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So I am going from a UGF system with gravel and lots of lace rock to a sand substrate with the same lace rock. I would be interested on hearing opinions about egg crate.

The tank I have is 55 gallon and I will be setting/stacking 3-4 5 gallon bucks of lace rock.

I have 2 major concerns. The first one is the most obvious one about weight and dispersing the weight. Is that really needed? Has anyone actually had the bottom piece eof glass break in their tank? Is there an easy way to tell if its plate or tempered glass? If it was plate I'd think egg crate for sure. But with tempered I think the chance of breaking the glass would be a LOT less.

The second concern I have is related to cleaning. Doing my research about the differences between sand and gravel, one of the things always suggested is to stir the sand every once in a while when cleaning to prevent buildup. I would think that would be next to impossible with 5,000 little squares of the egg crate filled with sand.

I am also concerned about the cichlids digging though the substrate and exposing the egg crate. I know it's pretty tacky when they expose the bright white UGF crate under my gravel now.

The final question is related to the sand. Is it easier to clean or less build up on closer to 1 inch of sand versus closer to 2 inches? If you have a small amount of sand do your cichlids ever dig enough to expose the bottom glass?

When adding lace rock should I add it first on the glass or crate and fill in sand around it? Or should I lay down some sand as 'padding' between the lace rock and bare glass (if no go without egg crate)

Any input is appreciated. Every time I think I know what I want to do I read these forums and come up with something else. That in turn raises 20 more questions. It’s great! =)
 

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I dont personally use it because I cant stand seeing it once they start digging their spawning holes.

If I were to put it in, I would put down the eggcrate, then just enough sand to fill in the holes in it, then place rocks so it is directly on top of the eggcrate, then finally fill around the rock with the rest of your sand.

Hope this helps.
 

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Have you seen the video where the guy sets up a tank spanning a couple of 2x4s? He then stacks a bunch of bricks up in the center of the tank and then stands on the stack of bricks - total weight in an area of the tank that is about 5 x 10" No-problemo. I wouldn't bother with egg crate.
 

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Is that really needed?
No

Has anyone actually had the bottom piece eof glass break in their tank?
You'd think with all the proponents of using eggcrate for peace of mind that there'd be many stories of blown out tank bottoms to support that fear. I haven't seen any reported here in the 4-5 years I've been a member.

I would think that would be next to impossible with 5,000 little squares of the egg crate filled with sand.
Another good reason not to use it.

I am also concerned about the cichlids digging though the substrate and exposing the egg crate.
Still another good reason.

The final question is related to the sand. Is it easier to clean or less build up on closer to 1 inch of sand versus closer to 2 inches? If you have a small amount of sand do your cichlids ever dig enough to expose the bottom glass?
Don't give them more than they need. Deep sand beds in freshwater tanks can lead to organics getting trapped and building up. Paint the bottom of the tank some tan color and then it won't matter if they expose the bottom. If they're big diggers, they will no matter how much you put in. I only use enough sand to cover the bottom unless they're shell dwellers, etc and like to bury their shells.

When adding lace rock should I add it first on the glass or crate and fill in sand around it? Or should I lay down some sand as 'padding' between the lace rock and bare glass (if no go without egg crate)
Most tank bottoms now are tempered. Tank manufacturers build them to hold rocks. Put the rocks right on the glass. If you put them on the sand and the fish dig under them, they could collapse.
 

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I have egg crate in my tank and I probably will remove it and some portion of my sand at some point. I don't think I like having huge dunes carved out in my tank and the exposed egg crate does kind of bug me (if I can see it over the huge dunes).
 

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Egg crate is definitely not a necessity. If you stack stable there is little concern about falling rocks. That being said I do put egg crate in any of my tanks where I'm going to have extensive heavy rock work because I've got some hand issues and have dropped a rock before. Ruined a 20 gallon doing it so now if there's rocks I wear gloves with grip and use egg crate.
 

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You can alleviate ALL of it with a good stand. I use a pre-built stand, but have two sheets of cut plywood across it so that there is a flat surface for the tank to sit on. Even better is a home built stand with a strong base to it so the tank sits on it like a table, rather than on an open frame like most stands. This will support the glass and make a blowout of the tank virtually impossible, and alleviates any need for egg crate.

That said, I know many people who have used those pre-built stands that just hold the tank up by a frame around it, and maybe one piece of wood in the middle, with heavy rock formations, without problems. You would thing that the tank manufacturers would figure this in. They don't need to reputation of being the one that has issues with the bottom blowing out. Nobody would buy it!
 

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John27
a flat surface for the tank to sit on

I use to think this as well.I,ve been convinced otherwise,if your tank has trim-bracing it will only contact the perimeter
 

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nope dont use it. have about 80lbs of rock in my 90gallon. and it will just look really bad once it start to show through the sand
 

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I use it on our tanks with major rockwork. Keeps the points of rocks from badly scratching up the bottom since I move it a bits when vacc'ing. Guess I am silly that way.

It might not be a necessity but it definately helps keep the rock work in place, 'specially those pieces that are prone to slip a bits.

I have diggers and sifters, the only place that the lattice is exposed is in the caves and one of the back corners, one benefit of keeping a DSB.
 

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I have 250 lbs of holey rock sitting on top of 1/4" acrylic/plexiglas that I siliconed on top of my glass bottom in my 180g tank. I placed my rock directly on top of the acrylic and filled around with 2" of aragonite sand. My WC mobas love to dig, but cannot get under the rocks so all is good. 2 of my pieces are 70-75 lbs each.
 

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While I agree that eggcrate might not be necessary, it does not hurt to put it in. Other than the "unsightly" look of eggcrate once it is exposed, it does no harm. Some video's I've seen have bigger "unsightly" problems than exposed eggcrate if aesthetics is a concern.

$10. Extra precaution. I use it. People over filtrate the **** out of their tanks. Maybe that isn't necessary, but they still do it. Why not protect against that (even) one in a hundred thousand chance that a fine point of rock is balancing a vast majority of rock weight on it?

My 2 pennies.
 

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Egg crate will protect a tank from dropped rocks or falling rocks, but it does virtually nothing to help protect the glass from pressure points. I use it, but I know why I am using it. It isn't a weight distributor.
 
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