Let's fast forward to the present day so I can cover day one maintenance of the tank, i'll keep this short and brief with mostly pictures (for the first week, there will be a water change EVERY DAY, this is huge for preventing algae) :
Frank's water change & maintenance methods:
Drain water into a bucket with eheim tubing (obviously, you should consider turning off the filter first) :
Drain to about half full (make sure to leave enough water to fill back up with ease without disturbing substrate):
Trim any yellow or brown leaves (these suck out the plant's energy / nutrients so get rid of them asap for best growth) (using Trimming scissors curve type) :
Use a small cup to fill over, gently pouring water on the big main stone (this distributes water flow over the tank and doesn't disturb substrate:
Turn filter on when the water level is about halfway level with the outflow, this helps to super oxygenate the water at fill up:
At this stage in the game, I am only dosing Green Bacter, will start adding Brighty K + Green Bacter on the third day, add about 3-5 drops:
Use a net to remove any old or dead leaves at the top (doing this for a few minutes each day keeps the tank clean and makes it so you don't have to spend major time doing it later) :
Maintenance Complete (approximately 10 minutes)
One last tip: of course, if you're using tap water add dechlorinater first. I use pure RO/DI water as the water in Texas is very hard. I recommend it for anyone who has the means.
P.S. if you've found these techniques valuable, help share the information with new comers by linking back here in your own journals when you use my techniques!