Thanks! Here are some current pics that I took last night.
I had some BBA issues, and then some minor hair algae issues, both of which seem to be in check now. More CO2, and more flow (opened up the bypass in the manifold a little) seemed to be the answer.
The driftwood was pretty well covered in BBA, so i removed it and scrubbed some off and drizzled it with H202 as well. This also gave me an opportunity to take off the rocks that were tied on with fishing line. I could see some of the fishing line, which really bugged me. Now the wood sinks on its own.
I also took the opportunity to pour more sand in and around the driftwood to bring back the original "Valley" look that I was going for. The sand had flattened out a lot. I am hopping the HC will spread up to the driftwood and hold the sand in place.
The stem plants in the back are still recovering from a replanting I did a while ago. I replanted them since they were getting a little too bushy and/or scraggly in the back.
Here is the tank as it sits. Almost no algae right now. I had the algae under control with more co2 and more height for the light, and then excel spot treatment has really knocked almost all the rest out.
I have been trimming the rotala a lot to make it bushier. I think I need to add another kind of stem plant in the background next, and maybe some more medium sized crypts to the front left and right.
I just got back from vacation, and the tank got pretty jungly. I think I like it, but I will need to thin things out pretty soon.
HC is filling in nicely. The red stem plant has developed some holes in some leaves. Not sure why, might mean I need to top them and replant the tips. Old growth always gets scraggly eventually.
My crypt wendtii is looking good,
as well as the large anubias.
Had to do a tear-down and rescape the whole tank due to a problem with the cabinet...
The HC carpet was starting to uproot anyway, so it was a good opportunity to replant anyway. I also added a lot more slope back to the substrate and rearranged things. If the HC roots and spreads quickly enough maybe it will stabilize the slope some.
At this point, since the crypts and anubias are doing so well, I have removed all almost all the stem plants. No room for them now! The crypts are huge.
Still have some bba, but not bad. I used H2O2 on the driftwood when the tank was down, so that should help knock the bba down a bit.
HELLO AGAIN TPT! It’s been SEVEN years. No hard feelings, I hope.
Anyway, to the tank! Life happened, so it’s really a low-tech tank for now. I finally added some root tabs though, so a few of my crypts came back gloriously! Those plants are older than my second-grader. I also added some dwarf sags to the left side with the sad looking crypts. We’ll see what thrives.
I still love my Fish Need It metal halide, although I know the world is all about LEDs now. LEDs are the future, but I really love the point-source, ripple effect you get from a metal halide. Reminds me of snorkeling every time I look at the tank. I raised the MH light as far as it would go (it’s on cables from the ceiling), so it’s intensity works as a low tech setup, but I still get the beautiful ripple effect. I do feel bad about the energy, FWIW.
Fish have come and gone, but I am proud to say that my three Botia Striata are still happy. Today I took an old Rainbowfish to the LFS for a new home because it had a bad habit of bullying all my fish to death. Most jumped.
The new residents are 24 neon tetras. My plan is to add another batch of schooling fish (h. Rasboras? Chili rasboras?) and maybe a fleet of ottos. Let me know if you have ideas!
I also removed the driftwood a while ago because it was breaking down. After removing the wood, the algae really backed off as well. Clearly the wood was behaving more like organic matter than an inert decoration.
No CO2 for now. Interested to see what I can do with a low-tech setup.