I should say though in defense of small reefs that the problem with that water change above is that you let nutrients store up in the system then disturbed it all.
if you start the system athletically via the water changes it adapts, and excels because of that and nitrate will never be elevated by a water change, only lowered.
agreed however that I don't disturb the bed when changing, theres no stirring up in each change. The worst thing you can do to one of these tuned picos is stop the work, but there is no overdo like you mentioned.
moving up to a large tank is ok, but for a pico this is your only hope of getting it up to 2 or 3 yrs old.
i know it dounds odd, but the bigger tank will be less wokr to keep in the long run, because you have a larger area of water and therefore somewhat more stable parameters. the more of a buffer you have, the better you are in the long run. but what ever you are able to get parts fore will work provided you are diligent about the maintanence such a tiny tank requires.
75 gallon freshwater, 1 pleco, 1 pumkinseed hybrid sunfish, 1 crayfish, 1 sengal bichir,1 convict cichlid.
45 gallon-ball python-20 gallon-honduran milk snake. 35 gallon-black rat snake
10 gallon-black rat snake
90 gallon reef tank
10 gallon, 2 darters, 2 cory cats
come over and count all the scales at my house some time!
the best part of a big tank is the fish!
I wound up doing a full waterchange last night and scrubbed the algae from every surface I was able to. Now I will just watch for any regrowth and deal with it as it comes. Everything seemed to have made it through just fine. I'll post some pics later.
20" Tropical Gar, 18" Florida Gar, 20" Longnose Gar,
17" Ornate Bichir, 25" Silver Arowana, 16" Bowfin, 15" Giant Gourami
16" Male Dovii