A few weeks ago I took the plunge and stripped out my 3ft planted tank in order to try the low tech el naturel style tank as advocated by Diana Walstead. The fish, a guppy, bristlenose plec and a few otto's and a load of plants went into an old unused 2ft tank while I stripped out the main 3ft tank. Loads of plants and gravel that were covered in algae were thrown away. I had recently bought a nutrafin yeast CO2 system which worked very well, the extra CO2 seemed to kick start the growth of the existing plants and halt the rather rampant growth of green filamentous algae. Into the now bare 3ft tank went about a bucket full of John Innes seed compost - enough for a 1" layer and over that went 1-1.5" of the original substrate complete with the mulm that had built over years. The gravel/substrate is an inert baked clay substrate called terra decor which I bought in the mid 90's. I filled the tank about 3/4 with tap water and left it overnight unheated and unfiltered. The next day i syphoned off the water and refilled it with a mixture of the old tank water, tap water and and some rain water (about 1/5 rain water). I then left the tank overnight again filtered and heated to get the tank back up to temp. The following day I replanted with vallis, cryptocornes (wendtii I think) java fern, anubias nana, pogostemon helferi and riccia This is a picture of the tank a few days later - CO2 diffuser is still present but I did not refill the yeast reactor so no C02. About a week or so later with a few extra plants (ordered 25 aquarium plants from ebay) some golden barbs and some more bristlenose plecs from Adam. Some of the stem plants I recieved did not do so well the Limnophila sessiliflora seemed to melt and alot of the Ludwigia leaves snapped off. I also moved a few plants around. Here's a picture from today (14 Aug). The vallis has grown well and there is little if any algae so have removed the algae scraper from the glass. Not everthing is going well, when I moved the sword plants around I noticed alot of the original roots seemed to melt although there was also some newer stronger looking root growth and most of the leaves seemed to melt The vallis has grown quite thick and may need to be thinned soon In terms of maintenance I've cleaned the external eheim ecco filter once because it got clogged up and the water flow went down. There is no added CO2 and no added ferts only fish food - 2 generous helpings of flake per day and some algae tabs most nights for the plecs. I haven't done a water change other than a small one when cleaning the filter and don't plan on doing one till about christmass. There are 2 tubes, one a Sun-glo on for 10 hrs a day and an Interpet triton on for 8hrs a day. Both are old tubes which is why the pictures are a bit dim. There has been little or no algae so far, occassionly some filamentous algae but it doesn't seem to last. In the past I would not have dared feed this much food and would have expected there to have been an algae bloom with the plant die off (which I did not remove this time around) but the fish and the snails seem to like it.