Hi there, welcome to the site. As far as starting your new aquarium I would recommend you read up on fishless cycling, which is a must before putting fish in a tank. Now a 44 gal
is a good size to start with, but you will find a wide variety of results with DIY CO2
for tanks that size. Usually above 29 gal
people in the hobby prefer compressed CO2
, again that is up for debate, but just an issue to point out.
Other DIY proyects, do you have a hood and lights setup? You can always do that, guessing you will start with fresh water, so a sump is not really necesary, but since you have the skills you might attempt it for a future saltwater endevour. Ever heard of open bottom tanks? Look up my thread on setting one up, they might pick your fancy.