Deciding on a substrate
I am starting a 65gal, and am trying to decide on a substrate. I'm a believer in doing it right the first time, so if I need to spend a little extra money, that's ok, but! that doesn't mean I want to waste money for the overhyped latest and greatest. I narrowed it down to Flourite, Aquasoil, and Soilmaster.
Since all of these a clay based, my first question is do I need a substate that is pre-loaded with nutrients. Yes, this might help initially, but can Flourite and SMS be soaked in nutrients so that they absorb? Is this really important, or just marketing?
Is the iron in Flourite important and can it be replaced by iron supplementation in the water column. Do certain plants require iron at the root level vs. water column?
Do dyes in SMS effect it's porosity and therefore it's CEC?
What is the difference in their respective weights, and is this a real difference or just a personal preference?
Also, is there any possible combination of substrates that would be "ideal"? I know that's subjective, but I was considering Flourite black with SMS charcoal, totally mixed, not layered. I don't want a layered scheme, due to be mixed up eventually.
This ends up being a cost benefit analysis. I like aquasoil, but when I include shipping, the cost skyrockets, so I'm questioning whether the benefit outweighs the cost?
Thanks for any and all input!!!!