New Around Here
First off, I have been lurking for a while. I found my way here via nano-reef.com and have been enjoying the community there for years now. Currently, I have almost four years of reef experience, though last fall I left my beloved 20g mixed reef in the care of my mother at home so I could begin work on finishing my degrees (B.A. in history and M.A. in education). The tank has done alright under her care, though the green hair algae has become a bit of a problem, it is easily remedied. I chose not to take my tank with me because I live in a fairly small dorm room and I didn't want to move a large tank back and forth. I thought briefly about setting up a small reef, but I don't really have budget or an easy means of mixing saltwater in the dorms. Which brings me here.
I have been interested in planted tanks for some time, but I have no experience worth mentioning in freshwater aquariums. While browsing the Foster & Smith catalog that came in the mail the other day, I spotted the new Fluval tanks; the ebi, the flora, and have become aware of the spec. A brief search here revealed some great looking tanks. I realize that small tanks present a unique set of challenges, but I feel like I would be able to manage a small planted tank here in the dorms, despite moving back and forth twice a year (only a 3 hour drive). The fluval tanks interest me because they seem to be fairly inclusive of what I would need to get started and they look pretty good too. While my budget is small, I am open to suggestions and still plan to do plenty of research before making any purchases. So, what manner of small set-up would you recommend to a planted tank newbie that would be relatively simple to maintain, while still being attractive? As far as general direction goes, I am a very big fan of the biotopic approach, but have nothing specific in mind as I am just starting my research.