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Cichlids and Plants, Misc questions

Howdy All,

I am thinking of remodeling my Chiclid tank, which is currently a 20
gal. with one Convict Chiclid, and two Lyre Tails. Now, I know that
Chiclids are plant destroyers, and I certainly see them digging away.
The tank they are in currently has some really nice silk fakies, but I
want to get some real plants going on. So the question is, any
suggestions for planting an aquarium for these guys? I'm thinking of
buying a hex, but they look deep, and I ain't getting another expensive
light fixture.

Another question: When I started my planted 55, I used all medium/coarse
gravel, around 2-5 mm. I later mixed some kitty litter in as best I
could. Overall, assuming no other deficiencies, how much will this
substrate limit me? Will it get ok or good as it ages in and mulm
accumulates? One of my plants, (can't find the tag, think it is a
"Cardinal" somedangthing) is growing roots out in the water column. Is
this a sign of anything?

And anybody out there tried the LP/propane regulator scheme? I too have
had some close calls, and want to eliminate any possibility of tank
dump. And sorry, but anyone who says "watch the gauge" is simply asking
for grief. In my many pursuits in life, I have discovered that "operator
error" is the biggest factor to account for. In other words, I like to
do things "the dumb guy" way. And I spend multiple weeks climbing and so
on a number of times a year, and there is a limit of what one can expect
of people minding your tanks, bless 'em.

TIA all,

Jonathan Peakall (In Northern CA, where the rain is coming....)