deeper substrate with smaller particles.
I personally like doing 3 inches of substrate in front, sloping up to about 6 inches at the back. You probably can get away with less, depending on the substrate you're using.
Also, there are plants that don't really need to be planted -- some can be tied to stones or wood like java fern and java moss
I've tried aqua soil, flourite, eco-complete, and regular play sand -- all are pretty easy to plant into, with aqua soil being the easiest.
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