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-   -   Cork tiles and paper bark - is it safe? (http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/showthread.php?t=195459)

Aussie! 10-28-2012 07:14 AM

Cork tiles and paper bark - is it safe?
 
1 Attachment(s)
So, I'm attempting my first paludarium (It's a 40L blue planet tank) and I have some questions about the background. I wanted to have a cork bark background but after searching I have come up short. Can't find it anywhere local.
I have bought some cork tiles. The packaging says they are natural and unsealed. Do these sound safe? Attachment 56051
I've been racking my brain trying to come up with a way to make them look more natural and happened to look out my window and see my whole street is lined with paper bark trees. Can anyone think of a good reason why lining the cork tiles with the bark wouldn't work? Had anyone tried this?
Thanks.

BBradbury 10-28-2012 01:32 PM

Tank Decor
 
Hello Auss...

Anything I've wanted to put into my tanks, I test first with vinegar. I just put a few drops on the piece an if there's a reaction, then I don't use it.

This test should work for your items. Something to think about: "everything eventually dissolves in water".

B

EdwardN 10-28-2012 02:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Aussie! (Post 2059276)
So, I'm attempting my first paludarium (It's a 40L blue planet tank) and I have some questions about the background. I wanted to have a cork bark background but after searching I have come up short. Can't find it anywhere local.
I have bought some cork tiles. The packaging says they are natural and unsealed. Do these sound safe? Attachment 56051
I've been racking my brain trying to come up with a way to make them look more natural and happened to look out my window and see my whole street is lined with paper bark trees. Can anyone think of a good reason why lining the cork tiles with the bark wouldn't work? Had anyone tried this?
Thanks.

Try natural cork tile from:
http://www.zoomed.com/db/products/En...O3M6MToiMCI7fQ==

Aussie! 10-28-2012 09:50 PM

Thanks. :) You don't happen to know an Australian supplier by any chance?

Aussie! 10-29-2012 07:38 AM

I decided to use coco fiber instead. Got a big bag for only a few dollars.

lochaber 10-29-2012 09:43 PM

I wouldn't use those cork tiles - they are made of cork bark that is chipped up, and then reformed and glued together (something akin to the cork equivalent of particleboard). Unless you know what the adhesive is, and know it's safe, I would avoid it.

What you want to look for is 'virgin cork bark' - it comes from the first time they harvest cork bark of of a cork oak, and has the typical 'bark' look with a very rough, crevasse filled surface (I may be wrong here, someone correct me if so). Several places online sell it, sometimes you can find it in pet stores, especially if they have a lot of herps.

Another place to look would be places that sell orchids and epiphytic plants, as they use them to mount their plants on.

Finding a source online would probably be your cheapest option, but also you wouldn't really be able to see what you are getting.

Another thing I've used in the past is tree fern fiber slabs, works fairly well, not as pretty as corkbark when naked, but can support plants/mosses fairly well.

As to vinegar, that's more to test for carbonate on rocks, it's just an acid reacting and releasing CO2 (the fizzing). and vinegar by itself is iffy, it's better to use a strong acid. Also, all that will tell you is whether or not the rock is likely to affect pH and water hardness.

Aussie! 10-29-2012 11:32 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by lochaber (Post 2060970)
I wouldn't use those cork tiles - they are made of cork bark that is chipped up, and then reformed and glued together (something akin to the cork equivalent of particleboard). Unless you know what the adhesive is, and know it's safe, I would avoid it.

What you want to look for is 'virgin cork bark' - it comes from the first time they harvest cork bark of of a cork oak, and has the typical 'bark' look with a very rough, crevasse filled surface (I may be wrong here, someone correct me if so). Several places online sell it, sometimes you can find it in pet stores, especially if they have a lot of herps.

Another place to look would be places that sell orchids and epiphytic plants, as they use them to mount their plants on.

Finding a source online would probably be your cheapest option, but also you wouldn't really be able to see what you are getting.

Another thing I've used in the past is tree fern fiber slabs, works fairly well, not as pretty as corkbark when naked, but can support plants/mosses fairly well.

As to vinegar, that's more to test for carbonate on rocks, it's just an acid reacting and releasing CO2 (the fizzing). and vinegar by itself is iffy, it's better to use a strong acid. Also, all that will tell you is whether or not the rock is likely to affect pH and water hardness.

Thanks lochaber.
I returned the tiles because I didn't trust them. Thanks for the suggestions. I tried 5 different places in town and none had the cork bark. They said my best bet was getting it in from Brisbane. (1.5-2 hours away.) Somehow I don't see that happening. I can't find anywhere to purchase online but that might have something to do with my googling skills :/.
I managed to find some coco fiber and I've got some safe black silicone so I'm thinking of carving styrofoam background, covered in silicone then coco fiber. I am worried about the waterfall section though. If I have water running constantly over the coco fiber will it wear off quickly?

(I knew about the vinegar. Thanks)

lochaber 10-30-2012 01:23 AM

I've done stryofoam covered in an epoxy/sand mix, and thought it came out pretty well.

probably works better for underwater sections, since the epoxy will give it a glossy/wet look.
For the above water sections (or for a more natural texture), sprinkle a bunch of dry sand on top, and then rush/wash/vacuum that off once it's cured.
I haven't done this myself, but I've heard people say that chinchilla dust works really well for removing the gloss from epoxy mixes.

Epoxy is generally safe, and it's pretty durable.

Another possibility would be to use some lava rock or something similar for the waterfall section, just silicone them in. Lava rock is great for aquatic mosses and stuff to creep out of the water on, as long as they remain damp.

Aussie! 10-31-2012 12:14 AM

Alright. Thanks again :)


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