Sadely, I'm begining to believe people saying that planted tanks are not a good home for Crystal Reds. Red Cherry do fine everywhere, but CRS are really hard to maintain if you don't get the good conditions. Despite stable water conditions monitored via conductivity, only 10% WC, NO3 below 5-10 ppm, low CO2, I don't have any hatching. Also, saw yesterday a first death in the colony I got 4 weeks ago. Usually, with CRS it means many deaths in the next days/weeks, till no shrimps left...
If I fail them again, I'll try a specific tank, with only ferns, no ferts, no organic soil... and mainly, a larger tank for better stable conditions
I'll also revert back to full CO2 / EI dosing and 50% WC: no need for test kits and easier maintenance overall
Tenellus did very nice emersed, so nice that I removed it and now replaced by Eleocharis as I found tenellus too high for my taste in front plan and also very invasive. Eleocharis was also grown emersed with great success and it is easier to control its extension.
Some news: Anubia is showing some black spots on its leaves, as I was fearing. Otherwise, all other plants are growing like before, just slower. No algae. No BBA also despite low CO2, low NO3 and low PO4 (NO3 and PO4 at 0 with test kits). Organic soil is helping here, except for mosses. They don't seem to care about NO3 and PO4. Maybe very low levels is enough for them.
Rotala Wallichii is the only one that couldn't make it with low CO2 (I assume it is not an NO3 and PO4 issues at it has roots in the organic substrate)
CRS did very bad sadly, they're slowly dieing despite my efforts. RCS on the other hand are ok. I decided to revert back to EI, high CO2 + 50-60% weekly WC. That way I can get back my Rotala W. and especially avoid the spots on Anubia
After reverting back to CO2 + EI + WC, anubia came back as it used to be: not even a small algae spot. Whole tank is fine despite I decided to stop waterchanges (1x/ 2 months only), keep CO2 at same level but reduce dosing to 1x/ week. Eleocharis acicularis is the only one not liking this method for now, have to see. Hemianthus callitrichoides Cuba is thriving though. A bit more threaded green algae on moss under light, but nothing invading.
Renounced to no CO2 on this tank as it is really too close to a window and daylight is an issue here for such a setup
It was only earthworm castings+fluorite black mix, topped with a thick layer of fluorite black
Be careful with moist. Humidity is vital but misting will make a mess with mold. Also, try to clean the substrate top if needed before immersion. A humus-like layer formed with time that triggered a terrible cyano invasion once immersed