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Old 04-21-2005, 05:30 AM
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Default background problems and finished pictures

I'm not very good at planning things. As a result I've become very good at doing things two or three times to get it right.

For my background on my 40gal I decided to use quickcrete bonding adhesive mixed with coco fiber. It went on great and looked great when it dried. The only problem was when the background was wet the coco fiber would become very soft and flake off. For some people this might not be a big deal if your background is going to be covered in plants.




I decided to tear it down and start again. So for my next try I used the brown silicone method. So I spent 15 minutes inhaling fumes and spreading the silicone all over the foamed background. I then pressed dried coco fiber into the silicone. The next day I gently brushed off the excess coco fiber. To my amazement not a single strand of coco fiber stuck to the silicone.

In desperation I picked up a bottle of glue from my girlfriends office. She is a project controller for a company that reinforces aging cell phone towers. The glue they use is completely nontoxic even while it's drying, and when dry the glue is not brittle and will withstand extreme conditions. After spreading this onto the dry brown silicone I then pushed coco fiber into the glue and let it dry. This glue worked great the coco fibers didn't stick to the glue but all the dust in the coco fiber did. So the background doesn't look as soft and rolling as it did with the concrete adhesive method. The new background is pliable yet you can't scratch the coco fiber dust off. If I wanted to I could even stick toothpicks through it.

When the glue first dried it gave a white tint to the background as you can see in the pictures, but now the background is nice and dark.



Here is my tank after planting.



This is the tank one month later. I added some orchids from Andy's Orchids.




I'll post later with more pictures.
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Old 04-21-2005, 12:25 PM
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that is a gorgeous tank, great job!
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Old 04-21-2005, 12:43 PM
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What is the grassy stuff in the bottom right hand corner? Great looking tank! I can't wait to see it in another month.
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Old 04-21-2005, 12:57 PM
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A rough guess id say it was either Lilaeopsis Brasiliensis or Lilaeopsis Novae-zealandiae, or perhaps Lilaeopsis Mauritiana. Doubt its Koyoto, doesn't look broad enough.
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Old 04-21-2005, 12:58 PM
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Sweet tank BTW bro, im just guessing from information gleamed from other herpers, but i would think your waterfall will eventually become covered in moss, but for now, looks scweet.
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Old 04-21-2005, 01:10 PM
 
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after all that trouble, it seems that it really payed off.... great job keep us posted.
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Old 04-21-2005, 04:19 PM
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Default stream

id like to know how you made the stream.
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Old 04-21-2005, 04:37 PM
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The coco fiber didnt stick because you did the entire background with silicone at one time...you say it took 15 minutes, well that would be more than enough time for it to skin up, keeping the fiber from sticking. If you had done the silicone in small patches, it wouldnt have dried before adding the cocofiber, also, the cocofiber has to be completely dry. The tank looks good though!
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Old 04-21-2005, 05:23 PM
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if i recall correctly i was putting on new silicone every 2-3 minutes. I was working in areas no larger than 4inches at a time.
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Old 04-21-2005, 08:41 PM
 
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WOW! That is GORGEOUS!
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Old 04-22-2005, 05:40 AM
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Mouse is right. The grassy stuff in the stream is Lilaeopsis Brasiliensis. I think anybody with a water feature in their tank should have some.

As far as the silicone job goes I knew I should have taken my time, but I was doing this in a small enclosed room. I tried speeding things up so I could get some fresh air. I'm glad the background is coated in brown silicone though. I then didn't have to worry about coating the background so well to hide the white expanding foam.

Louis the stream is made from plexiglass and expanding foam. From the hardware store I bought the thinnest plexiglass they had. Then with a marker I marked out the shape of my stream. Cutting the plexi is the tricky part because it is very brittle. I broke the last disc for my rotary saw about two seconds into the cutting and used a hammer and some pliers to finish up. I don't recommend using a hammer to cut plexi. This stuff doesn't so much break as explode.

After you cut your plexi into shape spray expanding foam along the edges to create the river banks. How high your banks are depends on how much water your pump puts out. It's better to have the banks too high or you'll flood substrate. I ended up sealing the foam with brown silicone because the foam had some holes through it. I also trimmed the edges of the banks all along the stream because my banks were too wide. The last thing I did was coat the foam with the glue from my girlfriends company and push some coco fiber into it. It's been over a month and everything is doing fine.






I started to make a construction journal to post on this site, but I just have too many hobbies and not enough time. Some of the pictures are posted in my gallery with very brief descriptions.
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Old 05-13-2005, 08:30 PM
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HOLY WOW! Nice "flatland" viv! I like the riverbed, that's great!! I currently have a 20 gallon semi set up for my peacock gecko, and I have been thinking of redoing it. You gave me some great ideas!
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