Thanks! Ive put black background on the tank before but took it off, I've gotten so used to seeing the shimmer of the lights on the wall behind the tank and getting a bit of extra light into the tank through the back that it just felt really weird and closed off to me having a solid background. I know a lot of people much prefer tanks with proper backgrounds. I might try again with a background that has a frosted glass effect that might hit the sweet spot of being more of a background while still letting light through.
The penguin tetras are fun, they school tightly when they're a bit insecure, during waterchange time or just after eating etc. at other times they'll spread out and fight amongst each other quite viciously sometimes, with scales falling off down to the bottom. I don't really understand them. They seem to be doing fine though. I have 12 which I think is a good number.
My pearl gourami was around 3 years old so not a baby but not old yet either I think. Still oh well I guess, I was sad to loose her though. I don't know if I'll get another. Maybe try an angelfish instead push the tank into something closer to a full on SA tank.
I should probably update with a new full tank shot, experimenting with a few carpeting plants so it's a bit work in progress right now, just seeing if any of them will take off or not, I'm mostly expecting not. Also got some weeping moss to tie on the driftwood