Black Background. Failing that, get one that's got a cliff face print on it or get a good macro picture of some aquatic plants and blow it up and pnel it, seal the paper and stck it on the outside of the tank.
I've got three ideas for tank set up:
1) The one I'm going to be doing this summer: 50lbs Eco Complete mixed with 60lbs Peace River Gravel. Two big and one medium pieces of driftwood. Rockwork will be local granite with red shale. Plant with Java Moss
, Java Fern
, African Fern, Sword Plants, Rotala Indica, Cabomba Carolinia, and Brazillian Pennywort, and some sort of Lotus (and maybe some others). I may very well use needlepoint netting and rare earth magnets to make a Java Moss
wall on parts of thesides of the tank. Livestock: 6 Angelfish, 3 Dwarf Platies, 8 Diamond Tetras, 8 Hatchetfish, 5 Albino Bronze Cories, 1 Banjo Catfish, 2 Bristlenosed Plecos.
2) One that I'd do if I had a second 75 handy: Sand Substrate, 2" deep. Rounded river stones from the garden center (run through the diswasher on heavy scour), local red shale, some long, branchy driftwood. Java Moss
, Java Fern
, some big Anubias
, Onion Plant, and some of the biggest swords I can lay hands on (in stone planters full of gravel). Then I'd put in 5 Botia modesta and 5 to 7 Botia Morleti (or Yakittyyackushikaka or whatever the new genus name is. That's red finned blue loaches and Skunk Loaches) I'd put a serious moonlight on this one and set the light cycle up so that the main lights would be shutting down mid afternoon, and the algae break would be about the time I was getting ready to go to work.
3) Sand Substrate, Black Slate and Red Lava Rock. Potted Sword Plants or fake plants. 15 to 20 Tiger Barbs, 8 Emerald Cories (Or Black if I could find them), Bristlenosed Plecos, maybe a redtailed Black Shark
(RTBS). Lots of caves and hidey holes for the cories.
4) *Bonus* - Oddball Tank. Sand Bottom, Lots of plants, 3 Leopard Ctenopoma
, a Senegal Bichir
, some spiny eels (we'll see if they hang out in the plants or the sand), some African buttefly fish (ABF), and a male and two female Swordtails as fry factories.