Aquarium Setup • Sand Substrate and Egg Crate-Terrible Smell

New to the world of cichlids? For discussion on how to set up new tanks, including placement, filtration, substrates, water, etc. No stocking discussions here.

Moderators: triscuit, fmueller

Re: Sand Substrate and Egg Crate-Terrible Smell

Postby prov356 » Sun May 13, 2012 6:09 pm

I'm not willing to sacrifice any of my tanks to prove one way or the other


There it is, the fear factor. That's what drives people to use it. I'd suggest you do a bit of research to justify the fear. Use Google or whatever you like to find every known occurrence of a tank blowout from rocks. Even count anecdotal if you like. Then bump that up against all the tanks that don't have eggcrate and haven't blown out. Is the fear justified? You can take a 'better safe than sorry' approach, but then you deal with the 'ugly' factor and the potential organic pockets. If you really need some peace of mind over this, then use the plexiglas like one poster suggested. But, if you don't silicone and seal the edges, you're kidding yourself because sand will get under there and create those pressure points that you're trying to avoid.
prov356
 
Joined: Wed Sep 20, 2006 8:09 am
Location: North Royalton, Ohio

Share On:

Share on Facebook Facebook Share on Twitter Twitter

Re: Sand Substrate and Egg Crate-Terrible Smell

Postby Mike_G » Sun May 13, 2012 7:24 pm

prov356 wrote:There it is, the fear factor. That's what drives people to use it.


That's news to me- I thought I was just being prudent :wink:
User avatar
Mike_G
 
Joined: Mon Nov 07, 2011 10:18 pm
Location: Springfield, OR

Re: Sand Substrate and Egg Crate-Terrible Smell

Postby vann59 » Sun May 13, 2012 11:23 pm

His problem may have actually been with the sand. I was using play sand and got tired of it stirring up too easily and getting into the filter intakes, so I replaced it with PFS. I like the PFS so much better. The play sand had become like a thick heavy mud after about ten months and it was darker in color and very dense and hard to scoop out, having settled into a dense layer even though I thought I had been stirring it enough.
PM me to join our local "Manasota Cichlid Keepers Network" here in Sarasota/Manatee FL area.
User avatar
vann59
 
Joined: Mon Jun 20, 2011 5:02 pm
Location: Manatee County Florida

Re: Sand Substrate and Egg Crate-Terrible Smell

Postby prov356 » Mon May 14, 2012 6:23 am

Mike_G wrote:
prov356 wrote:There it is, the fear factor. That's what drives people to use it.


That's news to me- I thought I was just being prudent :wink:



If there were no drawbacks to using it, fair enough. It's ok to take a position of 'just in case this helps I'll add it'. But, there are drawbacks. It's ugly when exposed and it can trap detritus. What the OP has experienced isn't something new. It's been one of my listed drawbacks to using eggcrate here on CF for years. It's also useless at relieving 'pressure points' unless you keep sand out from under it. And again, flimsy plastic is NOT going to add structural strength to tempered glass. So, I'll give you prudent, not fearful, but how about the rest?
prov356
 
Joined: Wed Sep 20, 2006 8:09 am
Location: North Royalton, Ohio

Re: Sand Substrate and Egg Crate-Terrible Smell

Postby Mike_G » Mon May 14, 2012 2:02 pm

prov356 wrote:
Mike_G wrote:
prov356 wrote:There it is, the fear factor. That's what drives people to use it.


That's news to me- I thought I was just being prudent :wink:



If there were no drawbacks to using it, fair enough. It's ok to take a position of 'just in case this helps I'll add it'. But, there are drawbacks. It's ugly when exposed and it can trap detritus. What the OP has experienced isn't something new. It's been one of my listed drawbacks to using eggcrate here on CF for years. It's also useless at relieving 'pressure points' unless you keep sand out from under it. And again, flimsy plastic is NOT going to add structural strength to tempered glass. So, I'll give you prudent, not fearful, but how about the rest?


1. It's 1/4" thick- how much detritus would need to migrate through 2-2.5" of sand I'm using to cause a problem in a 1/4" deep pocket in a regularly maintained tank? I do a full break down on my tanks on about a yearly basis for a thorough cleaning anyway- it's a carryover from years of using UG filters (which I never had a problem with).
To me, 'smelly' usually means neglected or improperly maintained.

2. No one is claiming that eggcrate adds "structural strength" to tempered glass- it doesn't.
I said that it helps spread the load, which it does in accordance with the laws of physics.

