I used gravel in my first tank (29 tall) and what I ended up needing was co2
. It made all the difference. But a lot of plants, in my limited experience, liked the gravel, crypts and ferns. I had several Anubis on suction cups and one even attached it's self to the glass. But with suction cups you risk choking the plant. I recommend tying the Anubis to a smallish rock with a zip tie and sticking it on or near drift wood. Eventually the Anubis will attach it's self to the driftwood and you can cut the zip tie and remove the rock after a couple months and the Anubis will stay put and not be choked.
We chose sand in three subsequent tanks after that in we had a hard time learning how to care for the sand. Vacuuming it can be a challenge you have to stir it up really well before a water change to get the fish poop out and we had trouble with this neon green algae growing on it. Over all once you get the hang of sand it's pretty nice, we have baby tears and hair grass that is carpeting nicely. And lots of fish enjoy sand.
My advice is this: be prepared to fall into the hole that is the planted tank obsession. Once you see the difference nice lights and co2
make you'll never want to mess with "low tech" again,
Sent from my iPhone