Well I just couldn't let go of the idea of switching the substrate to black sand. The light gravel was fine, I liked it, but it seemed like a copy cat of my little 10g. I wanted something different. So I tore it down and switched to Flourite Black Sand with a little aquarium black sand to build up the corners.
The rotala was melted and I gave up. I moved most of the plants into new spots and I'm much happier with the layout. Everything but the baby crypts in front of the driftwood has new leaves/growth. I do plan on lining the front of the plant line from the front left corner to behind the driftwood with some dwarf sag I'll take from my little tank.
And I will be swapping the bulb out. Right now its the Aqueon 8000k T8 that came with the hood. I didn't notice so much with the lighter gravel, but its really blue/purple with the black sand. I hit up Canadian Tire, Home Depot and Rona yesterday with no luck, so I think I'll just grab a Hagen Life Glo from my LFS next time I'm there.
I also ordered some osmocote caps from a member here, so hopefully will have them in the next couple weeks. And I ordered a Fluval C4 to replace the stock hob (which will be moved to my 10g). That should be going on the tank on Tuesday. I'll run both for awhile until its seeded.
And a family member tore down a little tank and dropped off two guppies. Not exactly what I had in mind, but it was either my tank or his cichlid tank, so they're with me now. I have my stocking list in mind, I'll see if maybe my lfs will take them off my hands when I go to start buying my fish.
Anyways, it was a lot of work (and I hate having to buy/replace stuff), but I am happier. Its visually very different then my other tank, and when I swap the bulbs I think it will be just what I had in mind. I'm looking forward to the plants growing in now!
One scaping question, will the Water Wisteria grow taller then the sword? Is the back corner a good place for it?
And any other comments/constructive criticism is greatly appreciated!