Went to Walmart. Picked up a bag of Scott's topsoil, a bag of RED lava (could not locate black, locally), and a bag of play sand. I am not sure I am going to use all these materials, but it does give me options.
I am thinking: Lava rock to create elevation changes, filled in with the sand to smooth it, and keep the soil and Eco Complete from settling into gaps in the rock. I have not closely inspected the topsoil, so I don't know whether I will need to rinse it yet, or not. I plan to put the topsoil over the rock/sand layer, then the Eco Complete on top.
I do not have any decorative rock, yet, but have an excellent piece of driftwood soaking in treated water, right now. Hopefully, it will be heavy enough after the weekend. I am not planning any drastic elevation changes, but a little will be nice on the end opposite the driftwood. Have not decided on plants, yet...But I do intend to grow some emersed plants along the back of the tank. There will be no hood (the driftwood will rise higher than the frame in the 30 gallon tall), and only shoplights and CFLs to get started.
Does this sound okay? I have been reading for a few weeks, and think I have a fair plan. Am I missing anything?