I think that you are wise to ask questions.
Sure, you can make a trail later.
You shouldn't worry about 'scaping your tank at first. Stuff it full of plants at first to help to keep algae away and let you tank get settled. You can 'scape later.
Cool I won't worry about my sand trail untill later
You can really go wrong with the Seachem substrates.
I don't want to bias your thoughts by my next comments. MS sounds like an easy way to go to me. Covering it with one of the several black sands should be easy to work with. I haven't read about any severe algae problems using MS like you read about people using regular topsoil.
Do you think is a good idea for a beginner like myself to try this method?
You'll get yes and no to your Laterite question. But, it doesn't hurt. If you do use it, keep it away from all sides that show. Those reddish Laterite grains will show with the black substrate.
Thanks I will keep that in mind, I certanly don't want those grains to show.
I don't know if the problem with Amazonia II has been fixed. I haven't read anything saying that is has. Also, not all bags were/are bad. I don't know the magnitude of the problem either. You may want to contact the following two places and find out from them.
I will definitley contact these eplaces that you mentioned about the little problem with Amazonia II. I know that not all bags were bad but Im kinda on the budget, so I don't want to spend all that money and get a bad one, knowing my luck I will
. Is there any stores that carry it because I think it would be easier to tell if it's a good bag or not, but what do I look for to tell if it's a good one?
I will do more reaserch before I order anything. I'm planing to oreder some substrate within next couple of weeks, so I got some time to do more research...
Don't add any chemicals to lower your KH and pH.
I'd try your water at first like it is and then use a mix of tap and RO water only if you have to.
Do you know your KH and GH, by chance?
I wasn't really planing to add any chemicals since I know they can do more harm than good especially when you don't know what you doing. I was tinking more of something natural like adding some RO water. Do I need to have an RO unit to get RO water or is there another way to get it?
When I had my cold water tank my ph was actually at a stable 7, so maybe I'm just worried too much. But then again I want to be prepared for anything.
And I do not know my KH/GH, but I will be getting a test kit for it.
Thanks again for all your help!