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m8d,

First off, welcome to TPT!

Your planned setup is similar to mine. I am a few years into this and have learned a lot. I'm not an expert, but I have learned a lot the hard way. Hopefully some of this helps...

If you buy a filter on craigslist, thoroughly clean it out as you don't know what the other person had going through that filter. If it we me, I would buy a new canister filter. It is a small investment that can last you for several years. I run the Rena XP3 on mine, it seems to get the job done.


Think long and hard about the fish you want to keep. You have plenty of time to do your research to figure out what you want. Don't add them all at once and wait until after the tank has cycled. Add them in small groups over several weeks so you don't set off a mini cycle.

There are several members here who sell driftwood, plants, fish, and shrimp. Take a look in the For Sale/Trade section of the website. I recommend buying from them if possible.

If you do buy the fish local I would check the LFS again to see if they have cleaned up their act. Buy from whoever has the healthiest looking fish and tanks. I haven't had much success with fish from PetSmart or other chain stores.

Don't worry about the snails, they are harmless. I only see a bunch of them when I have been overfeeding. Normally I hardly see them at all.

I will check back in if you have anymore questions. What do you plan on doing for light?
 
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