The money is there, it's just more of explaining to my fiance why we'd be spending 40 bucks on rocks so to speak. Anything is possible though, just exploring my options while I wait for the new year.
Skip a dinner.
In your opinion, the Flourite is the better choice? If that's the case and I went with buying two bags, could I switch it to the Flourite Black Sand and still be just as good?
From what I understand, Flourite Black is blacker than EC, which is more of a gray tone. Which one is better, hard to say... EC has a bit of a troubled past, but doesn't need the rinsing, and is not as "sharp" as Flourite.
I would not use the Sand... I think the regular F grain size is perfect, allowing for some circulation of nutrients within the substrate, and allowing for some detritus to fall through the cracks and become plant available over time. Again, others prefer sand for other reasons.
Edit - just saw your response. You might be okay with one bag, especially if you keep it a bit more shallow in the foreground, and raise it up towards the back.
I haven't kept Cory's for a long time, so not sure about that one. I know barbel damage is being discussed, and some say Flourite caused it, while others swear it's water conditions. Do some search on the topic.