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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 04-11-2010, 04:03 AM
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Default 45 tall rockwool build

I have been out of the hobby for about a year and a half and just started to get back into the swing of things. I went through what seem like the typical hobby progression: get a pair of darts, get another pair, get ten more pairs, pairs all breed, sell offspring to buy more frogs, get way too many frogs, hobby becomes job, real job is getting in the way of hobby, big sell off, big sigh, still want some frogs, and finally getting a few frogs that I really like and housing them in the largest vivariums I can provide.

So I have had this 45 gallon tall that has been in my garage for about 2 years (thanks petco $1 a gallon sale). I originally had 2 of them, but sold one to Rob Kleinhanz about a year ago. He and I have been talking about building a soil free viv for quite a while and decided to try out some ideas on these 45's. The most logical idea we had was to use rockwool. I have used rockwool for years as a potting medium for orchids and nepenthes, and was always happy with the results. The first thought was to use it to replace the soil only. Then after talking it over for a bit, we decided to use it as a background as well. There are differnt grades of rockwool, some stay wetter and some stay dryer. Unfortunatly for Rob, we didn't really think this part through when constructing his tank. Through trial and error, we found the best grades to use are what make the most sense; wetter on the background and dryer on the bottom.

Here are a few progression photos of the build of my 45:

The rockwool that I purchased was 36"L x 12"W x 3" D. Two pieces fit almost perfectly in the 45 tall (just a bit of trimming from the top edge which was done with a steak knife, very easy to cut)


top view


Back showing silicone, didn't need much if any due to the tight fit in the tank.

I let the tank cure for about 10 days. The smell was still very strong in the tank and I suspected that the fibers of the rockwool were locking in the odor. I just took the tank outside and ran a hose over it for about 5 minutes. Smell all gone.

Here is the first mock up with some choice pieces of malaysian drift wood. The tree stump on the left is actually two pieces.


Here after some changes


And here planting started with a few more changes


It has been about 2 weeks and the moss has started to really spread. here is a full tank shot:


I will update with new photos as things continue to grow in. I welcome any questions but I'm not on here all that much anymore, so I will probably be answering when I update. And, not to sound like a jerk or anything, but in order to keep the post size down for me , please no "praise" only posts. I do appreciate postive comments, but we can keep them to a minimum.

Thanks and I hope this may be informative in some way..
Justin Schroeder
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Old 04-11-2010, 04:15 AM
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Default Re: 45 tall rockwool build

That is awesome. I love your idea of using something other then GS, silicone, and coco fiber.

Good stuff, how will it hold up once the roots make it to the glass, though? What's the overall weight of the tank now?
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Old 04-11-2010, 04:25 AM
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Default Re: 45 tall rockwool build

Beautiful tank.
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Old 04-11-2010, 04:29 AM
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Default Re: 45 tall rockwool build

Hi Justin,

You probably don't remember, but we met a while back (2-3 years haha) at NWFF. Glad to see you're back frogging!

Couple questions though:
Rockwool... as in the stuff that packages aquatic plants at the mom 'n' pop pet stores? How do you intend to drain the bottom to prevent mold/mildew buildup or anything nasty happening? Finally, did you sculpt that background or did you add something on top of the rockwool?
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Old 04-11-2010, 04:36 AM
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Default Re: 45 tall rockwool build

It looks awesome! Do you run water through the background like a drip wall, or does it get enough moisture from misting and wicking it up from the bottom?
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Old 04-11-2010, 07:33 AM
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Default Re: 45 tall rockwool build

Looks good! Are sure the rockwool wonīt lose small fibers? ( I donīt know this stuff, but glasswool here in Holland does)
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Old 04-11-2010, 03:32 PM
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Default Re: 45 tall rockwool build

