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http://indianaquariumhobbyist.com/community/ :: View topic - thermocole under the substrate ?
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thermocole under the substrate ?
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cichlidlover
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 16, 2007 11:41 pm Post subject: thermocole under the substrate ? Reply with quote

 I  have  a  rocky  tank  biotope(Lake  malawi)  with  plenty  of  rocks  for  fishes  to  hide.  I  have  almost  5  inch  deep  sand  substrate  to  let  my  cichlids  dig  nests  and  hide.
 Problem
 a)  If  I  just  put  the  rocks  on  top  of  the  substrate,  the  digging  makes  them  topple
 b)  If  I  place  the  rocks  right  on  the  bottom  of  the  tank.  I  find  myself  scratching  the  bottom  sometimes  while  cleaning/siphoning.  Besides  I  have  to  put  in  more  rocks  to  make  up  for  the  lost  height.  
 I  thouht  about  egg  crates  in  the  bottom  but  they  are  not  strong  enough  to  hold  the  rocks.  I  have  come  up  with  this  idea  of  placing  thick  sheets  of  thermocole/styrofoam  which  has  holes  in  them  to  be  placed  under  the  rock  and  under  the  sand.  
 But  b4  starting  with  the  project,  I  wanted  to  know  the  following  
 1.  Does  thermocole  in  water  decompose  ?
 2.  Does  it  react  with  water  ?
 3.  Can  a  fish  chew  on  it  and  choke  ?  
 4.  Anybody  done  this/placed  thermocole  inside  the  tank  ?
 5.  Anybody  has  an  alternate/better  solution  for  the  problem  ?
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murthy
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 17, 2007 12:31 am Post subject: Re: thermocole under the substrate ? Reply with quote

 Hi  sriram!You  can  go  ahead  with  placing  thermocol  in  your  tank.It  does  not  decompose/react  with  water.You  wont  need  to  place  very  thick  sections  of  thermocol.10mm  or  12  mm  is  more  than  enough.(infact  with  very  thick  sections  there  is  a  risk  of  the  thermocol  toppling  the  rock  over  as  you  fill  water  due  to  extreme  bouyancy  of  thermocol).Dry  your  tank,take  out  all  the  substrate,and  place  thermocol  sheets  directly  on  the  glass,only  in  those  areas  where  you  intend  to  use  more  rocks.Place  the  rocks  as  per  your  taste.Get  a  sharp  knife  and  trim  off  all  unwanted  thermocol  around  the  borders  of  your  rockwork(thermocol  with  no  rock  covering  it  tends  to  raise  and  create  dead  spaces).Now  pour  the  sand/gravel  to  cover  all  thermocol.Only  one  problem...your  cichlids  will  still  dig,and  reach  the  thermocol,which  they  will  bite  off  bit  by  bit.They  wont  eat  it,but  you  have  to  frequently  remove  floating  bits  of  thermocol!
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psimhan
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 17, 2007 1:09 am Post subject: Re: thermocole under the substrate ? Reply with quote

                                                   
murthy  wrote  (View  Post):                
Get  a  sharp  knife  and  trim  off  all  unwanted  thermocol  around  the  borders  of  your  rockwork                

   ^  Very  Advisable  ^
 Cut  it  with  a  blade  or  a  box  knife  if  necessary  to  get  a  perfect  edge  otherwise  you'll  end  up  with  little  thermocol  bubbles  all  over  the  tank.
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Anchal
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 17, 2007 8:01 am Post subject: Re: thermocole under the substrate ? Reply with quote

 Hello  everyone,
 
 Thats  a  nice  idea  abt  thermocole.If  its  covered  in  the  complete  base  of  tank  then  it  even  saves  the  glass  @  the  base  from  cracking  if  one  happens  to  drop  a  big  pebble.....but  i  wanted  to  know  ....i  have  O's  and  big  pebbels  in  the  tank.i  do  WC  of  abt  30%  every  wkend.  i  us  a  pipe  to  suck  up  all  the  waste  that  is  @  the  bottom  of  the  tank  by  moving  the  pebbels  a  little.
 
