How much substrate?
55g, planted. I'm getting a mixture of Volcanic and Flora Base. Keep in mind that both are about $23 for a 12-15lb bag. How many bags and do I really need to order 100 lbs for a 55g? I want to do it right but that's going to get very expensive quick!!!
You could always mix in some river run small gravel or some play sand to cut costs a little bit, well a lot.
I put 2-2.5 inches of substrate in my tanks for the plants to have a large enough base to really allow for them to get a good root base. Swords need a little more closer to 2.5-3 inches. Mixing won't hurt anything per say, might just slow down the growth rates until all the gravel/sand gets mulm and nutrients going in it also.
It takes my tanks about 4 months to get enough mulm and nutrients to work like Eco or other plant substrate. Once it does I think it works as well as anything expensive you can buy. This is not to say that Eco isn't worth the money but I have better things to spend my money on, like fish. It cost me $9 to completely change the gravel in both my 10 gallon tanks.
I used aquariumplants.com's own substrate. Love it, and plants are doing awesome. Mine appears to be a "gray" color now, although it more more black when I was rinsing it off.
I like it! Thanks for the info since I think I'm going to get that and mix in the Volcanic stuff since I like the look of that too.
I decided to try their substrate out only due to the fact that I was setting up a 210 gallon aquarium, and well, that much substrate is $$$ for stuff like Eco-Complete, etc.
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