@ lochaber: I have a filter and lots and lots of substrate, no heater (since I can keep the room temperature a steady 22-23C or 72-73F, I'm still debating whether or not to buy one), for hardscape I'll buy or find some driftwood. I'll read up more on fishless cycling and I'll be sure to keep a watch on my plexiglass lid. Thanks!
Sounds good, you may need to pay attention to which fish you get, and your tank may be a little slower to cycle, but that sounds like it's the right range for plenty of fish. If you do decide to get a heater, try to get one of the better ones (unfortunately, this will probably one of the more expensive aspects)
And as MamaFish said, plants will take up a lot of ammonia, and completely bypass the nitrogen cycle. Floaters are great for this, and you can thin them out/remove them as the rest of your plants grow in.
I'd try finding your own driftwood. Find a water body near you and go for a hike. I've had good luck using google maps to scan looking for areas with lots of driftwood. Just try to pick something that looks like it's been dead, exposed, and weathered for quite a while.
My dad is having some trouble with the brown algae that's really hard to scrub from the glass. Are there any products that are good for removing that type of algae? I've looked into ghost shrimp and red cherry shrimp and that is something I'm considering.
A lot of people talk about the Mr. Clean Eraser (original). I haven't used it on a tank yet, but I did pick up a pack. I think it's just a really fine melamine foam, and simply abrades stuff off.