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Aside from the great points you folks have already brought up, the tip I pass out the most to people new to the hobby is a simple, non technical one:

Take your time!!

I find that people are too quick to do things. They don't spend enough time researching and learning. They rush out to purchase equipment and then throw it all together. Minutes later those aquariums are filled with plants and fish.

I think the best way to proceed is slowly and deliberately. Take your time and do your research. Read articles in magazines and online. Learn about the plants you want to keep. Read up on the equipment you plan to buy. Participate in forums and discussions. Join your local aquarium society. There are always people there happy to help steer you in the right direction.

Once you have all of your information, I am certain any newbie will be able to go ahead and set up an aquarium with confidence....and success!

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