Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: West Palm Beach, FL
1. I think she was mainly referring to natural items like rocks and driftwood. That doesn't mean you can only use those.
2. Get a lot of fast growing plants, especially stem plants. Then, be prepared for at least some of them to "melt" before recovering.
3. Nope, but if you get a snail, get a nerite. It won't make 8000 more snails.
4. For planted tanks, you either go with an inert substrate (sand, gravel) and put in root tabs and liquid fertilizer, or you have a nutritive substrate (potting mix, topsoil). Plants that aren't root feeders may still need fertilizers at some point.
If you aren't sure if you need more plants, get more plants. Bettas love jungly tanks.
Good luck, and don't forget pictures for all of us!