Instead of substrate

ggTL98

Black Skirt Tetra
Original poster
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Oct 9, 2017
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I've been wanting to remove my substrate for a while just for ease of cleaning, I'm not a fan of bare bottom aquariums.

I'm not sure how to add tiles in a way that could waste etc wouldn't go underneath the tile- this is the option I would most like to go.

Does any one have any ideas of other things to use.

I was thinking vinyl but not sure if this is toxic etc.

Thanks for any help
GG
 

esoxlucius

Redtail Catfish
MFK Member
Dec 30, 2015
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UK
I've been wanting to remove my substrate for a while just for ease of cleaning, I'm not a fan of bare bottom aquariums.

I'm not sure how to add tiles in a way that could waste etc wouldn't go underneath the tile- this is the option I would most like to go.

Does any one have any ideas of other things to use.

I was thinking vinyl but not sure if this is toxic etc.

Thanks for any help
GG
I've read a few threads where people who have tiled bottoms are surprised at how much gunk gets underneath them and it puts them off because it can lead to water quality issues.

I don't understand why this should be an issue. If I was laying a tiled bottom i'd use a bead of silicone in between the tiles and lay them that way. That way no gunk would get underneath. Granted, if you decided you didn't like them, once laid, they might be a pita to get back up but it's an option if that's the way you want to go.
 

islandguy11

Redtail Catfish
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Sep 17, 2017
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I've read a few threads where people who have tiled bottoms are surprised at how much gunk gets underneath them and it puts them off because it can lead to water quality issues.

I don't understand why this should be an issue. If I was laying a tiled bottom i'd use a bead of silicone in between the tiles and lay them that way. That way no gunk would get underneath. Granted, if you decided you didn't like them, once laid, they might be a pita to get back up but it's an option if that's the way you want to go.
+1
I have a tiled substrate in my 375 -- it's lightly stocked so waste isn't a huge problem -- but it's still impossible to keep some detritus from getting trapped underneath. So with tile your only option are to silicone all around the edges as esoxlucious says, or be prepared to lift them up now and then to siphon out waste from under them (which I think most of us get pretty lazy about, esp. if there are some decorations/rocks/wood on the tile.

I'm in a similar position with a bare bottom 325 that has an ugly white oyama stickered bottom I want to cover (but at this point I don't want to put in any substrate or tile). I'm wondering if measured and cut, thin sheets of dark colored acrylic laid on the bottom would work (maybe but they might need to be weighed down).
 
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ggTL98

Black Skirt Tetra
Original poster
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Oct 9, 2017
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That's the biggest problem I wouldnt want it basically permanent with using silicone and I think I've read the same threads about the detritus getting underneath.

Pulling the tiles up to clean underneath defeats the purpose and may as well have sand etc.

I have also considered acrylic but not sure how practical this would be to weigh down and if not correctly done would still get detritus underneath.

I was thinking about using vinyl but not sure if this would be toxic or if it would last.
 

islandguy11

Redtail Catfish
MFK Member
Sep 17, 2017
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That's the biggest problem I wouldnt want it basically permanent with using silicone and I think I've read the same threads about the detritus getting underneath.

Pulling the tiles up to clean underneath defeats the purpose and may as well have sand etc.

I have also considered acrylic but not sure how practical this would be to weigh down and if not correctly done would still get detritus underneath.

I was thinking about using vinyl but not sure if this would be toxic or if it would last.
Well with a bit of googling I found this on one website selling vinyl backgrounds which mentions:
Note: all vinyl backgrounds and decals should be installed on the OUTSIDE of your tank. Do NOT install any vinyl products on the inside of your tank.

Other posters mentioned that vinyls are toxic and contain lead.

I did see one poster who said he's been using it in his tank for years with no problem.

Personally though I wouldn't take a chance with it.
 

James Atlas

Exodon
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Nov 11, 2018
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I have used slate table mats before as they have flat backs ( many tiles have groved backs for increased surface area for grouting). I loved the look and very little dirt found its way underneath. It gave me the "tiled" look and was very low maintenance.
If you had a particular tile in mind, I'd guess that if you could get the back of them as close to smooth as possible it would help.
 
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aae0130

Exodon
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Sep 3, 2018
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I've been wanting to remove my substrate for a while just for ease of cleaning, I'm not a fan of bare bottom aquariums.

I'm not sure how to add tiles in a way that could waste etc wouldn't go underneath the tile- this is the option I would most like to go.

Does any one have any ideas of other things to use.

I was thinking vinyl but not sure if this is toxic etc.

Thanks for any help
GG
Polyethylene poster board. It is essentially milk jug material. Blick Art sells it in sheets. Available in colors...The sheets are probably not long enough but you could overlap them with a little silicone between them to create a bigger sheet.

 

RD.

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Have you considered textured paint? There was a thread on this a few months ago, but I can't seem to find it. Looks like sand, different colors/shades to choose from. It looked pretty nice to me.
 

twentyleagues

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Have you considered textured paint? There was a thread on this a few months ago, but I can't seem to find it. Looks like sand, different colors/shades to choose from. It looked pretty nice to me.
Would you do that on the inside? If so I wonder what's the longevity on something like that?
 

RD.

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I believe so, I wish that I could have found the thread where the person was posting pics etc.
 
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