I'm going to preface this entire post with the fact that I am about a bottle and a half of wine in, and my opinions may be tainted with liquor, but man do I really hate this tank now.
Nano's are truly the most unforgiving mistress. I've taken refuge lately in the arms of my 40 breeder, a tank with little more than sand and some java fern. It's reached the sublimely blissful stage of bulletproof-ness where you can leave it alone for a good long while, and it's, to continue the weird anthropomorphism I've got going on here, got enough self confidence to carry out without a second thought. It's got it's own life, it's own things to do, it'll survive a month or two without your input.
Nano's are not like that.
Nano's are the demanding girlfriends of the planted tank world. They're the ones who need that daily phone call, have no understanding of "me-time", the ones who wind their way into your very subconscious with their near omnipresence. I wish I was kidding, but I've started having nightmares about this tank crashing.
The problem is, I really suck at relationships. The tank and I have been having a spat for almost three weeks now, and it's kind of at the point where the tank is no longer talking to me, and I've just been pleading with it to tell me what's wrong. It's a freakin' glass box of dirt and water, though, it can't tell me what's wrong. Most of this, nay, all of this have been my own failings, and right now I just need to suck it up, swallow my pride, and work through it. I started with too little plant matter, I added amano's too early*, on top of trying to blunder my way through growing HC, a plant I've had absolutely no experience with.
To go on a tangent of a tangent, however, I did my first monthly filter maintenance on Tuesday. I scraped the glass of algae (o, the algae), cleaned the filter media, replaced the NA Carbon with Bio Rio, switched the filter input/output to the left side, removed algae, water change, replanted, etc, etc, etc.
I did not, obviously, clean the pipes, since the ADG order I was planning to make that included a spring washer was delayed because of someone trying to steal my CC number. Ugh.
And it didn't make a darn bit of difference, really. The tank is still mad at me, I'm mad at myself, and now i've gotta give it another month to see if it'll even out and maybe speak to me again.
*The amanos have taken to obsessively cleaning the substrate, to the point of ignoring the plants, which, okay, w/e, the algae isn't terribly bad on the HC at this point, but they've utterly destroyed the slope around my main rock. I'm about to feed these stupid shrimp to my cats, honestly. I've been having to suction the collapsed substrate out, then replace it around the base of the rock, thereby terribly disturbing the HC. I should have waited until the HC had "anchored" the substrate in place, which would have happened if I had started with more HC. It's a vicious cycle, where one mistake only begets more mistakes.