As the subject says, this is my first real post (i.e. other than in swap 'n shop). Anyway, I have been out of the planted tank hobby for a few months, but kept a tank of minimally alive plants going for a bit. I finally decided to set up another tank, but only a 10 gallon. I am happy, but not thrilled, with the result. One issue may be the collectoritis problem that I obviously have. But, I am unwilling to completely part with most of these plants as I intend this tank to act as "seed" tank for a larger tank in a year or so.
I would like critiques and suggestions on what I could do to increase the visual impact of the tank, and especially make it look "cleaner". Right now, I think things look too crowded, and for lack of a better word "fluffy" especially on the right side (I think that this look is caused by all of the fine leaved plants on that side).
For hardscape, I have one large piece of driftwood that runs the length of the tank (that you can hardly see because the plants have overgrown it), a small piece in the back that the narrow leaf java fern is on, a piece of driftwood that the large java fern is growing on, and a rock behind the H. verticillata.
Plants include HC, crypt lucens (in front of java fern on left), anubias nana, crypt balansae (back right), regular and narrow java fern, java moss, ludwigia "cuba", H. verticillata, and blyxa japonica (which for some reason has never really taken off).
Lighting is 70W metal halide, Co2 is pressurized with mazzei injector, substrate is eco complete. I do basically EI dosing with occasional supplementation as tests indicate.
Suggestions? One thought that I have is to try some redder plants in place of the L. Cuba to add a bit more visual impact. I will say in real life though, the L. Cuba lends more contrast to the setup than it looks like in the pics. It is more golden-orange than shows up in the pictures (problem is with white balance adjustment, my camera only has white balance presets, and I can get close, but not quite actual coloration). I could also work on reddening it up by lowering nitrate dosing and upping iron. Sorry for the marathon post, and thanks for your thoughts.