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I used regular gravel several years ago for my planted tank. The plants grew like crazy. I never dosed or did anything special. Not even sure what light I had, but I did get some serious green water which was cleared up with a uv filter.
 

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I would look for a gravel that is finer, rather than something that looks like pebbles. You can always use plant tabs in the gravel. Make sure to put a fairly thick layer of gravel so that you can push the plant tabs down deep and to give the roots room to grow. What size tank are you planning?
 

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I have had good luck with fine gravel in several colors. Root tabs can dissolve too fast and enter the water column, though, so do not use very many, and push them all the way to the floor of the tank.
 

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When I had to get a substrate for my 75g but did not want to spend a lot, I bought black diamond blasting sand from tractor supply. It is $7.99 for 50#, doesn't get cheaper than that. It looks better than gravel and the plants can root great in it. For a 55g you would only need 2 maybe 3 bags.

Loads of threads on here about using the blasting sand as a substrate!

Ben
 
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