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About 8 months ago there was a post including a website that had quite a different assortment of semi-cheap inert substrate. I can't remember it, any ideas??

Thanks.
 

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Hi Akira,

Montmorillonite clay has a high CEC index and plants do very well in it. Currently I have been using Safe-T-Sorb #7941 in my planted tanks. It has a nice natural color, a variety of grain sizes, and plants root well in it. It is dusty and requires a good cleaning prior to first using it. It is available online at Drillspot for $9.29 per 40# bag with free shipping included.
http://www.drillspot.com/products/1476408/Moltan_7941_Montmorillonite_Clay_Absorbant_40_lb

Here is a picture of my 10 gallon, with Safe-T-Sorb substrate. This tank has no CO2, just Flourish Comprehensive and Flourish Excel. The baby Corys have been in there for over 3 months and have doubled in size.
 

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Hi Akira,

There used to be two inexpensive Montmorillonite clay products (Soilmaster Select Charcoal and Turface Pro League Grey) but they have been discontinued for several years now. The only dark alternative would be the aquadurt sold by aquariumplants.com in the Black Diamond color.....but it is substantially more expensive.
 

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Whoa, I don't remember the AquaDurt being that expensive last time I looked. At that price it would be cheaper to go with Flourite Black or Dark, the latter which I really like the look of:



Very natural. Not my pic, it's from this thread which also has some close-ups:

http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/showthread.php?t=119023

Got it for $16.13 per 15.4lb. bag from That Fish Place, with free shipping and 10% off coupon.
 

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If none of these options are cheap enough, I vaguely recall seeing one other option discussed years ago.

Black Diamond sandblasting media. Basically coal slag fired to glass. Aquarium safe. It's designed to be abrasive, so keep that in mind if you intend to keep cories or other fish with barbels.
 

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"Is the blasting grit sand rough and scratch tanks? - This was controversial prior to me getting this. However, after going to the store seeing it and having it in my tank, it's just like anything else. Its not going to cut your hand if you touch it. It will NOT scratch your tank as long as used with proper care. Just as you would with gravel. You wouldn't put gravel under a magnet cleaner would you?"

Quoted from an eight page discussion about it, which was the first result when Googling "black diamond scratch aquarium". Also has an example price, $8.99 for a 50lb. bag. I'd definitely gather as much info and opinions about it as possible prior to making a choice.
 

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Nice im looking for a cheap sub for my 40g im setting up now. Wanted to go "ghetto" cheap just to see if I have good results. Im planning on a heavey stem plant tank with dwarf ciclids and schooling fish. Now im torn between the Montmorillonite clay at drillspot, or the Black Diamond at tractor suply. Both seem very reasonable compared to most aquarium substrates. i was stuck on doing a dirt tank but with mostly stem plants I will be replanting alot and read that dirt tanks get messy if you are consantly replanting.
 
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