I kept a planted Tanganyikan tank full of shellies and cyprichromis once upon a time. I had rock work with Anubias and Boblitis attached, and a fair amount of val and dwarf sag planted in the sand. I probably replanted dwarf sag a few hundred times over the years it was up and running, but most of the stuff out of the front stayed put. I basically had an open sand area with snail shells in the front and center and that was where most of their activity took place. I didn't find them to dig haphazardly much at all, they seemed to be on a quest to protect (or steal) shells and move any pebble their OCD demanded.
Looking through my old tinypic and imgur uploads and banging my head that I can not find a picture of this tank, but sure I do on my home PC and can upload later. I do recall why I broke the tank down though. It was a 125 display in my shop, and built into the wall with a painted back. Whenever there was spawning or aggression, it was SO difficult to catch fish out of, and cyprochromis were very prone to jump while trying to catch others. I grew out some lamprologus, julies, and T moori at different points but I was never able to have harmony for long. Finally decided it would be a more pleasant endeavor to just have community fish in it. With a planted tank of just shellies though, I think you'll love it! One of the coolest fish to just watch there is in freshwater.
Nothing good happens fast in an ecosystem.