I think 2.4 is still considered medium range. 3+ is where you get into high range. I use DIY co2 on my 55 gal and it works well enough combined with excel but you will need about 4 2L bottles. I rotate 2 each week.
The seachem fert line is good but its rather expensive. Dry ferts will last you much longer and probably cost about the same for the initial investment.
As for the algae eater it depends on what kind of fish you want to keep besides them. I know people do well with ottos/shrimp or a combo of both but my main fish in the tank would eat ottos and shirmp plus my water is rather inhospitibale for the shrimp. I chose a bristle nose pleco and am rather happy with him so far.
If you want a carpet you might need to pump more light into the tank if you choose glosso or something similar. I personally like red plants so my tanks have a lot of Limnophila aromatica, Rotala macrandra and Rotala rotundifolia. I also like mosses and downoi. Swords and crypts are good mid ground plants too. You can cruse the plant profiles on this site or the swap n shop which has a variety of plants usually with pics.
Thanks so much for the info! I don't know if I love the idea of having 4 2L bottles sitting in my already cramped bedroom. I wonder if I can find a way to hide them.....maybe behind my dresser??? I have a few BN plecos in my 80 gallon tank, and I could easily move one of them over to the 55 gallon. I looked up the plants that you mentioned and they are very nice looking. I might put a couple swords in, but since my other low light tanks are full of swords and crypts, I kinda want to try something different
I definetly want a carpet plant, but I am not sure what kind yet. Glosso is nice though
Welcome to TPT! Nice to see someone else from S.D.
Just want to add on to PLAKAT's post. I agree if you are dosing fertilizers, look in to dry dosing for a 55 gal.
As for plants, I also like Hygrophilia sp., "Bold" and "Sunset" are nice looking, easy to grow and can be placed mid-to-background depending on how you keep them trimmed. Vals are nice as a background plant and are weed-like in their growth.
I have ottos in my 50 gal. and have never had them bothered by any other fish, shrimp are a different story... Most fish think shrimp are tasty treats if they are small enough to get them in their mouths. Nerite snails are reported to be good at algae control, but I have no personal experience with them.
I will definetly look into dry dosing. Anything to cut costs will help me out a lot right now (especially in this awful economy). I will look up the Hyrophilia. I have vals in my 80 gallon angel tank and I love them. I would definetly consider putting them in the 55 as well. How many otos do you use to clean your 50 gallon? I have given up on the idea of shrimp since I have 2 keyhole cichlids in the tank that would probably make snacks out of them.
Personally, I like to go to my lfs's and see what i like, and if I see something I dont recognize in a display tank or something, I ask whoever is in charge what the plant is... usually they'll give me a sprig or two of it if its a stem plant... I've grown a lot of plants from that.
I will check out my lfs and see what they have, but they really don't carry much as far as plants go. There is one place that does, but I have to drive 45 minutes to get there. I am planning to buy most of my plants online so that I can pick from a larger selection.