This is really helping me, so thank you. Just to address a few things:
1. I like the look of discus (they're my favorite fish), but after researching a bit about them, I have to agree with you guys that they're too much work for me.
2. I'm really struggling about canister vs. Hang-on. My stand would be better with hang-on's because its empty under-neath, so if I got the canister, I would also have to buy a different stand which would cost much more $. The flip side is that, as you've pointed out, canister's are better in pretty much every regard.
3. Thank you Diana for the width idea- what does everyone else think? Does it make for better scapes?
4. In the end, I still don't know about lights or substrate. A few more opinions and I think I'll be ready to choose some out.
5. I'll get a suction cup thermometer, I just already had a stick on from my bettas tank
6. Thank you all again. With the things I learned from you guys, I think I could write a book.