I agree with austin.b on the paintball. I'll be looking into this shortly but again being new to the hobby I went with Fluval as it's a system thats made for fish tanks. I feel it really helped that everything came in one box and is ready to go not to mention I can find refills easier than paintball shops or refill spots for cO2 canisters. I will probably always run my Fluvals on my two show tanks as I enjoy the sleek look and convience. Price wise the paintball canisters with DIY regulators are a good long term alternative though.
As for your questions I would say dosing excel will be fine. I would probably dose twice a week with excel and once a week with iron and potassium. I dose potassium as it's one of the trace elements plants need to thrive. Though it's on the bottom of the list after light, cO2, iron, etc... it still helps. If your doing API root tabs they contain a little bit of potasium so you could deffinetly get by without it. Potasium can help with yellowing, dying of older leaves, pin hole marks in leaves, etc... heres a decent read on the basics to a planted tank that I look over now and again: https://www.aquariumadvice.com/intro...-planted-tank/
As for putting in root tabs with stratum you def can but I would bury the tab a decent amount 1-2 inch. The larger the grade of substrate the more contact to water the tabs will have, the quicker they will break down, the quicker they will disolve into the water column. Needless to say the more that disolves into the water column the more that gets sucked into your filter and gets sucked up with water changes so I tend to bury medium-deep.
You should also know stratum contains a lot of nutrients and is a really good plant substrate. I have not used it personally as I'm more attracted to finer grade substrates like eco-complete but I've heard/seen many good things about stratum. With that said you probably won't need too many root tabs and your glosso should do just fine.
I can relate to HC not growing well as I've tried it twice with little luck. I will say I feel it grows better in finer substrate which I did not have at the time and ended up have floating HC everywhere. Unlike HC glosso roots deep (2" roots for me) and roots in larger substrates easier than HC would. I also find it more forgiving than HC so you should have a lot better luck with it.
75G, 29G, 20L, 12L, 10G, 5 Nano's, 3 Betta bowls
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*Everybody has too much of something...me? I have fish tanks.*