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Originally Posted by wimvanvelzen View Post
Looks good! Are sure the rockwool wonīt lose small fibers? ( I donīt know this stuff, but glasswool here in Holland does)
I was wondering the same thing...I thought I remember warnings of health precautions because of the fine fibers (mesothelioma, skin irritation). Of course, you don't need to worry as much when it's wet, but for me, I wouldn't build an animal enclosure with the stuff.
Awesome idea for a plant tank though!
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Old 04-11-2010, 07:33 PM
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Default Re: 45 tall rockwool build

Thanks all,

I did leave out a few things when I first posted. The rockwool does have small loose fibers initially, but I was able to eliminate them through several rinses of the wool before install. Then after I pulled away parts of it in the sculpting process, I rinsed it again under medium pressure from my outside garden hose. You can see the fibers suspended in the water, so I just rinsed until there were no more.

The other important thing that I left out was that this tank will not have frogs in it for several more weeks to let the moss and algae cover up the surface of the wool. This actually happens quicker with rockwool in my experience than other background that I have used (I will be posting progress photos of the grow out). The fibers were also a concern of mine in regards to frog health.

I don't run water through the backgound, although I did consider making it a drip wall. The wall stays moist but not saturated except for maybe the top 2"-3" of the wall. I mist daily now while things are rooting in, but will reduce the misting once things get established.

As for drainage, I have a small exo terra pump that I will use to remove water from the small pool in the front right corner when it fills (I have this setup in my 55 and it seems to need to be drained about every 3 weeks). The beauty of the rockwool is that it doesn't break down, and without any soil to go anarobic, you really don't have to worry about mold/mildew at all. I have repotted 10 year old orchids that have been in rockwool and it still looks/feels the same as it did intially.

The weight of a rockwool tank is one draw back. Since the fibers trap the water, it makes it almost impossible to get all the water out (really only a problem if you need to move the tank around). Overall, I would say that it may be 20-30% heavier than a GS backgrond tank.

I hope I answer most questions, keep them coming...

JS
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Old 04-11-2010, 07:41 PM
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Default Re: 45 tall rockwool build

here is a close up of the rockwool after sculpting/before second rinse:
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Old 04-11-2010, 08:05 PM
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Default Re: 45 tall rockwool build

I was going to comment on the weight as well...better have that thing backed up close to the wall...I could imagine it getting heavy enough to be kinda tippy.
Cool idea...I bet that could (possibly) be a good option for a chilled tank...put an aquarium chiller inline with the drip wall...then again, being that you wouldn't be recirculating that much more water (because of rockwool's water retention) you wouldn't be chilling it that much. I was thinking more because of the amount of mass that would be chilled...
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Old 04-11-2010, 08:14 PM
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Default Re: 45 tall rockwool build

Looking pretty bad ass! I can't wait to see it all grown in.
Just hope you never have to move it :P, you KNOW thats going to be a heavy one to lift



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Old 04-12-2010, 12:24 AM
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Default Re: 45 tall rockwool build

Quote:
Originally Posted by frogparty View Post
Looking pretty bad ass! I can't wait to see it all grown in.
Just hope you never have to move it :P, you KNOW thats going to be a heavy one to lift
I agree man, It aint called rockwool for nothing.

Pretty cool idea to be honest, innovative to say the least.

Cant wait to see how this works out.

Good luck..

Richie
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Old 04-12-2010, 01:53 AM
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Default Re: 45 tall rockwool build

For those interested, here's what will be going in the tank:

Banded intermedius from Phil Tan

on an side note, does anyone know how to edit your signature. I can't seem to figure it out
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Last edited by jschroeder; 04-12-2010 at 01:55 AM. Reason: added more text
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Old 04-12-2010, 01:58 AM
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Default Re: 45 tall rockwool build

Lovely looking frogs, great choice!

To edit your signature, go to "User CP", then in the "Settings and Options" box it will say "Edit Signature".

