my Spec V has been going since Sept. 2012
I have a lot more plants than you do, and at least half are stem plants. I'd say mine is medium to heavy planted, with half being stem plants.
I have a betta and two nerite snails. That's it.
otos are supposed to like bigger tanks, and they like to be in shoals. I have 4 in my 15 gallon and rarely see them.
While I was waiting for the 15 to cycle, I had 6 cherry barbs in the 5 gallon. Betta was in a bowl. The cherry barbs needed more space. Even when I put them in the 15 they needed more space, and I traded them to someone with a 40 breeder.
The Spec V really is small. You might want to really put some thought into what you stock it with. I've been thinking of getting another Spec V just for cherry shrimp, as I enjoy them so much.