How large it the tank ... 130L? The size will help to determine what fish and quantity you can realistically stock. I recommend you do a fishless cycling to get it started, read the link below. Sand or Gravel either works well, but if your looking for real plants, then a Pool Filter Sand substrate is the better option. You can always put a layer of gravel on top, but certainly PFS would be helpful for roots to hold on to. I recommend some low light plants to start with ... see the second link below, then go to light requirements ... I know lots of links
The (almost) Complete Guide and FAQ to Fishless Cycling
PlantGeek.net - Plant Guide
75g Planted Barbs Denison, BlackRuby, Tiger, Albino Tiger, Green Tiger, Cherry, Gold, Checkered, Odessa.
NonBarbs Cardinal, Neon, RummyNose, Bloodfin Tetras, Z. Danios. 1RTS. Amano, Bamboo, Ghost & RCS. 20g Long Shrimp Tank RCS, Tiger, Amano.