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Flourite vs. Laterite

I have discovered that I won't probably go with laterite, as it is no
longer readily available in the USA.  Something about some microbe in it,
and some government regulatory agency.  As it is extremely expensive and
has the disadvantage of clouding up your aquarium, and may carry some
wierd bug, laterite may not be the substrate additive I want in my
aquarium.  Any suggestions for an alternative?  I have heard of Flourite
and Tetralite as decent alternatives, that will do the job, but before I
mess with a proven system (The Optimum Aquarium), I want to think long and
hard, and get some expert advice.

As for my lighting, I am still waffling between flouresent (affordable and
non-lethal to a clumbsy person) and metal halide (cool ripple affect in
water and is highly recommended, but gets really!!!! hot, so saftey is an 

Any overall recommendations for a substrate additive, or persuasive
reasons to go with flouresent vs. metal halide?

Jennifer Glover

* Diplomacy is the art of saying 'Nice doggie!'... till you can find a
rock. *