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Vermiculite and digging clown loachs

I am about to start up a new 25 high tank and would like some guidance
in relation to the following. Having followed the discussions on
substrate for some time I am thoroughly confused.

1. I plan to put in some form of 2-3" vermiculite substrate covered with
1" of gravel.

I have 4 clown loaches and lots of bristlenose catfish. Will these fish
dig up the vermiculite substrate either damaging the substrate or
themselves? In my current tank the loaches do a whole lot of digging.

Also, will the use of vermiculite adversely affect the fish in any way,
-  the loachs, which appear to be rather sensitive; or
-  the breeding behaviour of my bristlenoses.

Also, I have not fully figured out what type of soil/ sand to mix with
the vermiculite - any suggestions welcome. At this stage I am
considering river sand or a purely mineral based cactus mix.

2. I intend to start using PMDD. Having subsribed to the APD for some
time,  I have only heard good things about PMDD. Are there any adverse
PMDD effects on fish, in particular clown loaches?

Any comments appreciated.

James Wong
jamesw at fl_net.au