Ok, been wiping my paypal account and this is what I'll be working with. A 40 breeder, planted + light, eheim cannister ( a 1300 I think) great hard scape pieces. I'm stuck with options for substrate. It'll be a low tech for a long time so I'd like to go with something that won't need constant replacing but with a natural look. And the stand. I'm capable of doing DIY but I work so much on the road the time I get at the house I don't much want to be in the garage cutting wood. I found an un stained stand on glasscages for a decent price, wondering if anyone has a stand from them? More importantly, what substrate should I be looking at?
Petco sells a metal open stand for cheap. You can add panels later if you choose. They go for 60 but you can find them on sale sometimes. My lfs sells a fine gravel that goes for 50 cents a pound. It's natural in color. You could look at your lfs and see if they have something similar.
My fauvorite option is DIY organic soil (volcanic gravel or pumice stone, sphagnum peat, perlite or vermiculite, and clay soil like akadama) capped with fine-grained black volcanic gravel (Pool sand is cheaper, but It's too light for me).