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Do a search for clay substrates.

For my last tank I did a false bottom, gravel (to give the ground some slopes), clay substrate, a few hand fulls of bark chips, then leaf litter. When I planting, I added some sphagnum around the roots.
 

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I won't consider this the ABG mix, but it has tons of room for microfauna growth and it's much more airy than regular ABG.
2 parts (well, really 3ish in my tank :p ) Cypress mulch
2 parts tree fern fibre
1 part sphagnum moss
1 part carbon charcoal
1 part peat moss
This is really just the ABG with cypress instead of orchid bark. I don't know if it really is better for the plants in the long term, but it seems to have a light advantage over the regular ABG mix. Correct me if i'm wrong though! You can even mix in some hydroton to make it a little bit more airy and even more room for springs/isos to breed on.
 
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Coco coir, coco chunks, madrone bark, crushed leaf litter, horticultural charcoal, long fiber sphagnum over a gravel drainage layer is what I've been using since I'm redoing all my tanks. I don't have time to do a clay based substrate. This mix is airy, allows for microfauna to travel freely throughout, and holds enough moisture to keep plants happy. I don't have ratios, I just eyeball it.
 

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Coco coir, coco chunks, madrone bark, crushed leaf litter, horticultural charcoal, long fiber sphagnum over a gravel drainage layer is what I've been using since I'm redoing all my tanks. I don't have time to do a clay based substrate. This mix is airy, allows for microfauna to travel freely throughout, and holds enough moisture to keep plants happy. I don't have ratios, I just eyeball it.
Would you recommend peat or coco fibre if someone would do this mix?
 

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Would you recommend peat or coco fibre if someone would do this mix?
Peat is non sustainably harvested from bogs better left alone to serve as wetland habitat and carbon sinks.... Coco coir is more sustainable and less acidic
 

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Will organic hardwood charcoal ( like what you use in a BBQ grill) work?:confused:
I have used it in my tanks that don't have frogs in them, and have had good luck so far.:)
 

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Sure, it's all pretty much the same stuff, but I prefer smaller sized pieces to some of the bigger charcoal used for cooking
 

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I Start with 100% Natural Compost..add Some sand...And cover it with several layers consisting in New Zealand Sprahgrum Moss Covered with Leaf liter, Rocks and Sticks, Cork Tubes
 
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