I really thought about scraping out the gravel and adding more black flourite, but that seems like a lot of work, hah! I do like a bright tank, so I will keep the gravel. I did add some new plants today though.
First, a family member had bought some fish from someone and in the bag were a few little plants that he gave to me. It looked like they might have a rhizome, so I thought maybe they were a type of needle java fern or something and stuck them on my driftwood. But at the lfs today, I saw a bunch of crypts, which looked strikingly similar. Someone here was kind enough to confirm they are in fact crypts, so I have planted them along the rock line. I quite like how little they are and that they fit in with the rocks. I think I might keep the rocks if there's something to soften them a bit.
I added a sword in with all the stems. I think the big leaves look nice with all the tiny leaves of the stems.
Then behind the driftwood I removed the sponge filter. It was big and in the way. I added some corkscrew vals and some water sprite.
I think just the few extra plants have helped a lot!
There is still a space between the red plant front left and the bacopa in the back against the side of the tank, I think maybe another sword would fill that in nicely.
Also, the red plant does seem to be melting. Meh. It would be too bad, but not the end of the world. So I think about my lighting a lot, I just can't figure out what a better bulb to upgrade to might be. So far the Hagen Life Glo seems to be a popular choice. I was at my lfs today, and they had the Aqua Glo, Power Glo and were waiting on a shipment for the Life Glo. But I just don't know if its any better then the bulb I have now.
My cycle is coming along. Ammonia is nearing zero every day, the nitrites are either 1 or 5 (I just can't tell the difference on the colour strip!), and my nitrates hover between 5-15. I'm raising ammonia to about 2-3 every day, so something is happening!
So now I'm just going to sit back, I'm pretty happy with how its looking with the new plants. I look forward to them filling in a bit and the vals growing a bit to peek over the driftwood. I'm working on my stocking list, and other wise just enjoying the new tank, which looks much nicer then my 10g in the space (although I find myself sitting in my sons room a lot watching my 10g still!).