Thanks for the response!
Substrate is probably where I made the biggest mistake: I just used unwashed sandblast. I have been considering mixing in some flourite or something similar.
For test kits I have PH, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, phosphate, and alkalinity.
For ferts I am using Kent phosphate, iron, and nitrate, but am currently researching how I will set up my dosing regimen. It looks like I will burn through these little bottles pretty quickly so I am going to order dry bulk from Greg Watson once I have a handle on how I am going to do things.
As for a carpet plant, I have some glosso planted sporadically through the substrate which I purchased from a member of this board:
The aquascaping has a plan behind it and will (I hope) make more sense as I finish my purchases and things fill in. While I do truly love all the amano style tanks here (and envy them) I was trying to create something totally different. Not to highlight any one plant or to make plants the focus but to recreate what one might find scuba diving in a plant filled area. As if you were to take a large 18" by 48" chunk out of a lake environment. I want a full size environment if that makes any sense, with all the haphazard placements that make up that kind of area. I've noticed the amano style tanks seem to be miniature terrestrial environments that replicate hilly ranges, areas around volcanoes, etc. All very Japanese if you know anything about Japanese art.
Really, if things go as I have planned, the rocks are going to dissapear to a large extent, but you are entirely correct that I don't have much room to plant which is a drawback, because every time I go into a fish store I see a new plant I want
I've got more questions than you can imagine actually, but I am trying to bite my tongue and research the board before asking
Thanks so much!