Thanks for all the compliments and comments guys. Sorry for not replying earlier, grad school has been killing me these last couple of months!
Will, I do agree that the bettas do throw the scale off, but as much as I love planted tanks and aquascaping, my betta girls come first =). This tank was specifically made for them and I made sure to give them tonnes of hiding places and nooks and crannies to explore and they seem to be really happy in here.
@Sticky230: Yep, the cheapo hoods with spiral CFLs work quite well for small tanks. One thing I will say though is that the lights don't seem to penetrate down to the substrate very well so they aren't well suited for 'high' types of tanks which would probably benefit from T5s.
As for updates regarding the tank, I've moved it again to my final new place (I had to move it to a friends place for 2 weeks while I was in between leases). I'm relieved that the tank is still in one piece and the fish and plants are doing great. I have completely backed off with the Excel dosing and have now converted the tank into a complete low-tech tank which won't be having any water changes. The plants are still doing well although growth is a lot slower.
The anubias and java ferns are sending out quite a few leaves and the rotalas and bacopa are growing very slowly but steadily. I had some issues with GSA growing on some of the unshaded Anubias and Java ferns. I fixed the problem for the most part by switching my lighting down to 2x10Watts of CFL. I'll post updated pics soon.