I'm back into the hobby after a two decade break, finding this last year was the perfect time to get back into it with a 3 year old fascinated by fish and plenty of time on my hands. My wife also likes the look of what I came up with, so it's here to stay provided it's just the one aquarium! As a concept I wanted it to be planted, look good as a focal point in our living room, and wanted to focus on native stream fish like the ones I caught when I was a kid. I will say there's some really nice options with the pumps/filtration/lights/wavemaker I wish I had 20 years ago.
This is what I've built out:
Fluval Plant 3.0 LED light
1 Fluval 407 (Standard sponges, filter floss, 2.5 trays of seachem matrix + the bio rings it came with, 2 bags of purigen with filter floss filled above them to ensure even water flow)
1 Fluval 207 (running a surface skimmer, standard sponges, filter floss, 1.5 trays of seachem matrix, and recently some Phosguard on top)
1 air stone
2000GPH wavemaker running a strong current in the foreground with some variance
Mostly a mix of pea size and smaller gravel as substrate to simplify vacuuming
Scattered clusters of Anubias among the rocks with some Bacopa Caroliniana and Wisteria recently added to contribute to edging out algae while providing some hiding spots for fish.
I've got it maintaining a 72-73 degree temperature. After the usual new tank adventures with bacteria it's fully cycled with zero ammonia/nitrites/nitrates after 3 weeks at current stocking levels and zero water removed from the tank. Currently doing a 10% water change, adding alkaline buffer as needed, and doing a bit of gravel vacuuming weekly. Also attempting to murder all black beard algae - apparently our tap water here has absurdly high levels of phosphates which is not making that easy.
2 platys (our pioneer fish still alive and happy!)
4 scarlet shiners
3 spotfin shiners
6 southern redbelly dace
5 mountain redbelly dace
3 central stonerollers
2 red crystal shrimp (they hide all day but they're still around)
12-ish Red Cherry Shrimp (breeding)
1 blue velvet shrimp (now a jet black night-time ninja shrimp)
5 amano shrimp
3 bamboo shrimp
Most of these have been in there since early May with the shiners being added toward the end of the summer. I lost 3 shiners to a mystery wasting illness and had a single mountain redbelly dace jump out unexpectedly when it was pretty new to the tank. For the shrimp we had one tiny red crystal shrimp swim up into THE FOOD ZONE when I added it to the tank and that ended about how you'd expect it to as it zipped by one of the dace, but surprisingly after that the shrimp have been happy roaming around the bottom/decorations and the fish ignore them. Thinking of adding a darter or two if they won't murder the shrimp!