How important is substrate?
I've looked at these forums for a little while now, but still haven't got any clear idea: how beneficial is a nutrient-rich substrate as opposed to plain old gravel, enriched with root tabs / balls?
Assuming adequate water column dosing. Found some cheap and good dry ferts.
Any sort of specialised substrate is RIDICULOUSLY expensive here in Australia, since as far as I know all of it is flown in from overseas. This includes laterite, oddly, since half of Australia is covered in the stuff (unfortunately not the half I live on...).
To fill a tank with Flourite, for example, would cost more than the glass tank itself.
In short: is specialised substrate really worth the cost and effort? Or is plain old (fine) gravel with tabs a decent alternative?