I'm in the process of information gathering for a new tank... please bear with me as I'm fairly new to this and really don't have much of a clue. I understand the basics... but that's about it.
This tank... I don't care how long it takes, but I want it perfect. In short, I'd like either an iwagumi style like so:
(credit to Wonderboy
or something like like this with numerous pieces of small driftwood:
(credit to unirdna
for inspiration as well)
-I'd like to stay in the 36" long department. I find it's the perfect length... I just want something deeper than 12" (and by deeper, I mean from front to back). 18" would be... Zen. I really don't mind how tall it is, just as long as it's not too tall where I'd need to heavily light it to get proper illumination at the bottom. I saw an All-Glass 40g breeder tank that fit these dimensions... but I've yet to see people use that tank. Any reason why not? If it's not appropriate, then what could my other options be?
-I'd be building my own stand for cost reasons. I've got an "inside man" at the local lumber yard!
-I want a damn good planting substrate. SMS, ADA Amazonia, or Eco-Complete. Must be black or close to it. Any suggestions comparing the three?
(edit: after poking around in the substrate forum, I noticed mention of AquariumPlants.com own 5 gallon bucket of substrate. Any feedback on that?)
-Fish wise would be two large schools of Harlequin Rasboras and/or Black Neon Tetras. If I only choose, one, the other would most likely be Cardinal Tetras. Algae control would be left to shrimp... as to what kind... I have no clue.
-Plantwise... well, I've yet to get there. I'd be running pressurized co2 and high powered lighting. I want it to look natural of course and I don't want it to look like I threw in a bunch of random plants... which I fear my current 38g tank is looking like. One thing is for sure... I love the look of Dwarf Hairgrass. Any suggestions as to what plant type works well with that?
-Filtration would be canister-type, but I've got *no* clue as to what kind/brand/size to get. Any help here would be greatly appreciated. I've heard good things about Rena's XP series but otherwise, I'm clueless!
Unless I'm missing something huge, that's about it. Any answers will be greatly appreciated!