Hi there! So, this will be my first fish tank since I was a kid who had no idea how to really take care of fish. I've picked up a 4 gallon 10" cube, with the intention of housing a moontail betta with some mystery snails. For filtration, I've got a sponge filter that will take up 2" of space against the wall on order, and am looking at air pumps that I can reduce pressure on.
But, filtration isn't what I'm writing here for. I haven't chosen any of my plants yet, nor have I bought my fish until the tank is ready. I want to go with a Princess Mononoke theme, specifically the forest environments. I know I want a moss ball or two, to provide enrichment. What are some betta-friendly plants that would be good for the theme, and with the space available am I okay to put a central decoration/hide, or should I have pieces coming off of the 'back wall' instead?
When you mention forest environments, are you thinking about something like what Nigel did here? https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/1...est-scape.html
It's not quite a 4 gallon cube, but based on the pictures and plant list, his forest scape is dominated by different varieties of moss.
There is also this excellent 7 gallon cube by Cubecrew at https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/1...nano-cube.html
which might be easier to replicate if this is going to be your first tank.
The above tanks have CO2 but I understand that you intend to go low tech. You will be fairly limited when it comes to plant choice, but will still be able to create something stunning if you choose the right plants to run with and manage to find obtain nice pieces of hardscape. Dennis has posted pics of his low tech tanks before at https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/1...3-post370.html
As far as low tech plants go you can't go wrong with anubias. As the tank is fairly small, consider the smaller varieties such as nana petite or pangolino . Java fern (microsorum pteropus) is a good choice as well. Varieties such as trident or narrow leave might fit well in your tank. Bucephalandra are also very hardy and can do well in a low tech tank.
If you want something to actually plant the substrate, cryptocoryne varieties will do very well in a low light, no CO2 environment. Just take note that some of them can get pretty big. Aquasoil for the substrate will go a long way if you do go the planted route. ADA Amazonia and Tropica are popular choices.
You can also consider floaters such as frogbit, these will help suck up excess nutrients which will be helpful in the tank's early days, and can help to diffuse the light as well if you find that it gets too bright.