hmm i think i know what youre saying about the beach thing. you want it to be planted then have a bare foreground correct? also with the aquasoil, it only comes in one grain size i believe. ADA makes soil and they also have sand. the soil does look like little pebble things but these breakdown into a fine silty looking stuff. you could definitely layer the substrate if you wanted so give a nice visual effect for the tank but im not sure about the plants benefits since they do get the nutrients from the substrate.
I've seen online and I think on their' usa site that they now have three to choose from for aquasoil, "were talking ada right?" - regular, sand and mixed. - And yeah you got that right about the beach thing lol I want this tank to really play on positive and negative space with the positive, planted areas kinda in the corner and a bare little area for the fish to swim freely. I figure this layout kinda gives the fish both an open area and a little forest to retreat into when they get into fights and wanna runaway lol and it also creates an unconventional atmosphere and plays on the tallness of the tank. I think doing it this way helps to make the plants and fish pop out more and gives the tank an overall jewel-like presence if that makes sense... kinda like a bonsai does when it's done well... - As for nutrition I figure most of my substrate can be the aquasoil on the bottom, maybe the next layer is a thin mix with the same aquasoil but mixed in with some other gravel and perhaps some sand in colors that coordinate and increase the inert stuff like the sand and gravel as the beach/bank begins.. at which there will be few to no plants and just the gravel, some sand and small rocks. - At the end of it all I want a great looking tank that doesn't look like a first timer's planted tank... I don't want it to look like a withered, unkept backyard lol. I realize I've got alot of potential hazards and things to run into before I'm apt to achieve what I'm wanting but I'd like to skip as many of those potential pitfalls as possible right from the start... maybe it's possible lol. I'm essentially asking a "what would you do if you showed up in a time machine back when you first started and had a few minutes to talk to yourself lol"