Since you asked I will tell you first what my favorites are! I really love rotala rotundifolia or indica. Rotala is an awesome plant because it roots very fast and has a lot of small leaves so it will fill your tank even more. With a few trimmings and good light your tank will start be more dense. For substrate, I really like dirt, it has some problems, but those problems soon go away and you have an incredibley easy tank to take care of that requires very few water changes. I haven't changed my water in a month or so and all my readings are 0, so the plants are sucking up all the ammonia and everything that is bad and keeping my water nice and clear. For someone just getting into plants however, I think a substrate like Eco complete is really good, it has nutrients that plants need, but you still need to add ferts to it. I will be setting up a tank with Eco complete in a bit once I have room because it just makes it easier to care for in the beginning,.