07-22-2012, 12:05 PM
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The GH sounds good, very good if that number is accurate. Walstad says 4 dGH is the minimum to provide sufficient calcium, and I work to keep my tanks somewhere around 5-6 dGH and it has made quite a difference in the plants.
Swords are heavy feeders, so definitely get a liquid fertilizer like Seachem's Flourish Comprehensive Supplement or FlorinMulti by Brightwell Aquatics. These will feed all plants. Substrate tabs for the larger sword(s) is OK, but definitely the liquid regardless.
The sand is bright, but there are ways to handle this. Lots of wood on the substrate, floating plants, and even dried leaves like oak, popular, or almond leaves.