Lordy, been a long time since I posted on here. I'm ashamed to admit it, but I've done some serious neglecting of my tank over the past several months. This summer I got into firearms and spent a lot of money and time outside shooting at the range and sitting in front of the reloading machine. Now that the weather is getting colder and the days are much shorter now, it's getting harder and harder to get to the range. At this point I doubt I'm going to be doing any more shooting until sometime in the spring, which means my attention has turned back to my woefully neglected planted tank.
Now I know from having done it before that time and patience are what planted tanks are all about, but part of my problem is that I'm having a 25+ people over to my house for Thanksgiving dinner this year. I would like to have my tank lush and healthy again by that time instead of the present swamp-like state. That gives me just a little bit less than 3 weeks. Think it's possible?
A little background on what happened during my period of neglect: First, the little yet important things like water changes and fertilizer doses didn't happen hardly at all. That's obviously the major reason for the tanks present state. Beyond that, the first major problem to occur was my POS Milwaukee CO2 regular crapped out. It remained crapped out for a good 3 months before I noticed. I just replaced it with a JBJ regulator a few days ago and things for the moment seem to be OK in that department now.
Secondly, I had all 20 Amano shrimp in my tank (30-gallon) just suddenly bite the dust out of nowhere. Again due to my neglect, I did not realize this even occured until well after the fact. I have no idea where they went, but I suspect maybe my Corries ate them.
Thirdly, this neglect caused a massive quantity of BGA and other assorted algae to overwhelm the tank. I'm presently blasting it with Maracyn and the BGA is just about gone, but it took a lot of plants with it. Presently the only plants that survived and are just bearly hanging on are a red tiger lotus and a handful of dwarf sag. I do have some babie's tears still, but they are so infested with algae that I wonder if it's even worth keeping.
Anyway, I'm sorta starting over. I'm gonna replant/reposition the sag and tiger lotus, but I also need to make a big plant order from somewhere. I need some plants that are fast growing and will fill the tank in and get things balanced again, but
are decent enough looking to remain in the tank through Thanksgiving until I can phase in nicer plants. I am open to suggestions.
Also I have seemed to have accumulated some "junk" on the top of my substrate (Eco-complete) in certain areas of the tank. Don't know what you'd call it, (mulm?) but I was wondering if I should remove this stuff. My instincts immediately told me I should get rid of it as it seems to be composed of dead bits of plants/algae/food/poop, etc and is rather ugly, but then I got to thinking some and thought that maybe this stuff would have a lot of nutritional benefit to the plants and help kickstart things again once I populated the tank with another order of plants. Should I keep this stuff for the benefit of the plants or is it more likely to encourage algae growth than anything else?
And finally, I've had my current 96-watt CF bulb for just about a year now and yes I know they should be replaced every year, but will replacing the bulb make a significant difference given the very short timeframe that I have to work with? I'd rather not replace it until after the holiday season when money isn't so tight.