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i am preparing substrate for my coming 3 feet planted tank now. currently i am using Seachem Onyx sand for my 2 feet. The Onyx sand is generally good and easy for planting. i do rescaping quite frequently. but my KH is a bit higher. it's 4 after water change and 5 three days later, and one week later, it's 6. i have never been able to grow tonina and ludwiga well, though other plants are fine. i suspect it's because of the high KH. PH also slightly higher.

i was thinking to use ADA Amazonia Soil for my new tank for lower PH. but from my friends' tank with using ADA Amazonia Soil, i can see the PH is 5.5 without Co2 injected. with some Co2 injected, it drops to 4.8. so some of my friends using coral chip to buffer the low PH. but still i am afraid this is too low than i expected. also it's very muddy and hard for planting because it's loose form.

then i am thinking is that possible for me to mix this two. the the lowest layer, i use JBL base fertilizer, then put a layer of ADA Amazonia Soil on JBL. on the toppest layer, i put Onyx sand. i believe in this way, Amazonia Soil brings down PH but Onyx sand buffers it. and i still can plant my plants relatively easier because Onyx sand is on top.

how do you think about it? would appreciate for your input. thanks.
 

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I think it would work, but instead of layering the two substrates, mix them. This will mute the two buffering affects of the two. As far as I know, people have grown Tonina in regular gravel, the only thing it needs is the soft water and some peat in the gravel won't hurt either.
 
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