Way to capture the sense of scale, it looks MUCH larger than 30 gallons.
Thank you, sir! This is why people should shop hardscape (and other supplies, for that matter) at their LFS whenever possible vs. buying stone and wood online. Yes, you might get a better deal online, but the character and scale of the pieces are too important to leave up to somebody else to choose! My wife and I spent a solid 45 mins digging through rock bins at our LFS before settling on these ones (well, I dug while my wife questioned why I wasn't happy with one of the first 20 stones, but I think she gets it now
The replacement Monte Carlo arrived today and has been planted. I'm still working on dialing in the CO2 flow so I dosed 8.5ml of Metricide 14 to boost the bio-available carbon until I get the CO2 concentration right. I used to use Flourish Excel as an algaecide, particularly against BBA in the past so I got some Metricide in advance of the inevitable algae battles down the road). I figured a little extra carbon couldn't hurt in the meantime. Plus, stepping up the BPM on the CO2 slowly extraordinarily slowly has worked well for me in the past, so I'll try that again and it will probably take me 4 or 5 days to get it right. True to the low-effort ethos of this tank, I also dosed 3 "pumps" of Ultum Nature Systems AIO fertilizer. We'll see how this goes!
I've had it with the MICMOL lights. Today I ordered a 36" Fluval 3.0 LED strip to replace them. I'll return the MICMOL fixture when the Fluval arrives. I'm going to miss the svelt, modern look of the MICMOL (it really is a sexy light) but the controller for it sucks. After fidgeting with it for 4 days trying to dial in a natural light cycle, I gave up when I came down this morning an and all three spectrums of light were on at 100% when it should've been set to 20% blue light only. The display also read 0% white, 20% blue, 0% special, so either the unit is screwed up or it's just so difficult to program that I (a software engineer) can't figure it out. Regardless, I've had it and I'm looking forward to the arrival new light despite it pumping significantly less power.
Lastly, the Nuvo Fusion Pro comes with a "CustomCaddy media basket" for one side of the overflow and a filter sock for the other. As you can see below, the tank sits on a (reinforced) built-in cabinet in my living room. The shelves of the built-in seriously limit my overhead space and with the tank positioned in its final resting place and I couldn't get the rigid media basket out of the overflow because of the shelf above it. Instead, I ordered a second filter sock and am running filter socks on both sides. One side is filled with Biomax bio rings while the other is half bio rings and half filter floss. This is a filter setup I would have run 10 years ago. If anybody has suggestions for something more optimal, please suggest away.