I've kept fish off an on for about 15 years. Never very seriously. When I was a teen I just had a 20 gallon with a few fish in it that I took care of and kept clean. Then it was betta tanks with varying degrees of proper ownership until I got my own house. Tried to do a planted tank and got so fed up with a trumpet snail explosion that I just broke the thing down. Set it up again a year ago and it's been running extremely successfully since I started using capped soil, nerite snails and got a canister filter.
Fast forward to now, and after I grabbed 4 dollar sized koi angelfish my SO decided to get a rainbow shark for the tank. She's very adamant about wanting it, so I started a quest to get my hands on a 55 or higher. It really didn't take long, and I had someone give me a bowfront 46 gallon for 100 bucks I'm keeping the canister from and selling the rest back out. I just got a 55 gallon last weekend. Great looking stand, and they installed T5s in the top of the wooden canopy which is great. The wiring was a rats nest, though, so I've got a friend cleaning that up so it doesn't look like such a huge fire hazard.
The tank, though, needs some work. Someone else obviously fixed it before. The middle brace on the top was broken and someone had replaced it with a piece of plexi, then that broke and the owners I got it from had run it with the brace broken for at least a year. The front vertical seals on it are pretty rough looking, I'm assuming that helped with it. The back vertical seals look clean and tight. Whoever fixed it before did so without taking the rim off and just ran the silicone up to it.
I'm ordering a new rim and know I need to silicone the front seals, but I've seen conflicting information on whether or not I can do the front and avoid having to pop the overflow plate off.
Anyways, yes! My SO also loves betta fish, so I also want to look into making a bunch of nano tanks of a uniform size in the future.
For the 55 gallon, I'm planning this to start:
3 Turquoise Rainbows
1 Rainbow Shark
9 Kuhli Loaches
I've seen that sharks get along with loaches? Wondering if that extends to kuhlis. If not, I might nix it and just add loads of ghost shrimp that can be cleaners and snacks. Feel free to correct me, however.