 My  question  is  when  one  keeps  a  thermocole  @  the  base.  and  after  a  couple  of  months  when  fishes  dig  holes  in  the  thermocole  and  waste  gets  stuck  in  it.Will  it  not  increase  the  amount  of  nitrates  in  the  tank?
 
 regards,
 Anchal
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cichlidlover
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 17, 2007 12:46 pm Post subject: Re: thermocole under the substrate ? Reply with quote

 Do  I  really  need  to  empty  and  dry  the  tank  ?  BTW,  I  am  not  planning  to  keep  thormocole  just  under  each  rock.  I  am  planning  to  carpet  5-6  sections  of  it  under  the  substrate.  of  course  some  holes  in  it  of  3-4  cm  in  diameter.
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murthy
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 21, 2007 10:41 pm Post subject: Re: thermocole under the substrate ? Reply with quote

 Hi  Anchal!
 If  you  plan  to  cover  the  entire  base  of  your  tank  with  thermocol,you  better  seal  it  there  with  silicone.Thermocol  is  very  bouyant,and  will  get  difficult  to  manage  in  large  quantities  once  underwater.
 But  anyhow  it  is  not  recommended  to  cover  the  entire  base,only  under  the  heavy  rocks.So  your  doubts  about  siphoning  are  valid-dont  cover  the  entire  base  for  the  same  reasons.
   @Cichlidlover:Empty  the  tank,yes....dry,not  needed.Without  the  water,the  rocks  will  be  their  heaviest,hence  will  settle  to  the  most  stable  position  when  no  water  is  present.Also,try  placing  a  rock  on  thermocol  with  water  in  the  tank!!Its  not  easy,the  thermocol  will  keep  bobbing/slipping  away.
 Why  do  you  want  thermocol  under  the  substrate?it  serves  no  purpose,and  as  soon  as  your  cichlids  shift  enough  sand,the  thermocol  will  pop  up  to  the  surface.Restrict  thermocol  to  only  under  the  rocks....thats  more  than  enough  to  achieve  what  you  need.Smile
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aquascapes
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 21, 2007 10:47 pm Post subject: Re: thermocole under the substrate ? Reply with quote

 why  not  use  an  acrylic  sheet  under  the  rocks?
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murthy
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 21, 2007 10:57 pm Post subject: Re: thermocole under the substrate ? Reply with quote

 Hmmmm,acrylic  sounds  like  a  good(better)  idea  too!Just  that  for  lazy  and  impatient  people  like  me,thermocol  seems  to  be  available  at  the  nearest  stationery.But  i'll  admit,acrylic  is  a  better  choice.
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cichlidlover
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 24, 2007 2:23 pm Post subject: Re: thermocole under the substrate ? Reply with quote

                                                   
murthy  wrote  (View  Post):                

   @Cichlidlover:
 Why  do  you  want  thermocol  under  the  substrate?it  serves  no  purpose,and  as  soon  as  your  cichlids  shift  enough  sand,the  thermocol  will  pop  up  to  the  surface.Restrict  thermocol  to  only  under  the  rocks....thats  more  than  enough  to  achieve  what  you  need.Smile                

 Well  as  I  said,  I  wanted  to  prevent  the  rocks  from  scratching  the  base  of  the  tank  when  I  clean  or  when  they  topple  off  after  a  fish  digs  to  the  bottom.
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cichlidlover
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 24, 2007 2:28 pm Post subject: Re: thermocole under the substrate ? Reply with quote

                                                   
aquascapes  wrote  (View  Post):                
why  not  use  an  acrylic  sheet  under  the  rocks?                

 Can  you  please  tell  me  as  to  where  I  can  find  them  ?  Hardware  stores  ?
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rgg
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 24, 2007 3:05 pm Post subject: Re: thermocole under the substrate ? Reply with quote

 Hey!!!!
    Why  not  a  rubberised   /  plastic  mat  which  is  porus  which  will  look  like  a  coir  mat  that  we  use  in  our  home,  Porus  from  both  the  ends.  This  should  protect  the  glass  when  the  pebbels  topple  and  should  also  sink  in  water.  
 
 You  can  get  this  from  Nandini  Tarpulines  in  JC  road  bangalore.
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aquascapes
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 24, 2007 3:35 pm Post subject: Re: thermocole under the substrate ? Reply with quote

                                                   
Quote:                
Can  you  please  tell  me  as  to  where  I  can  find  them  ?  Hardware  stores  ?                

 sriram,  I  think  you  should  ask  someone  making  sign  boards  to  direct  you  to  an  acrylic  dealer.
 
