I will have a 55W compact fluorescent light very soon that will put my watts per gallon close to 2. The bulb glows at 5300K and has a 90 CRI. I am currently trying to grow plants with a 20W fluorescent bulb so my new setup will be a major improvement. I also use DIY CO2 that I bubble into a cup. That way my doing level remains constant, independent of how cooperative the little yeasties want to be.
Until signs of ich started to show up I had a pH or 6.8 and a kH of 3-4 points at 77 F (25 C). I've been using Rid Ich and I think the last of the spots are gone. If all goes well I can get the tank get back to normal over the next few weeks. I will not miss the gravel vaccuming and water changes every other day. Nevertheless, I'll still have to keep up with the water changes to some degree if I want to get the salt levels down before I start replanting.
Maybe adding a little extra fine gravel to the tank background isn't such a bad idea. As long as I put it in slowly I don't believe it will create any problems with the existing plants.
The substrates that have caught my attention are Eco Complete and Seachem Flourite. The former has nothing but rave reviews amongst posters but it seems to be something that works better as a base. If I add a little at a time, it may work out well. The latter may be better suited with my existing set-up and I wouldn't need to be so patient about getting through that task.
So, I'm left with four choices: Do nothing; add some more fine gravel, add the Eco Complete slowly, add Seachem Flourite. If anybody has any comments regarding how much better they think the plant would do with the fancy substrates, I am always open to hearing or sharing opinions.