Inhabitants: by water they prefer/optimal
(5) Guppy med-hard
(5) Balloon Molly hard
(5) Platy med-hard
(10) Neon Tetra soft
(3) Honey Gourami soft
(5) Kuhli Loach soft
(2) Red Cherry Shrimp. Med
(2) Crystal Red Shrimp. Med
(4) Otocynclus Catfish Med
I myself would start with water that you are going to be able to provide them and go from there. If your going to use tap water and city water supply is liquid rock (hard) that’s not going to be optimal for neons and most softwater fish. Endlers, guppy, molly, swordtails, furcata or Celebes rainbows would be harder water fish.
Is a good resource for learning about fish your considering.
Learn what blackwater environments are and that many of the softwater fish actually come from and thrive in more tea stained water with almost no KH/GH (1-2 max) and PH in the 5-6.5 range. A Celebes rainbow is other end of spectrum, figure KH/GH in 6-7dGH/dKH at least and PH in the 7-8 range. Their also a estuarine fish who can withstand a influx of salt water from a rising tide, that same influx of water would have your neon tetra floating dead belly up within a couple hours.
I would figure out what kind of water your going to be able to provide and go from there. If you have softwater or are willing to invest in a RO unit to get softwater it easy to add a few minerals back and get any hardness of water you want. On other hand if you going to be using tap water and your tap is really hard that’s what your stuck with, look at fish and plants that will work with that hard water. Mother Nature has a animal or plant that will fit into any type of environment you want to setup, but you need to know what that baseline is before proceeding. I wouldn’t even think about what fish or plants until I know what kind of environment I can realistically provide them.
Water is what aquariums are all about, that’s 1st place to start after you decide what size aquarium you want. You seem to want to focus as much on fauna as you do flora. A environment where both prosper. Budget also needs to start figuring in at this point. You’ve picked a great size tank for a intro/beginner tank. Lights, substrate and decor acquisition also need to start coming into budget considerations at this point.
You also need to decide how much time you have to devote to this endeavor. It’s easy to get caught up in the pretty pictures of a high tech, high light , co2 injected tank but realize that type of a setup can be very unforgiving of slacking off on pruning, maintenance and water changes. They are also very unforgiving of a lack of technical knowledge, dosing rules, co2 regulation and monitoring of parameters and understanding of how all the GH, KH, tds, iron levels etc etc interact.
The pic you posted makes me think Nature style (ADA), probably co2 injected , med-high light and probably moderately dosed on ferts with a good full spectrum fert/lean EI dosing. Note the hairgrass front right in kind of a shaded light area isn’t as dense as left area that gets full light, but that’s OK. Areas of light and shadow are one the of major design philosophies of building a interesting aquatic display. There is no black and white in aquarium keeping, only shades of gray. Only 100% fact is knowledge is your best tool for running a successful aquarium.
A school of ember tetra would hang out mostly in that shadowy area, but because of that safe shadowy area they would shoal out into that higher light area regularly because they know they’ve got that darker area to duck back into for safety. That is a instinct they’ve evolved into over eons of time, I don’t care how many generations they been through in selective breeding in bare bottom tanks, once put in that environment that behavior will come forward within a couple months.