I might beat Cmlaracy's record for longest thread w/o water in the tank.
Right now short on $$$, so I think I will try emersed, that way, no filter is needed.
Some ideas I have thought of for filtration:
Internal filter, cheapest route, however, the cheapest. Should run $10-20.
Mini canister filter, either Zoo Med 501 or Tom Rapids C-80. $40-50. Best filter available probably, keeps tank real estate free.
mini HOBs -- I have tried HOB w/ co2. It works pretty well too, but would like to try the canister route.
Lighting--just today I saw spiral CF 13w bulbs at 6500k at Home Depot. Prices of CF spirals are getting cheaper and cheaper, and more variety. Pretty excited about this, they only sold 4100k prior, and 6500k looks way better. I am thinking of building a canopy that can run 3x 13w spiral bulbs, then suspending the lights (as shown in recent thread
). I estimate this should cost around $30.
As for cabinet, I am getting pretty handy at them building simple designs, built two this week. Just need wood + screws + piano hinges, estimating to be ($30). I have black matte paint already.
Another issue to resolve is heating. Maybe an inline heater to keep the tank free of most equipment. This would work for a canister filter, just plumb it inline. CO2 can be done in-line as well.
Thanks vonzorfox, hopefully I can live up to expectations lol.