My buddy and I started these ten gallons within a few days of each other with the intentions of having similar livestock and competing with each other over whose tank looks better.
I'll start with his tank,
Plain gravel, started with an old crappy filter, but upgraded~ish to an aqueon 20,diy co2, little ferts, started with 2x 26w spiral compacts, but one went out.
His tank started off going strong, with a bronze wentdii crypt, some hairgrass, and marsilea. He had 8 CPDs, 5 cherry shrimp, an Oto, and a Columbian Zebra Pleco( they go by a few other names i know), all was well for about a month.
And then set in what i'm pretty sure is cyanobacteria, green-blue slime EVERYWHERE!
It, or whatever caused it, killed off all 8 CPDs, and all 5 shrimp. The zebra was moved to his 40 breeder, and once the cyano started receding, he added a clown pleco and 2 honey gouramis. To help eat up nutrients, he threw in some windelov java fern, hygrophilia sp, and a nymphoides sp.
The tank is coming along nicely now, the cyano is still covering everything, but it doesn't spread as fast now, and everything is growing just fine. I'll have to get some more recent pics, but here's the basic idea.
Now my tank.
I started with tahitian moon sand with crushed up pond fertilizer tabs in "strategic" locations.
Lighting is a 26 watt 65k spiral compact and 15w i think, strip light off a 20 high.
same aqueon 20 filter as his tank, Diy Co2, Guestimated index fertilizing with powdered ferts.
I went with emerald rasboras i beleive they're called, and some brown-rust colored shrimp, an Oto, and a stray dwarf puffer, who is gonna be moved soon.
I started with rotala wallichi,crypt lutea (or lucens i have both), and slowly gathered stuff. Added another crypt, hygrophilia kompact, java fern, crypt parva, and dwarf sag. i believe.
I ended up pulling out one of the crypts and the rotala wallichi.