Thanks for the heads up JusticeBeaver!
Here's some extra info on the setup:
The 55 gallon aquarium will have a HOB filter (either Fluval C4 or Marineland Penguin filter [2 bio wheels]) as well as 2 run of the mill plastic lids and 2 fluorescent lights. A submersed 300GPH (more likely 200GPH with head height) will be what circulates the water from the two tanks. This may end up being too much water flow, but tweaking will come later.
As for the stocking:
I'm planning on throwing like 50 minnows (was thinking pearl danios) in there and hoping to get a good schooling effect. It'll definitely be overstocked and will have minimal decoration in there as well. Light sand bottom, maybe a piece of driftwood, and some rocks. Maybe some low light plants (anubias, java fern, val, etc...) for aesthetics. The reason I'm thinking minnows (and corys) is because they can handle fairly low water temperatures (high 60's low 70's) without issue and they like current. Where as guppies prefer warmer temperatures (as far as I know) and don't like temp fluctuations (I was thinking of not putting a heater on this). From what I've read about hydroponics, nutrients are more available in the upper 60's lower 70's, so I was going to try and keep temperature in this range.
I'm hoping that the low light atmosphere of the aquarium (bottom tank) will keep most of the algae at bay, but I'm OK if there is some algae.
The plant-tank (top tank) will have a 2" piece of polystyrene board (blue insulation foam) floating on top of the surface which should (in a perfect world) block the bright light from interacting with the water.
The plant-tank (top tank) will also have 4 large air stones running 24/7 in order to create oxygen for the roots. I'm unsure if this will help in decreasing algae, but it'll produce very oxygenated water.
Any other suggestions for stocking? I've been all over the map on what to do (one big ol' oscar, some cichlids, goldfish, etc....). I finally narrowed it down to minnows b/c of the criteria listed above, I like the way schooling fish look, and they are fairly inexpensive so I can overstock greatly without breaking the bank.
If guppies are the best choice, I'll use them (I don't particularly care for them though). What would you do with all the babies anyway?
Originally Posted by theatermusic87
I have to respectfully disagree with just about everything here. Over stock yes, though proper testing will determine how much stocking you need. Algae farm, not unless you're blasting light in the lower tank. Put some nerites in and some amano shrimp and it'll stay nice and clean. Don't really need a bioreactor either, there is more than enough surface area in whatever substrate you choose to use in the hydroponics side of thing for bacteria to colonize (plant roots from floating rafts will also work).
As to plants look through the riparium plant list in my signature for ideas. Lots of stuff will grow that way
theatermusic87: will amano shrimp be ok with heavy nitrates? I haven't looked into shrimp that much, I just thought it would be a no go.