Here is my plan. I don't have any pictures for anyone yet because I haven't set anything up, but will be beginning this afternoon. I'll try and get some pictures as soon as I can.
I wanted to do this project with as little money as possible. I have much of the equipment just laying around already, being into aquarium stuff for the past 20 years or so. I have a 20H tank that I've had sitting around for some time that I'm going to use. It will be filtered by a Emperor 280 with bio-wheel removed. (Haven't figured out exactly how I'm going to disable the dang spray bar yet.)
Lighting will be two Perfecto 15w T8's retrofitting into my canopy right at the top of the water. If needed, I can add a third to bring it to 45 watts, but I'll stick with 30watts at first. (I bought three Sylvania 6500k "Daylight" bulbs - 720 lumens each.) I may try and rig up some type of reflector mod but I'm just going to use what's there for now. For the little bit of lighting that is in those cheap Perfecto fixtures, they really don't do that bad of a job. I plan on rigging up DIY CO2 that will be injected into the Emperor intake.
For the substrate, I've purchased Black Diamond blast media in 30/60. I know most everyone uses 20/40 but it wasn't available in my area and I'm not going to pay to ship it. Sifting through it doesn't appear to leave any cuts or abrasions on my hands so I'm going to try it. I've read several places where people have used this grade with success. I'm going to do ~4" deep in the back and falling throughout to the front to perhaps 1.5 - 2 inches. I think the 50lb. bag should cover it. There will be one large rock, with several smaller to compliment. I'll do the driftwood in another project. I don't feel like dealing with the tanins.
For plants, I want to start with three species of which I don't know exactly yet.
I'd like to have Marsilea Minuta to let grow over the bottom (if it grows too tall I'll just bring my light up to 45 watts). In the background I'd like to introduce Vallisneria Nana. To compliment these two, I'd like to get something for the "middle ground" that has a slightly larger leaf. Haven't decided yet. Suggestions are welcome. Oh, and if you happen to be selling any of these species and you'd like to ship some to me, let me know.
The only fish I'd like to have in there are some corys and neons. I don't know how many of each yet. When I did freshwater before I just arbitrarily threw whatever I wanted in the tank with not much concern for the best environment for the fish so I'll have to research this.
That's about all I can think of at the moment. Now I know there are going to be suggestions about canister filters, T5HO fixtures, pressurized CO2, etc. but we have to keep in mind that the goal of this project for me is to be successful with only what I have. If I can do that, and impress my wife enough to let me have yet another fish setup, I can get all of the stuff that I want. Until then, I'm stuck with what I have. (Plus, I like a challenge.)
Oh - I'd also like to thank the main admin of this website, plus the few that I've talked to already on here. I was able to grasp most of what I needed to know to get started fairly quickly with the resources and the people from this site. I think people these days take forums for granted. The world just wouldn't be the same without 'em.
Now I'm off to level and shim the tank stand.