B. Ward (1791-1868), with his self-sustainable planted aquarium; passing through Philip Henry Gosse (1810-1888), with the first aquarium book in the world; from the Italian Michele Lessona (1823-1894) to the Nobel Konrad Lorenz (1903-1989), till Dorothy Reimer, with her low-cost approach, we arrive to Diana Walstad1, author of the famous «Ecology of the Planted Aquarium».
Drs. Walstad studied Dorothy Reimer’s approach but, due to an infestation with Cammalanus, she abandoned – discouraged – aquariology.
Fortunately, it was not a «farwell»!
With a degree in microbiology, she returned to her passion and, after endless research and documentation, she decided to publish what we consider our «Bible».
Actually, she decided to self-publish her manuscript, because it was rejected by several publishers (!!!).
Do you remember which year was? It was….1999!
In the United States, at that time, high tech aquariums were managed using Dupla method: to set up an aquarium with that method, you could spend up to 3,500 USD!
Here in Europe, the dominating method was by Dennerle, different from Dupla’s one, but as well expensive.
In my region, it was difficult to find the Dennerle producs. The Sera products were considered as the best, from Floredepot for the substrate, to filter materials and Florenette and Florena to fertilize. If you wanted inexpensive products, you bought Prodac and Tetra.
Fortunately, over the years, things changed and aquarism became an accessible hobby for everyone: CO2 kits cost less, and we have even found various methods to make them at home. The multi-layer funds have been replaced by single soil; even fertilizers, now, are for all budgets. We have also various evolutions of PMDD by Colin & Sears (our users know it
So … Has the Walstad method become obsolete?
Although these developments made some of the Walstad’s solution «obsolete», this pioneering method has become a real philosophy, with different variants.
Starting from the wonderful tanks without filters but with CO2 and fertilization, aquariums with allophany or fertile substrate … all variants of the Walstad method, which have a common denominator: the importance of plants for aquarium, their utility to remove the «pollutants», which we now call «fertilizers», that we eliminate with pruning, and produce oxygen for the fish.
An aquarium with healthy plants has also healthy fish!
The book had a second edition in 2003, and a third one in 2013. In 2004 the Italian version was published by AquaEdì with the title «Ecologia dell’acquario di piante». Unfortunately the publishing house closed its activities, and the italian book cannot be found anywhere.
You can purchase the English version without problems online, both in paper and digital format.
There is also a downloadable version from apple store for iphone, ipad and i-mac.
By clicking on the previous images you will be directed to the sites for purchase.
Who is interested can also purchase it directly from the author’s website https://dianawalstad.com/aquariums.
We wish you a good read and, for any doubt or clarification, we invite you to register for free on our forum Acquariofilia Facile.
1 Diana Walstad studied microbiologist. He worked for many years in medical and biological research at University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill).