Sorry for dropping off. My kitty had a run in with a dog and got pretty roughed up. She's much better now. :)
Back to fishy land.
Shrimp seem to have a full spectrum of easy to very challenging just like fish. I got some ghost/glass shrimp to try out. (they are commonly sold as live feeders, 12 for a $1) I put them in my community tank to try to clean some of the plastic plants. They are saposed to be some of the easiest to keep but they don't live very long, only about a year. I read that they were great starter shrimp to see if you want to get into the shrimp world. Thats why I gave them a try. My little guys are doing well and even layed a bunch of eggs. :) I'll post some pictures if you like. Here is a website I've been exploring for some information on them: Planet Inverts Home .:. Freshwater Aquarium Shrimp, Crystal Red Shrimp, Red Cherry Shrimp, Crayfish and more.
. This one is neat too: Freshwater Aquarium Shrimp - TheShrimpFarm.com
As for plants... I have never tried working with them. I was always too intimidated. But my cooworker and fellow fish enthusiest recently has taken the plunge in her goldfish tank. Just a few, 3. They all seem to be doing just fine. She doesn't have anything special in it, filter, air, rock gravel, 2 goldfish, 3 cory, 1 platty.
The few fish folks at the fish shop I trust that I talked with seemed to think that as long as you didn't want to have a "heavily" planted tank it was nesisary to get all crazy with CO2 and lots of additives. Just a bit of the plant friendly gravel and some fertilizer every so often and they would do okay as long as the plants were not on the menue of the fishes food.
One plant you can definatly try that is very easy is a moss ball. I'm not sure what it's scientific name is but thats a common name for it. It's litterly just a ball of moss. Very neat.
Hope this was helpful. I look forward to hearing what you put together for your tank.