Disappointed but optimistic
I have been trying to create flourishing planted tanks for some time now, and all I get is algae ridden tanks. Of course I constantly cleaned it so you couldn't tell. No matter what I do, whether it be shorter to no lights at all, to daily water changes, little to no ferts, to using ro water and doing a tank restart, I couldn't find the sweet spot. With the current heatwave in SoCal doing horrible swings to my temp and completely killing off my fish from weeks of stress, it hasnt made it any better. From when i started ive gone to bigger and badder tanks, super high tech and with all the doodads and equipment all that's happened is my hands are less in the tank and more on checking equipment. Its become more of a chore, than a joy to deal with. Its just not for me.
At this point I have 2 options. Sell all my equipment, and/or go back to what made me love fish tanks in the first place...simple nano tanks with nano critters. Out of all my experiences, AIO nano tanks have given me the least stress and most joy. The simple fact that they just work with minimal care. I guess I got caught up in the bigger and grander setups with so much tech and trying to follow the latest trend, that I forgot what really made me happy.
To finish this off on a happy note, please suggest a solid and reliable AIO setup.