Brandelion, You and I couldn't be more alike in this if we tried. I always went to the fish store with something in mind as well. I left with something different that they talked me into. Now, I have learned... stick to the plan. ha ha
Now you know why I loved my little Blue Gourami
, it was the cutest, sweetest little fish. I still have the one Blue left and though not quite as pretty his/her color is getting brighter each day. Now if Big Bertha can leave him alone, we will be getting somewhere. I really like the Gourami but again, I would recommend you only get one.
I have a couple of pieced of Mopani wood in my tank and it is really nice but if you get some, boil it first to get some of the tannins out of it. It is easy to deal with.
I am just going through my plant experience and everyone here can attest to the fact that I was a wee bit stressed on planting day. The Amazon Swords I got were from the fish store and they were easy to plant and look Awesome in the tank. I recommend them for you.
I love the Anacharis
, it is easy to plant and a really cool green. It would grow up enough to float some on the top and Your Gourami, should you go that route will love it.
The Pennywort I got from Angel is cool but I think my fish are a little too hard on it and it is getting smaller and smaller as time goes on. AT this rate, I have another week or two of it left. ha ha It isn't supposed to work like that but I accidentally fell for a plant eater when I went off my plan. (don't get a Leporinus cute but they get huge and eat plants) I also love the Camboba but it is a wee bit touchier it seems and needs a bit more light then some of the others. I also got a Java Fern
from Angel and it is on one of my pieced of Mopani wood. It looks pretty cool and if that fills out, will be one of my favorites. I guess they grow very slowly.
There are so many different kinds of plants, I think it is fun to try a few different kinds. Some of the kinds do best in groupings, from what I read. I do agree they look best in a group of 3 or so depending on tank size. Even 2 would look nice.
If I can give you one word of advice, Have a large glass of wine before planting. ha ha Now that they are in my tank and seem to be staying put I will tell you it isn't that hard but on planting day, I was manic. ha ha
Thanks again to those on this forum who laughed with me and helped to talk me down.