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Is styrofoam safe to use?

Discussion in 'Are you new to aquatic plants? Start here' started by bill321, May 23, 2010.

  1. bill321

    bill321 Junior Poster

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    Hello all,

    I was wondering how safe it is to use Styrofoam inside a planted aquarium.

    I am trying to figure out a way to build up the substrate and make a terrace without having it be too thick....as I would think having 8" of aquasoil would be too deep ( and expensive). Doesn't having the substrate too deep cause problems too ? (feel free to explain anaerobic pockets to me here :) ) I don't want to use rocks or bricks if I can help it and I would think that Styrofoam would be fairly light weight once you get it weighed down.

    I know people use Styrofoam to make a background, but it seems those are always covered in epoxy and rocks. So would it be safe to use uncoated Styrofoam sheets along the bottom of the tank under the substrate?

    Any advise would be greatly appreciated as I am starting to think about my aquascape now that I have most of my equipment issues worked out.

    Thanks !

    Bill321
     
  2. nipat

    nipat Guru Class Expert

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    A large block of styrofoam is very buoyant.

    Pumice is popular for the purpose, it's light weight. But you said you didn't like using rock, etc.

    How about drinking water bottles (with cap on) ?
     
  3. Philosophos

    Philosophos Lifetime Charter Member
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    Rocks aren't a big deal if you just throw down some plastic egg crate. I've found the problem with retainers and aquasoil is that they become exposed over time if you push the slope too steep. You should see the rock work that they do for coral or African's with nothing but this stuff down underneath. Most planted tanks don't even see 1/2 that much rock.

    Aquasoil drains well, so it doesn't tend to be prone to anaerobic/hypoxic conditions as easily. I've seen the stuff stacked a good 6-8 inches thick over at Aquaforest Aquarium in SF for a glosso-covered iwugami tank. It didn't appear to have any strange discolorations through any of the substrate, but I didn't see any fauna in the tank either. I've pushed it 4-5 inches no problem myself in the past.

    Anyhow, if you find a filler of your choice you may want to find an agreeable compound to use for adhering some aquasoil over the easily exposed areas so that the terracing material isn't exposed to easily by substrate settling.
     
  4. csmith

    csmith Guest

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    What if (yes this includes rocks, but not ginormous rocks) you hollowed out a "pocket" in the top of the syrofoam and filled it with gravel, level to the top of the styrofoam and hollowed out another "pocket" in the bottom to reduce some of the bouyancy? You're kind of stuck having to use my idea, as I only have one good idea a year and this was it. ;)

    On a side note, how did the search for a store up there turn out?
     
  5. bill321

    bill321 Junior Poster

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    Lets jsut say that I am finding out that.....

    Just like computer parts.....the web (and UPS/FedEx) is your best friend :)

    Bill321
     
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