neon tetras are great and pretty cheap. just keep them in a minimum of 6. your temp. is high, about 76-79 is a pretty good range to keep the tank.
live plants always make an interesting addition.. if you choose this route, go with an easier hardier less light requiring type like java moss or java fern - both look pretty sweet attached to driftwood. anarchis is also pretty hardy and easy to keep.
when your cycling dont change the filter pad!! keep it in there until water starts overflowing if its a hang on back filter ( it overflows into the tank dont worry lol, you'll know what im talking about when it happens )
when it starts to overflow just swish it around in some old tank water to clean it, dont change the filter pad, this can cause a mini cycle or an entire cycle to happen again.. just completly change the pad when it starts to fall apart.
you didnt specify but you'll want a test kit ( API liquid master test kit is a good one ) and a thermometer.
just remember not to overstock your tank! a general rule of thumb for fresh water is 1 inch ( of the maximum growth ) of fish per gallon of water
something else to look at would be shrimp! there pretty sweet, ghost/glass shrimp are bred for feeding and can usually be aquired for pennies or if you want some even cooler ones cherry red shrimp are pretty neat, amano shrimp are good algae eaters - idk check em out!
and finally, doing your research is your absolute best bet. find out what fish you like, then google them before buying.. see what they eat, how big they get, if they need a school or to be kept alone, etc etc.. ( this will save you money and headaches in the long run )