Just picked up a 5.5 gallon tank to try a planted shrimp tank. I've been reading some of the other guy's journals and I'm inspired. I am literally and figuratively starting with a bare tank so any suggestions on substrate, low tech plants, heater, etc. will be very much appreciated!

I am thinking of using a sponge filter that will be seeded in my other tank... any recommended brands or are they simple enough that it doesn't really matter?

For the shrimp I am looking at ordering some RCS online (eventually...)