I'm afraid this first post will be a little long. I'm been wanting to get an aquarium for almost a year now but the prices had mostly kept me away. ----------------Round 1, The Tank----------------------- Last Memorial day weekend PetSmart was running a 75g tank + stand for $299 sale and it seemed like the perfect time to jump in. Problem #1, I live in a 118 year old pier&beam house that had a period of neglect. Problem #2 my wife took the perfect spot in the living room with her bird cage. Back to Problem #1, this house has VERY uneven floors near the chimney stack as that part of the house hasn't settled as much as the rest. The only place I can put the tank and enjoy it is in my office with the available space being against the chimney stack. Back left corner to front right corner is a difference of 2.5" in not joking. So what else would any sane person due than to pour a concrete slab over 118 year old wood floors? I've finished the slab which is still curing and I'm on to problem #4 ... you mean things go on the back of the tank? Yeah, I didn't think of that when I poured the slab. Now I guess I have to get a canister filter, darn. For those that might be worried about the concrete, I'm over one of the 8"x 16" flooring joists that I'm very sure can take 1000+ pounds in weight. I used 10 mil plastic to cover the floor/wall and if or when we should move I'll be able to remove the pad. So a complete beginner with no experience in the hobby now has a 75g bare tank and stand sitting on a 150 pound slab that looks really weird because it's 3" high on one side and 1/2 " high on the other. But now it's within 1/4" of level and I can easily shim the tank to get it perfectly level. -------------------Round 2, The Research------------------- Ok, so I'm now realizing that I might have to spend twice what I did on the tank to fill it in. The fish aren't even the worst of it. Have you guys seen the price of aquarium gravel?! Even after I get the gravel base in I'm going to need rocks and plants. Pretty much everything else I have in a shopping cart. Heater, filter, nets, python wc kit, airstones, powerhead, chems, etc Along with a lightly researched fish list (Thank you AqAdvisor). This is where you all come in as you are part of this research. I expect filling this tank will take the rest of the year so I'm here to see if there's anything I missed before I start buying all of my non-living items. I'm going to lay out my current plan and the list of items I've researched so far, please comment on anything you have questions or input for. ------------------The Current Plan----------------- -Non-Breeding tank -Blue/Gold fish color scheme -Non-Planted ( The fish are the attraction not an aquatic lawn I also have to mow) -Dark Gravel base (Sand would be cheaper but how to get cheap dark sand?) -Black plastic-dip background -Grey/Dark brown rocks with plenty of hiding spots -Silk Plants (I heard Hobby Lobby plants are ok to use, rust being a minor issue with good filtration?) -Spray bar vertical against black background pointed near front corner (In-line heater so I want heat evenly distributed) -Powerhead on opposite side as heater filter output also pointed towards front of tank near corner -23" Bubble curtain across back of tank, low, partially covered by gravel -Possibly two small airstones in the front corners to avoid dead spots (bubbles in the front would be distracting?) -12W LED light came with the tank is it enough? -------------------The Things List-------------------- -Penn Plax Cascade 1200 (315GPH) Canister Filter (Alt. MarineLand Magniflow 360) -Oxyful 12w Inline UV Sterilizer (Is it needed? Non-planted tanks have a harder time with algae?) -Hydor 300w In-line heater (do I need a 300W? it's only $10 more I figured best to be over than under? This office is warm with two computers in it except there is not insulation in the floor so in the winter it can get nippy 2' from the floor.) -Tetra Whisper 100g air pump + black and clear hose, check valves, T's, and some bleeder valves -Penn Plax 23" Bubble Curtain + 2x 2" air stones -Hydor 565gph Circ pump (should I get two smaller ones or is this the right size for this tank?) -Fresh Water Aquarium Test kit -2 x 6" Nylon Mesh nets ( Is nylon ok for smaller fish?) -2 x Digital thermometers -Mag Float -Python WC kit + fill attachment + 24" Gravel Siphon ($72 really? Almost as bad as the gravel, it's just a few plastic hoses if I get the Venturi pump for $5 I could build my own right?) -SeaChem Prime/Stability/Pristine (am I missing anything should I get a stress ones?) -Apparently I need a quarantine tank so supplies for that too. ----------------The things I can't find a good price on list------------ Darkish smooth Gravel Rocks Silk Plants -----------------The Fish List----------------------- 3 x Guppy (Poecilia reticulata) 3 x Red Wag Platy (Xiphophorus maculatus) 3 x Calico Platy (Xiphophorus maculatus) 5 x American Flagfish (Jordanella floridae) 5 x Eastern Rainbowfish (Melanotaenia splendida) 5 x Zebra Danio (Danio rerio) 5 x Peppered Cory (Corydoras paleatus) 5 x Ghost Glass Cat (Kryptopterus bicirrhis) 5 x Green Fire Tetra (Aphyocharax rathbuni) 5 x Cardinal Tetra (Paracheirodon axelrodi) AqAdvisor (AqA) shows this list is 100% stock for my tank. Please make recommendations on this list. I LOVE iridescent blue as long as it isn't over down. I don't want this whole thing electric blue. For instance I really wanted to put some German Blue Ram's in here but AqA said they liked warmer water than the rest of my fish. I'm thinking about thinning the list out more. Can I do like 3 of each Tetra and will they still school?I already removed the dwarf Gourami and 1 Angel as I'm not big on Angels and I thought the Gourami might be to big with the other fish. I'm trying to stay under about 3". So I'm mostly going with schooling fish. If I had to pick one to drop right now it would probably be the guppy though I want something that's different from all the schooling fish and I think they'd be a better show piece than the Angel. I also had a female Betta in here but I've reading conflicting reports on if they would be good in this type of community or not. So please let me know if I'm missing awesome looking blue or gold/yellow fish that could work here. Or if some of these fish would not be good together. I also dropped Mollies off the list because of the salt requirement and the Cory. Oh! I forgot I was wanting to put something like shrimp or a snail or something in here that would bottom feed though I feel like I have enough bottom feeders. I was partial to the Loaches but I don't think I'm going with them now. If I go with sand I'm thinking of getting some of those burrowing snails? MBS? But I'd prefer gravel so maybe some shrimp? Oh one last thing what order should I start the fish to introduce them to the tank?