I personally love white sand bottoms, I think it's classy as can be. You could also try using foam to carve a rock looking back ground and paint it with aquarium safe paint. I saw a write up on this some where and it was sick
Instead of dividing, which I believe would be a major PITA as others have said, I would do a big community tank with a male betta (or a few females) as centerpice. I would also add some corydoras, a school of neon tetras (or black neon tetras) and maybe some platies, Harlequin rasboras, or zebra danios.
Plan A: something just amazing like this
If that proves too difficult then Plan B would be a riparium.
Plan C: Classical triangle formation
Yes, I got it all planed out ;) Probably would be expensive but so worth it lol. This is exactly what I am going to do in the future when I have my own place and a big tank.
Ok, first off, SORORITY ALL THE WAY! It's really a pity to divide that large of a tank, as stated above several times. I have a sorority and I love it! Just be careful with the females at first. But seriously, all my girls lived in little cups in he petstore, and never moved. I put them into their new home and they were like WAAA?? They loved it, and so did I!! SORORITY!
I met with the guy that wants to sell me the tank today. He has a catfish and 4 African Cichlids right now (ugly ugly fish in my opinion), but he said he would take them to the pet store because they don't want them. Anyway, it's a really nice setup, comes with the filter, the stand, light, hood, heater, everything!
I had told him before "I looked up how much those cost, and I know I can't afford it" but he kept saying "we'll work something out"
So I go and look at the tank, and after a bit I ask how much they were thinking of selling it for....
wait for it....
I of course acted not too surprised or anything but I made plans with him to pick it up next week. I got to the car and
was like WHAT A STEAL!!
So, I am going to have a planted sorority! Yay! I have started my research, and have been following OFL's advice pretty close and think I will be using potting soil with sand over it and probably some colored gravel over that (correct me if that is not the way to go)
Plants? I'm not so sure, but I came across an excellent site that someone posted here awhile back, and that spells out the best plants for my set up so that should be good....
Get some cool river rocks. They sell them for $2 for a 1 pound bag at PetSmart. They aren't uniform in color, so they make for a nice, natural looking tank. They'd be fun for your girls to hid behind. They're not huge, but a female could definitely hide behind one.
Depends on the look you want. River rocks ROCK if you want something easy to clean and that looks natural. However, I like the look of... well, different looks. In one tank I have this Buddha-Shrine look. In another, jungle. And soon to come, Spongebob!! (Yeah, I'm still a kid. Get over it.) In my jungle, I went with river rocks. Easy to clean and looks natural. In my Buddha-Theme I went with black gravel. And of course, Spongebob's tank will have sand. So it really just depends on the look, but everything's great! (As long as you clean it regularly, a gravel vaccum costs MAYBE $8 (maximum) at a petstore.) Don't leave that out of the budget, it's very important! (In case you didn't notice, that was one mistake I made as a first time tank owner! )