the shag i use is multi colored, meaning normal. i bought a cubic foot at a green hous for 4 bucks usd, and the green stuff at the pet store is seven usd for like 2/3 a cubic foot. the pet store stuff is a rip off, i think its died that vibrant green to attract keepers, and steer them from the normal looking stuff.
as for water absorbtion i find the dried stuff works fine, read the package, my companys moss hold something like 200% its weight in water, make sure you get the stuff thats for orchids and such, and you should be good.
sorry for the long post, i just hate it when companies sell things for pets at low quantities and high prices, and you can get the same stuff for less and more quabtity at a place for dif. use. (if that made anysense)
hope i helped
I got a bunch of snakes and a bunch of guns