This is my little 30g. It has a betta, two bumblebee gobies, two peacock gudgeons, and 5 baby bristlenose plecos (my mother in law's spawned a bunch of babies
), and a couple of snails.
The aquatic plants are aponogeton (the green grassy ones) and tiger lotus (both grew from dry bulbs from Walmart). The semi aquatics are red mangrove (left) and lucky bamboo. (right)
All I have is a double t5 fluorescent strip from Home Depot hanging over it.
I like the tank, but I'm kind of thinking I need to add a bit of blue light, because the yellow plant light does NOT do wonders for pictures lol.
Above you can see my tank over several months and what I started out with (most of the stuff did well but I got bored with a few of the plants like the pothos and removed them). Also, once the mangroves and lucky bamboo got tall enough to be on the bottom and still reach out of the water I removed the pots. The closeup of the one lily bulb is from oct 17th apparently of last year, so you can see how much they've grown since then. The lilys are from just two bulbs that kept making new rooted plants, and I'd break them off and move them. The aponogeton is from one bulb and now there's 3 individual plants.
The tank is super low maintenance and was cheap to set up. Everything in it is stuff beginners could grow and maintain easily also.
The only filter in there is a corner air driven box filter (got it already cycled from my friend's fish store), and along with the plants it does a great job. The only key I think is to stock very lightly with fish, and do periodic water changes so the tank stays stable and algae free. Though, I do also top off with RO water since the tank is lidless which leads to a lot of evap, and I don't want the water chemistry to get out of whack (much like with a saltwater tank, minerals and salt don't evaporate. so topping off with regular water would eventually raise the mineral content to very high levels). Someone without an RO unit could easily top off a tank of this size with distilled though.