Can you make styrofoam safe?

ArtisticAardwolf

Arachnopeon
Joined
Aug 20, 2019
Messages
47
I'm looking into ways to make a realistic background for my millipedes. Using styrofoam would be the easiest for me, because I already have lots. I won't use it if its not safe!

Is there any way to treat styrofoam (concrete, some sealant) that renders it harmless? What sealants are usually used for backgrounds?

My main concern is the millipedes attempting to eat the styrofoam...

What do you guys recommend?
 

AuroraLights

Arachnosquire
Active Member
Joined
Oct 30, 2019
Messages
73
I know when people make backgrounds for other animals they usually use aquarium silicone with a thin layer of cocofibre stuck into it, but think I'd personally worry the millipedes would try to eat that. I would say if you want to use a background either use natural cork bark (not the chip board because that has glues and stuff) or cocofibre mats. I'm using a cocofibre background made by Lucky Reptile that is stuck together with natural rubber rather than synthetic glues, so if you can find something similar where you are that might be a good choice.
If you really want to use the Styrofoam to make the background more 3D, then Serpa Designs actually did a video where he made a background from Styrofoam and cocofibre.
It wasn't for millipedes though, so I'm not trying to say it's definitely safe. Maybe if you sealed the Styrofoam aquarium silicone before you put the matting on it that might make it safer? That way the silicone would hopefully seal in any harmful chemicals, and the cocofibre matting would keep the millipedes from trying to chew on the silicone or Styrofoam. You'd just want to keep an eye that your millipedes didn't start eating the cocofibre mat, but mine have never tried that so hopefully they wouldn't. :)
 

BepopCola

Arachnoknight
Active Member
Joined
Oct 14, 2018
Messages
262
[Love SerpaDesign!]

I had a millipede start eating one of those exo-terra foam backgrounds, so I have no doubt they'd try and eat the styrofoam.
You could try covering it in (aquarium safe) silicone and wrapping it in a cocofiber liner or corkboard, you can use regular peat or coir also, but they'll eventually create bald spots while climbing.
Or you can try painting it with cement or mortar. @Dorifto used black mortar with his background here: link. I think it looks amazing. It does add weight to the tank.
Millipedes won't be able to bite through silicone or mortar, but you'll just have to make sure any exposed parts are covered.
 

Dorifto

Arachnosquire
Active Member
Joined
Aug 10, 2017
Messages
109
Doesn't add too much weight, and looks awesome. If you want, you can paint the mortar to give a even more natural look.
 

SamanthaMarikian

Arachnoknight
Active Member
Joined
Jan 7, 2019
Messages
196
one thing i did that saved me money was buying cork in “bulk”. I bought like 5 pounds of it for less than 20 bucks i think. Some sites have really good prices and i can try to find the one my friend used because she was really generous and put a lot of extra wood and bark in.

Also you can use excavator clay for the background maybe? Some people mix it with substrate to give it a more natural look. You could do a foam background and coat it in excavator clay maybe mixed with substrate after carving out the general shape to give it a natural look.
 
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