Planted Tank Guru
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Contra Costa CA
If you will only run it a couple of times a year and with just a few fish, then keep it in storage until needed.
Get an Aquaclear filter.
When you are ready to use it take a little filter media from your cycled tank and put it in the Aquaclear. These filters have a large chamber so you can fit almost anything in there. No cartridge needed.
Bare bottom. Just a rock or two in case the fish want to hide.
Trimmings from the main tank. Let them float. If the trimmings die, no big deal. They are additional material for the fish to hide in, and provide some cover from imagined predators, so the fish feels more secure.
Heater, perhaps a bit larger than average in case you need to crank up the heat to treat Ich.
Light, timer so the fish have a regular day/night schedule.
SEPARATE TOOLS from the main tank, gravel vac, 5 gallon bucket, net... Never share anything between Q-tank and main tank until you know the new fish are healthy.