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Old 01-05-2019, 05:04 AM
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Default Newbie Foam question

Hello everyone,
Getting ready to get my first build Started. I have a 54 Gallon corner bowfront tank. I have been gathering information and studying build threads and techniques for about 2 months now. I was wondering if I could ask for a little advice? I want to have about 7.5" of water in my tank for fish and would like to use the black spray foam to help hide the PVC tubes that support the egg crate for the land portion. I would really like to use the foam to also help stabilize some rock for the water feature. My question is, can this foam be used, and can it hold up under water(to try to mimic Rocks)? Using foam to hide the supports, I'd like to pretty much leave the egg crate(Land portion) supported like that but have the water underneath left open(rather than boxed in by egg crate) so the fish have all that room to use and can also hide there. Is this all a bad idea? Thank you in advance for any tips.

Mike
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Old 01-05-2019, 09:42 AM
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Default Re: Newbie Foam question

You'll probably regret trying to integrate a water feature / open body of water. It will require a lot of maintenance... The great thing about vivariums is they can be very low maintenance. You mist, clean glass and trim plants occasionally when needed. They require absolutely no mechanical parts. Add open water to this and it just becomes a complete mess - everything that is loose will end up in the water. On top of this you lose a lot of very valuable floor space.

Trust me, we all want it but very few of us have accomplished it. If you're a complete beginner you will have plenty to do to keep you busy. And as a much more experienced frogger taught me when I was getting started, it's just not worth it.
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Old 01-05-2019, 03:23 PM
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Understood. I appreciate the advice. This entire build is mainly about the water portion and having fish and a waterfall in the tank. For what its worth, the waterfall will not have any interaction with land, it will be to circulate and oxygenate the water. For what I'm doing, the land creatures are not even picked out yet, and I have been able to map out a decent amount of land in this tank. I will not be putting this together without a huge amount of consideration for what will live on the land and the quality of life for all inhabitants. For me it's about the tank and having a water feature that I can watch and enjoy(i.e. fish swimming). I have a nice external filter and I'm used to, and fully expect maintenance from having a 55 gal Cichlid tank for 15 years. It's work, but it's also a passion. Thanks, and I sincerely appreciate the input.
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Old 01-05-2019, 06:35 PM
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Default Re: Newbie Foam question

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Originally Posted by Mmkco View Post
This entire build is mainly about the water portion and having fish and a waterfall in the tank. For what its worth, the waterfall will not have any interaction with land, it will be to circulate and oxygenate the water.
A small powerhead placed near the surface of an aquarium will do much more to circulate the water and provide gas exchange than will a waterfall. Gas exchange happens at the interface between air and water, which has a much larger area at the surface of the body of water than it will have at the surface of the waterfall race.
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Old 01-05-2019, 08:39 PM
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Default Re: Newbie Foam question

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mmkco View Post
Hello everyone,
Getting ready to get my first build Started. I have a 54 Gallon corner bowfront tank. I have been gathering information and studying build threads and techniques for about 2 months now. I was wondering if I could ask for a little advice? I want to have about 7.5" of water in my tank for fish and would like to use the black spray foam to help hide the PVC tubes that support the egg crate for the land portion. I would really like to use the foam to also help stabilize some rock for the water feature. My question is, can this foam be used, and can it hold up under water(to try to mimic Rocks)? Using foam to hide the supports, I'd like to pretty much leave the egg crate(Land portion) supported like that but have the water underneath left open(rather than boxed in by egg crate) so the fish have all that room to use and can also hide there. Is this all a bad idea? Thank you in advance for any tips.

Mike
On our vivarium we have a glass partition, so the main land area (even though it has a false bottom, drainage system, water removal capability), it will not have standing water. True, the water will be supplied from that area, i.e. waterfall and double streams, the water is just flowing from there into the designated water area. Our vivarium is, by volume, over 750 gallons, the water area will be lass than 100 to 75 gallons.

You can see the partition in this picture.

You can see more at www.therainforestexhibit.com
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File Type: jpg TREonlevels1.jpg (91.3 KB, 44 views)
File Type: jpg TREunboxedinoffice1.jpg (75.0 KB, 47 views)

Last edited by TheRainforestExhibit; 01-05-2019 at 08:41 PM. Reason: forgot pic
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Old 01-11-2019, 02:59 PM
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Hi. I used the GS Pond and Stone foam on this paludarium I made. Now the bigger more realistic looking rocks Scott Allen From Vivarium Works made for me and I silicone in. But for whatever reason the GS foam is now peeling away from the glass. I did use a black, highly recommended silicone on the glass before applying the foam and it's still lifting away. Not a big deal now, but my 2 Stripe necked musk turtles will find a way to get behind it. Not saying it won't work for you, it's just that this spring I'll probably tear it down, keep the VW rocks and glue those along with some either EpiWeb or EcoWeb as the main component of my background. That way I can have one of my return lines trickle through the "web" product thus giving me more bacterial filtration also. Hoping some Java moss will colonize it, but I know good old Creeping Jenny will most definitely grow on it.
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Old 02-24-2019, 02:58 AM
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Default Re: Newbie Foam question

Couple of thoughts on using foam / Polyurethane glue:

To provide bonding to the glass wall you can do a couple of things.
1) Mix a few drops of Black acrylic paint (Art supply, not exterior paint) to Gorilla Glue / polyurethane glue to make the color black. The acrylic (water base paint) actually speeds the curing / expanding of the glue. The black also makes any exposed / visible areas more visually more appealing.

