Been a while, lots of changes. I've been using a 5lb can of CO2 every 4 weeks or so. Thought I was running higher than necessary bps so turned it down a bit, but that resulted in a nasty staghorn outbreak. Add to that the barbs have taken to digging out the HC...
Picked up a pair of drop checkers and made a 6.31 and 3.35 dKH solution, per http://dropcheck.petalphile.com/
. I figure this way as long as they are both green I know I'm good, and I don't have to guess if that is too dark or too light green.
Replaced the Ray2 with a BML XB Dutch. As you'll see, I had significant losses, virtually all the L. ovalis, L. repens, and all of the Pogostemon erectus were lost. I moved a few of the almost-dead stems into the refugium, where over the past month they have done exceptionally well and I finally moved the ovalis back up. The repens is growing, but it was really bad so it still has a ways to go. Since they did well in the refugium with a 23w CFL @ 10" or so, I knew I needed higher light in the main tank.
Replaced virtually all the plumbing with a herbie style overflow, and removed any 90 elbows for 45's. Tank is silent now, spare the mag 9.5, which is significantly louder than I ever realized. Hoping this helps with the CO2 offgassing, as there are no bubbles coming into the sump from the drain anymore.
Full tank shot, and comparison of Ray2 vs. XB Dutch (@ 100%)
Ovalis finally doing well:
Bacopa monnieri; I have to top it and replant weekly, else it'll poke out the top.
Crypt is multiplying:
Picked up some Alternanthera reineckii 'cardinalis' from Petsmart last week:
We are also looking to remove the rock and replace with wood. Rock is taking up a lot of space that we can't plant anything, and we can't really keep it clean. As you can also see, we've pretty much given up on the HC. Gives us the opportunity to fill the tank with a wider variety of plants!