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Old 09-05-2019, 04:03 PM
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Default Mod Podge Alternative (advice needed)


I am building my vivarium with a crafting buddy. We have a water design falling into a pond in our build. We have tested and carved out the Styrofoam background and tested the water. All water flow runs great. The problem is that the water will absorb into the foam pores. The "LIP" of each waterfall bowl is carved with a small piece of foam that sticks out and looks like a small bottom lip, which water flows out of. Once that "LIP" pores absorbs the water it bends where the water is falling no more, its running down the rocks. The supplies we have already is the Safe GE 1 silicone, aquarium sealant, and mod podge. My crafting buddy recommends mod podge however, I was browsing this forum just to find that it doesn't work well in humid or constant water environments. The way mod podge (plus non toxic) dries is perfect for this waterfall since it'll be hard and water repellent. Can anyone please recommend a product that can help advise me with this problem? Ideally I would want to use a product to make each of my waterfall cups "Lips" and inner cup hard and water resistant. As the water flows into each cup without the foam pores absorbing any water and changing the "LIP" structure. My idea is to mod podge the whole cup than use aquarium sealant as a outer layer to make it water proof and hard at the same time?


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Last edited by hungrymonkeyx3; 09-05-2019 at 04:48 PM.
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Old 09-05-2019, 04:41 PM
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Default Re: Mod Podge Alternative (advice needed)

In my experience I have never used mod podge for aquariums, it is definitely use in crating for foam builds though but I do not seeing it being the best use here. What result is it getting for you that you could not get with silicon?

My solution would be ditch the MP and stick with lots of aquarium silicon. Spread a thick layer down and while its curing add sand or pebble or rock to it to hide the silicon.
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Old 09-05-2019, 08:09 PM
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Default Re: Mod Podge Alternative (advice needed)

Epoxy. Fish safe epoxy. In this situation - a hard-working situation - for coloring use no paint, just use dry pigments like for concrete. Don't bother mixing in a bunch while mixing up the epoxy, you can just dust some on after you're done fabricating but the epoxy hasn't cured - while it's still very sticky.

Aside - I believe Mod Podge is similar chemically to PVA acrylic fortifiers for concrete, and PVA acrylic glues lie Elmer's. It is water-resistant, therefore useful in dryland "habitat builds" like fake rock for leopard geckos and bearded dragons. It is NOT water-proof, therefore it's NO DAMN GOOD for high-humidity situations let alone immersion in standing water, and JUST FORGET IT for flowing water.

Are we clear? Ha ha. Seriously though, you asked, so please listen.

OK, so back to epoxy. I've personally used these two for immersed & high-humidity viv/palu builds:

1) Polygem's zoopoxy ( - specifically their 307 lite, and:

2) Smooth On's cast & coat (
  • 307 lite is a putty, kind of like super-duper sticky peanut butter.
  • Cast & coat is a liquid, kind of like a super-sticky honey.
  • Each has a learning curve.
  • Both kick ass. Bomber-strong, totally waterproof, absolutely animal safe.
  • For your situation - you already have your foam carved up - I'd probably recommend the liquid. Note that Polygem has liquids too (see this page

(If you didn't have your waterfall carved up already I might recommend getting some of the thickening agent too (see polygem site), and using the 307 putty, to free-throw your sculpture.)

I got through the learning curve on my own, but no lie, it was kind of a bitch. That was quite a long time ago. Maybe nowadays there's some YouTubes or something. Anyway, now that I've found epoxy I don't really like to use much else for covering foam backgrounds. (No shade on the other guy, but personally I think silicone is best used where it can't be seen - and in a flowing-water feature, it's gonna be seen before very long.)

If you wind up going the epoxy route, do some testing first on scrap, and for God's sake buy a box of disposable gloves and wear beater clothes. Remember that water is your friend, water is what keeps the epoxy from sticking to your gloves and tools. So keep a disposable "cup" (e.g., an old butter or sour cream tub) of water on hand at all times to dip into. But if you get in a bind, feel free to PM me for advice. Or just post here and maybe I'll find you again. Happy to help.

Good luck!
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