I'm officially obsessed. We couldn't help ourselves, and got a shiny new Spec V as an "upgrade" from the petco 10g tank that our betta was living in. We wanted something with better filtration than the sponge filter in the tank we had, without the noise of the air pump or a bulky HOB filter.
Light: The first thing that had to go was that stock light. I didn't like the color of it, and it was just waaaaay underpowered for anything more demanding than java fern or anubias. I replaced it with a 20" Finnex Stingray, which seems to be plenty for the small tank and the plants I want to grow.
Filtration: Stock pump from the Spec V. I removed the carbon packet and added some purigen. I also stuffed some foam in the bottom inflow, which helps alot with surface skimming, and put a fluval edge foam filter over the outflow to slow the current down for the betta. There's also an aquatop 50w heater in the pump section of the filter box.
Substrate: Carribsea Super Naturals Tahitian Moon. My girlfriend insisted on this stuff, since it's looks like glittering black sand. It does look really nice, and glitters/glimmers when it catches the light.
Hardscape: 2 pieces of Manzanita wood and a bunch of small seiryu stones. I picked these two pieces of driftwood since the fit nicely together, and created some interesting branches and walkways. I also like the faux-tree look.
Peacock Moss (5x bunches)
Anubias Nana (3x packages - tissue-cultured from petco. I really like these)
Cardinal Plant (4x bunches)
Dwarf Sag (4x bunches)
Stauragyne Repens (4x tissue-cultured pots from a LFS)
Windelov Java Fern (4x)
Betta (Djinn) - He's not doing too well. He has some sort of growth on his head that's getting worse, and he's getting more lethargic all the time. Not sure what's wrong with him, but it looks like a tumor. I don't think the poor guy is too long for this world.
4x Amano Shrimp
8x Misc. Shrimplets from another tank. There are sakura orange, fire red, and blue dreams in there.
I'm about 4 weeks in (just added livestock) with this tank, and everything seems to be doing pretty well so far. A little melting with some of the stauragyne, but nothing major. Also the usual diatoms.
I'm low-tech so far, but am contemplating a little co2 setup. We'll see. So far it's just the occasional dose of Flourish. Might start adding ADA brighty k and green brighty step 1 too.