About 10 years ago I had to get rid of my two tanks (1 planted, one not) because I lacked time to care for the tanks and my kids. The kids are older now and I recently acquired a free 20 gallon Hex tank so I am getting back into things.
The stand that came with the tank was MDF and already water damaged so I tossed it and built my own. I am building my own custom filtration system which is effectively a 5 gallon bucket filled with plastic scrubbies and pond filter mats. It will be a very oversized filter, but I want to have a decent # of fish and be able to keep the water in good shape.
I plan to stock with fish and plants that are relatively easy to care for and that don't need a ton of supplements and crazy technology.
I am currently stuck on two items.
The cover for the tank is not complete and had no light so I plan to custom build a lid/hood, but I want to keep it low profile and clean since this tank will sit in my family room.
Based on my research I think that I can get by with around 1500 total lumens of light as long as I stick to plants that are OK in low to moderate light levels.
I am planning to build my own light fixture and was thinking about using 3 of either these
Will that lighting be adequate?
I am trying to figure out what substrate would be best. I am trying to keep this project affordable and sustainable. My kids and I scavanged some cool rocks from a local stream which I plan to clean up, bleach and test with vinegar before using them to hopefully form a rock wall up the back of the tank. I want the tank to look natural, so what substrate makes sense? Can I just use a natural gravel? Do I need a fancier substrate meant for plants?
Thanks in advance for the advice!