• You are viewing the forum as a Guest, please login (you can use your Facebook, Twitter, Google or Microsoft account to login) or register using this link: Log in or Sign Up

Can I use cotton pads to keep substrate in place?


New Member
14 May 2021
Hi All,

I'm in process of setting up a new island-look aquarium with the substrate behind the rocks and sand around.

Stones are directly on the glass and then I have used cotton pads to prevent the substrate from coming out to the front through the cracks as suggested by my colleague...

Now I'm asking myself if this is actually a good idea as cotton will degrade over time?!

Can somebody advise if cotton is fine or should I be using something else? A filter media perhaps?

Thanks for any feedback
Did you put glue on it? When I broke down my previous 45p the glued cotton pads were still there after 2 years nearly.

I would imagine in the fullness of time it will rot away - filterfloss is what generally is used.
No glue at this stage- just wedged in. I was going to apply some superglue but started to have doubts hence my question. I have used cigarette filters to glue the stones- assume similar application would work for the cotton pads?
Yes, you can use cotton pad, it function the same way as filter floss. Tissue paper can also be used as well.
Yes, Cotton will deteriorate/rot over time(unless soaked in cyanoacrylate. That's why ADA uses it for their Moss Cotton thread specifically. I would use a more long lasting or durable product. I use this cut to size with filter floss to fill any gaps. It will somewhat evenly distribute the weight of the rock so it isn't concentrated on single points of the glass, prevent scratching of the glass, and its pretty cheap.
In some (industrial) applications cotton fiber is used both as a colonization space and source of carbon for bacteria.