Welcome to the forum and the hobby. Helping people stock tanks seems to be one of the things we do best around here.
First off before you begin stocking we will need to know your local water parameters like pH, GH (general hardness), and KH (calcium hardness). You can call your local water treatment plant to get these or you can find them online. In the US, the EPA requires cities to release water quality reports; these often have what we need. We ask this because some fish can only live in soft or hard water and some (while they can live in both) will live longer in one or the other.
PS. If your boyfriend doesn't think freshwater fish can be vibrant, take a look at this article from PFK. The 75 most colourful fish | Features | Practical Fishkeeping
Or these series of articles about an "advent calender" of beautiful fish from PFK PFK advent calendar: Kribensis | Blog | Practical Fishkeeping