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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Is it cheaper to mix my own ABG substrate than order it off of josh's frogs? I'm building a minimum of 4 vivs out of vertically-converted 20G high aquariums.

I'm really looking to save on costs if possible, any help would be really appreciated.
 

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You can make it yourself for pretty cheap. Most nurseries will have all the needed ingredients. It was much cheaper for me to make my own, since I didn't have to pay shipping on anything.
 

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I find everything local except the tree fern fiber. Even though they don't list it, Black Jungle often has it. Just ask...OFE might be cheaper, though.

Also, I've purchased tree fern chunks before and, if you're willing to break them up yourself, they go a very, very long way.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I don't suppose anyone knows anywhere local to Minneapolis, MN that carries any of this stuff? I can't find anywhere that carries stuff besides pre-fertilized soil mixes.
 

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You will find it extremely difficult to find tree fern fiber locally. There are people that will substitute something else, but honestly, if you don't the tree fern fiber, you don't have ABG mix. It is an important component. The prices at OFE International Web Page are very good. You will spend more time looking for Tree Fern Fiber and failing, than to just bite the bullet and order it. Even if you do find it locally, (which you won't) I bet you would have to pay 5 times the price. A specialty product with very low turnover, by necessity, will cost much more.
http://www.dendroboard.com/forum/parts-construction/63915-truth-about-abg-mix.html
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
Oh I've already figured out that as far as tree fern fiber goes, the OFE Intl. is the way to go.

As for the other stuff, I'm having issues. Maybe I'll hit up bachman's, but I don't think they even have just plain peat, much less the other stuff. Unless it's just the one tree fern item, I really don't want to pay OFE's handling fees for an order less than their $150 minimum, or shipping on large, heavy stuff. 50lbs of charcoal can't be cheap to ship.
 

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50 lbs of charcoal?!! You said 4 tanks didn't you? 50 lbs of charcoal would be enough for 40 or more vivs full of ABG mix! Besides, if you did mean 40 vivs instead of 4, you are definitely going to save more by ordering in bulk. I stand by my recommendation. I don't believe you can find better pricing anywhere than OFE offers. A 10 percent packaging and handling fee doesn't mean much when they offer stuff at half what you'll typically pay.
As far as local sources, a lot of us use Lowes and Home Depot. I don't know if you have those there or not.
What it comes down to is this, one viv? Get it from Josh's. 10 or 20 vivs? Order from OFE. I'm unclear now if you are doing 4 or 40 vivs because 50 lbs of charcoal...that's a whole lot of charcoal! If you are doing 4, you're just going to have to price it out and compare.
 

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If you want to save some money get a bag of the real hardwood charcoal and break it up yourself into small pieces. 1 bag of that will be more than enough.
 

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No. I just order ingredients on their own, because I have so many different types of orchid, and each needs its own mix. I would consider the pre made mixes, or ordering a custom mix if I was repotting a bunch of a certain type of orchid all at once, but I usually just do one or two at a time.
 

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I bought al my supplies from Tropical Plant Products and they were very cheap. The tree fern fiber is about 1/3 the cost of the other source you are mentioning. It's $12.95 for 2cuft.
That's a good price, but their fine tree fern fiber is actually fine shredded tree fern fiber. Generally, fine tree fern fiber is going to average pieces up to an inch or so long, with smaller pieces too. So if you go through the above mentioned link, you would want to use their medium which is more expensive, but still cheaper than OFE charges.
The longer fibers help with keeping air pockets locked in the mix.
 
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