So we just set up our 55 gallon tank last weekend. It isn't technically new, my parents (about 20 years ago) had it set up, so it's broken in It definitely isn't finished yet; currently there is a male betta (Admiral Ackbar) and a female BN pleco (Professor Nubbins) while the tank is cycling. I have the filter (the whole assembly, not just the media) from their previous home, a 10 gallon, along with the rated-up-to-60-gallons filter that will remain with the tank. Once it's done cycling (in about a month), the betta will return to his 10 gallon home (though I'll feel bad moving him, he looks like he's having a ball in a bigger tank), but the pleco will stay. Here is the rough stocking plan: 1 angel fish 2 apistos (of some sort) 8 tetras 6-8 platys 6 cory cats 2 nerite snails 1 bamboo shrimp In the 10 gallon, it'll just be the betta, a nerite, and maybe some ghost shrimp if the Admiral can leave them alone To set up the tank, we vacuumed/wiped everything down, and filled the bottom about 2" deep with fine-ish gravel. (Nothing fancy or multiple layers, I'm still a newbie.) We put in some lava rocks with hidey-holes and holes to swim through, as well as a few fake plants. We'd do a planted aquarium, but again, we're new, and we'd like to tackle one thing at a time. Once it's fully stocked, we'd like to add a few good beginner plants (java fern, wisteria) and get a feel for that. Nothing that involves CO2 or high light. The current water parameters are: pH=8.2, ammonia=0-0.25, nitrites/nitrates=0. Everything is going swimmingly (no pun intended), except for the fact that poor Professor Nubbins is constipated. This weekend we'll be hopefully buying a nice, big piece of driftwood to replace the rock that is 2nd from the left. (It has a hole to swim through, but it's a little too small, and doesn't have any good hidey-holes.) This way there will be a little bit of contrast, yet it won't be too cluttered. I'd like to add some more (fake, for the time being) plants, but I don't have any. I've seen people use silk plants (like the kind you get at crafts stores), is that okay? I'd be afraid the glue might not do well in water. I apologize the pictures are so washed out, I tried different lighting combinations (room lights on/off, one or both of the blue and pink bulbs) but nothing seemed to help. Also, I used my cell phone camera, which definitely isn't the best. At any rate, despite the fact it's looking a little empty, comments and suggestions are appreciated! I've been perusing everyone's pictures, and there are some fabulous-looking tanks out there We'd like to go for the more natural look (like the fish might see in their native habitats), so no sunken ships or anything like that. Thanks for looking!