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Old 03-11-2007, 04:05 AM
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Default Fully aquatic background?

This is a question for all of those fish guys out there. I am trying to make a tropical root-system like background for a friend in her fish tank (discus tank). I was wondering if I could use the same great stuff background techinque that's used in a lot of the vivarium backgrounds or if it would mold/rot under water. I was thinking of using the acrylic polymer mixed with peat moss and dark reddish sand that's at the pet store I work at.

Any thoughts or suggestions? I want it to create a mangrove-style background with the huge tree roots coming down, I just need to know what materials to use. As usual any help is greatly appreciated.
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Old 03-12-2007, 03:09 PM
 
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i was told that it's not a good idea. i have a 10 gallon fully planted aquarium with slate siliconed to the back. here's a pic:
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Old 03-12-2007, 03:55 PM
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acrylic polymer tends to not hold up well in a water feature even in our frog tanks. Its been hypothesized that's its more from the peat than the acrylic though.

I just bought a background from terrascapes.

Alternately, epoxy works wonders in this situation. However, it is pretty expensive an takes several weeks to fully cure. Not to mention its very messy and impossible to get off stuff once it dries.

I have heard of cichlid people using great stuff, but they generally coat it with concrete that isn't a good idea for *most fish tanks.
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Old 03-12-2007, 05:41 PM
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Ahh Ok. Thanks guys, I like that slate background idea. Maybe I can find pieces of drift wood long enough to go to the top of the tank . Thanks for the info.
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Old 03-12-2007, 09:17 PM
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You may want to look into this. They use it in ponds.

http://www.drsfostersmith.com/produc...Np=1&N=0&Nty=1

Randy
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Old 03-12-2007, 09:36 PM
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Just new to theis forums and darts but am coming from reef tanks giving them up for now as wanted soemting with a slightly lower level of maintenance.

Great stuff has been used as a background by a few guys for reef backgrounds so it should be perfectly fine to use in a discus tank
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Old 03-12-2007, 09:40 PM
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Doug, what epoxy are you using that takes weeks to cure?



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Old 03-13-2007, 01:34 AM
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There are ways to make similar looking backgrounds that would hold up in an aquarium
Cut a peice of pink insulation foam to fit the back panel
Then silicone peat/coco fiber/whatever you want onto it
Before you attach the silicone/peat mixture, you can add roots/vines, whether they're real or fake!
I think it would make an awesome aquarium if you could get aquatic plants/mosses to cover a background made like that
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Old 03-13-2007, 02:32 AM
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Steve that's exactly what I was going to do. I have a massive sheet of 2" thick pink foam. How did you make yours look like that though? I used to do a lot of table top gamming, so I get to pull out my old terrain making skills . Silicone/peat might be the best option for me, at least for the color i want. If anyone knows of any paints or anything that can be used to create cool earthy-root colors let me know!
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Old 03-13-2007, 08:34 PM
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To eliminate the need for any sort of paint or anything, you could use different colored things pressed into the silicone- and by using black silicone or clear silicone, you can adjust the tones to be darker, or lighter. For example, if you glue on peat with clear silicone, it will be slightly lighter than if you glue on peat with black silicone. In addition to peat, you can use different colored sands (that are safe for an aquarium, not craft sand), treefern fiber, coco peat, etc. Most materials, even the organic ones like peat and whatnot, will hold up for quite some time under water... but to ensure a long lasting effect, try to embed your materials into the silicone as best as you can.
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Old 03-13-2007, 10:26 PM
 
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I just started making my background for my aquatic tank that sits under my viv...here are some pictures...





