Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Near Lake Wylie NC
Callisto, the Flourite is fine, but it is expensive, too. The only downside for me really is the size of the grains and the color (I wasn't crazy about the brownish-red). You can get Eco-complete or Flourite in a sand version that I think would be better for hairgrass, if you're leaning that way, and they come in black.
My substrate consists of a tiny (and I really mean tiny) amount of peat on the bottom...a sprinkling. I then added regular Flourite that I rinsed well before adding to the tank. Finally, I placed about 1-2 pellets of Osmocote every sq inch of the tank under the Flourite. I poked holes with a wooden art brush handle and dropped in the Osmocote before I flooded the tank.
You can definitely do it without a soil-based substrate. The only other thing I did was change out my bulb to a Hagen 6500K bulb. The one that came with my unit had a very pink cast and to the human eye appeared to not produce as much light.
Good luck on your new tank! I'll check out your thread.