My plants arrived yesterday and the tank is filled up.
I decided to modify the hardscape a bit and replace the branch that was sticking up on the right side.
Here are some shots of the initial planting. Pardon the heater; my plants arrived at 5PM and I was working on the tank until 1AM, I was too tired to install the inline heater.
A few comments on the planting:
The trident java fern was way bigger than I was expecting. I plan on trimming the large leaves once some smaller ones grow and hopefully by keeping it trimmed, it won't look so out of place.
The Hydrocotyle verticilatta was also huge, the plant was probably a foot tall. I harvested the smallest pieces I could find and scattered them in the foreground. Hopefully sufficient light and trimming will keep the leaves small.
Most plants came from one company, but the two rotalas came from another company and spent a few extra days in the mail. Unfortunately the rotalas arrived in rough shape and I had to trim away a lot of melting tissue. I planted it in the back, but the remains are still way too short to be seen from the front of the tank.
I am trying to dial in the lights and CO2 now. I am planning on running the Kessil at 25% for 6 hours per day to start. That gives me about 70 PAR for the hairgrass in the front of the tank and about 40 on the right side. The stem plants in the back are getting about 50. Hopefully this should be enough for some good growth but not so much that it causes algae.
The Co2 is being injected via a GLA inline diffuser on the filter outflow. My pH was 6.44 before turning on CO2 and I started at 1 bps (bubble per second). 2 hours later the pH had only dropped to 6.25, so I increased the rate to 2 bps. 3 hours after starting CO2 the pH was still only 6.15, so I turned on the lights. Right now at 5 hours and 40 minutes after turning on CO2, I am at pH 6.02. I think tomorrow I will increase the rate even higher. I think I am aiming for a pH drop of around 1 based on my understanding. Does that sound correct? Is a pH of around 5.5 going to be safe for livestock?
Right now water parameters are:
NH4 - 1-2 ppm
NO2 - 0
NO3 - 1-5
KH - 2
GH - 5
TDS - 117 ppm
Planning on daily 30-50% water changes for the first week.