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I'm just in the planning stages for my new tank, and have been reading a lot here, and have been happy to see items that I can use that are not spcifically made for aquarium use.
Pool filter sand for instance.
Also today I read that one person is using quilt batting for filter material.

What other items do you use that might be cheaper than aquarium specific products.

For instance, we have a relatively local place that sells rock and stone for landscape and construction. Their stuff is pennies not dollars per pound. A nursery would have a smaller selection, but still good prices.
 

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I found it on this site, I wish I could remember who said it, It was a brilliant idea. I purchase a yard or so of white felt @ fabric store. (they always have a coupon in sunday paper). First you wash it in hot water in washing machine do not add anything. Then put in dryer on high, no additives.
I have one of those fabric cutting boards and a rotary knife, I cut them maybe 2 by 2 depending on the discharge size of your filter. Wedge it in so the water that is going back into the tank runs over it. It is amazing how much crud you will get. I just throw them out or cut the dirty end off and put back in. I still rinse and soak filters, but just think of that crud that did not go into your tank.
Maybe someone else will know who came up with this idea, I think it had something to do with the minute bubble in the water.
Try it you'll like it,
Anne
 

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For instance, we have a relatively local place that sells rock and stone for landscape and construction. Their stuff is pennies not dollars per pound. A nursery would have a smaller selection, but still good prices.
They are definitely ALOT cheaper! You can save even more money by going out and collecting your rocks yourself(wish I would of started doing this from the beginning. :thumb: ) Also using pvc pipes and terra cotta pots to create caves. I just use my rock work to help cover them up and hide them.
 

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My brother had a house built in a new subdivision, they just plowed all the rocks into one place. It's like a treasure hunt. If you find the right rocks I like to set them up vertically. Whenever I am @ a beach I bring a bag. When we go up north I walk the dogs and walk the RR tracks. Everyone makes fun of me. But then they start eyeing my finds.
 
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