I want the background to look like that bank of an erroded stream bed thats why all the branches are in there...i took a larger piece of foam and cut it to fit a bigger piece of driftwood so it would look like a rock...i incorperated a couple planting beds in this foam with drainage to the bottom of the undergravel...after i finish all the plumbing im going to add foam to fill in the gaps between the branches....paint the two ends of the aquarium black and then add Sahara tan sanded grout to the main background and a grey grout to the rock planter

i'm sure ill have to let it soak in the tank for a while before i get good water parameters in order to plant the plants but i have nothing but time..
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Old 03-14-2007, 03:13 AM
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Thanks for all of the great info guys. What if I poured a bunch of silicone into a bowl or bucket or something (obviously a clean one) and mixed it with a miriad of peat moss, coco bedding, and some sand? I think that would work, but this will definitely be an experiment .
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Old 03-14-2007, 10:41 AM
 
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I think the silicone would coat whatever you were going to put in it and you would lose they effect and look...i'd also be worried about get it all spread before it dries depending on the amount you put in it....
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Old 03-14-2007, 04:57 PM
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Yeah that's true, I'll probably just have to take the long way around again :cry: . Oh well, there's no fast way to make something look good.
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Old 03-14-2007, 08:50 PM
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This actually works very well with clear silicone.
You can get some really neat effects!
Someone coined the term 'silicone soil.' I believe the same person who invented the technique...
For me, the easiest thing is to squeez some silicone in a small paper dixicup, then add the dry materials and stir with a popsicle stick.
You only have about three minutes to use up the little cup of silicone soil before it starts to dry up- after which, it will become harder to get it to stick.
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Old 03-14-2007, 09:22 PM
 
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yeah...but doenst the soil have a glossy look to it?
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Old 03-15-2007, 01:57 AM
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That's exactly what I was thinking, but if it dries with a lambert (no) sheen, then that would work really well.
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Old 03-15-2007, 10:56 AM
 
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Its worth a try, but i would definately try it on a test piece before putting it in the tank....uh and i can only imagine those fumes
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Old 03-15-2007, 11:20 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Studdlygoof
....uh and i can only imagine those fumes
work in a verywell ventilated room. otherwise you will be higher than a kite.
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Old 03-15-2007, 04:53 PM
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Yeah I usually work in my garage and set up a little fan. Seems to do the trick every time .
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Old 03-21-2007, 08:09 PM
 
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thought I would throw some new pictures in on my background that still a work in progress...






Sorry I'm not much with a camera but it looks a lot better then the pictures portray...add another planter on the left side of the tank...built the plexiglass fake wall to keep my plumbing from getting covered by the foam incase i need to get to it later on down the road...
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Old 03-22-2007, 12:50 AM
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That's pretty much what I wanted to do. What did you cover your foam with?
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Old 03-22-2007, 01:39 AM
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I was thinking about this post when I was putting together my 60 gallon viv. I used epiweb, which you can find if you google it I am sure. Its a synthetic product that is like a scotch pad. Anyway it would be perfect for what you want to do with that background. You could mount plants on it, and I am sure you could get plants to grow up it. It would also add a ton of surface area for bio filtration. If I were doing a planted aquarium I would consider replacing the undergravel fillter plates with this stuff, I think it would work that well. Anyway just my thoughts.
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Old 03-22-2007, 01:41 AM
 
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Default hope i can help

well being a fish guy for quite a while i have been all over the wb looking to create a great background. garf.org gives great site for making rocks using safe mortor but remember that if you use peat it will lower the ph and could cause problems i have use a fiberglass resin from pepboys to seal my backgrounds and it doesnt change color of what i just ceated and seals it complete and lasts forever so all i wuld to say is be careful of materials used because with discus water is all the difference in life and death and breeding.some rocks harden the water while others soften it.i would recommend that you build it and try i another tank to test water quality before placing it inyour show tank just m thoughts craig
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Old 03-22-2007, 02:06 AM
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Thanks for the website and imput Craig. I think i'm going to use aquarium sand to cover my background, and there will be a ton of testing before anything goes in the water .
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Old 03-22-2007, 10:57 AM
 
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Yeah i agree good site...in one of the planted tank forum's im in i've seen people take some kind of plastic sewing grid mesh and wedge aquatic moss to it and attach it to the background....was thinking about doing this to sections to get moss and plants to blend in with it better...PH has been a big concern...i definately dont have the room for any discus but i still want my water parameters to be optimum...I dont want to seal it because i've heard that moss and plants wont grow on it that way and i want them to too eventually...from all the DIY backgrounds i've seen people say you just have to be patient and flush it a lot before you get your PH back to normal...i figure its worth the wait to have a good looking tank...
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Old 03-28-2007, 04:47 PM
 
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Quick update with the grout pretty much done...turning out well i think...

