11 hours later and the tank transition is done.
Started off by pulling out all the plants. Talk about overgrown.
Pulled out at least 3 clumps just as big as this one from the driftwood. Leggy from the Nymphoides Hydrophylla 'Taiwan' blocking the light, but I was surprised how much was salvageable. I was worried all of it would be too unhealthy.
Even the anubias were massive. Had a couple different variations in the tank. Nana, Barteri and Petite. These are 2 of the larger plants.
Placed all the plants in a bucket with dechlorinated water and some tank water, then moved on to transferring the fish to a second bucket. I ran the filter in the bucket during the transition and used the Nymphoides Hydrophylla as cover to try and minimize stress. At this point I also realized I have glowlight tetras instead of cardinals. Oops.
Moved the tank out to the yard to leak test it. Should have used the Python instead of my old Aqueon to drain it though, since it took about 45 minutes to drain. Silicone inside looked clean. No leaks, but there is a seam that's a little concerning.
Not sure if this is common, I'm only going off my experience with the 29 gallon, and none of the seams had air pockets like that. Still no leaks this AM, so maybe this isn't as much of an issue as I'm thinking.
Since the draining took so long, I took the opportunity to try out some hardscape ideas.
Picked up another piece of driftwood at the LFS. I have a plant order coming with another java fern variety included. Saw the piece on the right and thought it would be a great shelf for the new java fern. Hated everything I tried up until this. Provides a hiding spot for the pleco and cory and would allow me to showcase the ferns. The plan is to create a cave of sorts. The opening is wide enough to allow me to siphon a bit inside too, which is a plus.
Zip tied the egg crate together, with lifts toward the back of the tank.
Moved the tank inside and started rinsing the BDBS. So. Much. Rinsing. By the time I was done, the new orange Home Depot bucket was nice and black on the inside. Even then, I still didn't rinse it enough.
Did 2 drains and fills with the Python. A little bit of a learning curve the second time. the air pressure in the hose caused it to shoot out of the tank and spray half the room with water. Gave myself a shower in the process. That was fun.
After 2 water changes. A lot of micro bubbles and floating sediment.
At this point it was a little past 10 pm, and after starting shortly after noon, I was losing steam. Did an H2O2 dip on all the plants, placed the java fern in the wood where I wanted it and then just threw everything else in the substrate where ever it would fit. Pardon the garbage on the substrate.
Plant package comes tomorrow, so I'll work on plant placement then. Not sure yet where to place all the anubias. I'm thinking on the piece to the far left, and along the bottom of the two larger pieces. I also have another small piece of driftwood I could attach them to, but I don't want to crowd it too much. Not sure if I'll keep everything I currently have plant-wise. Never had luck with stems before, but maybe this time will be different. Definitely should have acclimated the fish better then I did, but they're all doing fine this morning. Glowlights and cory have started to color up nicely. Was worried about overnight deaths due to shock.
Started dosing ferts this morning. Hope it isn't too early. Going with EI dosing 2x a week for now to see how plants respond. Dosing today:
1/2 tsp KNO3
1/8 tsp KH2PO4
1/8 tsp K2SO4
Also have Iron Chelate, but not sure how to dose that one. Initial searching shows it's about 1/3 whatever trace doses at.
By the time everything was back in the tank, total time spent breaking down and rebuilding was a little over 11 hours. I tried to take my time and do it right the first time, and managed to do that up until the last hour and a half or so. All in all, the transition went okay. New filter comes today. Looking to upgrade the light soon since I already almost dropped it in the tank. Looks like a 36" is needed for me. Not sure what light to get, however. I've loved my planted+, so might go that route again. I imagine it also depends on what plants I decide to keep in the tank. If I go with mostly anubias and java fern varieties, then low par won't be as much of a concern.
More to come when plants show up.