Tom, how do you avoid an ammonia spike after ripping all those plants out? I find every time I rip out a patch of plants that large, I always get at least a small spike overnight, even with a hefty water change after the uprooting.
I do my trimming 1st, right before the lights come on, I trim to minimize the muck and dust, some plants, I'll top and mow like a hedge(Ludwigia "red"), or another I'll pick off old ugly leaves(A reineckii mini), or the P stellata I removed, I just cut all the way to the bottom stump, left it in there, it might respout later, or it might die off.
Plants like the Mini Myrio, the R wallichii, these always look and recover better if I pull them up gently, then replant the tops, discard the bottom.
L. senegalensis, I top like a hedge and then replant the tops to fatten up the group, or sell the tops, same with the R. mini butterfly. Downoi, I always uproot and replant, foreground plants I'll often cut the front sod back and if it gets too ratty, I'll hank the rug up then replant it.
Cuphea, much like the L senegalensis.
You sort of know the plants and what works best after a while.
Still, for any given hobbyists and approach, topping might work well for one person, not so well in another tank.
So after I do that, often turn the light son and then turn the filter off while I trim, I'll net the leaves off the surface, then do a 60-70% water change, my sump still has a fair amount of old water in it. Clean my prefilters and mesh for the overflow, net out any shrimp that went into the prefilter area, toss the nicer ones back into the tank, cull the rest.
Refill, add all the ferts, done.
The pics in the next post are exactly what was done and the 7 hours afterwards, it was a pretty good sized hacking.
I'm not measuring NH4 however. The tank is really thriving well.
I did have a touch of BBA after adding some livestock maybe 6-7 weeks ago. RCS population exploded about then also, likely by eating a dead fish or two.
I had the gas tank run out for a day or 2, so.......then I changed the current to reduce the off gassing after I fixed that, the BBA kept coming, not on plants, but little tufts on the wood, I picked most of it off I could get at easily. About 3 weeks of good consistent care, it's dying off.
Certainly not a big issue, but one I went after quick. Picking it off, CO2, CO2 and CO2(degassing/current are all linked here) and then just good general care, staying on top of things took care of the rest. People neglect stuff, or overlook something. You fix it and move on. I'd say the CO2 is dialed in better in this tank than the last version I did. Better current, mixing etc.