This tank has actually been running in various capacities for about a year now. I though I would share the Different stages it has gone through.
(Dates are estimates)
I started with plastic plants. There were originally 5 Neons. One died in the first week after getting himself lodged in the filter intake.
That driftwood is fake. The two Anubias plants in front of it, however, are not. They are my first live plants.
At this time, there was also a Black Mystery Snail in the aquarium.
Here, I had found a nice, large piece of Mopani driftwood at PetSmart at a steal. I believe I paid $2-3 for it.
Sorry for the low picture quality.
I had also purchased several stems of Wisteria. In these pictures they had recently been violently trimmed. I also had some larger rocks I had taken from the yard.
At this point I had decided I really did not like the way the wood was positioned, so I flipped it. I had also grown tired of the Wisteria which was creating a mess of leaves on the bottom.
I also removed the larger rocks to make more room.
I spent 4 months studying abroad in Madrid, Spain. During this time The tank was in the care of my younger brother (and dad). I was actually surprised that I only lost 1 Neon. When I returned I split off some baby Anubias and did some minor re-scaping.
I now had 4 plants.
A month later the Neons made the 11 hour car trip back to St. Louis where I go to school. This was their second time doing this trip as they had originally be bought in St. Louis. After a couple weeks of school, I decided To try something different.
This is what I came up with. I noticed that the empty space in the hood on the left side was just enough for me to be able to have the wood stand upright.
Here you can see each of the 4 individual plants. Just after this picture was taken, I started dosing with Flourish, Flourish Excel, and Flourish Iron (the new leaves were quite yellow).
Overall this new design has left open a lot of space. I hope to get some more plants in the near future to start filling the gaps. Also, even after taking the wood out an boiling it for several hours, it is still leaching. The latest pictures were taken soon after the redesign so the water appears fairly clear, but has since returned to the darker color seen in the earlier pictures. I don't mind it, I'm just looking forward to it clearing up again.