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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have seen so many posts about how Polystyrene may be unsafe for amphibians and so many posts with backgrounds made of it. I want to make a background but don't want to use GS like I did for my last one. I was going to use Polystyrene, covered in grout and then sealed with drylok. Should I go another route, whats the current stance on the subject as many of the threads I found are from many years ago.
 

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I have a couple made with layered styrene. But, I made sure to purchase the sheet at Lowe's that said it is safe and no chemicals are leachable.

It will have a blue name plastic layer that you peel off before using.
 

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Polystyrene IS a known endocrine disruptor. Now, is there PROOF that it will definitely harm your frogs, or affect breeding, sex ratio's, lifespan, muscle formation, bone formation, bone density, etc.
No. There is no proof. There is no institution spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to find the long term effects of exposure to polystyrene. This would take years of study over many, multiple pairs of breeding frogs.
Straight up, this research will most likely never be done.
Therefor, it is up to each of us to decide what the dangers may be. Now polystyrene is a know endocrine disruptor. This can cause cancer, death, affect muscle and bone formation, influence sex ratios, change hormone levels, affect breeding, and block egg formation (birth control pills are CONTROLLED endocrine disruptors). There is really no way of knowing what it may be doing to your frogs that you cannot see. This would be a totally uncontrolled exposure.
Now in dryer viv conditions, this may not be a problem. Our vivs, however, are very moist and humid. This makes conditions ripe for leaching chemicals.

What it all boils down to is this. Styrofoam/polystyrene MAY cause problems. It has been proven to have the potential to be a problem. There are safer choices available. Personally, I will always choose the safer choices. There is NO polystyrene in any of my builds and there will never be.
 

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Is there a reason that you don't want to use the safe, high density foam used in computer component shipping? That is the material that some of our early rock wall builders cited as the proper material. Look up Melas on DendroBoard and check out his rock wall builds.
Another thing to keep in mind is that the concrete or grout is said to adhere to high density foam better than it does to styrofoam.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
What are some of the safer alternatives you use?

Polystyrene IS a known endocrine disruptor. Now, is there PROOF that it will definitely harm your frogs, or affect breeding, sex ratio's, lifespan, muscle formation, bone formation, bone density, etc.
No. There is no proof. There is no institution spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to find the long term effects of exposure to polystyrene. This would take years of study over many, multiple pairs of breeding frogs.
Straight up, this research will most likely never be done.
Therefor, it is up to each of us to decide what the dangers may be. Now polystyrene is a know endocrine disruptor. This can cause cancer, death, affect muscle and bone formation, influence sex ratios, change hormone levels, affect breeding, and block egg formation (birth control pills are CONTROLLED endocrine disruptors). There is really no way of knowing what it may be doing to your frogs that you cannot see. This would be a totally uncontrolled exposure.
Now in dryer viv conditions, this may not be a problem. Our vivs, however, are very moist and humid. This makes conditions ripe for leaching chemicals.

What it all boils down to is this. Styrofoam/polystyrene MAY cause problems. It has been proven to have the potential to be a problem. There are safer choices available. Personally, I will always choose the safer choices. There is NO polystyrene in any of my builds and there will never be.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I think I will be safe enough, the polystyrene will not be in contact with water, will be covered in several layers of grout which in turn will be covered in several layers of drylok. If anyone has another building material that can be used to make rock walls then I am all ears. I didn't see any sheets with a plastic membrane at my home depot but I will look again.
 

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Myself not having the Patience nor the Artistic Ability I Use precast Rock walls and Rocks.
There are several board members who make them but the Company I use because for me they are easiest to get is Universal Habitats

You can see two in this picture
 

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What are some of the safer alternatives you use?
I'm a big fan of cork bark mosaic backgrounds, myself. But for rock wall construction, all of that information is in Melas threads on rock walls I mentioned earlier.
http://www.dendroboard.com/forum/me...281-30gallon-tall-w-artificial-rock-wall.html
http://www.dendroboard.com/forum/me...-latest-rock-wall-tank-18x18x24-exoterra.html
http://www.dendroboard.com/forum/parts-construction/35697-rock-wall-3-now-modular.html
Polyethylene Foam, Roll, Tubes, Polyethylene Closed Cell Foam Sheets
Here you go!



and just to give you an idea of the density
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I think I will take a trip to lowes and see if they have anything that will work. All I could find at home depot was styrofoam sheets. I would live to avoid paying for shipping on a sheet of foam if I can.
 

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Polystyrene IS a known endocrine disruptor. Now, is there PROOF that it will definitely harm your frogs, or affect breeding, sex ratio's, lifespan, muscle formation, bone formation, bone density, etc.
No. There is no proof. There is no institution spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to find the long term effects of exposure to polystyrene. This would take years of study over many, multiple pairs of breeding frogs.
Straight up, this research will most likely never be done.
Therefor, it is up to each of us to decide what the dangers may be. Now polystyrene is a know endocrine disruptor. This can cause cancer, death, affect muscle and bone formation, influence sex ratios, change hormone levels, affect breeding, and block egg formation (birth control pills are CONTROLLED endocrine disruptors). There is really no way of knowing what it may be doing to your frogs that you cannot see. This would be a totally uncontrolled exposure.
Now in dryer viv conditions, this may not be a problem. Our vivs, however, are very moist and humid. This makes conditions ripe for leaching chemicals.

What it all boils down to is this. Styrofoam/polystyrene MAY cause problems. It has been proven to have the potential to be a problem. There are safer choices available. Personally, I will always choose the safer choices. There is NO polystyrene in any of my builds and there will never be.
I always wondered about this because it seemed like people who were having success breeding difficult species were using natural vivs with no foam or backgrounds. I never thought there was a connection.
 

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Did you check the blue foam in the siding aisle? or is that bad stuff? I've seen builds with it.
Styrofoam is styrofoam. The white, crumbly kind most of us think of as styrofoam is polystyrene. The heavier duty pink kind and the baby blue kind are all polystyrene.

You'll know the right stuff when you see it. It's not solid, like styrofoam is. Instead, it is more like a matrix of air bubbles. It is very heavy duty. You can twist it and it just springs back into place. It's deceivingly heavy duty. It's feather-like, like styrofoam, but you cannot tear it. It slices readily with a good sharp knife.
 
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