                                                 
Quote:                
Why  not  a  rubberised   /  plastic  mat  which  is  porus                  

 Raghu  I  think  plastic  can  be  fine  but  rubberised  mat  would  harden  up  and  start  to  crack  after  sometime  in  water
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fishmad_fakhruddin
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 24, 2007 3:52 pm Post subject: Re: thermocole under the substrate ? Reply with quote

 HI  CICHLIDLOVER
 ACRYLIC  SHEETS  CAN  BE  EASILY  AVAILABLE  AT  ANY  ELECTRIC/HARDWARE  STORES.  U  CAN  GET  THEM  IN  DIFFERENT  SIZES  TOO.
 
 FISHMAD_FAKHRUDDIN
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tppramodk
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 24, 2007 6:26 pm Post subject: Re: thermocole under the substrate ? Reply with quote

 IMO  u  forget  about  using  thermocol  make  a  substrate  like  this.
 
 Bottom  Layer  
 Fill  with  Silver  Sand  upto  2  Inch
 
 Mid  Layer  (Important)
 Form  this  layer  with  medium  size  pebbles  very  closely  upto  1  1/2  Inch  and  top  up  with  some  more  silver  sand  upto  1  inch  to  make  it  intact.  Â Digging  will  happen  only  at  the  sand  level  and  make  it  difficult  for  chiclids  to  move  the  pebbles.  Â   Â 
 
 Top  Layer
 Here  you  can  first  create  the  sidewall  for  the  caves  by  arranging  the  rocks  as  per  your  taste  but  make  sure  that  there  shouldn't  be  any  sand  on  the  base  of  the  rock.  That  is  the  rock  should  be  just  on  the  pebbles.  Â Now  just  press  the  Â centre  of  the  cave  slightly  wherever  u  r  planning  to  form  the  cave  to  give  a  depth.  Â Now  place  another  rock  on  the  sidewall  to  form  a  cave.  Â This  will  ensure  enough  dug-up  space  inside  the  cave  so  that  there  is  no  tendancy  for  the  cichlid  to  digup  again.  Â Complete  privacy!!  Very Happy  Â   I  have  not  found  any  displacement  of  the  rock  in  my  pondand  are  intact  (My  pond  is  8  months  old).
 
 Let  me  give  a  pictorial  representation  of  the  whole  layer:
 
   Â   Â   Â   Â   Â   Â   Â   Â   Â   Â   Â   Â   Â    ---------------------  Â   Â   Â   Â   Â   Â   Â   Â   Â   Â   Â   Â   Â   Â   Â   Â   Â   Â   Â <-  Top  Layer  (Rocks
   Â   Â   Â   Â   Â   Â   Â   Â   Â   Â   Â   Â   Â   Â |  Â   Â   Â   Â   Â   Â   Â   Â   Â   Â   Â    |
 ----------------------\  Â   Â   Â   Â   Â   Â   Â   Â   Â      Â   /----------------------  Â   Â   Â   Â   Â   <-  Mid  Layer  (Start)
 oooooooooooooo|   Â   Â   Â   Â   Â   Â   Â   Â   Â      |ooooooooooooooo  Â   Â   Â   Â   Â   Â   Â -Pebbles  (1  1/2  inch)
 ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo  Â   Â   Â   Â   Â   Â   Â -Pebbles  (1  1/2  inch)
 ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo
 ------------------------------------------------------------------  Â   Â   Â   Â   Â <-  Mid  Layer  (End)
 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~  Â   Â   Â   Â   Â <-  Bottom  Layer  (Start)
 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~  Â   Â   Â   Â   Â   Â   Â   -Silver  Sand  (2  Inch)
 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~  Â   Â   Â   Â   Â <-  Bottom  Layer  (End)
 
 
 I  have  successfuly  setup  a  cichlid  pond  following  the  above  methods  and  have  been  lucky  in  breeding  Blue  Zebras  and  White  Convict  (both  are  in  the  same  tank)  Â Smile  alongwith  other  malawi  cichilids  waiting  to  breed.


Last edited by tppramodk on Thu Jan 25, 2007 12:31 pm; edited 1 time in total
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cichlidlover
Regular Poster on IAH
Regular Poster on IAH



Joined: Oct 25, 2006
Posts: 827
Location: Bangalore

Status: Offline
PostPosted: Wed Jan 24, 2007 8:26 pm Post subject: Re: thermocole under the substrate ? Reply with quote

 Thanks  a  lot  to  Raghu,  aquascapes,  fishmad  and  Pramod  !!
 Pramod,
 Your  DIY  substrate  explanation  is  very  clear  and  impressive.  I  have  one  question  though.  Won't  the  pebbles  slip  under  the  sand  in  time  ?
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