This morning I took the backdrop off the tank before it was quite daylight outside, left the curtains closed. Fishes were timid at first but I left the tank alone for half an hour before starting the wc- just 10% this time and I was able to do it without much fuss. Hooked a series of bulldog clips to the baffle (just while I have the lid off) so it stays in place and I leave the filter running while doing the wc. Soon after I was done all the fishes were moving around the tank actively- especially the tetras.
Even Splishy was up and about- for a good long while. It seems to take her a lot of effort to swim, still- after an hour she appears to tire and drifts down to the substrate again. But that's the most activity I've seen from her since she came home. I am going to continue with the small partial wc daily. Have not fed again since trying peas- maybe a few more days of fasting will do her good. Reading stuff online can be so conflicting. Grouping of symptoms between the two swords made me fear they have some kind of bacterial disease- but his morning their behavior looks so much better I am not sure.
I considered adding a very small amount of aquarium salt to the tank- starting with 1 tsp/10gal it could be beneficial for the swordtails, the type of hornwort I have and the windelov java fern should be fine with that. But I'm not sure it's good for the tetras, better to wait until I move them. Today the serpaes and lamp-eyes were displaying at each other for a bit, that was interesting to watch. A concern of putting the tetras into my 38 is will they eat the plants. So far they show no inclination in here, but maybe they will find something in my planted tank more tempting, when they have a real appetite.