Thanks for the reply! The corydora species I am looking for does not grow more than 2" max and it is important to me to provide them with enough of their own kind to encourage their schooling behavior. I did say 6-10 of each species but i am interested to know what you feel is more appropriate? i was under the impression that the wide footprint of the tank would allow for a greater capacity of fish than a 20gallon high tank.
I am actually going to mix these two substrate materials so I will be happy with the gradual mixing that regular tank behavior and maintenance will create.
Thank you for the planting suggestion! I know very little about planted tanks but I am very fond of the thick carpeting look of some tanks that i have seen.
I am waiting for the glue to dry on my light fixture I have been building this morning but here are some pictures of the progress:
Here's a quick drawing I did with the only requirement being that it spanned the inner rim of the tank.
I then transferred my lengths onto a piece of maple plywood that was 7.5" wide.
I made all the cuts on my dad's table saw, mocked up, glued, nailed, and clamped! This lumber was pretty squrrely so hopefully it sits level.
Here is a pic of the orientation of the lighting. I plan on using no reflectors at this point to keep the levels lower while I learn to balance light and fertilizers.
Here's a close up of the inf onfo on the ballast that I am using to fire these bulbs. If I remember correctly believe that I am over driving a couple of 24w bulbs.
Finally here is a pic of lights on, obviously not quite this bright in person, I have no exposure control atm.
Thanks for looking and answering the multitude of questions from my op!