Description: Standard 55 gal rectangular glass tank, Tetra Whisper 60 power filter, 200-watt submersible heater, 20-inch flexible bubble wall, Tetra Whisper Air Pump, silicone tubing; after much debate I tore up the tank and laid down 2 undergravel filters with 50 gal powerheads on each. In retrospect, given the tank is being built around gouramis, 50 gal powerheads might create too much flow so every 2 weeks I change the powerhead that is turned on.
Advice: Regular water changes, regular cleaning, regular maintenance...in other words, set up a schedule before you ever put the first fish in the tank! Don't fill your tank to its capacity with all the fish at the same time. Get the most peaceful (and best at starting the nitogen cycle!) first and a couple of weeks later get a few more. These should be ultimately about half the fish capacity for your tank. Two weeks later after that then add the balance of the fish including any more aggressive types.
Fish Kept: Week 1 added: 2 opaline gouramis, 1 blue paradise gourami, 5 orange von rio tetras. Week 2 added: 2 gold gouramis. Week 3 added: 1 sunset honey gourami, 3 rosy barbs, 5 glolight tetras. Week 4: one gold gourami being too aggressive so it was exchanged for another gold. Week 5: added 2 peppered cory cats and 1 rainbow shark. I am completely baffled why 2 different rainbow sharks did not survive 24 hours in this tank. No more sharks (LFS suggested shark was too small for others in the tank and was picked on) :( Replaced shark with spotted dojo loach. UPDATE: Went away for 4 days, returned to find both gold gouramis, 1 opaline gourami, 2 glolite tetras, dojo loach and 1 peppered cory cat dead. Suspect the rosy barbs. At this point, what remains in the tank are: 1 opaline gourami, 1 blue paradise, 1 sunset honey gourami, 3 glolite tetras, 5 von rio tetras, 3 rosy barbs, 1 peppered cory cat. All seem to live well together.
Corals/Plants: plastic/resin - 3 resin driftwood shapes; 3 large, 2 medium, 4 small plastic plants; organic sandstone rock; pea gravel substrate (slightly larger than average aquarium gravel)
Quote: It is our choices ... that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities. - J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets
About Yourself: I've been doing tanks on and off for about ten years now - mostly tropical. In 2005 I built my first cichlid tank that was a joy (counted 11 fry at one point) and a disaster (inexplicable ammonia issue that resulted in most of the tank dying off). I love having fish so I'm going back to the tropical communities but creating a focused tank built around a particular species.