Update time. I decided it was time for the really big trim. As you can see above, the ferns were way overgrown. Once I started it was like I was possessed. I didn't stop until I had pulled all of the fern off the driftwood on the right and cut a very substantial amount out the fern on the left. The I stepped back in shock and asked myself, "what have I done", lol. I had a 5 gallon bucket 3/4 full of trimmings.
So, I reattached some of the fern to the right side wood, as was my plan. I also picked up more Lilaeopsis to fill in the huge bare area that had been under the fern and also got more blyxa to fill in towards the back.
Now a month later I'm having some BBA issues on some of the Lilaeopsis and fern leaves. Hindsight being 20/20, I should have reduced the lighting after the trim. When I changed over from all stems to no stems I also cut the lighting down to 1x54. I guess I should mention that my lights sit right on top of the tank, under the canopy, about 20 inches above the substrate. It's a Catalina 2x54 with separate cords and switches for each bulb. As the plants filled in over time I began using the 2x54 for part of the lighting period since I was concerned about the ground cover getting too much shade. Right before the big trim I was using 2x54 for 6 hours a day with 1x54 for 2 hours on each side of that and after the trim I left the lighting period unchanged. I should have gone back to 1x54 and upped the lighting as the tank grew in, but I didn't and now I have to deal with it.
This has been the easiest version of this tank to deal with as far as algae, plant growth, etc. I attribute that to adjusting lighting and CO2 of course to what was needed at the time. Slow and steady resulted in no algae issues. So I'm back to 1x54 for a good while until things fill back in.
As for Lilaeopsis, does anyone know if it can just be mowed or does it need to be trimmed at the runner? I'd really like to just take the scissors and cut off the the leaves with BBA and not have to pull it up and separate it.