Thank you so much for the continued support guys, it's very kind of you to take your time to help me out. Shadow: regarding the rotalas, I think they are doing just as well as always. I think your observations are because of two reasons; uneven trimming. and a small powerhead i added in the back right corner (you can see it in last photo) has created a current which is pushing them forward. Thanks for the info about nitrates, you always manage to explain things in a very intelligible way. I will continue to research more on my own, I may or may not bother to get a different/better nitrate test. Supercoley: don't be so modest, your tanks are amazing.. I learned a lot from all of your posts and pictures you've posted. I'll be sure to post more weekly/bi-weekly update pics. You guys might be tired of me but I think this thread would be useful for other beginners who stumble across it. I'm thinking about editing my original post of this thread and turn it into a FAQ of all the useful lessons I've learned over the course of this thread.