My name is jared, and i live just south of lansing. it is funny, lullafishi mentioned being there on sunday, and i was as well! i'm in the process of cycling an 8 gallon nano tank for a dwarf puffer and possibly some fish.
an aside on rick preuss and walkthrough - several years ago when we decided to get our first fish tank, we spent probably 2 hours with rick and one of his fresh water planted specialists (unfortunately seems to have moved on, now) talking about salt vs fresh, then when we decided on fresh how to cycle the tank, what size, budget, etc.
we ended up with a 36 gallon bowfront anf a fluval 205 canister filter, plus a bunch of goodies and plants. the advice they gave us was spot on. 6 months into the tank, every spec measured just right, for months. eventually, i stopped taking samples except once a week, and then once every couple weeks. now, just to make sure i take measurements every couple weeks, and that tank is dead solid. no algae blooms, never strays. food every few days, ferts once a week or so, vac the gravel when it starts looking manky and stir it up once a month or so.
i am not a great and experienced fish keeper, they just gave us great advice and set us up with equipment that exceeded the needs of the tank to make sure that we had a better than average chance of succeeding.