Hi guys! I recently bought a 10gal tank that I intend to divide and put 2 Bettas in. I'm a first time betta owner and have no experience with any fish whatsoever, so I've been doing lots of research and this forum has been a treasure trove of information. However I do have a couple of questions. Keep in mind that I am still in the planning phases of my tank so nothing is concrete.
1) I know I want to have live plants. That's for sure. I've seen pictures and live plants just seem so much more....natural in a tank. Love it. For live plants, though, would I need to have soil as my substrate and then cap it off with sand or gravel? Or would I be fine with just sand or gravel as my substrate?
2) If soil is required, would that become a natural planted tank then? I've read Oldfishlady's sticky about NPTs and the one thing she did stress was that if I did not have enough plants to start a soil-based tank, do not start one. How many plants is considered enough?
3) For natural planted tanks, would I rely solely on the silent cycle or could I cycle the tank beforehand and add plants later? NPT is constantly associated with the silent cycle, but no one has ever mentioned of cycling a tank first and adding plants later.
4) Which plants would be good for a 10gal tank that is 20x11x10in? I'd prefer to not have fast growing plants that requires a trimming every couple of days, but I would like some tall ones that won't get out of hand to cover the filter, heater, etc.
Thanks for looking guys and sorry for the bombardment of questions. I just like to do my research and do things right the first time rather than experiment, kill some plants/fish, and redo it correctly the second time.