We had a pressing schedule this friday morning, so I had to make tank maintenance concise. Usually I take my time at it, I enjoy working among the plants and observing everything closely. It's on average 2-4 hours for me to do both tanks, depending on if I'm rinsing filter media, have a lot of plants to trim/replant, or something to fix.
Yesterday I found that by setting out all my equipment, testing water quality and measuring ferts the night before and skipping a few details, I can get maintenance done in just an hour for the main tank. Of course I still changed out half the water, dosed ferts and removed a few plant leaves. Not very many this time: two vallisneria leaves that showed signs of BBA, one algae-grown leaf off the big wendtii plant and one dying leaf off a small green crypt. A few small floating ludwigia leaves caught among the hornwort. I only trimmed two hornwort stems that had got long (nitrates at the normal level this week) and cut the top off one watersprite stem that was about to grow out of the water. For the first time, aponogeton crispus has hit the ceiling. The leaf is a good inch wide. I ought to take it off just to keep the plant from overwhelming the tank, but it feels like such an accomplishment I can't bear to cut it yet.
I did not: rinse filter media (this is an every-other-week task anyway), trim a ton of stuff or replant anything, wipe algae and hard water residue/scum off the cover glass (a lot less of that now, too), pull individual thread algae, wipe the inside glass or clean the outside glass w/vinegar. It doesn't sound like much to skip, but trimming and re-clipping hornwort stems alone can take quite some time, if I have a lot of them to do (which I probably will next week, as I went easy on it this week).
More pictures coming soon!