I finished some of the main root system and have a good idea of my end game as far as hardscape. This will hopefully become a washed out section of creek, tangled with vegetation and niches to fill.
The tree roots on the right will dominate that half of the tank along with the large, terrestrial planter. this will be the only hardscape (other than the background) thats above the waterline, as I have raised it to 9 inches.
The left side will be heavily planted with dwarf sag and elodea.
A small clump of emmergent, riparium plants will occupy the middle of the tank towards the edge of the submerged creek bed.
I wanted a lush showing of plants, both above and below waterline, but in order to maximize swimming room for the fauna, I will have to plant most the terrestrial plants on the background itself and the side panels. Thats not gonna be easy to do with a limited space. My planters are just too small to support any sizable plant with good coverage. Plus my choice of plants up here is severely limited so I wont be able to have the lush fern forest that I wanted. Not sure how that part will turn out.