Thanks for the compliments! Tank got away from me today. Thank goodness I'm only doing this once!
Stopped off at the local fish shop and bought some nano substrate (6 kg). Its a volcanic ash pellet and hideously expensive. Nothing else in shop. I've posted pics of both red fluorite and this volcanic substrate as it's all bit of a novelty here. I must confess that as Australia does have laterite clays and gravels I could probably go and find this myself but job done. I'm also wondering how a bag of hydroponics expanded clay pellets which is then broken up would go as well.
After several hours I had removed most of the plants (included the large val after all) and a fair bit of water. Gravel vac'd a lot of the gravel and removed a fair bit of muck plus white clay, red clay (API?) and greenish clay from all the substrate tabs I'd added. Oh well.
However, disaster struck as I broke one of the air stones in the tank. Raced off to shops but all 5 had shut an hour ago
By this stage I was starting to think of bringing forward the idea of discus in a bare bottom tank..... something peaceful lol.
By this time we were meant to be going out trick or treating soon so I pulled all the airlines and air-stones out. Added the gravel which just made a mess straight away with the first handful so just added the rest, water back in and got this mess.
Added seachem clarity and I'm hoping it will clear in 12 hours so I can smooth out the gravel. Maybe another water change/clean some filters and add plants. So I'm guessing I could spend another 3 or 4 hours easily but that should get it done this weekend.