The best advice for setting up and maintaining a good-looking, healthy, low-maintenance aquarium is “Don’t Rush!” Plan on the set up of your aquarium taking weeks. The more weeks the better. And that’s before you even look at the first fish!
Pick the perfect spot in your home, well lit but out of direct sun. It’s better to pick a dark spot and add extra lighting than have to fight the natural sunshine, which will promote too much algae growth and even cause overheating.
Partially fill the tank and then plant your plants. Use lots of plants, they are your healthy-fish secret. Then fill the tank the rest of the way, turn on the filtration system, and wait. The longer you can stand to wait, the better experience you will have. Waiting gives your tank and its natural ecosystem time to stabilize. It gives the plants a chance to put down some roots before the fish start knocking against them. It also allows you time to decide if you tank design is pleasing, and to change it if necessary. Fish don’t like change, so giving yourself time to get their home perfectly arranged before you bring them home is key.
Good tank preparation is more important than what type of fish or plants or filtration you choose, or any other single factor.