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Cation exchange - Sand
Anion exchange - sea shells
organic exchange - activated carbon

Top layer - Sand
Middle layer - shells
Bottom layer - Activated carbon

This is modeled after the beaches which contain sand at the top, followed by sea shell fragments, followed by decaying organic matter.

The sand does not need microbes to activate it, just a very dilute phosphoric acid solution should do it (few drops of phosphoric in several ounces of water).  If that doesn't do it you can cook the sand with calcium hydroxide then treat with a bit of dilute phosphoric which will convert the surface of the sand grains into silica gel.

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