I decided to use a RFUG to filter the water, because of the low maintenance they need, and the very clear water I'm getting in my 65 gallon riparium using one. This one will have no pre-filter, so it will get gunked up under the substrate sooner, but I doubt keeping this tank going that long anyway.
Today I installed 26 watt, GE 6500K light bulbs in the two reflectors, and measured the PAR they produce. To my surprise I get less PAR than measured with 23 watt bulbs by AirSong, in his stickie in the Lighting forum. It didn't take long to figure that out - my reflectors are 8.5 inches in diameter, and not great quality, while his were smaller, and probably of better surface quality. Still, I am getting over 100 micromols of PAR at the top of the tank, with the lights a foot above the tank, and the light is very uniform over the whole tank area. This is a good 10 gallon lighting method, if the appearance doesn't turn you off.
Plants: Are there any Crotons, Codiaeum Variegatum, that are miniature, and not 6 foot trees when mature? That's another nice looking varigated leaf plant, that looks like it would do well in a riparium. (No luck finding caladiums yet.)
EDIT: I was wrong above about the reason for the reduced intensity vs AirSong's data. The real reason is that his data is taken in water, in a very small tank, where the glass walls of the tank reflect light to the bottom, and the water tends to focus the light slightly, both of which increase the intensity a bit. My data is in air above the tank.