Set up and planted on 10/3/13.
I'm going to keep track of the trials and tribulations of my very first NPT, a 30g I got off Craigslist for $30 (with the cherry stand, filter, heater, hood, air pump, and air line).
*Plant locations are tentative. Depending on how things grow/thrive, I'm certain there will be rearrangements. This is just for the time being.*
For the substrate I used Miracle Gro Potting Mix capped with black diamond blasting sand. 95% of the plants were purchased from peachii and I also used some from my already cycled 10g. There are two pieces of Mopani wood (one is quite small and not visible in the photos) which was boiled for hours. I know there will still be tannins leaking, but I'm not too concerned. The filter is a Penguin Biowheel 150B. Lighting: Zoo Med Ultra Sun Trichromatic Super Daylight 6500k Fluorescent Bulb T8 15 Watt, 18-inch.
I used about 3-4 gallons of water from my cycled 10g to hopefully jumpstart things. There are also around 20+ snails (also from the amazing peachii), though most are babies and hardly visible. Ramshorns and MTS. Too many plants to list and to be honest, I don't know all of their names yet! Peachii sent me so many clippings, I will have to wait for them to grow a little more to be able to identify some of them! They include rotala, ludwiga, wisteria, green hygro, pennywort, java moss, and more!
*Excuse my king, Poseidon, just floating in his cup, lol. I brought him home from school for the weekend, I am going to transfer my sorority into the 30g and put him in my already established 10g. It will all depend on water parameters, though. For now he's floating so he has heated water. If I can't transfer my sorority this weekend (input on that?), he'll come back to school with me on Sunday until things are ready to go!
Photos taken approx. 30 minutes after water was added. Prior to the water being added, there was about 1" of soil and 1 1/2 - 2" of cap. The cap has compressed and the soil has expanded. Sand still settling, but it's already starting to clear up.