This marks this fifth week for my aquarium, and the second week of having the tank flooded. Since flooding, growth has slowed significantly. I'm dosing Excel, but I think the plants would really like more CO2. All of the CO2 items have been ordered, and I found a place directly across from my office that will do CO2 tank fills for very cheap. Cool!
I looked at the jaggedfury thread and was just about to go that route, but then decided for just a little more, I could get the Aquatek regulator with a solenoid and maybe be a tad safer. I thought about building a regulator for this tank, but I am getting an ADA tank in the future, and I will have CO2 on it, so I will need another CO2 system (different floor), and I'll spend the money for a kickbutt dual stage regulator with an Ideal needle valve on that tank. To spend $200-$250 on a regulator seems hard to justify on a Petco plastic tank.
I had originally placed Osmocote under the substrate for nutrients, and those are still there doing their job, but I am now dosing NPK on even days and Excel Flourish on odd days. Before my fertilizer came in, I crushed some Osmocote and placed it into a solution that I dosed. This would cause an ammonia spike, but by the next day, the bacteria had taken care of it. Even though the evidence is iffy, I decided to add beneficial bacteria to my tank after major water changes. At least it can't hurt.
TPT member Trenton is a spreadsheet master, and seeing his dosing spreadsheet made me want to create one of my own, so I copied much of his layout and added a few more items I wanted to track. It is proving to be very helpful to track everything and to remind me where I'm at in my rotation.
It may have been a mistake now that I look at it, but this week I decided to try removing my light hood and shooting with the tank lit only by an incandescent bulb. To the natural eye, it made the tank look rich and warm, but on film, well, not so much. I also have few shots showing the aquarium, so I included one for this week with the included hood back in place and the much whiter light.
Next week, CO2 should be up and running and the week after that, I'll have reached the point where I'm only doing a 50% water change once per week, and I'll add some wildlife to the tank at that time.
Below are the tank shots and a screenshot of the spreadsheet I made based on Trenton's awesome work. I have the water level lower than normal to create some surface agitation.