1) No, this set up is basically unmodified appart from the replacement of the filter media with gravel. It never really occured to me to design something else.
2) Yep the outlet into the empty tray is from my external filter and the piping is all the horrible brittle plastic that came with the tank/filter.
3) The trays sit on runners in the lid, not really much help to you as this is just the design of the tank. This is the place I got it from, maybe that gives you a better idea what I'm using:
I know this isnt really a riparium set up as the hood splits the 'riparium' bit from the main body of the tank but it should work for the same plants. I really wanted a rimless set up like the ones hydrophyte does but couldnt afford one big enough. Could have just taken the lid off and put planters in the back but the rim and brace would really annoy me.
Anyway I bought the tradescantia so I guess I will just put some in the substrate and some in the empty tray and see what sticks.
Others on the short list for me to try are:
Pteris ensiformis - silver lace fern
Begonia Rex - purple painted begonia
Chameadorea elegans - Parlour Palm
If you know any reason why they won't work, please say before I buy them