3. There's no sand under my eggcrate- I just went and looked. :lol:
Besides, eggcrate is styrene which is a relatively soft plastic which has a bit of "give" to it, unlike say... a rock. :wink:
User avatar
Mike_G
 
Joined: Mon Nov 07, 2011 10:18 pm
Location: Springfield, OR

Re: Sand Substrate and Egg Crate-Terrible Smell

Postby prov356 » Tue May 15, 2012 8:08 am

1. It's 1/4" thick- how much detritus would need to migrate through 2-2.5" of sand I'm using to cause a problem in a 1/4" deep pocket in a regularly maintained tank? I do a full break down on my tanks on about a yearly basis for a thorough cleaning anyway- it's a carryover from years of using UG filters (which I never had a problem with).
To me, 'smelly' usually means neglected or improperly maintained.


Depends on the sand depth and the species. Many dig, as I'm sure you know and help the process of 'migrating'. I've found that certain cichlids can fill a sand bed with organics pretty quickly, like tropheus or 'l'. brevis. Tanks can be maintained same as others, but have an organics issue to deal with. Doesn't always mean neglect. Keep 'l' brevis in a tank for a year without touching the sand and you'll see what I mean. I've had other tanks with certain species where I didn't have to touch the sand at all, ever.

Some thoughts and questions about pressure points. I don't have answers to all of these questions, so just something to think about.

No one would lay a rock in a tank on a bare bottom on its pointed side, so I"m assuming we're talking about a grain of sand getting under the rock and creating a pressure point. How much pressure would it take to blow out the tank bottom? How much pressure is typically exerted by a rock and any rock(s) stacked on top of it? What would be the max possible pressure of a stack of rocks, realistically? How many people stack rocks more than a couple of layers high? So, would the pressure ever come close to being enough to blow out tempered glass? Rocks are somewhat buoyant, so consider that also.

I know there are tools made to blow out car windows, etc, but these are 'impact' tools, so not what we're dealing with.

If the rocks are laid in the tank before sand, and other rocks are stacked high enough to create this pressure, then how did the grain of sand work itself under this pressure? Rock shift? Maybe, but then isn't there then going to be more than a single grain of sand under that rock? Or maybe there's that one big grain of sand that the rock shifts over onto? Is a rock pile with that much weight (a few layers high) going to shift?

What about a single large rock, say 50# with some points on it? The entire 50# wouldn't sit on one point. The pressure would be much less on any single point. So, is 10, 20# or so enough to blow out the tank bottom?

Tempered glass is somewhat flexible. For a pressure point to blow out tempered glass, it needs to be applied at a point where the glass is unable, or least less able, to flex. So, the pressure point would need to be nearer the edge where the glass was not as able to flex. Most rocks are stacked more toward the middle.

I just think the odds of a tank blowout from a pressure point is incredibly unlikely. The fact that we're not hearing about it happening here at CF seems to confirm that. Or maybe everyone here is using eggcrate?
prov356
 
Joined: Wed Sep 20, 2006 8:09 am
Location: North Royalton, Ohio

Re: Sand Substrate and Egg Crate-Terrible Smell

Postby vann59 » Tue May 15, 2012 10:54 am

I do think that the risk of the weight of rocks in a tank full of water breaking the glass is mitigated by the water to a point of being a non concern. But the more likely damage scenario is probably the accidental drop of a large rock into a virtually empty tank, as might occur during a major cleaning. In that case, the egg crate could be an impact absorbing device.

Another possible benefit of egg crate would be for people who have upright positioned, or leaning rocks. The egg crate may, along with the substrate, help to keep the rocks from sliding around as easily, and shifting.
PM me to join our local "Manasota Cichlid Keepers Network" here in Sarasota/Manatee FL area.
User avatar
vann59
 
Joined: Mon Jun 20, 2011 5:02 pm
Location: Manatee County Florida

Re: Sand Substrate and Egg Crate-Terrible Smell

Postby kenko » Tue May 15, 2012 12:40 pm

For the heck of it, I jusI went to my garage and dropped a 1.6 lb ball-peen hammer a few times on to a sheet of tempered glass from waist high (I'm 6'2") and not even a scratch. Tim is absolutely spot on, and fear can be just as detrimental to the hobby as neglect. It's a similar concept to a bed of nails - the pressure points are dispersed across an area. I doubt that anyone is balancing all their rocks and substrate on a single, sharp point. I've tried both styrofoam and egg crates over the years, only to remove them and go back to basic sand. If anyone really has the concern about potentially dropping a stacked rock from a crazy height onto an empty bottom tank without water, then maybe keeping fish in a glass containment unit may not be for them. Common sense can be the key phrase here. Rather than the egg crate, what about just a 1/4" of fine sand at the bottom-most layer? Most fine sands will make their way down to the base layer after time anyway...and it will not stick out if mixed or exposed, it won't create little pockets of cr*p, etc...
Geo. Tapajos, D. Maculatus, Tetras: Emperor, Flame, Neon, Yellow, L129, Brown BNP, Cyath. Furcifer Ruziba, Dewindti, Callo. Melanostigma and Pleurospilus, Leleupi, Tretocephalus, Yellow Calvus, Afra Cobue, SRT Hongi, Syn. Lucipinnis, Euptera, Ocellifer
User avatar
kenko
 
