IMO/E-common snails are a natural part of the soil based NPT and needed, however, they can take over and you need to manually remove them on a regular basis. IMO/E-the trumpet snail are even more important for the soil based systems since they can help prevent anaerobic soil by burrowing to bring oxygen into the soil layers.
Like with anything in a closed system-some care will be needed on a regular basis-Nothing is totally self care and if you think about it...how much fun would that be...lol....personally, I like working on my tanks-thats part of the fun.
I see a lot of post from members that want plants that stay small or don't grow fast. While that would be nice in some cases-we are dealing with living organism that grow-true, you can stunt or slow the growth-but that can have a negative impact on the plant and system IME.
If your plants are not in active growth they are not eating and if not eating the water could go bad.
I don't use anything fancy to plant, trim or care for my plants-my best or number one tool that I use is my fingers and finger nails. I plant using my finger and trim plants by pinching them. On occasion I will have to use a razor or scissors to cut the woody stems of some plants.
The natural soil based planted tank are as close to an ecosystem that you can create in a closed system IMO/E-Once mature they need very little care, however, its still a closed system and needs some care from time to time.
So a snail is crucial for the NPT, I mean the bought snails, like the trumpet snail? If the trumpet is not avilable, what other snails can I use? I am having some doubts, and would like to hear your opinion. My tank will be divided for two bettas. Now, what will happen if say, one dies or is sick? I know about QT tanks, but what about the water? Do you need to start over when this happens? And what if some plant has a disease?
I'm not sure if I'll change my current tank into an NPT or buy a bigger one, mainly because of two bettas being more demanding than one. What do you think? It seems to me that with more than one fish everything's harder with diseases and such.
If I have one snail and two male bettas, should I change the snail's side every once in a while?
Lastly, I would appreciate it if someone could write a basic list of plants for a 7.4gal, perferrably low light and maintenance ones. Something like a basis to go by for the first-timer, that will guide me generally for the amount and kinds of plants.
Thank you very much, you've been so helpful!