Week 4 update:
Alright, so long story short, all the bacopa and pearlweed died so I pulled them out. Tank didn't look terrible but a little sad:
Discovered a ton of beautiful, tiny sideshoots on the rotala, which got me super excited.
However, not only are the plants showing signs of deficiency (most apparently nitrogen), but I'm getting BBA, diatoms, blue green, etc. It's inevitable with a new tank and especially mine with no CO2. I don't mind it unless it starts inhibiting the growth of the plants, but starting next week I'm going to start dosing Seachem NPK and Iron according to their suggested schedule, so we'll see how that goes.
I've also been seeding the tank with Dr. Tim's ammonia and nitrite levels are steadily rising; hopefully cycled by the new year.
I really didn't know what to put in the back left now that the bacopa has been laid to rest; I wanted something that would look alright with the rotala. I've always wanted ludwigia repens but never had the means to buy any, so I'm trying it out now (figured if it looked bad, it'll probably rot and die anyway so I'll get an opportunity to replace it, lol).
Also put in some anubias nana petite and more pearlweed (new planting strategy, flattened down into a sort-of-mat, hopefully it will look better with time or at least not die).
In contrast to the new arrivals, s. repens looks so tiny and sad (the specimens I received were just minuscule). I may consider replacing it with some bushy hygro, AR mini, or similar-looking plant in the future.
Currently away for a week for Thanksgiving, so I'm paying another student to come in once a day and put Excel and ammonia in the tank. Here's hoping it's all intact when I get back!
P.S. Someone please
teach me how to upload better-quality photos!! They're high resolution until I run them through TPT's attachment thing and then they come out looking like trash.