I used subdued light and it seemed to work just fine. This is a two bulb system in my lab as opposed to the 8 bulbs I normally use, so it is a lot less light.

I wanted to go down stepwise.

As for the other electrode, I am not sure. I used silver to keep contamination at a minimum. All I can say is "give it a try". I will be trying other materials myself. I would not recommend "poison" metals though such as copper, zinc, lead and tin, and I would worry about stainless, as Iron contamination will fog emulsions as well. Some carbon has adsorbed sulfur compounds that are not nice either. It depends on the source of the carbon. So, testing is obviously in order. Since plating is taking place, I try to avoid anything that might be carried over in the stream to plate out.

So, the bottom line is "use what works". I know Silver works.