Custom set-up or Fluval Ebi Shrimp/Fluval Floral Planted
Setting up my second planted tank (first one is in the office). Will go with a variety of lower-light plants and add shrimp later.
Trying to decide between a homemade set-up (more $) with the following:
Tank: most likely ADA one, under 10 gallons
Substrate: Eco-complete, possible capped with sand
Lights: Hampton Bay Home Depot, unsure of bulb
Filter: Aquaclear 30 HOB or Aquaclear 20 if tank is very small
Most people are going to tell you to do a home built over a kit because you will probably replace everything except the tank. I have a fluval flora and love it but I replaced everything. I did find use for the other stuff though so it worked out In My favor.
You'll have more flexibility if you create your own setup, honesty. If you buy an Ebi/Flora, you'll have to sell and replace the internal filter and rip out the styro background. Really enjoyed my Ebi but added lighting, my own filtration, etc.
You can't cap Eco-Complete with sand - it will eventually settle beneath the EC. Go with one or the other. They're both inert and contain no plant nutrition unless you add it to the tank yourself.
I have a Fluval Ebi up and running now for several months. Used what came in the box. I did add another lamp, though not sure it's really necessary. The moss, ferns and assorted floating plants seem more than happy, and RCS are making babies. Several berried RCS and BCS too.