I've been lurking for some time, and thought I'd share a little. I obtained a 2.5 gallon from a nearby chain LFS several months ago, built a UGF for it (using the eggcrate-type stuff for overhead lights from Lowes, a Rio 90 pump, and an upflow tube that I had lying around) and used 'standard' gravel. It was great for a betta and two tetras, cycled pretty quickly, and then...I got bored. So, I said "Self (which is what I call myself when I'm talking to myself), why don't you try doing a mini-planted tank?"
And I did. Used the same gravel (what a pain) because I didn't want to take out the working filtration, and a 13-watt PC (labeled 'Top Aquarium Series) and put on a micro-sword (I think), an apoge...apogen..whatever that little lily-bulb thing is; a banana lily, and a piece of Cabomba trimming from one of my bigger tanks. Had to prune ferociously for about two weeks before I could get both lilies to go more compact, but I do believe I've reached close to what I want. (And Bubba the Betta is happy. The two neons are in my 29-gallon tank.) Here's a pic (the Rio on the right tends to put the tank in perspective):
I've also found a little hex tank, used, for $3 at a local lfs. Used a 10-watt 65K screw-in fluorescent bulb to replace the incandescent that was there, a RedSea mini HOD with some floss for the media, Schultz Aquatic Plant soil (worked great). I did a fishless cycle (took two weeks). It's now home to two baby black mollys (Mama Molly finally let go-but that's another story) named Ben and Jerry:
Bear with me if I didn't upload the pics correctly.