So, i keep reading everything, and theres a TON of information and a lot of it is overwhelming. Ideally I want a lot of fish in it, smaller guppies / whitecloud minnows and that sized mostly (girlfriends choice).. But I am still at a loss for what all I need, how much substrate, how do you clean? I have 2 sets of dimmable LED lights (beam nova 180w designed for corals off my now taken down saltwater tank) . Would those work? Is there a good step by step guide somewhere that I'm overlooking showing exactly what I need and what to get and all? still reading, still quite lost.. give me saltwater and coral, im good.. this shouldn't be stumping me but it is! And preferably suggestions on the cheaper end of the scale for now at least..
Heya Squiggly, welcome to The Planted Tank!
First off, I'd like to let you know that your reef keeping experience will serve you well with planted tanks as they're similar in care requirements. If you consider the really high tech, carefully fertilized, high light systems the ULNS SPS crowd then work your way down to the low tech Zoa and other polyp group your points of reference for care level should be close.
One major, and significant, difference is lighting. More is not always better. In fact, it's often worse to have more light than less as long as the plants' needs are being met. Your light *should* be ok for freshwater as long as you can increase the white light and dim the far blue. Dimmable is awesome. See above.
Now, let's step back a bit, and let me ask you an important questions. What are your goals with this tank? What do you ultimately want it to be? How much time are you willing to invest in maintenance? Are you going to reuse your current tank? If so, how big is it and what sort of filtration does it have?
We'll get you where you want to go. Take a minute, go huff some 2-Part, and relax for a bit.