02-11-2012, 01:02 PM
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Zip ties are fine, as long as they're rinsed. They can be hard to get off, especially after some time!
Rubber bands are fine, as long as they're rinsed. They are easy to get off, but need to be replaced every so often.
You can use aquarium mesh, or the foot of a knee-high or pantyhose, or an aquarium sponge... as long as they're rinsed. Sponges are my favorite to use for this purpose, as they do they job of protecting fry and protecting my filter impeller from sand, AND provide surface area for the colonization of bacteria. When you start up a new tank, you can use the sponge in the new tank to "seed" beneficial bacteria to make it cycle super quick.