Could always get a pair of acrylics. Also the Aquatic magic FLO pipes from e-bay can be had really cheap about $50 set shipped if you watch.
My vision with the wood coming out of the back would be to have the wood in the back with a tall stem surrounding the base of the wood. you could put several types and get a layered effect coming towards the front with the foreground being low. Also a touch of moss on a couple of the branches would highlight it. have the large rocks in the front edge scattered through the wood and giving you more angles.
"C'mon, they're just plants, man, no big deal -- try some"