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Old 04-04-2007, 01:56 AM
 
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Default Re: hope i can help

The rock they make with mortar is actually just portland cement #2 or #3 mixed with some marine gravel(crushed coral, aragonite,etc). You can get portland cement at Home Depot.
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Old 04-04-2007, 11:07 AM
 
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Yeah i know...just lazy and didn't feel like having to add color to every batch...this way its all the same color tone as well...
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Old 04-04-2007, 04:59 PM
 
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Here's a link to a styrofoam background http://shell.world-net.co.nz/~jenniefield/ Use caution with discus and anything that could raise PH such as cement. They are a low PH fish. As for mangrove roots, use pink styrofoam shaped to root form, apply fibre glass epoxy/resin, Fusion paint for detail.
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Old 04-06-2007, 05:58 PM
 
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Yes cement does raise the PH in your tank but with the proper treatments and curing if that can be dealt with...
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Old 04-06-2007, 06:22 PM
 
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True cured in a container large enough and daily water changes. I know frag plugs for reefers made of cement and aragonite mix have been placed in the toilet tanks to make use of water changes. Rocks for reef tanks rather than buying live rock are also made of the process. Can be found on an internet site http://www.garf.org/howtodoinformation.htm#Aragocrete
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Old 04-06-2007, 07:09 PM
 
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Ha ha I love the toliet idea...sometimes its ingenious what people will come up with...if only i had a toilet tank big enough to set my background in it...with the number of times my fiance' uses the bathroom I could have that puppy cured in a week flat

Interesting concept that I had been tossing around...I have read the reef sites about coral propogation and the creation of the fake live rock...what ill effects do you think placing a concrete background in a moving body of water for a little while or possibly outdoors in a bin to grow some natural algae etc....i know this could possibly add some stuff to my background that i dont want but I think it would age the background for a more realistic look?

Think it has some merit for a shot or just one of those wacky ideas that is just a wacky idea?
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Old 04-06-2007, 08:04 PM
 
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I'd say go for it, as discussed daily water changes to eliminate high PH. If you placed the background, depending on tank size, in a kiddies pool or a 30 gallon Rubbermaid container with a power head in the sun for a long period of the day you'll get the algae you want. If you want algae in an aquarium then do it. Also consider how you'll attach it to the glass. I have a 75 gal backgound of all slate that was attached to a fibre glass backing. Heavy aluminum hangers were imbedded to hang it on the back of the tank. Something I aquired when buying my 90 gallon. The guy gave it to me, he had no need for it. All my tanks I've had I avoid algae of any kind and mostly in my reef tank where all I want is coraline algae. In the vivarium I'm putting together I have rock moss I've been growing in frezzer bags by a south window since the summer. Now that would have a nice natural look on a cement background in a viv, but a concrete background will be heavy. I have a link to building fibre glass rock background.
Whacky ideas is how ideas are created, it's called creative imagination. Keep using using it. Beats the hell out of sitting in front of a tv and having nothing to do.
Ok back to my viv build, in process of boiling driftwood.
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Old 04-06-2007, 10:35 PM
 
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After some thinking, I believe what I really want is the concrete in my background to have a more aged look...Dont think that the algae will really help out with that much and I really dont feel like dealing with any algae infestations in my planted tank right now...i'm thinking now that I might just leave it out in the yard for a bit out of water and then go through the PH curing process...my background looks natural but I think its a little too fresh...have fun with the boiling...I know how much fun that is... :roll:
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