I've been slowly tapering off water changes. At the end of next week, I'll be down to only one water change per week. Without the frequent water changes, algae began to grow on the rocks and along the glass near the substrate line. I've been dosing Excel fairly heavily, and that has done an excellent job knocking back what little algae I've seen.
Here you can see some algae growing on the glass along the substrate, but check out the roots on the DHG! It continues to send out runners, and my substrate has visibly lifted nearly an inch in some places. The blades of grass are finally starting to break through. I keep expecting it to explode with growth soon as all those blades finally break through and fill in the gaps.
I planted my hemianthus glomeratus this week behind my rocks. Most of it is hidden from view on a front shot of the tank, but it will quickly grow and fill in, and I'll keep trimming it back until it forms a nice, thick bush effect. You can see just the tops of HG peaking from behind the rocks here:
I cleaned off the algae, and took a tooth brush to my rocks, today, and my water looked like a dust storm in Kansas. I was scheduled to perform a 50% water change, tomorrow, but I decided to go ahead and clean up the debris and did two 50% water changes to clear things up.
I was able to get my 5 lb CO2 tank filled this week. I also received the Aquatek regulator for this tank. I received my high end regulator and needle valve that I'll use for my future ADA tank, as well. I didn't pay attention when I placed an order for some parts such as my glass nano diffuser on Ebay that the seller is overseas, so some parts won't be here until mid-August. I couldn't wait that long, so I hit up the LFSs for a temporary fix with a Fluval CO2 ceramic diffuser. Either they didn't carry it or they were out, so I remembered hearing about the bamboo diffusers. My son happened to have some bamboo that he had dried for a project, so I borrowed a tiny piece and shaped it into a makeshift diffuser. It actually works amazingly well and creates a fine mist of CO2 that floats around the tank. I couldn't get a great picture of it, but here is a shot where you can see the CO2 micro-bubbles being swept to the right.
I've been testing my water parameters, and I was somewhat surprised to see my nitrites spike this week. I thought the tank might have cycled during the dry start, but I rushed it by a week or two when I flooded it, and so it looks like I'm cycling, now. So, no fauna for me for awhile longer.
Finally, here is the tank shot for this week. The hairgrass is really filling in, and I'm looking forward to seeing the HG behind the rocks fill in. With the CO2, I should have a good jump in growth for next week's shot. Here's hoping!