Yes, the diatoms are there because its a new tank, only 2 or 3 months old, but they really kicked up their production with the new bulb at 12-14 hours per day. (A little off topic... Aesthetically, I really like a lot of forms of algae. Is that weird, or what?!
Tonight I noticed that the vals are looking even worse, and seem to be going downhill more quickly than before. Even with adjusting my lighting to help with CO2, I don't think my vals look good enough at this point for any hopes of a rebound without drastic measures.
So can anyone suggest a very inexpensive way to up my lighting on this tank? Otherwise, I'm moving on to plan B, below:
Barring some fantastic advice on cheap lighting... I'm thinking that my only option at this point, if I want to protect my investment in the vals and yet can't afford to upgrade my lighting yet, is to temporarily dump the vals in my 25g. That tank happily grows anything I throw at it. It will be really crowded in there, and I hope the fry won't mind. I just didn't want to do this because A. I want my 55g to be pretty, darnit, and look the way I had planned it! and B. I'm battling with a young outbreak of pond and ramshorn snails, and trying to pick those out. Well, at least getting the pond snails out of there. And I don't really want to introduce pond snails into the 55g when I move the vals back.
Sometimes it seems like its all trade-offs and choosing the lesser evil in this aquarium game!
I'm feeling pretty blue tonight, so I'm going to say it- If I knew how much trouble this tank was going to be, I don't know that I would've set it up. This was supposed to be part of my therapy and lift my spirits (chronic pain condition), but its been bumpier than I'd hoped, to put it mildly. All of you on this forum are pretty stinkin' awesome, though! Thanks and thanks again for all the wonderful advice!