I'll start by describing my previous setup.
Nova Extreme 3' T5HO 78W fixture
Nova Extreme 4' T5HO 108W fixture
CFS 500 filter (polyfiber and sponge for mech filtration only)
Elite Underwater Mini Filter x2 (used for CO2 diffusion)
Glass Drop Checker
DIY CO2 Generator
Flourite Black Sand
Pygmy Chain Sword
Alternanthera reineckii 'roseafolia'
Nesaea pedicellata 'Golden'
The pictures were taken 6 months apart. Nothing was added to the tank between shots but several plants were moved around.
The tank was running great until I moved out of the apartment for a year, leaving the girlfriend in charge of the tank in my absence. Unfortunately, the tank was a complete disaster when I got back. Apparently, she hadn't noticed the lights were left off for several months after a fuse had to be reset Anyways, I came back in October and finally decided in December that I would start over, but with some minor changes this time (like absolutely no soil this time lol). It was a PITA completely emptying and discarding the contents of the tank, especially the soil substrate. I completely cleaned up the inside of the tank before getting started. I ordered 80lbs of Ecocomplete supplemented with 50lbs of Black Diamond blasting sand. I also found a nice rock to complement the driftwood that I already had. I managed to salvage an amazon sword and some java moss which was completely brown but I thought I'd see if it recovers (which it has). So on to the stocking lists:
25 neon tetras
10 pristella tetras (5 albino, 5 normal)
3 boesemani rainbows
2 celebes rainbows
Alternanthera reineckii roseafolia
Hygrophilia Corymbosa Stricta
I need to go back to the fish store to check on more rainbows, but I'll eventually have a good sized shoal in there.
Those two pictures were taken four weeks apart from a few days after setup (1/8/13) to last week (2/8/13). I'm currently using all of the same equipment as listed in my previous setup except I'm using pressurized CO2 now.
Also, the day after taking that picture, I decided to add some root tabs. Instead of buying manufactured ones, I took the time to make my own. I used size-00 gel caps filled with Miracle-Gro Tomato, Fruits and Vegetables continuous release plant food pellets because it has micronutrients and calcium and was also closest to the NPK values that I wanted. I spaced them out every 6", including up against the edges, so I think I added around 28 tabs total. I tested ammonia 1, 12, 24 and 48 hours to make sure it hasn't leached into the water column and all was good. Also, after getting my phosphate up to 2.3 mg/L a week ago, it has already dropped down to 0.6 mg/L. I'm surprised my plants are consuming it so quickly considering I don't consider the tank very heavily-planted right now (at least when compared to my previous setup); nitrate's being consumed at a nice rate as well. And also, this goes to show that nutrients do not equal algae since I haven't had any algae show up in my tank since it's been set up even though I like to keep relatively high levels of nitrate and phosphate.
Sorry for the long post, but that's my tank. Enjoy