hey i just came into a used 10 gallon tank, i actually went to take the trash out and someone left it, a penguin biowheel 150 filter (missing almost all the parts) and a submersible water heater. i'm pretty excited about it, i've wanted to start an aquarium for awhile now, but i ended up setting up a terrarium for a boa instead. now that i've come into a tank i don't really have an excuse not to anymore.
so i've spent the last couple of hours thouroughly cleaning the tank, the top, the heater and all parts that came with it.
right now i've filled up the tank to the brim and i'll be leaving it for a few days to make sure that it has no small leaks and that the heater is working properly.
assuming the tank is holding water i'll be emptying it, cleaning it again with very hot water, and then i plan to go get substrate, hideaways, etc. add all of that, fill the tank with purified water, and then let it sit, filter and get ready for fish and such.
now my questions
i won't be using the filter as it is missing to many parts i'd like a recommendation on a good 3 cycle filter, i'm not rich by any means so i can't afford anything obscenely expensive, but i don't want to skimp either, if anyone knows of a good filter for a reasonable price i'd love to know from you're experienced opinions.?
what kind of substrate should i use? i was thinking of either medium size gravel or coral pieces, or maybe a combination of the two, but a friend is offering me some live sand that he bought for his aquarium, he said it will help add good bacteria and nutrients to the water, but i've heard that sand can be a bad substrate as it can trap offal because it doesn't allow for water flow, any opinions on this matter or is it a moot point?
i'm really not that interested in many fresh water wish, they all seem to kind of boring in my opinion, there are a few that i like but more so i'm interested in adding things like crayfish, shrimp, maybe even some fresh water crabs or newts and salamanders if i end up making part of the tank above water. what are some good fish to mix in with invertebrates and amphibians?
i also really want to grow plants in the aquarium, any recommendations on good choices?
what type of light should i use? i was planning on a full spectrum light to help with plant growth, and i know that in reptiles it promotes a more active lifestyle is the same true with fish amphibians and invertebrates?
any other pointers would be greatly appreciated