Planted Tank Guru
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Romney, West Virginia
I'd suggest blacking out the back of the tank. Really helps by hiding some of the equipment, adds the element of depth, and really makes the plants pop against the background. I like to paint mine but since that's not really an option for you now unless you empty your tank, you can get some black construction paper or poster board or some of the vinyl tank backing that is sold by the foot at most LFS.
Lights, if you want to consider T5HO...look in to hydroponic lighting for cheap options. Not as good as dedicated aquarium lighting as the hydroponic stuff doesn't have the best reflectors (the cheaper stuff that is) but it is better than T8 lights. Just an option.