Joined: Thu Jan 19, 2012 6:50 pm
Location: Schaumburg, IL

Re: Sand Substrate and Egg Crate-Terrible Smell

Postby Mike_G » Tue May 15, 2012 3:30 pm

vann59 wrote:Another possible benefit of egg crate would be for people who have upright positioned, or leaning rocks. The egg crate may, along with the substrate, help to keep the rocks from sliding around as easily, and shifting.


That's the main reason I'm using it, and it does help. I have most of my rocks standing on end and leaning on each other rather than being stacked and they would be unstable at the very least without having the edges of the eggcrate to sort of "catch" on the bottoms of the rocks.

After re-reading my original post, it did seem like I was fearmongering a bit- that was not my intention. I simply meant to point out the safety aspect FWIW
User avatar
Mike_G
 
Joined: Mon Nov 07, 2011 10:18 pm
Location: Springfield, OR

Re: Sand Substrate and Egg Crate-Terrible Smell

Postby lavarock » Tue May 15, 2012 4:10 pm

My tank is just recently up and running. I painted my egg crate black to try to match the sand. They have not dug enough yet to get to it for me to know if it will be that noticeable. Just throwing out an idea for you.
Go Big Orange.
lavarock
 
Joined: Thu Feb 17, 2011 6:19 pm
Location: TN

Re: Sand Substrate and Egg Crate-Terrible Smell

Postby Mike_G » Tue May 15, 2012 7:55 pm

lavarock wrote:My tank is just recently up and running. I painted my egg crate black to try to match the sand. They have not dug enough yet to get to it for me to know if it will be that noticeable. Just throwing out an idea for you.


They sell black eggcrate at the plastic supply house where I bought mine, but it was about $3 more than the white and I'm using light colored gravel anyway. They also have chrome eggcrate if you want to go for the bling :lol:
User avatar
Mike_G
 
Joined: Mon Nov 07, 2011 10:18 pm
Location: Springfield, OR

Re: Sand Substrate and Egg Crate-Terrible Smell

Postby vann59 » Tue May 15, 2012 8:56 pm

Mike_G wrote:They also have chrome eggcrate if you want to go for the bling :lol:


That would be perfect for using with nickel plated bb's as a substrate.

:lol:
PM me to join our local "Manasota Cichlid Keepers Network" here in Sarasota/Manatee FL area.
User avatar
vann59
 
Joined: Mon Jun 20, 2011 5:02 pm
Location: Manatee County Florida

Re: Sand Substrate and Egg Crate-Terrible Smell

Postby BillD » Wed May 16, 2012 8:42 am

prov356 wrote: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:

You are not likely to have pressure points cause tank failure when using sand. Gravel, however, is a different story (so, now you have heard of it). Sand shouldn't need anything beneath it and anything falling on it should also not be an issue.
BillD
 
Joined: Tue May 17, 2005 2:30 am
Location: Whitby, Ontario,Canada

Re: Sand Substrate and Egg Crate-Terrible Smell

Postby prov356 » Wed May 16, 2012 10:34 am

BillD wrote:
prov356 wrote: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:

You are not likely to have pressure points cause tank failure when using sand. Gravel, however, is a different story (so, now you have heard of it). Sand shouldn't need anything beneath it and anything falling on it should also not be an issue.


Gravel, however, is a different story (so, now you have heard of it).


You'll never get enough pressure to blow out a tank, gravel, sand, doesn't matter. Links to documented occurrences, please. Until then, never heard of it.
prov356
 
Joined: Wed Sep 20, 2006 8:09 am
Location: North Royalton, Ohio

Re: Sand Substrate and Egg Crate-Terrible Smell

Postby 748johnd » Wed May 16, 2012 10:50 am

I have used gravel for years and never had a problem. It's the first time I have ever heard of gravel blowing out a tank.
User avatar
748johnd
 
Joined: Sat Jun 30, 2007 10:02 am
Location: Rochester, NY

PreviousNext

Return to Aquarium Setup

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot] and 1 guest

cron