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Around 8 months ago I made a vivarium with a waterfall/water feature inside of it. Looking back, it was overly ambitious for a first timer like myself.

Up until this point, the only plant that I have inside is an anubias. I believe the substrate is too soaked for any other plant life to make home in it.

I re-did the water feature and converted it into a land area and removed the water feature. I have a few plants coming in (marcgravia spp., pilea spp., monstera spp., and philodendron spp.) and want to make sure they will survive.

The new land area is fine since it's new and not dripping wet. This area will do well for the foreground plants I got, but some of the larger background plants will have to be planted in the original substrate that's overly saturated.

I know for a fact those plants will die in that substrate. Should I just dig out that substrate and replace it prior to the new plants arriving?
 

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If you're going to take any of the substrate out you can just take out some and let it dry out completely on a piece of cardboard or something then put it back and let it absorb water from the remaining damp substrate. This way you don't have to rip everything apart.

Sometimes though, it's easier to rip everything apart.
 
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