Thanks ghengis. But, you know, as much as I learn from and enjoy this tank -- and it is my favorite tank I've had -- I still think it leaps and bounds away from the great APC tanks. And I think that's an honest assesment most folks would agree with. But maybe with a little dumb luck and more practice...
But, like, golden ratio and proportion and a good eye and stuff? I know I'm still a gardener and not an aquascaper.
I dose every day, and my method is somewhat unique though fast. I dose my macros with these guys -- 1mL of KNO3 solution adds 1ppm NO3 into my tank's volume, 1mL of KH2PO4 adds 0.4ppm PO4 -- and traces by dipping a couple wet fingers into my trace mix then dipping those fingers in my tank, which I've already measured via scale to add about 0.2ppm Fe from DTPA (every other day) and 0.1ppm Fe as a proxy for trace levels from Plantex (the remaining days). I do things this way because I believe consistency is way more important than exact values when coupled with regular large water changes. So, for example, I dosed 5mLs (I use a syringe but used to use a bottle cap) of my KNO3 solution when my tank was just starting with little mass. Now with algae I have increased NO3 dosing to about 7mLs. It's just a fast easy way to adjust when needed. (And, with my way of going from little to lots of plant mass, I've learned adjustment is good as long as we stay consistent afterwards.)
I trim a few times a week when I can, but that's mostly just snipping tops off the Rotala indica to make its shape. I've cut down the Polygonum sp 'Sao Paulo' at least 4 times now, replanting the tops and tossing the bottoms in the back to help hide that pot and get branching emergent growth. (My goal with the single P. 'Sao Paulo' on the right is to mimic PJAN's Old Chinese Garden off-center red point with his Nymphaea sp., and to do it I want a pretty thick stem and dominant, large, colurful leaves.) So that's maybe 15-30 minutes a week. Then bigger trims like what I expect will happen this weekend are probably a couple hours, mostly drinking beer and staring at the tank while waiting for inspiration.
Water changes are via Python and painless -- I usually do other stuff while I drain it once, refill a little high to soak the emergent growth, drain it again, then refill to my target height. I'd guess I change like 70% of the water weekly but don't really know. Maybe 20 minutes for that?
So... all in all that's maybe 2-3 hours a week. It sounds like a lot but man I spend more time watching the tank than most people do watching TV. So, relative to the enjoyment and destressing I get, my maintenance schedule is pretty light. Remembering that my lady may feel negelcted is harder work
I hope that makes sense so please let me know if it doesn't.