I would recommend it based on mine. I have 6 'whisker' shrimp and 8 WCMM (or more as fry keep showing up). The only downside is the difficulty in upgrading the light.
Substrate can be anything. I have about an inch of flora-max (flourite) substrate and the S. Repens does fine. It was growing fast enough to be trimmed every week before I added the shrimp and got an algae outbreak. This happened when I switched from straight RO (ph 6.8) to RO and tap water (ph 7.0). Had it going for almost a year now with slow growth even with using Excel.
It is not going to be direct fit to upgrade the lights unless you want an open top. I retrofitted the hood with a couple led lights for 6 watts. I found Aqueon led at local petsmart on clearance for $5 so i made it work. Could do the same for under $50 off of Amazon.
Also if you use the HOB filter that comes with the tank then get "Sponge Filter for XY-2831/2830" as it perfectly fits over the intake.
I'll try to attach pics if it works.
Last edited by Shadetree; 05-19-2016 at 01:12 AM.
Reason: dang typos