Thanks! I'll take a photo this weekend and try to continue the write-up... we're pretty much caught up now, I spent the last week or so rewiring the house and reconfiguring the network, added a NAS to use as storage for the video cameras and so forth... I want to record an entire year of this setup and watch the tank go thorugh it's various stages and problems and being able to access the logs of what was added, test results and so forth... I have been keeping detailed tank logs for over 20 years and they are so worth the effort, seems like every time I open a page from the past I learn or remember something new. I also keep photos as a visual log to complement the written one, but a video log should be fun, specially sped up as a time lapse.
The most interesting part of having such a setup is that everything is planned for, there is little room for human error and the results are very evident when you tweak things. I had started to use the metal halides for a midday peak and clearly did not work out well at all... BGA started to cover the entire foreground, rocks and eventually onto the plants. I let it get to a "bad" point on purpose and then started to play with the program, making a single change at a time and waiting it out to see what effects it had. On BGA it's just so eivident that too much light was the key cause, at least in this case, but so was 'something' in the water... I started by letting the system perform a 24 hour water change, by the time the change was complete it was evident that the thickness of the film had greatly been reduced, the glosso under it was visible once again, but a day after the fact it was back to normal. I repeated this 3 times over the course of a week until I no longer saw any benefit of doing so. I then shut down the midday peak and returned to my original plan of a "low(ish) light tank". The reduction of light stopped it from spreading and I vacumed the remainder out last week. The tank is now operating on the two 40W AquaRays for 12 hours a day (overdriven @ 110W each). Turning the UV light on or off seemed to have little to no effect on the spread of BGA.
The substrate is also showing signs of maturing, long gone are the initial "fuzzies" typical of a new tank and the crypts are no longer showing any signs of deficiencies (seemed like nitrogen deficiency). The floaters which were struggling initially and melting away are now being purchased by the local fish store on a bi-weekly basis. Pretty soon I'll be able to start playing with fertilizer doses and so forth, still need to reach the volume of plants I need to fertilize the tank as I want to.
The automation of the ferts is my next thing to tackle. So far the Kangaroo feeding pumps I'm picking up for peanuts on eBay are working well but cannot be controlled by my controller... so in the spirit of a fully automated and remotely controllable system, these cannot be a final solution for me, but they are incredibly accurate and cheap on the used market. A couple models do have an RS232 port so perhaps there may be a way to control them, I will have a busy end of year with other things so this is likely going to be dragged out a little.
That's about it for now, the glosso is still filling in but has spread throughout the entire foreground. HC struggled to keep a hold on the Flourite but it's still present in some areas. I have a bunch growing emersed so once the BGA is fully gone I will attempt to plant it again. Have also been adding more fish, trying to build up a nice army of cardinals and ottos. It's actually the first time I see ottos school like this, there's about 20 of them and they all stick together or in two tight groups, very cool! SAE's jumped out... I guess they didn't like it in there
PS. Big open tank = big surprises! So far I have found a football, a pair socks, bouncy balls and the dog's bone in there... oh and a couple Yougioh cards too... Paw prints on the glass may be a hint that the cat may have fallen in there too. Wish the camera was rolling for that!