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Re: non CO2

> If I remember the contex correctly of Tom's statements, it was in a flourite
> tank, not a peat substrate.

Well it has a little peat when I start the tank up.

I've gotten into the habit of adding a handful in every tank with the
flourite and onyx. That along with a bunch of mulm. That seeds the bacteria
and gets the gravel matured in a much shorter amount of time.

Try adding the peat from the start along with the mulm (this is not
different than a CO2 substrate for me). You'll see better start up time and
less instability. Use the easy plants first, once everything is well rooted
and established try adding the more difficult plants.
I did see a nice stand of R. macrandra growing in one person's tank a few
years ago in Marin Co. Non CO2 etc. But the plants was running among the
surface and scraggly 6 inches below going down to the gravel. The upper
portion was thick and healthy though. He has algae etc also but the plant
was fine. 

Tom Barr