As soon as I saw the topic this was the answer I was gonna give,lol.First consider your water parameters. It's much easier to have fish that work with your existing water than trying to make your water work with your fish.
Don't get hung up on needing a dirt substrate for plants, sand works perfectly well and adding a comprehensive fertilizer and a few root tabs as needed is far far easier than going dirt for a lot of reasons. Even the "plant substrates" that are not dirt are not needed.yeah see im having troubles deciding cichlid tank or dirt planted tank and which fish to put in lol i know its all about opinion. just was curious to see how some people choose what they have ended up with
OK, I won't try to downplay the dirt, it has it's advantages and disadvantages, BUT I think that there needs to be a "why?" behind the decision. "Just to try it" works, but is a weak argument for going away from something that is working for you already.... ive wanted to try dirt for a while now. i have a sand planted tank that is working out rather well. its not growing so crazy i have to trim them all the time. hmmmm its a hard choice! haha which i know it shouldnt really be