Originally Posted by Captain Awesome
Another thing to consider is with a pvc eggcrate you have a floor suspended above water. Anything that falls below is not coming back up. With the matala, microfauna can travel down and up utilizing the water table below just as they would with a turface or hydroton base layer. Denitrifying bacteria can also buildup on this porous layer in the matala and help prevent the drainage layer from becoming putrid. Most drainage layers are one way trips but that doesnít mean gases (smells) donít travel back up. Minor advantage but could be worth the money in some situations.
In my false bottoms, there are always "ladders" in the form of roots from plants. In fact, in my older tanks, the roots are so dense that it's almost its own version of matala :-) Roots would work for springtails to go up and down, if not as well for smaller isopods. I would also say that if things start stinking a bit in there, I can always tilt my tanks toward the bulkhead to basically purge all of the water and most of the scum build-up (that isn't caught by the roots). With matala, it seems that the scum is trapped for good since water doesn't flow as freely through it. I don't notice any odor from my false bottoms, anyway, though. Finally, I always drop a bead of silicone all the way around the screen that I put on top of the egg crate to form the false bottom. This means the only thing that can get down there is small enough to fit through the screen openings. That doesn't usually amount to much. That's my experience, anyway. I am still not seeing huge advantages to matala, especially for a much higher price (the ease is certainly appealing). I can do a lot of egg crate false bottoms for $50. That's just my $0.02.