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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
In the past, I've used shaped styrofoam for hobby applications and I was wondering if it is safe to use in a terrarium. I speaking specifically of the thick panels (appr. 2") available at home depot. I was thinking of using them as a base to build a water course in the terrarium I'm working on. I'd use the black silicone/ coco mix to cover the sides and use gravel siliconed in place along the waterway bed. Also thinking of using it on the back of the tank. Any thoughts? Thanks again.

George
 

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Try to get foamular(i think thats it) its pink here, not sure if they have it that thick, but no balls, no mess. Its solid foam.
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
The little styrofoam balls wont be a problem. I've got a foam cutter used by model railroad hobbiest that plugs into the wall and uses a heated nichrome wire to cut through the styrofoam like a hot knife through butter and sealing it as it goes. Works great.

George
 

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I use the 3/4" thick panelling along with 1" size PVC couplings for false bottoms without a problem. I also use it as well to create partial false bottoms that include a pumped water feature. Any 'balls' created from cutting I vacuum.

Jon Werner
 

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okay, now I'm confused. I posted a thread on which i constructed a palu using styrofoam and had two different members say that it would be harmful an amphibian because it is an endocrine inhibitor. :?
 

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okay, now I'm confused. I posted a thread on which i constructed a palu using styrofoam and had two different members say that it would be harmful an amphibian because it is an endocrine inhibitor. :?
styrofoam is a known endocrine disruptor. maybe 8 years ago they didn't know that.
 

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Your correct Juliana, as I was one who said that. It is a disuptor. Some people... A lot of people still use it though. It's not the bet but I recall people saying tht some people have used it and not had problems. It all depends I guess. I am staying away from it. Honestly egg crate is a lot easier to work with. You can form what ever you want then use great stuff to go over it.
 

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It's not the bet but I recall people saying tht some people have used it and not had problems.
Have you heard of anyone HAVING problems with it? Known issues with frogs affected by the styrofoam?
 

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Have you heard of anyone HAVING problems with it? Known issues with frogs affected by the styrofoam?
Hmm..well there are some papers that indicate this to be the case.. since most of the issues function as endocrine disruptions, they wouldn't be detected by simple observation without some method of comparision and control...
See for example

ScienceDirect.com - Environmental Research - Effects of Styrene Monomer and Trimer on Gonadal Sex Differentiation of Genetic Males of the Frog Rana rugosa

If people are using styrofoam in thier enclosures, they should seal the entire piece and/or silicone it into place to prevent/minimize circulation of water between the styrofoam and the rest of the enclosure (and/or use a flow through system which prevents it from remaining in the enclosure).
 
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I'm aware of the effects of styrofoam and that it is an endocrine disruptor. But since they said "I recall people saying tht some people have used it and not had problems" that implies they have heard people have had problems. Since I have never heard of anyone having direct problems concerning styrofoam, I was interested in hearing any that they may have heard.
 

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I'm aware of the effects of styrofoam and that it is an endocrine disruptor. But since they said "I recall people saying tht some people have used it and not had problems" that implies they have heard people have had problems. Since I have never heard of anyone having direct problems concerning styrofoam, I was interested in hearing any that they may have heard.
Now that is an approach I can appreciate....

Ed
 
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I think people are confused what an endocrine disruptor is and how it works. A lot of people probably hear and talk about endocrine disruptors as "bad" yet don't understand what is actually happening. Even in the example Ed posted a lot of people will not understand what is truly happening.

1. The endocrine system is focused on hormones. Hormones are typically a concern during critical periods of growth in an organism.

2. A large number of species are wired to develop as females. If the animal has male chromosomes they will produce a protein. This protein is what makes the gonads stop developing into a female gonad and make them develop into a male gonad. So, in humans the SRY protein will make the gonads turn into testis. Once this development has occurred the endocrine system will become more important. (this is probably why almost all the genetically male frogs developed male gonads in the article, it is a DNA thing and not a hormone thing).

3. The male genitals will produce higher levels of male hormones, most widely referred to as testosterone. There are many types of testosterone. It is the production of testosterone that causes the primary external sexual development. So, testosterone will shut down the female sexual development and begin the male sexual development. This is why many articles will focus on the size and function of the sexual characteristics when looking at the effects of endocrine disruptors.

4. Endocrine disruptors are also important for other issues that are not often discussed. Hormones are also an important part of bone development. Yes, you need calcium and D3 for healthy bones. However, it is the testosterone that typically causes bones to grow longer and more dense (in humans, Ed can verify if this is the case for frogs). This is why people with Gigantism are known for tumors on or near the pituitary gland or malfunctions of the pituitary gland. The excess hormones causes the bones to continue to grow.

5. All this talk about endocrine disruptors will be hard to "witness", unless you are measuring your frogs genitals, doing sperm counts, or accurately measuring your frogs size.

6. The published article makes an important conclusion. "These findings suggest that the styrene monomer and trimer induced a weak estrogen-like effect on the pathways of testicular differentiation in genetically male tadpoles". This is referring to the statistical analysis. A weak effect in statistics is often an effect size less than 0.2 (I didn't pay for the article so I don't know what the true statistics were). This means that although it is a concern to see these effects, more frogs developed properly than those that had the problems. So, a lot of us will never see the effects when looking at our individual frogs. However, if we look at the frogs general health (everyone's frogs) the endocrine disruptor could be concerning.
 

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"These findings suggest that the styrene monomer and trimer induced a weak estrogen-like effect on the pathways of testicular differentiation in genetically male tadpoles".
I'm sure this is just my lack of chemistry background talking here, but are we concerned with all styrenes having this potential issue, or just polystyrene / styrofoam?

The reason I ask is that I needed to bond some eggcrate awhile back, and digging around on Google I found that eggcrate was styrene (or at least the brand I was using was); should we be concerned about using eggcrate in our viv builds?
 

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I'll have to agree with Ed here that a long as you seal it up very well it will definitely be less of a problem. Especially if it's not going to have much water contact. I would imagine that it being really well sealed as having no direct water contact it should be better but I would also like to hear people who have had problems. That would shed some real light on things
 

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I've seen a few people use the stock exoterra backgrounds as a base to their own backgrounds before. Looking at a few I have, it looks to be styrofoam. Would this be unsafe to use if I were to use this as a substitute for GS in a titebond and peat background? There isn't a water feature planned in the tank if that matters.
 
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