Over the last week I have made some major changes to the farm.
First, a new light, a Fluval LED 3.0. Compared to my low-tech worn-out fluorescent tubes, it is amazing. I dialed the Fluval down to about the same output as the old lights to start with. Don't need MORE algae, do I?
Then, I cleaned the tank thoroughly. Now, I have been keeping a farm for a long time... over 10 years for this tank, and close to 20 overall. Still, I saw colors I had never seen before when I cleaned the tank. Turquoise?! This MUST be due to the different light color from the Fluval... Right?!
After scraping everything I could reach, the tank water looked like this.
After a few days of filtration, a couple of water changes, and adding some new plants from a swap meet, this is what it looks like.
The new plants are: Crypt spiralis tiger, Juncus repens, Rotala mini butterfly, Ludwigia pantanal, Rotala sp. Enie, Vallisneria nana tiger, mayaca fluviatillis, Ludwigia atlantis. Some of these are difficult or slow growing, but they were at hand and cheap so I went for it. Hopefully there is enough fast-growing stock. I can always add more.
I've also boosted GH to 5 degrees, per advice I received on the forum.
Next steps are to tune CO2 delivery, adjust photoperiod, and begin dosing ferts.