Okay, so right now it's Ralph's Place, that pretty yellow betta in the picture, and that's his pet platy Fido. Fido was born in the 10 gallon tank right above this one, and I netted him out and put him in this tank trying to tempt the appetite of a young angelfish who wasn't eating. That's another story I'll get around to telling somewhere else on this site later on, but suffice it to say the angel is doing fine today--however, he didn't start eating again until Fido had grown just enough to be a tad too big for the angel to swallow in his weakened condition. The day before I had planned to move the now fully recovered angel back to his tank, we stopped by the pet store to get dog food, and met Ralph, and brought him home with us--necessitating that I move the angel OUT of the hospital a day early, and Ralph IN. Ralph spent the first three days trying to figure out how to eat Fido, and finally gave up. After a week or so, the platy imprinted on Ralph--maybe because they were the same color, or maybe he was just lonely--and began following him wherever he went. At this point, it's obvious to me Fido thinks he's a betta and tries hard to do whatever Ralph does--as you can see in the picture. He's not too good at the flaring thing, but he does his best.
Anyway, this is my most important tank--in fact, it's ANYBODY'S most important tank. Fishkeeping isn't rocket science. Just a few rules will give you years of success and enjoyment. Your fish will live long healthy lives if you 1) don't overstock, 2) don't overfeed, 3) maintain compatible communities (this means finding out what your fishes' behaviors and needs are BEFORE you buy them), 4) keep your filters clean and change part of the water once a week (25-35% will do the trick for most fish), and 5) QUARANTINE NEW FISH BEFORE YOU ADD THEM TO AN ESTABLISHED TANK. Healthy, well-maintained fish are very resistant to disease, and if you do these things you will virtually never see disease in your tanks. For the most part, the only treating you'll ever have to do is in that quarantine tank where the new fish are--you know, the ones that brought ich with them from the store. Wouldn't it be nice to only have to treat the three new fish in the 10 gallon quarantine tank instead of the 38 fish in the 55 gallon?
I will never understand how it is that some hobbyists will go year after year without a quarantine tank and wind up treating their display tanks again and again for diseases that they themselves have introduced, when they could completely eliminate the whole cycle just by making sure their new fish are healthy first. It just doesn't cost that much to set up a quarantine tank, and it will quickly pay for itself in the money you save on medications sufficient to treat a much larger display tank. All you really need is a tank, glass top, a good heater and a sponge filter. You can make it fancier if you want to, but you don't have to. A couple of places for the fish to hide, like clay pots or pvc pipe, will make them feel more comfortable and reduce their stress level, and should be included. You don't need gravel or even a light, although you can use both if you want--make it as pretty as you like, I do. It's more work to disinfect if you have to, but that's my choice, I just can't do bare tanks unless I'm raising fry. And I find that the plants and the cover make new fish settle in, start eating and get comfortable much more quickly. Daily water changes are also great for new fish--they help boost their immune system, and if there are pathogens in the water, it reduces the load. The live plants and the daily water changes mean you don't have to worry about cycling the tank--the plants will help take up ammonia, and what they don't get you will remove with the water changes. You say you don't have the patience to wait three weeks to put new fish in your tank? Then my best advice to you is to get another hobby. You'll never be a happy fishkeeper if you don't develop at least THAT much patience.
Oops, almost forgot--my q-tank has one 15 watt normal output flourescent bulb, a 50 watt Ebo-Jager heater (get a good heater, you'll never regret it), an AquaClear 150, which does an excellent job of mechanical filtration, and a flourite/gravel substrate. The pretty green crypts in the front are C. willisii, that's java fern in the back left, crypt wendtii in the back center, hydrocotyle in the back corner and two anubias nana in the right front. You think crypts are wimpy? The willisi in the front has been through two Coppersafe treatments, Biospheres, Maroxy and Melafix, and ten days of temperatures of 94 degrees (heat treatment for the sick angel) in the last year and a half, and is doing just fine.