Thanks for the compliment. It's a work in progress. No CO2 diffuser? Are you running pressurized or DIY? What are you using to get the CO2 into your tank? I was using a nano glass diffuser while using DIY CO2, and now I'm using a reactor that came with the Red Sea kit.
I think water flow is a good thing, especially considering how much all the leaves and plants are going to cut down the current in the tank. Just keep delicate plants away from the outflow of the filter. To keep surface movement down, I always keep my tank topped off to the max, and I usually run my filter on its lowest setting. I'm using an Aquaclear HOB rated for tanks up to 20 gallons (or was it 30?). I do use a sponge over the filter intake which somewhat reduces flow, but more importantly, keeps endler fry, shrimp, and tiny snails out of the filter. Big filters are great when it comes to media choices. I love having lots of room to personalize.
The first four inches or so of my rotala is a mess of holes and looks terrible, because my plants suffered for several weeks when I didnt realize that my DIY CO2 bottles werent producing as much CO2 as I thought. I thought it was a nutrient deficiency, but it was actually carbon that they were lacking. So I really need to cut them down and replant the tops and throw out the ugly bottoms. When I do have some nice cuttings, I'll let you know. I only paid $3 for the bunch that I got at a LFS, though... of course, they were much smaller back then.