My tanks are ever changing and the use of real "soil" would be a total mess. Pulling plants out would turn the substrate upside down.
Doesn't the top sand or gravel cover want to migrate to the bottom in time?
its the nature of substrate in an aquatic situation for the largest chunks to move upward and the finer silty stuff to move down. I dont know how many times in marine aquariums I have seen people go over crushed coral with sand only to have the crushed coral slowly migrate bact to the top.
if you read a bag of eco-complete they brag how their product automaticly seperates into 2 layers, its because they use roughly 2 sizes of particle in their bag and physics handles the seperation. the smalles stuff settles towards the bottom and the larger chunks on top. its not because they have specially trained their substrate before shipping.
"[Wabi-sabi] nurtures all that is authentic by acknowledging three simple realities: nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect." -original author unknown-
125g marine reef tank, 6 gallon fluval edge minimalist aquascape (in progress), 1 gallon aqueon evo 2 betta tank.