Well, sadly we had to leave family and friends in Hawaii to return to the real world back home. Before we left I set up dosing pumps
on all my tanks and set them all on auto-pilot. I'm happy to report that, with the exception of a lot of overgrowth all went will in my absence.
Upon our return I immediately noticed that the water level in my 125g tank was about 4" low and that the tops of quite a few java ferns had been burned by the lights. Further investigation revelaed that the dosing pumps I had set up for the tank failed to run for almost the entire three week period. Apparently the timer I used to run the pumps malfunctioned a couple of days into the trip and reset itself with no scheduled run times.
Surpisingly, the only odd thing I noticed in the tank was an explosion of baby ramshorn snails on my Bolbitis. Seeing this made me look for my Dwarf Puffer, which was nowhere to be found. I chalked him up as a casualty of the vacation. The following morning I set about cleaning my Fluval 304 filter (which was running at a trickle) and as I'm pouring it out into a bucket out pops the puffer... still alive and in good health. The only time when it possibly could have been sucked into the filter was the day before I left on vacation (while I was cleaning out the siphon strainer) so it survived off the snail population in the filter for three weeks!
He is now back in the tank seemingly none the worse for wear.
The snippets of Ricca I left in my 40g tank before we left has turned into a square foot mat and has engulfed all the HC that I left floating. Also, the Cladophora that I was painstakingly removing from the HC was not completely excised so it too has grown back with a vengence. Finally the P. gayi is everywhere and needs to be yanked...again. This tank has been running for about 18 months now so its time to tear it down and reset it with a more HC-friendly substrate.
Finally, my 20g tank looks to be in much the same shape that I left it in save for the overgrowth of Najas grass and micranthemoides. Sadly, my male Apisto cacatuoides died the day before we left and I have yet to spot either of the two females. On a brighter note I did see a Cherry Red Shrimp (who's population has been in major decline as the Apistos grew). And of course, the Endlers are still multiplying.