By the time the second month rolled around, I had enough growth that I took all my cuttings and converted my 29G from a traditional gravel and fake plant tank to another dirt planted tank.
I also had something in my tank (probably the MTS) churn up all of the wood chips in my MGOCPM so that instead of decomposing underneath the sand cap, they're doing so on top of it. :/ It looks cool, though, so I've just let it do it's thing instead of trying to submerge it back under the cap.
Today I learned what scuds were! Yuck, but also kinda cool. I had taken my rasboras and Beatty out, because they had stressed each other out to the point of developing what I think was slime disease, an opportunistic fungal infection that can appear with stressed out fish.
As for the plants, after dropping their leaves and growing ones better suited for my tank, my plants have all really taken off. The tank's being lit by dual coralife 6700K lamps, but I'm noticing that having the fixture rest on the lid is causing the plants in the front half of the tank to stretch back towards it, especially the C.Wendtii in the front-right of the tank.
Egeria Najas (narrow leaf elodea): The new growth has leaves that are at least half as long as they were when I bought it and twice to three times as curly. What causes this? I can't seem to find any information on it, or I'm plugging in the wrong terms to search for.Challenges
Echinodorus tenellus (dwarf pygmy sword): This did ok for the first few weeks, but now all three plants are yellowish and growing slow. they also aren't as rooted into the substrate as I expected them to be. The only thing I can think of is that I picked spots to plant them that weren't as rich in potting mix as the other areas in the tank.
Echinodrous parviflorus(dwarf rosette): This was doing pretty well for awhile, but you can see the big brown, translucent spot on the biggest leaf. The new growth is coming in kinda pale. It's possible it's rooted in mostly sand and I've considered straying from my low-techiness and fertilize it.
At this point, it seems that the advice "if the plants are healthy, everything else will follow" to be pretty much on target, but I haven't yet attempted to treat fish in the tank because I'm afraid I might kill the plants somehow.
Instead, I took the easy way out and put them into a quarantine tank where I can dose them with aquarium salt and change their water frequently.
I need to do alot more reading on treating sick fish in a planted tank, so that when it eventually happens, I'm not frantically looking for information at the last minute.