Planted Tank Enthusiast
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Chattanooga, TN
I can help you out with the second part of your issue. Refilling the tank took forever and if I didn't go slowly, I would uproot plants. I'm sure many others use something like this.
1. Get medium sized plastic container. I used sturdy tupperware.
2. Make 4 or 5 dozen small holes around the sides. I used a 1/4" drill bit.
3. Sand sides down to remove excess plastic(optional) and rinse clean
4. Hold vented container at water surface inside tank with one hand.
5. With your other hand, dump as much treated water in container as you wish from pitcher, as fast as you wish.
6. Pull up container to let drain.
This allows for much faster water changes without disturbing much. In between dumps, the container just floats on surface because there are no holes in the bottom. BTW, steady bucket lugging is a sport (flexes).