I see you have the water level below the top glass. I ended up keeping mine that way for better gas exchange (until my son knocked the whole thing over). Before I lowered the top, fish (three teenie tetras) were sometimes struggling to breathe.
With the tank lightly planted, is there too much aquasoil? I always thought that released so much ammonia that many more plants were required, or a longer cycle start.
Looking forward to updates, I'd like to do some CRS, too.
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I can only grow plants when they're completely under water. Everything else is doomed.