Well, an update on this aquarium- I put a big hornwort on the filter side of the tank and that slows the current to something much more manageable. I've had a betta in there for a month now, healthy and happy- and also four ghost shrimp. These are a joy to have- I love watching the little guys nibbling away at the missed betta pellet food and then seeing it pass through in digestion.
While this tank's not as populated as the ones I took care of a as a kid, it's been a fun success and looks great with all the plants I have in there.
A Winner indeed.