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i was reading that in place of egg crate you can use styro under your rock piles to assist in weight distribution... does there need to be any preparation to it? or can i just place some in the bottom of the tank and build my rock piles on it to protect the glass?
also i am curious what amount of rock is too much? i am intending to build some piles about 12-18" high if possible and i am a bit worried about the weight....
i am also looking at artificial rock (resin) and i like some of them but you are very limited in what you are able to do as far as moving things around to break up territories when needed...not to mention cost.. however i have a great amount of very clean rivers near by that i can collect from (and i will clean any way) but free is best in my eyes as long as i can build safely
 

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You don't need anything to protect the glass. Aquarium manufactureres know we put rocks, lots of rocks, in tanks and build them accordingly. I saw a pic once of how they test them. They fill them with bags of lead shot. Rock it up and enjoy your tank.
 
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