Recommendations/Ideas "natural habitat" style setup?
I've convinced "the boss" that we have room for a larger tank in our basement living room, so long as it looks nice and is up to snuff. Her only requests are that its clean and has "large, colorful fish" in it.
My requirements involve heavily planting and active fish (preferably with good "personality"). I was thinking 2-4 main "show fish", and a small school (or 2 smaller schools) of different smaller fish. Most importantly, I would like this to be a "natural habitat" style set up.
I'm not concerned about a strict biotope (all these plants can be found in the same stretch of 50 feet of this particular stream bed etc etc), but rather I would like to get fish that naturally occur in areas with heavy heavy plant cover. For example, I see angles a lot in heavily planted tanks, and they look great, but most of what I can find suggests that they are more often found in blackwater streams with more stick and rotting leaves than live plants. This would be counter to what I am trying to achieve. I'm not concerned that every single plant comes from the exact same portion of the river/lake as the one the fish come from, but I would like it to be realistic.
For room layout reasons I was thinking a 65 gallon as its the largest I can find in 36" length (36x18x24 or so) for reasonable prices. 55's are also on the table if the extra length in the footprint is important (mainly if the length would be important i.e. separating pairs over distance, or something). I hate that 55's are so narrow front to back, and thus I could be talked into a 75 if it would afford me additional awesome fish combo possibilities.
So far I've only found a couple good examples of what I'm trying to achieve:
1) a krib /community tank. Supposedly they are oft found in areas on clear streambeds that have an abundance of plant (anubias) growth. Kribs look great, and a pairing would also give some of the personality and activity that I would be looking for. that would seem very natural to me and
2) some rainbow fish reportedly come from lakes with clear water and extremely abundant vegetation. Though this might need a larger aquarium than i was planning.
I would like to explore more possibilities. Bonus points if plants from the area (or suitable "similar" plants) are low light and low tech requirements.
Anyone else have any other good ideas? Thanks in advance, all.