Canister filters IMO, are your most effective way to move water across a huge volume of bio media. Sponge bubbler filters are probably second, with HOBs
No, all vals are still available for those interested.
One of our local aquarists has them in a community setup in her 40 gal and has never expressed anything negative regarding aggression. Hers have bred
After doing a little more research, I think you are correct. It must be a macrobrachium shrimp. Somehow it must have gotten mixed up with the amanos.
Sounds like it could have been a macrobrachium shrimp. They are predatory and will take whatever they can grab. Some species can get to over 12 inches