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Just read you whole story. Wow! Well done! I like the current incarnation. Very nicely maintained. Looking forward to following your further stumblings... though youre looking more sure on your wet-feet now..

Java fern is charming, but it defintely can feel "boring" after a while. Had a bunch of wendelov in my old 39 tall, and the way it grew on my drfitwood made it look like a bushy tree. Pretty cool... however, it also shaded much of the tank to oblivion. And dont forget the constant trimming... especially under the high lights I was using to punch to the bottom of a stupidly deep tank (lots of wet arm-pits in that tank).

Your story rings true to many of us, as you seem to know. I fought BBA, diatoms, green water, hair algae, CO2 problems, floods, mechanical failures, dead animals, dead plants, angry wife, money down the drain...literally! I lost a ten while cleaning a tank once. I worked at a LFS and learned a ton of stuff... lots of it wrong. Discovered the forums, learned more... still got lots wrong. Got involved in the local fish clubs. Met Tom Barr. Went into CC debt while working at the LFS, actually, 'cause, "Hey, it's just 10% above cost!" Problem is, married college students with limited time, VERY limited funds, and a kid on the way shouldn't have expensive hobies 🤓. And yet we persist, and keep coming back , dont we? Why? The beauty of the aquatic ecosphere. The fun of the science. A deep facination. And, to be honest, probably some sort of neurosis. 🤑

Sorry to threadjack... I just connected with your tank and journey. Cheers my fellow crazy water-box person.

- Jared

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