I'm in northern Utah, and it is a hardwood, just not sure which one. It is not a tree, but some kind of shrub or vine. (I am pretty sure at least.)
The aquarium will have a substantial amount of java moss in it, which will help with nitrates and so on. It isn't completely set up yet, so there are no shrimp at the moment. I would be putting about 3-5 shrimp in it.
Good to know about the wood though. I will check the safety of it with some snail first.
The boiling of the wood is coming along well. I removed as much of the bark as I could, and that seemed to help a lot. I am hoping that it will be pretty much ready by the end of the day.