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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm struggling to decide what to go for drainage layer wise. I would prefer egg crate but it's very expensive here.
LECA isn't too bad cost wise and I use that in my plant growing tanks and in my newt tanks I used to use gravel, but since I'm starting fresh build wise, other than the weight, is there any preference?

Thanks
 

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LECA can wick water up into the substrate. I know some others use matala since it is also light weight. I personally have used egg crate for my first three. It definitely reduces the weight. Even if you don’t move the tanks often, you will appreciate the lighter they are (spoken from experience).
 

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I'm struggling to decide what to go for drainage layer wise. I would prefer egg crate but it's very expensive here.
LECA isn't too bad cost wise and I use that in my plant growing tanks and in my newt tanks I used to use gravel, but since I'm starting fresh build wise, other than the weight, is there any preference?

Thanks
Have you considered filter foam?
 

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Doing a site search on the various terms -- 'LECA', 'Matala', etc -- will find discussions in which all the alternatives get mentioned, along with repliers mentioning pros and cons, comparisons between options, ways to use them, sources for the materials, long term results, and so on.
 

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So those of you with matala and or filter foam, do you prefer a substrate above that or just straight leaf litter? I’ve read a couple of posts where gravel was used but the thought of plants in gravel and filter foam just makes me apprehensive. I guess I’m just fishing for personal preference.
 

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For my PDF set ups, it's been Matala, screen, egg crate, and then a repeat of Matala, screen egg crate for the elevated areas. Then it's all covered with a Turface, orchid bark, tree fern mixture that is topped off with leaf litter.

For my water feature set ups (as pictured below), Matala, screen, egg crate, DekProTek (or Matala), screen, egg crate and then a layer of Florite/Eco-Complete topped with a Turface, orchid bark, tree fern mixture and then leaf litter.

What I love about Matala in a water feature type tank, is that you can use it with peat bricks so as to create a beautiful and natural transition from water to land.


Rectangle Road surface Asphalt Line Tints and shades
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Doing a site search on the various terms -- 'LECA', 'Matala', etc -- will find discussions in which all the alternatives get mentioned, along with repliers mentioning pros and cons, comparisons between options, ways to use them, sources for the materials, long term results, and so on.
Thankyou! Did a few hours research and think I've finally narrowed it down!
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
For my PDF set ups, it's been Matala, screen, egg crate, and then a repeat of Matala, screen egg crate for the elevated areas. Then it's all covered with a Turface, orchid bark, tree fern mixture that is topped off with leaf litter.

For my water feature set ups (as pictured below), Matala, screen, egg crate, DekProTek (or Matala), screen, egg crate and then a layer of Florite/Eco-Complete topped with a Turface, orchid bark, tree fern mixture and then let litter.

What I love about Matala in a water feature type tank, is that you can use it with peat bricks so as to create a beautiful and natural transition from water to land.


View attachment 311874
Thankyou!

That looks good, if I go back to newts that might be something I try because I struggled with my layout sometimes!
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Matala is the best. I won't use anything else if I ever do another tank.
It's my go to as well
Mine go matala, pea gravel, leaf litter.
I had a look to see if I could find Matala here, but couldn't, must not be looking in the right places🤦🏻‍♂️ I do like the idea of that so the closest alternative looks to be foam, so I will try foam in my temporary tank and see if I can't source myself some Matala!

Thankyou for all your help!
 

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I had a look to see if I could find Matala here, but couldn't, must not be looking in the right places🤦🏻‍♂️ I do like the idea of that so the closest alternative looks to be foam, so I will try foam in my temporary tank and see if I can't source myself some Matala!

Thankyou for all your help!
You specifically need polypropylene, for its hydrophobic properties. Lots of types of foam would wick water instead. I have used scouring pads/commercial scrub pads instead of Matala.
 

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One item - The reason that make my Matala sandwiches with slices of egg crate is due to the substantial amount of hardscape (per square inch of flooring) that I've got in my vivariums, especially in the vertical aquarium conversions. The egg crate distributes the weight of the heavier hardscape such as Mopani wood. Additionally, the egg crate helps keep the substrate in place, especially leading into the transitional area - water/land.

I was considering using filter foam as it is much more economical, however in vertical style set ups, I was concerned that the weight of the hardscape and substrate would compress the filter foam too much over time, thereby rendering it ineffective.

As mentioned elsewhere, Troy Goldberg is a big fan of filter foam, however the tanks that I've seen him use it in don't have driftwood or other hardscape on top of the foam.

Check eBay for Matala. There was a vendor that recently had 19.5 x 24 for $19.50, which included shipping! It sold out quick. Expect to pay around $32 on a normal day

Also, check out Poret as sold by Swiss Tropicals. Many sizes and PPI options, but a little pricey
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
One item - The reason that make my Matala sandwiches with slices of egg crate is due to the substantial amount of hardscape (per square inch of flooring) that I've got in my vivariums, especially in the vertical aquarium conversions. The egg crate distributes the weight of the heavier hardscape such as Mopani wood. Additionally, the egg crate helps keep the substrate in place, especially leading into the transitional area - water/land.

I was considering using filter foam as it is much more economical, however in vertical style set ups, I was concerned that the weight of the hardscape and substrate would compress the filter foam too much over time, thereby rendering it ineffective.

As mentioned elsewhere, Troy Goldberg is a big fan of filter foam, however the tanks that I've seen him use it in don't have driftwood or other hardscape on top of the foam.

Check eBay for Matala. There was a vendor that recently had 19.5 x 24 for $19.50, which included shipping! It sold out quick. Expect to pay around $32 on a normal day

Also, check out Poret as sold by Swiss Tropicals. Many sizes and PPI options, but a little pricey

Thankyou!

I hadn't considered the weight of the wood, I have managed to find some more affordable egg crate though
Matala wise, it is the shopping cost, I can't find it in the UK, or so far have been unsuccessful, though I maybe can get around that by getting it from the EU/USA if I can find it on Amazon or if in the EU my friend can ship it to me. I will keep looking and maybe contact a few eBay sellers from the USA to see the most economical way to ship here.

Thankyou for your help and advice!
 
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