Laterite simply provides iron, nothing else. Sand provides nothing at all. It is simply used to cover the laterite to prevent the laterite from clouding the water.
"Mineralized soil" provides a variety of macro and minor nutrients including iron, so there would be no reason to use the laterite. Actual minerlized soil, if you follow the recipe, is a time consuming process to make, and should be done carefully.
You can grow plants with laterite just fine. You would just need to add other nutrients to the water.
Robert Paul Hudson
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