Aquarium Setup • Sand Substrate and Egg Crate-Terrible Smell

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Sand Substrate and Egg Crate-Terrible Smell

Postby Ohio Cichlid Lover » Sat May 12, 2012 5:34 pm

When I first set up my 55 gallon tank, I followed advice on the internet to put egg crate in my tank first then the sand because I am using rocks in my tank. Recently my tank became cloudy and the smell from the water was terrible. I have always done frequent water changes. I have always sifted the sand to eliminate dead spots. Today I removed all the sand and the egg crate. The sand in between the spaces in the egg crate was awful. Once I got all the sand out of the tank, I thoroughly washed it. The smell of the sand before I washed it was really bad. It was so bad I had to step away because it was choking me. Once clean, I put the sand back in my tank WITHOUT the egg crate. This is just my opinion but I believe the egg crate led to the problems I had because it hindered my ability to sift the dead spots correctly. Everything in my tank is fine now. I'm looking for opinions on the egg crate. Any opinions on the problem I had??

All opinions are appreciated!

Thanks......Van

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Re: Sand Substrate and Egg Crate-Terrible Smell

Postby prov356 » Sat May 12, 2012 7:30 pm

This has been kicked around a lot. Some swear by it, others like myself say it serves NO purpose, total myth about it strengthening tanks to support rocks. It's flimsy plastic on top of tempered glass. Think about it. As for pressure points, never heard of it blowing out a tank, but if someone wants to ride on that reason, then they'd have to tell me how they keep the grains of sand out from under the edges of the eggcrate. As for protecting against dropped rocks, well, be careful. I'd think you'd have to drop a pretty large rock from a good height to blow out a tank. And there's always the sand to buffer the blow. Not enough of a reason, at least to me, to put eggcrate in tanks. Bottom line, not needed and useless and ugly when exposed and traps detritus, as you've seen.

There, I've reopened the can of worms. :lol:
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Re: Sand Substrate and Egg Crate-Terrible Smell

Postby bbortko » Sat May 12, 2012 8:24 pm

sounds plausible, especially if a large enough area is covered with eggcrate. I have never had this problem but I only have 2 8x8" squares for tie wrapping plants. I wouldn't use egg crate for rocks either, the weight off the rocks is nothing compared to the weight of the water. If the rocks topple they'll land on the substrate and the egg crate will never come into play.
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Re: Sand Substrate and Egg Crate-Terrible Smell

Postby SobrietyRocks707 » Sat May 12, 2012 8:36 pm

prov356 wrote:There, I've reopened the can of worms. :lol:


Worms and Fish.... They sorta go together :dancing:

But yeah, I finally got to see what all this eggcrate stuff was. I was thinking foam... And thinking it would rot after time :)

Anyway, I don't think I'll be using eggcrate. Certainly wont be aquascaping from the top either :lol:
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Re: Sand Substrate and Egg Crate-Terrible Smell

Postby AulonoKarl » Sat May 12, 2012 8:38 pm

I take it by "sand" you mean play sand. I had play sand before and it was more trouble than it was worth. It gets stirred up easily, can do serious damage to impellers, and requires sifting though once a week to avoid getting gas build up and bad odors. I've been much happier with pool filter sand. I would switch if it were me. It's a zero maintenance substrate that will eliminate odors and possible damage to your filters.

No matter which substrate you use, the eggcrate serves very little purpose and it sounds like it can cause more problems than it can solve.
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Re: Sand Substrate and Egg Crate-Terrible Smell

Postby rp-photo » Sat May 12, 2012 9:17 pm

well the idea behind egg create, really is only to spread the weight of the rocks over a large surface area vs, having pressure points on the bottom glass.. also helps protect glass if u come across a falling rock
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Re: Sand Substrate and Egg Crate-Terrible Smell

Postby Ohio Cichlid Lover » Sat May 12, 2012 10:02 pm

Thanks for your opinions. Yes it is play sand. I think I will try the pool filter sand. I can't even explain the bad smell I experienced. Never again....lol One thing I would like to know, some say gravel holds some of the good bacteria, does sand substrate hold any of the good bacteria?