Good luck

Richie
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Old 04-12-2010, 04:15 PM
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Default Re: 45 tall rockwool build

lol, I guess cp is short for control panel. I never put 2 and 2 together with that one. anyways, thanks for the help...
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Old 04-12-2010, 04:24 PM
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Default Re: 45 tall rockwool build

here are a couple more tank shots:






Bulbophyllum odoratissimum about to bloom
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Old 05-06-2010, 05:40 AM
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Default Re: 45 tall rockwool build

Here are a few recent photos of the tank:





tillandsia starting to bloom:


The moss is starting to spread and the rockwool is turning green:


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Old 05-06-2010, 06:47 AM
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Default Re: 45 tall rockwool build

Looking good! Great selection of plants.
BTW, are you still into reefs? I remember we met at Sky Nursery and traded some corals a while back.
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Old 05-06-2010, 03:11 PM
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Default Re: 45 tall rockwool build

Filling in nicely!!
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Old 05-06-2010, 08:55 PM
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Default Re: 45 tall rockwool build

This is looking incredible, I think your on to something with the rockwool background, due to it's absorbency it seems to grow mosses really well without the cost of a misting system. Your plant selection is really awesome and your layout/placement is balanced really well. Are you worried about the rockwool falling off once it ages and becomes more saturated?
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Old 05-07-2010, 01:29 AM
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Default Re: 45 tall rockwool build

Looks awesome!

I'm curious about the bottom. Is that just a sheet of rockwool you laid down in there and sculpted?
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Old 05-07-2010, 04:31 AM
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Default Re: 45 tall rockwool build

edwing206: I do remember meeting you and trading corals. I took down my reef tank a while back because we are trying to buy a house and I didn't want to deal with moving it. Once we close on the new house, I will probably set one up again.

Ken: The bottom is just rockwool, I added a bit of sand in the pond area just for looks. I didn't do much sculpting to it. I pretty much just put the moss and leaves right on to of it and punched a few holes where I planted.

gettopieninja: I'm not to worried about it falling off the back of the tank because it was such a tight fit when I installed it. The silicone that I used is more for piece of mind than anything. The rockwool stays a bit dryer at the top, thus less weight, and when I sculpted the background I took more away from the top. The top is around 1" think and taipers down to 3" thick at the bottom.
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Last edited by jschroeder; 05-07-2010 at 04:32 AM. Reason: spelling
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Old 01-02-2012, 08:49 PM
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Default Re: 45 tall rockwool build

I know this is an old thread but I have been researching alternative background options. How is this tank doing since your last post? In youropinion, any disadvantages to using rockwool vs other media? Thanks, Alex
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Old 11-10-2014, 08:23 PM
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Default Re: 45 tall rockwool build

I would love to know as well, I just set up a tank with rockwool as the side and bottom, but I used a pump to carry water up to the top. I also angled one of the sprayers to make a little spring, it does a good job of throwing water everywhere. I also have about 2" of water in the bottom, with pieces of rockwool submerged.
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Old 11-16-2014, 01:37 AM
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Default Re: 45 tall rockwool build

I'd love to see some new shots of the tank if available!!!
Thanks in advance.
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Old 11-16-2014, 02:51 PM
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Default Re: 45 tall rockwool build

I also have some doubts about fibers, but your idea is very original. I will follow with interest your thread.
But we can not to dye the rockwool? It is so ugly for this color!
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Old 11-16-2014, 03:51 PM
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Default Re: 45 tall rockwool build

Sorry Mates! It looks like the OP is no longer participating in the forum.

MrMycetes, I would recommend making a new post in the build section of the forum showing what your build looks like, and what components were used. If you have pics that would help. As well as posting info on specs (e.g., tank size, pump).

My concern with rockwool is longevity. It seems to deteriorate quickly. My experience with rockwool is that it deteriorates and clogs my pumps. Have you had such an issue?

Do you currently have frogs in this set-up? If so, which ones?

Thanks - Alex

Quote:
Originally Posted by MrMycetes View Post
I would love to know as well, I just set up a tank with rockwool as the side and bottom, but I used a pump to carry water up to the top. I also angled one of the sprayers to make a little spring, it does a good job of throwing water everywhere. I also have about 2" of water in the bottom, with pieces of rockwool submerged.
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