I've been living in a rental while building a new home (one of the few in this economy) and have been waiting and waiting to get a tank. With a month and a half to go before the house is done I broke down and bought a 10 gallon. My rational is that it would be a great quarantine tank, and I can get the cycle out of the way and transfer filter media to the new tank to help skip cycling.
For this tank that was started on February 1, 2009 I have the following going on.
Aquaclear HOB (30, I think)
cheesy Wallyworld nonadjustable heater (yuck)
2-15 watt, 6500k compact fluorescent
1" topsoil (straight outta the bag) with 1" generic black sand/gravel
Plants are pretty basic and some not the best for this size tank.
Red Rubin (or maybe Melon Sword?)
Pygmy Chain Sword
Recently broke down and had to get SOMETHING other than the snails that came with the plants. Went the cheap route and got three ghost shrimp. One got sucked into the filter the second day I had him and had to be euthanized on the third, which is why I moved the sponge filter to the intake. Replaced it with filter floss in the bio-ball bag. Numbers two and three both are very happy to be in their own tank and have already molted.
My goal for this tank is for it to be my learning tank. The last time I had tropical fish was about 17 years ago. Have never tried for live plants or a tank larger than a 20 gallon. The fish I had back then were stupid impulse-buy fish (Arrowanna anyone?), and I've never actually had a community tank with nice little happy fish. So, this will be my first planted community tank. Any advice will be happily read, and maybe even paid attention to!
I'd like to go the low-tech non-Co2, non-fertilizer route as well.
Future (new house) tank will be somewhere from 50-90 gallons. The husband and I haven't quite decided yet. I was thinking of getting two more small Aquaclears, but I think that is just because I am comfortable with it. Substrate heater is something that I am intrigued by. Topsoil seems to be working great so far, but I think I'll go with more natural looking sand/gravel to top it with. The black looks wonderful, but you can see every dead leaf there is. Lighting has yet to be determined. Anything else?
Here is the 10 gallon. (Tried to size the image down... sorry if it didn't work.)