I really am the king of good craigslist deals. This past Thursday I bought a 125g tank with glass canopies, strip light, various decor and other items including medications and test kits, a never-been-used Eheim 2217 and a wooden cabinet stand for a total of $150. Go me!
Anyway, it's sitting empty right now because the girlfriend and I aren't going to bother filling it until we move in mid August. We've already looked at different stocking ideas and there are pretty much two that we've come up with:
Community tank, probably heavily planted with well-secured plants with:
1x largish geophagus, probably g. surinamensis
Two groups of a dozen or so corydoras
A couple of smaller pleco species such as maybe one each of clowns, bristlenose and rubber lip
Several different smaller cichlids, such as a ram, an apisto or two and maybe some keyholes
Three or so different groups of tetras, probably including rummynose
Hatchets for the upper levels
Or a cichlid tank with:
A tiger oscar
A jaguar cichlid
A jack dempsey
A green (or maybe red?) terror
Maybe some type of larger syno
Of course, the second option would require no live plants and I'd probably decorate with lots of big rock formations and driftwood. In addition to the canister that came with the tank I'd probably also slap a couple of big HOB's on there. All of the fish would be introduced as small as possible to avoid aggression.
Does anyone else have any other interesting ideas? We also considered doing a Rift Lake tank but I think we both like the personality of the American cichlids more than the African ones. We also considered doing an Asian biotope that would be similar to the South American one, only with loaches instead of cories, barbs instead of tetras, danios instead of hatchets and maybe some gouramis instead of dwarf cichlids, but we shied away from the idea because having some sort of cichlid in big community tank just seems sort of...essential, I guess.
And no, I don't wanna hear that we should turn it into a reef
Our first saltwater tank will probably be something on a more manageable scale before we go pouring money into a tank this big.