2/1/14 First water change. Our chemistry was good, no ammonia, no nitrites, 10 nitrates, but I felt like it was probably a good idea to do a water change since the tank had been running for a little over 2 weeks. I siphoned out 5 gallons since that's the size container I have and can lift to my kitchen sink.
Previously I used a python clean and fill system. Now I have a fancy kitchen faucet, so I can't hook one up. I loved that method and would recommend it to anyone with a large tank (I used it for a 70 gallon).
So anyhow, now I just start the siphon by mouth, lug the dirty water over to the sink and have my husband re-fill the tank, since it's too high for me to reach. I'm using Prime as a conditioner.
Since I couldn't get the python, I got the EHEIM quick vac pro. It's a battery powered gravel cleaner, that can be used without removing water from the tank. I didn't like this product at all. It is expensive ($50) and really doesn't do well at all. There is a mesh screen for collecting debris, which is fine for big fish poop, but everything else goes though and then is floating in the water. The tank looked terrible after using it and was cloudy for 2 full days. Since we have quite a few plants there is only a small area I can vacuum.
I also added API root tabs to the gravel for the Cryptocoryne, Wisteria and Bacopa.
I got the wisteria for 30% off because it looked so pathetic (it was the only one they had). It started getting new leaves within 2 days so I think it will do well.
I rinsed and squeezed the Marimo in tap water and rolled it in my hands. It looked much nicer and greener after rinsing.
I think I will probably do water changes every 2 weeks, since the filter and plants seem to be doing a nice job. I'll watch my ammonia and nitrites and see.