So, I HAD fallen in love with the artistic elements in the design of the Fluval Edge. I am really excited about the top-down viewing of the plants, as I think this is the most beautiful angle. However, I have since been talked out of the Edge. Then, I was pretty sure I'd be ordering a 28 Gallon Red Sea Reefer. It fit nicely into my annoying space limitation, and I've always wanted to try a sump set up. Now, much to my husband's dismay, I have finally decided on the 43 gallon Red Sea Reefer, which is almost double the original footprint, and nearly quadruple the volume! But, hey, we did some intense maneuvering of living room furniture today, and I was able to carve out enough space with no more than 1" to spare. Yippee! We will be viewing the display from 3 sides. There will be many firsts for me in this setup: 1. First tank smaller than 55 gallons. 2. First attempt at keeping freshwater Shrimp. 3. First time using an active substrate. 4. First time I have a decent tank budget with some splurging room. I have literally only purchased two brand new pieces of equipment since I began keeping aquariums in 1995. 5. First time purchasing setup components online (I've been out of the hobby a few years). 6. First sump (I'm going to use it as a refugium with the lights on an opposite schedule as the display to maintain stable oxygen levels.) 6. First foray into the big, bad world of Co2. As far as the inhabitants go, my #1 dream critter is a colony of Crystal Red Shrimp (CRS). I also want to try Vampire & Bamboo Shrimps. I love me some creepy-crawlies! I also have always been enamored with glowing, flashy shoals of cardinal tetras. In addition, I'd love to get a nice little shoal of Threadfin Rainbowfish. I saw an established group of them in a store display tank once, and their behavior was captivating. True to my eclectic nature, I'd also like to try a group of Ghost Glass Catfish, and I NEED some Kuhli Loaches. I also want an assortment of Nerite Snails, Amano Shrimp and a group of Zebra Otocinclus for algae control. Last but not least, a pair of Stiphodon Gobies have stolen my heart. As far as the plants go, I pretty much want one of everything. No bueno, dudes. I don't have the tank yet, but have the room to order it in my next paycheck on the 15th. I have contracted collectoritus in a mean way, by looking at Tom Barr's setup here: Dutch something or the other | Page 9 | AquaScaping World Forum I'm telling you, I am CONSUMED with thoughts and schemes of how to possibly achieve such an eye-poppingly colorful aquatic wonderland of a display on the small, very limited scale I've got to work with. I know a few things for sure regarding my plant choices: exciting colors are important to me, and vibrant reds are the most important of all. I'm seriously considering attempting a display only in shades of red! But since I haven't found a nice red carpet plant, I may have to have my carpet provide the green contrast in the display. We shall see. January 15th, 2017 First purchase: I've never kept inhabitants which require such splitting of hairs, but since I want to avoid unnecessary shrimp deaths, I determined a good starting place is testing my tap water. TDS is at 136 ppm. GH is at 8 degrees (140 ppm) and KH is at 7 degrees (120 ppm). Not ideal. Now I'm off to educate myself about remineralized RO water. Total cost of setup so far: $30.48. As I was daydreaming about all the hundreds of plants I want to order from Ebay, I stumbled across seeds. I've never met anyone who raised an aquatic plant from seed. I figured I'd give it a whirl. I found the Eriocaulon ratonagiriuni I have been salivating over in Tom Barr's set up. I'm super excited to try sprouting them! They arrived last week, but I don't have my ro/di unit yet to sprout them. Running Set up subtotal: Test kits: $30.48 Plants: $17.67 $48.15 Jan 18, 2017 · Picked up some small pieces of wood at my LFS. I was inspired by the Amazon Rainforrest Wood on aquariumplants.com, but not willing to pay $120 for something I thought I may be able to pull off. Here's what I had to work with: Attachments Here's what I came up with so far. It's surprisingly stable and although I know all the different colors and textures are a strange hodge-podge, I am hoping to attach fissidens and pearl moss artistically enough to achieve the look of a gnarly ancient swamp bonsai. New running subtotal: Test kits: $30.48 Plants: $17.67 Hardscape: $13.66 Grand Total: $61.81 Attachments Jan 19, 2017 · #6 I got my heater in the mail today. And I added some of my Harry Lauder's Walking Stick twigs to the wood formation. I have the wood soaking now. It's all really light and floaty, so it'll probably have to be under water for 3 weeks. I got an email that my light shipped today from CA! I have been slowly chipping away at my plants wish list. Today Riccia made the chopping block. I just don't think with all the contortions I'll have to assume in order to trim, that it would be wise to have something that requires such frequent trims...*sigh*...bye-bye Riccia fluitans. One day our paths shall merge... Updated subtotal: Test kits: $30.48 Plants: $17.67 Hardscape: $13.66 Heater $40.71 Grand Total: $102.52 Attachments Jan 22, 2017 · #9 Look, a thermometer is what Brown could do for me yesterday. Updated subtotal: Test kits: $30.48 Plants: $17.67 Hardscape: $13.66 Heater $40.71 Thermometer $5.29 Grand Total: $107.81 Attachments Wendy1B online Jan 23, 2017 · #10 Today my Shrimp foods and ferts arrived. I bought them at discobee.com. Still waiting on my substrate. I'm excited to see it in person because narrowing down my choice was harrowing! Updated subtotal: Test kits: $30.48 Plants: $17.67 Hardscape: $13.66 Heater $40.71 Thermometer $5.29 Food: $32.97 Fertilizers $40 Beneficial Bacteria Additive $13.99 Grand Total: $194.77 Attachments Jan 23, 2017 · I keep trying to come up with plant combos without green, and none of them appeal to me without the pop of green breaking things up. So I think it was a silly idea to go all reds, oranges, pinks. Feb 4th, 2017 I have received my substrate, and pulled all the rocks from my old low-tech display. Look who passed the vinegar test today! Makes a mama so proud!