laterite + gravel + moving plants around = mess?
if you do decide to use gravel, the recommended size is larger than sand, but
smaller than the flourescent painted gravel in most stores. I believe the size
range is 2-3mm, but I could be mistaken.
My 10 gallon tank is filled with plants living in blue WalMart rock of
the course variety.
The tank had a standard 13 watt florescent and no CO2 for the longest
So it's not impossible. The plants just don't grow as fast. Some
think that's a good property.
Of course "if you are building your substrate today, do it right. The
substrate is the hardest thing to have to replace."