Oh wow, thanks for telling me about the stratum. I'll definitely have to add a sand or gravel cap then. I think I'm just going to stay away from the HC since I want to keep this tank low tech. I'd rather not have to worry about CO2 if I can help it.
And yeah, I got my new fluval edge for $90 at petco. They have a 30 percent off all aquariums sale for pals card holders until the 16th of this month. I was pretty happy with that since the cheapest I saw online was going for $105 new.