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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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