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Reticulated Foam
#1
Hey Guys,

Well, I am onto what I want to do about substrate on my new 40gal vert.. I want to keep things fairly lightweight.. I have used lava stone in the past due to my inability to acquire hydroton at a reasonable price. I've not been too pleased with it, let's say that.. It's heavy as *$&%. I have been looking into this reticulated foam. It doesn't seem like very many people are using it, found a few threads about it on another forum. Anybody have any experience with this? Know a good place to get it?

Any input is appreciated!

Josh
0.0.3 D. tinctorius, "Brazillian Yellow Head" - 40 Breeder, normal
Working on a 40 Breeder Vert, unknown species to be housed.
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#2
I just set up two new vivs using the 2" 30ppi foam from here.

So far, it seems fine -- it's supporting about 3" of substrate (and in one viv a fairly good-sized piece of driftwood) without any issues yet, and the only portion that's saturated is the level below my drain bulkhead. It remains to be seen how well it will hold up over the long haul.

On the downside, it isn't cheap, particularly if you only need enough for a single viv; an eggcrate box wrapped in fiberglass is about $10 worth of parts from Lowes or Home Depot, and about as light-weight as it gets.
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#3
Cool, I'll check it out. I've seen a few other posts that say for long haul (3 years after using it), it's as good as day 1. I'd imagine that it would hold much more bacteria than a false bottom or even hydroton, and work sort of like a undergravel filter would for an aquarium (yes, I know, controversial on benefits here, too). That's my main interest in it, honestly. Plus, I think it would look much cleaner than a false bottom, too, without having to paint the glass or anything of the such. Thank you for your input!
0.0.3 D. tinctorius, "Brazillian Yellow Head" - 40 Breeder, normal
Working on a 40 Breeder Vert, unknown species to be housed.
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#4
I'm not sure that what I have is the same stuff as the folks who have used it for three years; I'm guessing one variety of reticulated polyurethane filter foam is about the same as the next, but who knows for certain?

Since once the water drops through my substrate and into the false bottom the only place it's going is to the drain bucket to be sterilized and dumped, I don't much care about bacterial surface area; if everything is working correctly, it also shouldn't wick back into the substrate...

Re: appearances -- I did the same thing on the front of these that I do with eggcrate false bottoms -- put a thin layer of non-porous (so it doesn't wick) gravel between the false bottom and the glass so I don't have to look at it. I did leave the sides of these uncovered so I easily monitor the water level in the foam, but for me I don't see a lot of aesthetic difference in looking at two inches of black foam vs. two inches of grey fiberglass screen :-)

The main reason I'm messing with it is that it's lightweight, fast to set up, and eliminates the need for a strainer over the very small drains I use (I use the same sort of 1/4" quick-connect bulkheads that the misting systems use for my drains), and unless I run into problems with it, I expect to set up enough vivs using it to have made it cost effective to buy the 72" x 48" sheet. As an unexpected benefit, I've also found that cutting a long thin piece of it and stuffing it inside the bottom vent on exo-terra vivs makes a pretty effective fruit-fly blocker, also :mrgreen:
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