Although aquascaping was previously a very niche sub-hobby within the fish keeping hobby, its popularity has drastically increased in the previous five years or so.
Each week there seems to be a new set of aquascaped tanks going viral on social media getting more and more people interested in aquascaping their own tanks too.
Due to this, we doubt that the popularity of aquascaping is going to fade any time soon.
That said though, we have noticed a huge increase in the number of questions that we are seeing being asked from the community each month about what they should be doing to aquascape their tanks.
The majority of the questions that we have already covered are based around the various aquatic plants that you are able to use when aquascaping your tank but for today’s article, we want to take a look at using egg crates for aquascaping.
Although the use of egg crates for aquascaping is very popular, many beginners often don’t understand why people use egg crates for the base of their aquascape or how to cut them down to the right size for their tank.
Are Egg Crates Safe To Use For Aquascaping?
Plastic egg crates are usually safe for use in aquascaping with many people in the aquarium keeping hobby using egg crates in their tanks without issue.
We would always recommend that you clean your egg crates prior to putting them in your tank though, even if you have just purchased it.
There may be residue from the manufacturing process left on the crate so there’s no need to risk any contamination for your aquarium to save a couple of minutes for a quick clean of the crate.
The cardboard egg crates are not safe for use in aquascaping theough as they give way as soon as they get wet and release card fibers into your tank’s water that can end up causing a number of issues.
If you are looking for egg crates for use in aquascaping, always go with the plastic version.
What Are Egg Crates Used For In Aquascaping?
The main use for egg crates in the aquascaping hobby is to spread the weight of any rocks or branches that may fall from the aquascape.
The egg crate dissipates the impact across all of the base of the aquarium glass rather than one specific impact point and drastically reduces the chances of the tank breaking.
Although the risk is small with a correctly implemented aquascape, some of the most experienced aquascapers in the hobby have ended up having issues with parts of their aquascape eventually failing so it’s usually not worth the risk.
The vast majority of aquascapes usually have fish in the tank so a crack in the aquarium glass due to a rock that falls will often result in dead fish.
The second and far less common use for egg crates in aquascaping is to be used as a buffer to allow you to fill certain parts of the tank with substrate in a way that would be difficult to do naturally.
In some cases, you may not actually put substrate in the egg crate stacks and just leave them hollow but this is a more advanced technique of actually building out raised areas for your tank.
Depending on the materials you have available as well as your budget, this second use case for egg crates in aquascaping is often not the best option with other materials being better in many cases.
How Do You Cut An Egg Crate For An Aquarium?
The process for cutting an egg crate is actually very simple with most people in the aquarium keeping hobby having all of the necessary tools already.
You will need a sharp knife, some wire cutters and a hammer to complete the process though so make sure you have them handy before starting.
Remember the saying measure twice, cut once.
Always measure the length and width that you require for your egg crates twice prior to actually cutting anything!
Start by taking your sharp knife and cutting through the plastic of the egg crate on one side.
Once you have cut through the plastic, use your wire cutters to snip through any wires that are holding the egg crate together.
You will then need to gently bend the egg crate open with your hands until it snaps apart.
If it is proving difficult to snap apart, you can use a hammer to lightly tap on the egg crate until it snaps open.
Be careful not to hit it too hard though as you could damage the egg crate and make it unusable for your aquarium.
You can then cut the egg crate down to the size that you need for your tank using either your knife or wire cutters before putting it in your aquarium.
Make sure you clean the egg crate before putting it in your tank though as there may be residue from the manufacturing process left on it.
This could potentially contaminate your aquarium so its always better to be safe than sorry!