Hello, The Fluval Chi does come with the little tray with suction cups on the bottom of it so that you may put it on the bottom of your tank. You could but some Eco-complete or Fluval stratum to put in the tray and get some different colored gravel or sand to put in the rest of the tank, it would make a nice contrast in colors.
I recommend using Amazon Swords in this tank because the light on the Chi isn't strong enough for weaker plants. For example, I had Wisteria and Amazon Swords in mine and the wisteria melted/died but the swords kept going strong :) I also use some liquid fertilizers and I explain some of the details about the fertilizers I use in the comments of my video of the Chi here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OczV0...hannel&list=UL
But I do not have any stratum in my tank because I got the plants after I had already set the tank up.
I have white sand
I am not using the little tray in my tank
I have 1 betta
7 neon tetras
and two Cory fish in my tank
The water levels are perfect and I clean out the little poopies on the sand every day by sweeping my gravel vacuum over the top of the sand. and trim some leaves here and there.
I do hope this helps, good luck with your new tank and your new betta friend :)