This is a repost from GeckosUnlimited, but I thought I'd cross post it here.
I had a new tank that I was building so I thought I'd try to build a fake rock wall structure as a background. Just for the record, I have zero art abilities and am not the art type.
In the past I've used a variety of different backgrounds and methods, I decided to try something different this time. Instead of tree fern panels, I used the Eco-friendly EpiWeb
, through First Rays Orchids
. Main idea was that I wanted uniform pieces to work with and no breakdown over time.
The tank that I'm working with is acrylic made by First Class Aquatics
. It's hard to attach things to acrylic, because over time it tends to release. In my other tanks, I had to badly score the acrylic in order to get a decent adhesion. Bonding with methylene chloride to acrylic lasts forever, so I figured I'll try to bond my background to acrylic via a piece of plexi.
I then attached the plexi to epiweb with stainless steel pegs. Epiweb is very tough, so I wasn't worried that it won't hold. I put the pegs on both sides.
Once the pegs are in, the plexi holds well and is ready for bonding.
I poured some methylene chloride in between the sheets with a needle applicator and applied some pressure with heavy books.
That was done for all 3 sides.
Now a bit of a time lapse...I didn't snap photos of poly urethane foam layer, but I sprayed some strange shapes onto the background with the poly foam and then I applied the HabaCrete Vivarium concrete (purchased from HerpInvert
Concrete dries rather fast, so make small batches and wear gloves.
I forgot to add that I've attached some roots into the background. I got few fake realistic roots/limbs from PetSmart. Expensive, but they do look good and once they get a bit of dirt, growth and algae they look very realistic. :blushing: Ok, I don't normally go to PetSmart.
Background i secure, concrete is applied, it's time to paint it.
Did I say, I have not art abilities??? I used some non toxic acrylic paints for this, but left them way to thick...the whole things turned out horrible!
Since it really looked bad, I put another very thin, very watered down layer of concrete on top to regain some creative control over the tank. Trick was to use a 'wash', very diluted paint. 2nd time around it came out a bit better, although the camera flash tends to wash out all the highlights.
Here's the side with the PetSmart root, embedded into the foam and concrete.
I also wanted to make some type of a center piece. I made a giant blob with the poly foam
Idea was to carve out 'something' that would stay in the middle of the tank...I tried a hack saw blade, but it didn't go too well and it was hard...Fortunately I had the Ronco Rotisserie, which came with a long carving knife. I knew the purchase was justified! :biggrin:
I carved out a piece that looked like this
on goes a layer of concrete.
Then a dark wash. I also dry brushed some light highlights onto the rock, to make it a bit more realistic.
For the substrate of the tank, I've purchased some more epiweb. I used the leca clay pebbles before, but this seemed like a light wight alternative.
Layer of landscaping fabric to cover the epiweb.
Some coco fiber dirt on top and few plants are in. Now I have to add a bit more plants and let everything grow for a few months to fill in.
Bromeliad attached with some fishing line
Few more broms.
That's the center piece in the middle of the tank.
I still need to fix few things in the tank...as I do them, I'll try to post some more photos. My rock wall attempt I'm sure could be done much better if someone actually knew what they were doing and how to scape and mold it, but once things get overgrown, I'm sure it will look half decent.