Success! I have persuaded le grandmother to not be upset about yet another fish. The concept of "wasting money" got her, because she doesn't see the point in keeping a planted tank up and running without a fish in it, and when I told her how much I'd invested into the materials for aquascaping the three 15L tanks, she did a quick about-face and said to purchase the fish (it's beside the point that I already had, I guess... >.<).
Then we had a long conversation about the work involved with keeping fish. She was surprised when she realised that the amount of time taken to care for a few healthy fish when compared to the accumulated time of caring for a fluffball was pretty minimal. I'd rather be doing water changes than scrubbing vomit/hairballs off the carpet any day... O_O I do love cats though (and dogs, though I'm more of a cat person) and would like to have another at some point in my life, that point isn't right now.
Some people wonder why I generally look to my grandmother for approval when I'm 24 years old. I like peace in my household, and an "I do what I want!!" attitude from anyone in a household towards each other (whether it's the younger or older person) doesn't make for happy people when you have a huge generation gap. Asking for things rather than telling an elder will always make for a more harmonious living arrangement. And that is why I defer to my grandma rather than shove things in her face. That is, unless it is about my body and what I choose to do with it, that's something I hold sacred.
Something I've been thinking about for a while and worrying about is when I do this awesome tank overhaul I have planned, how do I go about vacuuming the gravel effectively enough if over 50% of it is covered by hardscape and plants, with little tunnels and such for the fish to swim through? Won't poop and plant debris be caught in the little nooks and crannies that I just can't reach with the gravel vac? I don't want aesthetics and the playgrounds I'll be building for my little guys be their demise, y'know?
Quick, narky note: In the realm of nightmare ex-partners, there is seldom anything more satisfying than to see the likes of what they've downgraded to, though I do feel pity for those poor souls. The bit that really makes me laugh is that this ex is now "polyamorous". I respect those who actually do "love many", and have genuine, caring and loving relationships with more than one person though that life is most definitely not for me, but this guy is clearly just a case of "sleep with many under the guise of something more". Wonder when was the last time someone told him "quality over quantity!"
I'm showing somewhat of a nasty streak here in looking down upon people, but it is truly hard to feel kindness towards people who have metaphorically spat in your face, and a little schadenfreude never hurt anyone... Well... Yeah, that doesn't work. Either way, I'll be waiting with popcorn when the drama inevitably gets aired on the internet for the world to see (why do people argue online publicly about private matters once they're out of high school? I don't get it) and I'm still just chugging along in my fantastic, chilled, monogamous relationship. ^.^
The plants use the poo for fertilizer. In planted tanks you aren't supposed to vacuum more than 50% of the gravel at a time. With a filter and live plants, ammonia shouldn't ever be a problem, and nitrates build up slower since a lot of the ammonia is used by the plants instead of the filter.
Phew! That's a relief. Though I am wondering if that changes with plants that aren't great nutrient sponges... I am only putting a couple of varieties of anubias on hardscape, and planting a crypt or two, and the only decent nutrient sponge will be duckweed, unless my water sprite manages to survive (it's not doing so well).
I know duckweed literally grows like a weed and it should handle ammonia very well. A high amount of DOCs can be harmful, but if you don't have a bunch of planted plants (just stems and floaters) they can be moved around to get the gravel cleaned easier. Anubias is attached to driftwood and rocks often because its easier to move around that way... So it'd be easier to get to the gravel around them.
Edit: DaBaDee isn't looking good but Okami's tail is healing nicely and Bahari has been more active. I can't wait to get my new meds for DaBaDee... He's very lethargic, clamped and still has color loss but he's hanging on.
Yeah, as long as its not clouding the water and super nasty, I wouldn't worry too much about the DOCs and ammonia will pretty much never occur (unless plants start dying). It's hard to siphon around planted plants because you don't want to disturb the roots but stems and floaters will be fine.