Ok, time for an update.
As suggested by Axelrodi202 I took the silly background down. I actually found a piece of black ripstop nylon (the stuff they make kites out of) and hung it using some duct tape
In order to create some more room for the E. barhii I rotated the driftwood slightly which also makes it look like it is not smack dab in the middle any more. I like that a lot.
The vals are slowly filling in and the java fern is - like you said - on FIRE!
Ok, without further ado, here is the FTS:
The right side:
The left side:
Here is a closeup of that Java Fern... man you were right wasser...
Also the E. barthii has some more room now. There actually is a second one to the left of the bigger one, but if they both get too big, I'll sell the smaller one in the S&S.
In other news, I tried to put some ghost shrimp in there to see if the loach decides to co-exist, but only 2-3 made it past week 2 and now, about 5 weeks later they have all become dinner
Today I ordered the hydor ETH-200 inline heater, which will clear the back of the tank some more.
I also added a DIY spray bar running along the substrate in the back of the tank. I intended to spray paint it black, but then I got too antsy and needed to see how the distribution works... Now I am just too lazy to pull it back out and paint it. Eventually it will happen, though.
I am also a few days away from finishing my PLC controller. Don't worry, that'll be a DIY thread.
That's it for now...