I decided to do some reading on plants that were nice to look at but low maintenance. I found your typical starter-aquarium-plants lined up on this site: Hobbykwekers. I also watched out for plants that didn't need additional heating so much and little light (more on that later).
Since my aquarium turns out to be much smaller, I needed to do some compromises.
- Valisneria to cover the front of the filter, I knew that upfront so that was a no-brainer
- Echinodorus Bleheri -- said to be a touch plant and quite a space-filler
- Anubias Nana -- a tough cooky again and instead of the Windelow that is suggested on the Hobbykwekers site. I wanted it attached to wood as well
- A Moss Ball (or 2) -- it is said they can't be missed in a shrimptank
- Some decorative Java moss that I wanted to attach to wood as well. Great info can be found here: Aquamoss
In addition, I bought a piece of wood and some fishing-line (thinnest available) to attach the plants to the wood. To start everything up, I included some fertilizer balls as well.
It took a bit of time to wash away all the wool & plastics that the plants are grown on. It is well worth it though, as it gives you a good look at the plants you bought -- you probably bought a couple bound together. This has shown me that I had plenty of valisneria, two pieces of anubias and an almost-double echinodorus.
I put the Echinodorus in the back, and carefully planted a row of valisneria in front of the filter. In the meantime I had cooked the wood through and through and messed up a pan as well. I then started to bind the Anubias plants and Java moss to the wood. I arranged it all, put the moss balls in place and filled it up with water carefully.
The first time it is easy to fill the tank 'in reverse' by filling it up through the filter. It then flows slowly into the tank, instead of messing up your landscape. I don't recommend doing that later, as you will flush all your filters bacteria and rubbish through your tank... (trust me, I can tell how it looks).
Too bad.. the piece of wood showed a strange fungus or something slimy after a few days. I took it out, detached the plants and kept them separately. I cleaned the wood in a salt-solution on advice of the pet-shop and tried it again. It didn't work and the smell was aweful! Luckily the guys at the petshop were kind enough to replace the wood.
This is the look, still a bit 'newish' looking: