5 gallon tanks?
You need a bigger one, like this-
before you spend so much time on a little tank.
Oh, wait. That's a 5 gallon too. :P
Here's some more inspiration- 2009 AGA Aquascaping Contest
What kind of fish will you have? What light? Answer this, and I can help you make an awesome little tank.
May I also say, that fine-leaved plants will add depth... More so than bulky ludwigeas. (The narrow-leaf version of java fern is perfect though.)
Anubias nana var petit is good in the foreground.. A nice specimen plant towards the back (and to hide the equipment) would be Echinodorus Bleheri var Compacta,A large clump of Crypt Wendtii, or Echinodorus var Klienar Prinz.
beside the specimen plant, a Echinodorus Vesuviius would look nice, with stands of rotala indica, Proserpinaca Palustrus, and bacopa monnerei on the sides..
(Small-leaved plants add depth..)
Moss balls would also be a nice addition, but they're pricey. Instead, just tie java moss all the way around a couple of the rocks and scatter them in the foreground.
The anubias and java moss can be weighed down the the substrate since the tank is so small...
On the cycle- essentially, stem plants will make a cycle unneccesary. What's going in the tank, anyway? Shrimp, Betta, what?