Well at least people are looking at the journal, if they aren't posting in it! Well happy new year anyway!
Here's a January update. Based on forum threads, I decided to relocate the spray bar for the xp3 on the same side as the intake, spraying towards the opposite end of the tank. The fish seem happier with this configuration...though I still haven't figured out the exact flow adjustment that provides 100% water circulation throughout the tank.
Though I haven't started injecting Co2 yet, the plants seem to be doing really well. The val's are spreading like crazy, with little shoots popping up here and there. After trimming the swords way down (getting all the damaged leaves off), one of them went and had babies!
I've put together a second tank upstairs (20L) that I had laying around from some old hamsters a year or so ago, and am setting it up as a plant only tank, using offshoots from the main tank to grow them up. This second tank (I'll start another journal), is my CO2 learning tank. I'll be starting with a DIY setup for now, and moving eventually to a full GLA pressurized setup within 6 months, which I then hope to hookup to the main aquarium via a CO2 rex style reactor.