Okay, I think I've figured out why the females were dropping their eggs. The TDS was 490, and the GH was 13. So I used distilled water for this water change and it's down to 380! I'll be using distilled at least until I can get the TDS down to ~200. And I can now say that the middle is practically carpeted. I just have to wait until it can be trimmed so I can make it even.
My Golden Rule of planted tanks: WWTAD-
"What would Takashi Amano do?"
RAOK Club #69