safe to say this tank has run its course. hasnt been doing as well as it used to for months now. substrate is kicked. it looks different, its just grey dust that roots nothing and has little nutrients so the plants grow slower. and then the power outage from sandy killed the filter, and thus the shrimp. now its gone a week without CO2.
here is the cumulative result:
in a few weeks i will totally redo the tank.
right now im running it just to keep the a. petite happy (it becoming algae infested, but i dont think it minds, and a quick 2 min dilute bleach dip will clear it right up) as i figure out where to put it.