i use playsand as a substrate in all of my tanks that costs 5 dollars per 50 pounds at the hardware store and grow excellent plants.
when it comes down to it, plants can take in nutrients from the water column as well as the substrate. some plants like swords are heavy root feeders, that's what fluorish tabs are for. other than that my plants recieve all of their nutrients from the water column.
a nutrient rich substrate is not so important when you are dosing ferts into the water column multiple times weekly.
it is needed for low tech setups where you dont want to be dosing EI ect. and want something that more or less takes care of itself without much attention.
Discus, (The Other White Meat.)
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