Thanks for the tips. We're willing to take a chance on the Draceana. We have pink ribbon grass in our water garden in the backyard so the Draceana will kind of be the indoor version of that. Thanks for the heads-up about the fern. We may implement it in the area outside of the riparium. The Hypoestes splash will also be a gamble.
My LFS sources will have crypts for sure. This Tuesday I'm going on a big plant shopping spree in San Francisco. I'm also getting a black background, a thermometer and root tabs. The C. Wendtii I remember seeing potted submersed for $15. Is that a bad deal?
Crypts will definitely be on the shopping list. Along with Java Fern, Dwarf Sag, Vals (or some kind of tall grassy thing) and anubias.
If you want to put the Hypoestes in there I would recommend planting it on a trellis raft. I don't think it will root at all in a planter.
Vals or Sagittaria could be good for the underwater area, but I wouldn't grow them in the emersed portion. Vals can't really grow at all emersed and dwarf Sagittaria is a puny plant and not very full emersed.
Please look at that list of selections that I suggested for the riparium portion. Those are all real good ones and tested already. You will have much better luck using the tested plants that grow well in ripariums. If you don't you might not get much of a result at all.
Underwater-grown crypts will do just fine so long as they have some nice rhizome. You can expect much of the foliage to melt back if you plant them in riparium planters, but just give them some time and they will resprout with new emersed-adapted leaves. Be sure to use good root fertilization with crypts in planters. If you get potted crypts with lots of rhizomes all grown together you should tease the little divisions apart, trim the roots and plant several spread apart in each planter.