2) If the glass is not safety glass you can sand / etch the glass to give it a bit of tooth, so that the glue will bond better. On larger tanks some of the glass may be safety glass and you do not want to sand it because that can cause the glass to shatter. Clean the glass surface well to remove any glass dust. Clean it even if you don't sand it to get the best bonding possible.


Spread the glue mixture on the glass area to be covered / bonded to.

Push the egg create method and embed it into the curing / expanding glue. Hold it down as it expands into the egg create unit it is at least partially cured.

2) Spritz the egg create very lightly with a very fine mist of water.

3) Spray black expanding foam into egg create. This can be done while the expanding glue is still setting. You can let the layer fo foam cure and then add another layer but there are ways to do heavier deeper layers and still get complete curing ...



Foam and polyurethane glues actually requires moisture to cure. Typically they get that moisture from the air. One of the problems with spray foam is that with the glass wall at the rear, if you spray too thick of a layer with foam, the outer layer of foam can cure and thus encapsulate the uncured foam beneath because it will keep moisture from reaching the uncured foam underneath before everything can set up. This can create gooy pockets of uncured foam.

Here is a method for doing large deep foam projects in one shot without ending up with pockets of uncured foam.


How to foam larger layers of Expanding foam in ONE shot.

4 a) Install the foam in thinner layers lightly misting with water in between each layer of foam. This can be done while the foam is still uncured and is still expanding. Doing this will allow you apply another layer right on top of the expanding uncured foam. Alternating foam / mist / foam / mist / etc. will eliminate goopy pockets of uncured foam and will allow the layers of foam to expand together and each layer of foam can fully and properly cure.

or

4 b) You could not use a spray mister, but could inject humidity into the enclosure by using an ultrasonic vapor machine like we use for fogging tanks. This will lay down a very thin layer of moisture. This cloud eliminates any possibility of applying to much water. Then spray on the next layer of foam.

or

4 c) Before you foam anything, lay out strips of damped newspaper. After your 1st layer of foam, add strips of moist newspaper onto the expanding foam before adding the next layer of foam. Do not cover the entire layer with damp newspaper, just add periodic strips across the foam. Add the next layer of foam.


Adding moisture between the layers also speeds the reaction along. No longer do you need to wait days hoping everything cures.


Doing these things will allow the center to cure at the same time and rate as the exterior allowing you to build a very large and deep project in one shot with foam. The only thing you might find is that the foam may be a bit denser / stronger because the top layers may cause some compression of the lower levels of foam.


If you ever do get an area of uncured goopy pocket of foam there is no need to pull out the upper layers of cured foam to get to the lower uncured section. Just poke some holes through the layers to get down into the gooy pocket, inject a small amount of water into the pocket. That will reinvigorate the curing process.


(By getting moisture between the layers of foam you can even use expanding foam within fully an enclosed molds to create a foam copy of a mold. (make sure you use a proper foam release if you try this.)



I have been using colored foam for years. Something I don't understand is why more folks are not using the black spray foams that are available. They are the same material that make up Great Stuff, only are black in color which makes them much easier to cover and make look natural. The costs now are about the same as a can of the yellow / tan great stuff people have been using for years.





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Old 02-25-2019, 08:12 PM
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Default Re: Newbie Foam question

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Originally Posted by davecalk View Post
Couple of thoughts on using foam / Polyurethane glue:

I have been using colored foam for years. Something I don't understand is why more folks are not using the black spray foams that are available. They are the same material that make up Great Stuff, only are black in color which makes them much easier to cover and make look natural. The costs now are about the same as a can of the yellow / tan great stuff people have been using for years.

I can concur with what Dave is saying here. The black foam here in Canada has come down in cost and easier to find at all big-box stores, not just specialty pond and pool stores.

I use the black foams to do repairs also for customers, family and friends as it looks better If I don't have the time to immediately apply a finish over it. It also doesn't discolor and turn yellow like the other foams due to UV. I am still waiting for it to come out in the contractor size cans!

The misting between thin layers is the way I build up the 3-4-5" thicknesses in 1-2 goes in my paludarium build and how I use it to fill deep crevices/openings in ICF walls
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Old 02-26-2019, 07:30 PM
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Default Re: Newbie Foam question

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Originally Posted by andrewdingemans View Post
I can concur with what Dave is saying here. The black foam here in Canada has come down in cost and easier to find at all big-box stores, not just specialty pond and pool stores.

I use the black foams to do repairs also for customers, family and friends as it looks better If I don't have the time to immediately apply a finish over it. It also doesn't discolor and turn yellow like the other foams due to UV. I am still waiting for it to come out in the contractor size cans!

The misting between thin layers is the way I build up the 3-4-5" thicknesses in 1-2 goes in my paludarium build and how I use it to fill deep crevices/openings in ICF walls
We can get it here in the US.

Touch-N-Seal 24 oz black contractor size.

Not available up there? Try going to your big box store and see if they can order it.
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Old 03-05-2019, 08:13 PM
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Default Re: Newbie Foam question

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We can get it here in the US.

Touch-N-Seal 24 oz black contractor size.

Not available up there? Try going to your big box store and see if they can order it.
Unfortunately it isn't from any of the big box or contractor suppliers. One of my suppliers said it's due to the chemical that makes it black, is unable to come across customs in the quantity of a 24oz can???
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