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Queen Platy
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If you want to save money you can use Mineralized Soil. You can grow any plant with it and it lasts a very long time without having to add macro and micro nutrients. But the fallback is when you unroot a plant, it clouds the water because of the mud that is under the gravel. I heard Aqua soil from ADA is also very good. There are a few otheres but I cant remember them off the top of my head.
 

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Cheapest substrate is non-scented/dyed cat litter (100% clay) and some peet under a layer of gravel. People have also used some brand named topsoil (without NPK) with some success.

Next would be the mineralized soil since it takes a few weeks/month to get right...and good weather.

If you don't mind paying for substrate go with Flourite from Seachem, Eco-complete, or that ADA soil (several varieties).
 

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hmmm im kind of looking at all these diffrent things i see for substrates .. i dont have a ton of cash to throw around myself. but i do have some left over sand and gravel from previous tanks ..

Im not sure if anyone near me actually caries the ADA stuff. Sorry new to this whole planted tank thing .. tried a couple times with my old gravel tanks < shoulda researched first> lols only 2 plants i did well with were duckweed and java moss
 

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Well...one thing first off...if you want DHG...don't even consider gravel.

Cat litter eh? I can't even fathom that one. ;o)

A good alternative is Turface...formally known as SMS.

I have a tank with Florite in it and not very impressed with it. I'll be pulling that out at some point.
 
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