I recently setup a little All-Glass 2.5G tank(12*8*6), I have a 13watt screw in flourescent...its the Coralife Colormax bulb...and Im running the Azoo palm filter. I have about an inch of regular playsand as well. I hope to make this a shrimp/snail tank with maybe some nerites and some cherry shrimp after the weater breaks. What sorts of plants would you recommend for this setup?
Good, you did not go overboard with the light. The most common newbie mistake with people who setup such small tanks and have no plans to go the high tech route.
For some playsand works well, but many claim pool filter sand works better. IME, it is much easier to experience instablity in such tanks leading to algae if you do not do things right from the start. Use fast growing stem plants(bacopa, ludwiga, ambulia) and some floaters(duckweed is a real weed but probably on a small tank like that one of the best things for stabilizing the tank against algae infestation), a cryptocorne plant would work well(use Seachem root tab inserted where you plant it so roots get fed), small java fern or two, anubias nana, and java moss(perhaps a java moss wall that can be removed if the java moss gets unruly). The substrate is inert,so you will have to dose the water column with ferts. No need to go overboard as this is a small tank. A weekly pinch(like when you sprinkle some salt on food) of phosphates, nitrates, potassium, calcium sulphate, and epsom salts. Although optional, I would recommend that you dose the tank daily with Seachem Excel. It will provide the carbon plants need to do better and will get to inhibit/deter some kinds of algae. As far as stocking, better to understock - don't overstock as you will get a rapid buildup of dissolved organics which will cause huge water quality issues and the fish will be stressed and die. I say stick to some cherry shrimp(no more than 2-3) or Amano Shrimp, or a combination of one Nerite Snail and 1-2 Amano Shrimp, or White Cloud Minnow and Amano Shrimp or Cherry Shrimp. White cloud Minnows are schooling fish and may not be happy alone, so that may not be a good choice. A betta fish and a nerite snail may also work well. On a small tank like that, you will have to keep up with water changes, no ands, buts, or ifs. I would do them weekly. How much water you siphon out is up to you. Even a cup of water replaced a day using a turkey baster on such small tanks can do wonders.