All those fish sound great for a planted tank. You might also add a few algae-eating fish such as Otocinculus, Siamese Algae Eaters or a small pleco.
Tell you what, though - just don't worry about the gravel for now, ok? Fluorite is great stuff, but plants will grow just fine in what you've got and you risk stressing and killing your fish by changing the gravel. As long as it is deep enough (around 3") then plants will grow just fine in it. You don't need a gravel siphon tube with planted tanks because the decaying mulm and debris becomes consumed by the plants. It helps to have one, just in case nutrients get out of hand and you need to do a clean up, but it is not necessary.
Your 30" long 29gallon tank most likely has a 24" bulb. If this is a standard 2 foot fluorescent (F20T12) then that is 20 watts. That's definitely not enough light to grow anything other than very low-light plants such as Anubias, Java Fern and Crypts. And even they will grow very slowly.
This is the only place I'd recommend you spend a little money before going planted. You've got quite a few options, but they depend heavily on how experience you or your husband are with electronics.
You could buy a 55 watt Power Compact Light kit from AH Supply
and put the bulb in your existing hood. It won't look any different from the outside but should provide enough light to grow most plants. Or you could simply add two more 20 watt strip lights.
Or... (here I go again, plugging ODNO technology, haha!) you could buy a ballast that could drive pair of 20 watt bulbs to 80 watts and REALLY grow some plants. That might be a bit too involving right now.
If all of that still seems Greek to you, just order one of these Custom Sea Life Brite Lite strips from Champion Lighting & Supply
The one you'd need is the CSL 30" BRIGHTLITE W/ PC LAMP 1x65w $102.90