I'm thinking I might visit SWReef just to see what kind of tanks they have, if they have anything different from Clark's, for example, or even WalMart.
I'm glad to see another New Mexican on the list (though I'm late in noticing, sorry!). Your post above, though, is the kind of post that would go in maybe the General category under a "New Member Introduction" type of subject line, just to spread your interests around. I'm glad you have "Central New Mexico" in your Location.
Plants? I like plants, especially regular terrestrial plants, and I have a makeshift garden at my apartment complex, right outside my door. Looks good, so the management hasn't told me to pull it all up (the Rosemary wants to take over the world, but it makes good landscape, so it's staying, along with the mint).
I'd like to get maybe some kind of tallish tank, put some nice drift wood or, more likely, a pile of nice rocks in the center (rocks from Mama's Minerals, San Mateo and Lomas), attach to it/them Java fern and anubias, light it all properly, and just have that. Maybe
fish, too, but they're less important. When I started my 10G a year ago, having figured out something about cycling (at last), I cycled it with plants from my then-current tank, new plants, old snails, a used filter, all that. The plants alone looked just marvelous and I haven't forgotten. A plants-only tank probably wouldn't require a heater, either, and I could have it in my bedroom maybe... Well, I'm still working on that, getting ideas for lighting, tanks/other containers, etc. This forum is good for that, too.
My current plants include (If I can remember them all...) java fern, Amazon sword (both successes from PetCo tubes!), some kind of wisteria (another tube plant, moderate success so far), 1 or 2 bacopa varieties (or one might be moneywort), elodia/anacharis (which comes and goes), some Cabomba that has managed to hang on (I somehow kill easy-to-grow plants), a green crypt Wendii that likes it so much I had to pull it out of its shoes (a small bowl), cut it back, and it's growing again (never has melted). Water sprite that I have also put in our pond at work, where it is growing like mad, looking completely different outside in the sunlight (but may freeze in the winter). Also I got a sprig of diandra/star grass? last time I visited Clark's, so we'll see how that does.
I keep a kind of diary on my home computer and whenever I buy something or something interesting happens, I note it down: new fish, deceased fish, new plants, etc. Doing something like this may help you remember plant names as well as anniversary dates
I forgot: I also have "creeping Charlie" and 2 anubias (one Nana, the other ? - both fairly expensive)