12-30-2011, 09:28 PM
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Well, thanks for all the responses. My goal is to not have to put my hand in the tank if at all possible...and having to uproot a plant is something I would definitely prefer to avoid. For now, I'll go with the consensus opinion and leave the vals as they are. If I ever do start leaking, I'll post about it here and take some comfort in knowing that I contributed to the vast wealth of information contained in this forum.
BTW, I love the way my aquarium has required very minimal maintenance and was uber cheap to set up. Aside from a water change and a trimming of the vals every month or so, the only thing I've had to do regularly is add fish flakes and top off the water. I've been really inspired by some of the naturally balanced aquariums that byron speaks of in his stickies. For the past several months, I have been truly reveling in the joys of a natural planted aquarium which seems to virtually take care of itself...