Dude this is a great help!
The above makes a lot of sense!
Another question - some claim a con and potential issue with dirt is anaerobic air pockets? What does this mean, and how can they be prevented.
I have heard of such...and seen some gas bubbles rise in my tank from time to time. I tested my water one day after a big one came to the surface...I couldn't detect anything. A lot of Co2 is created through the breakdown of the soil in the first few months...I think this is what spooks most people.
However, it can happen if the substrate is too deep.
Using my "formula" (which I got from people here) I haven't had the issue. I am heavily planted though...it seems like most people who have issues with dirt don't plant heavy enough in my opinion.
Another thing I do once in a while is poke through the substrate every few inches randomly with a chopstick. I have no clue if this helps...just something I do.
Here is a pretty neat thread to follow...this was actually one of the threads that got me into dirt tanks...https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/lo...-soil-sub.html
One other thing...
I am looking at carpeting the bottom, Jungle val heavy, and 2 moss trees, moss on DW and Rocks. Other than that I MAY have a crypt or two...
Carpeting the bottom of a 65 gallon can be daunting. Those really pretty carpeted tanks are usually one of two things...small shallow tanks, and/or high tech heavily Co2 injected tanks. It takes more than dirt. High light is needed for most carpeting plants. Really high light for deep tanks like ours.
It can be done...don't get me wrong, and the dirt will help. I'm just letting you know dirt is not the end all to be all for a carpeted tank...they take work and patience.
Now, your Jungle Vals, Crips...etc will go crazy. Moss, as I posted earlier depends more on water column dosing...or lots of fish poo.
I don't know enough about your other plans to really help. Dirt rocks, but it doesn't guarantee good carpeting.