Thanks for the really wonderful responses!
You might be able to find your plants on this forum from members a lot cheaper than what you have listed. What kinda filtration are you gonna be running on this tank?
Thanks for the advice on the plants! I've only really looked at AquaBid to be honest, and tried to leave wiggle room for quantity since I'm still not sure how I'm gonna scape it. I'll definitely take a hunt around here!
However, the driftwood I bought arrived and it is KICKIN'. Perfect for what I had in mind!
As for filtration, I've been really hovering between the AquaClear20 and the Marina S10. The AC20 comes most recommended, but is more expensive, and I worry that it would be too powerful for my tiny little tank. However, it's only $8 more, and has an adjustable flow, so I guess I shouldn't be too worried?
To save money on substrate, you may be able to get a bag of pool filter sand for under $5.
On the other hand, I chose Eco-complete because
it came most recommended, and since I have less experience with fancy substrate than I do filters, I went with it.
As for sand, from what I read, I've gotten the impression that it is really messy and there's a risk for anaerobic bacteria getting trapped unless you have Malaysian Trumpet Snails or something else that burrows, and when I've imagined trying to take down a sand-filled tank, I see sand going EVERYWHERE. Especially down a drain, or in my yard, or somewhere else equally as permanently gone.
gravel, and with the bag of Eco-Complete being 20 lbs. and reviews stating it was plenty for a 10gal, I figure it will be more than enough for my 5gal and any other little projects I might want to start (coughcough, 2.5 unfiltered).
-> Just checked the Substrate Calculator, and yup, the 20lb bag is plenty.
...you could buy dry ferts and mix them yourself with distilled water to make your own solution.
That actually sounds kind of exciting, and I looked into it, but I haven't been able to find a "guide to dry ferts for beginners" type thing :/. Any suggestions?
And thanks for the advice on the Shrimp, I've never kept shrimp really, and so I was just taking a shot in the dark there ^^