I am hoping to get some feedback, suggestions, criticism, etc about my tank plan. I got a 30G Extra tall tank for free from a guy I work with. He was using it for Angel Fish (iirc) but ended up with a 90 Gallon tank for them instead. The tank looks like this:
I plan on using mineralized soil substrate topped in sand. For the soil I am following this link:
I am currently washing the top soil and sand in plastic containers right now. I plan on keeping it low tech.
I purchased an API freshwater test kit because it came highly recommended and seems like it should last for quite a while (many tests). I also ordered Seachem Prime so I can use tap water, hopefully. I have a 150W heater on order, a 200GPH HOB fitler, digital thermometer, siphon for water changes, and a LED SAT+ (24").
My LFS has a few different types of plants and I will probably get some from people here too. I was thinking java moss, java ferns, Anubias and crypts mostly. Possibly some swords too. It will be a low light aquarium at the substrate, from the PAR data I've seen.
I think my biggest hurdle, idea wise, is filling the vertical space that comes with the 24" tall aquarium. I was thinking of using plastic barriers to hold the soil and sand and make a large hill on one side. I also have a piece of Malaysian drift wood I was thinking of partially burring in the hill side. I have never done any aquascaping like this and I am really not positive that my idea is viable. I've heard that roots from the plants will help hold the hill, but erosion will wear it down eventually.
I know a large factor on the aquarium is the fish I want to house. I was aiming towards quite a few red cherry shrimp, a couple otos (later due to need for an established tank), and a school of small fish (possibly Green Neon Tetras?).
I am really looking for some ideas to help fill the vertical void. I'd also appreciate some feedback or criticism on things I have missed. I'm fine with harsh criticism as long as you can point me to something to read and research. I've been reading a lot of the tank journals on here, but a lot of those are much larger than what I am doing here.