Due to life, work and a hiking trip, the tank went on hold for 4 weeks as I was not around to work on it. I was concerned what would happen and I was really concerned about ferts and water changes and really wasn't sure what to do with the big question being how much would I need decrease lighting and ferts without water changes. Plus what happen if something went wrong while I was gone? At the last moment I did an internet search and found a person who maintained aquariums in the area, had him come over so I could interview him and get a sense of his experience and trustworthiness. Fortunately he was a great guy(Cameron, The Fish Guy) so I hired him to change the water once a week and check things out. This worked out great as it took a lot off my mind and if something came up I knew he would be able to respond quickly.
For feeding, my daughter drop in pre-measured food once a day. The only issue that came up was one day during feeding one hatchet fish jump out of the tank, cleared the canopy with the top being 7 inches above the water level, and landed on the floor! Wow, I didn't realize they could jump above the canopy. Fortunately she pick the fish up and tossed it back into the tank and it survived.
Prior to me leaving, I trimmed the plants to anticipate 4 weeks of growth. See below for before and after photos:
Prior to leaving:
4 Weeks Later:
Over the next week I'll slowly start to trim plants, change filters, and get the tank back into order. Plus I'll try to catch up on everyone's journals, I have a lot of reading to do!