| | Define "heavily planted"
I have a couple of the Eheim Aquastyle 24l tanks, which have dimensions of 10.8 x 10.8 x 12.5 inches. I'm looking to set the tanks up in the Walstad method primarily because I want to lower the maintenance, but also because I'd like to stock enough to have a small school of fish and that's probably near the top of the bioload possibilities without the additional help of the plants.
I've never actually done a planted tank before, though, so while I have an idea of what I'd like in the system, I don't know if it really qualifies as "heavily planted" enough to promote enough nutrient uptake. I intend to start with a soil base and an eco-complete cap (will adding eco-complete with its' nutrients inject too much nutrient mix into the system?), and then an ideal planting would be something like 1-2 anubias nana, 3-6 nana petite, a red tiger lotus, 5 or so clumps of corkscrew val, and then some ground cover (HC I'm thinking or maybe microswords, maybe 3-4 2" pots split up over the otherwise unplanted substrate).
The issue is that stocking specifically like this is reasonably expensive and I don't want to just flush money away. Is this likely to be a reasonable level to establish the plants first, or is it a bit low? I get that I can just up the carpet species to try to help with uptake, but I'm worried the 7W LED may not be strong enough to keep HC down at the surface and I don't have much use for the nana petite if the HC grows up higher than that.
Anyone have a feeling for how much planting I should have in a square foot (roughly) of surface area to have few issues with starting the tank? Should I scrap the specific plant plan and just buy one of the generic "starter package" of plants, plant whatever takes my fancy, and then plan on tearing it down in 6 months or so once I see how it goes and replanting then?