Thanks


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Re: Sand Substrate and Egg Crate-Terrible Smell

Postby AulonoKarl » Sat May 12, 2012 10:18 pm

Yes, the sand will "hold" the good bacteria, but it isn't something you should be overly concerned with. You should be concerned with holding the bacteria in your filter, since that is where a large amount of water is flowing through. You can have all the good bacteria you want in your substrate, but without housing it in your filter, you will have problems. A tank will survive just fine with no bacteria in the substrate, so long as there is enough biological filtration in your filter.
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Re: Sand Substrate and Egg Crate-Terrible Smell

Postby Jayse » Sun May 13, 2012 9:10 am

I will actually be setting up my first cichlid tank today (finally!) and will be using some big pieces of holey rock. I've been told by a cichlid hobbyist to use the eggcrate to protect against falling rock because the cichlids will move the substrate around, sometimes creating bare spots, exposing glass and also causing rocks to fall. I already have the eggcrate ready to go, but am using Carib Sea cichlid substrate that is black/ grey granules. Should I bother with the eggcrate or not?
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Re: Sand Substrate and Egg Crate-Terrible Smell

Postby GTZ » Sun May 13, 2012 10:43 am

The secret to guarding against rocks falling is to place them on the glass then add the sand, or if the sand is already in the tank, sweep sand away from where you're placing the rocks on the glass. Once placed, fill around the rock.
As long as there's a solid base of rock on the glass upon which to stack, sifting or shifting sand won't be an issue. Make sure additional stacking is stable.
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Re: Sand Substrate and Egg Crate-Terrible Smell

Postby Mike_G » Sun May 13, 2012 2:06 pm

bbortko wrote: If the rocks topple they'll land on the substrate and the egg crate will never come into play.


You can either hang your hope on that theory or use eggcrate. :wink:

One of the reasons I decided to go with larger-grained sand (~2mm) is to lessen the possibility of gas-pocketing and compacting.
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Re: Sand Substrate and Egg Crate-Terrible Smell

Postby Woodworm » Sun May 13, 2012 3:19 pm

I've never used egg crate in any of my tanks for a couple reasons. The first reason was purely cosmetic since I saw them showing in other tanks and hated it. The other reason is I was afraid of dead spots in the sand especially if I use enough sand to keep it hidden. I was in one of the big box stores yesterday and found some that is not even half as thick as what I have seen in the past and I'm thinking of getting some to try for no other reason then to insure that there is no sharp points resting directly on the bottom when I set up my next tank.
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Re: Sand Substrate and Egg Crate-Terrible Smell

Postby 748johnd » Sun May 13, 2012 3:57 pm

I would do just as prov356 suggested. Place the rocks directly on the glass and then add the sand. Egg crate looks ugly when exposed and to me it is a waste of money. I would never use it.
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Re: Sand Substrate and Egg Crate-Terrible Smell

Postby Mike_G » Sun May 13, 2012 4:01 pm

Woodworm wrote:I've never used egg crate in any of my tanks for a couple reasons. The first reason was purely cosmetic since I saw them showing in other tanks and hated it. The other reason is I was afraid of dead spots in the sand especially if I use enough sand to keep it hidden. I was in one of the big box stores yesterday and found some that is not even half as thick as what I have seen in the past and I'm thinking of getting some to try for no other reason then to insure that there is no sharp points resting directly on the bottom when I set up my next tank.


Mine is like 1/4" thick
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Re: Sand Substrate and Egg Crate-Terrible Smell

Postby Woodworm » Sun May 13, 2012 4:49 pm

Mike that sounds like the stuff I saw yesterday. I still don't believe that that it does much to help but there is only one way to test the effects of it and I'm not willing to sacrifice any of my tanks to prove one way or the other. I have been using a thin piece of plexiglass under my largest rocks or stacks of rocks just to keep any sharp point off the bottom just like I was talking about using the thinner egg crate just hoping it will be easier to work with.
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