simple planted tank
I've also been forced through budgetary constraints to find cheaper ways
to run my tank...My last tank had 2 shop lights with Gro-Lux WS and regular
Bio-lux cheap aquarium daylight bulbs over a 100 gallon...DIY CO2 from
yeast...Simple sandblasted gravel...Flourish as a fertilizer added every so
often...DIY trickle filter...Plant growth was good, but hardly spectacular...
My new tank, which would still be up and running except for a leak :(, has
as it's two main upgrades 4 T8 bulbs (and probably eventually 2 more T12s),
an enriched fertilzer under the gravel, and towards the end, PMDDs. Still
fairly inexpensive...Plant growth was much better until the tank leaked.
Anyway, it can be done and done for cheap...In this hobby, you can still
succeed with little money _if_ you are willing to build things yourself,
research everything thoroughly, and generally put more time into the hobby.
Personally, I like my setup...It's not incredible but it is (was)
aesthetically appealing to me. In the end, that's really all that counts.
Sorry for rambling...