Welcome back to the hobby and TPT
The responses in this thread make me chuckle because I can certainly relate..
This is a post for us old-timers to commiserate how technology has kinda passed right by us while we weren't looking.
It used to be enough to have an HOB or Box filter, a trusty heater, and an air-pump...
Fish-less cycle and bacterial supplements? What's that? You added fish and changed water everyday until tank was cycled. I did this with discus when I first started raising them 18 years ago-- never worried that my fish would be exposed to ammonia or nitrites because I ensured they wouldn't.
There were some amazing local fish stores where we built long-term relationships. For a majority, those stores are gone.
Plants? They had some water lilies and such for koi ponds and you would see anacharis ( with the live-bearers ) or java moss ( for breeder tanks); but that was the extent of it.
Decor, for me ( beyond the first year where blue gravel and a castle "fancied up" my tank), was a branch or stump- maybe. It has only been in the last 2 years Ive added plants to my aquariums.
Ive had 1-4 tanks running continuously for the last 30 years and always used Emperor HOB's until my husband complicated everything and bought me canister filters about 8 years ago. They amaze me and I curse them at the same time. Just last week 1 of my Fluvel FX6 filters that I have on my 180 gallon gave up the ghost after 1.5 years of operating. Had to replace the motor. My HOB's would typically last me 5 years at a fraction of the cost. Still, I paid up to replace the motor on the FX6-- because my husband assures me they are "better."