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Old 12-16-2019, 02:07 PM
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Default A more bioactive solution to foam backgrounds?

So it's been many many months of procrastinating due to the question of artificial tank components(foam, drylok, etc) not being very compatible with plants. I am making a fake foam tree for a 360 view tank, but dont want to inhibit plant growth on said tree. I intend on using redart/bentonite clay for subtrate and have had success using it as backgrounds in the past. I've been trying to think of a way to incorporate clay into the tree. Possibly shoving it between the valleys of the foam? I'd imagine it would fall off. But what if you took that rolled up aquarium filter media( https://www.petco.com/shop/en/petcos...AaAipnEALw_wcB ), glued it to the foam prop, and then impregnated it with thinned out clay and then let it dry/harden a bit as you would a clay background?
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Old 12-16-2019, 03:13 PM
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Default Re: A more bioactive solution to foam backgrounds?

your way over thinking this, plants will grow up on foam, silicon, etc.
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Old 12-16-2019, 03:37 PM
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Default Re: A more bioactive solution to foam backgrounds?

I agree that if you're concerned about the plants, many artificial surfaces are likely fine. My neos grow great on acrylic with some holes in it, for a more extreme example.

For a more natural surface, I like cork (virgin bark, not pressed panels). Cork flats can be used as-is for backgrounds, little chunks can be used as mosaic backgrounds, and rounds are pretty much "instant tree", with the benefit of added living space inside the round.
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Old 12-17-2019, 12:13 PM
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Default Re: A more bioactive solution to foam backgrounds?

Rather than thinking on the exact material think of the texture. Polished glass won't hold water (more than initially) and will dry up very quickly. A weathered rock for instance (that's equally non absorbant) will collect moisture and dust in all the nooks and crannies of the surface. Same with tree bark.

If you want to improve on the common foam/silicone/peat background try to add some other materials to the peat mixture. Orchid bark, vermiculite, crushed charcoal maybe?, etc, etc. Anything that will add texture and porosity.
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Old 12-20-2019, 04:46 PM
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https://www.kkorchid.com/media-for-m...ds/EcoWeb.html


You're probably already familiar with a similar product called epiweb but I've had good results with this stuff. Of course I mostly do paludariums and dripwalls so moisture is never an issue.
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Old 12-20-2019, 06:56 PM
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Default Re: A more bioactive solution to foam backgrounds?

I've thought about doing almost exactly this before and I think it would work quite well but im not sure it would be necessary in order to grow anything you would want to on the foam tree. Mosses might colonize a bit faster as the clay would hold more water.
Curious to see how it works out if you decided to try it.
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Old 12-21-2019, 12:54 AM
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Default Re: A more bioactive solution to foam backgrounds?

Something that might suit your sensibilities would be a hybrid (a word that is ok in this context) background including cork mosaic as Socratic suggested, but with clay instead of sphagnum in the crevasses.
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Old 03-07-2020, 07:07 AM
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Smile Re: A more bioactive solution to foam backgrounds?

For you, I'd recommend a pressed cork and tree fern panel background. They're both natural while providing different textures for epiphytic plants. But, like others have mentioned, artificial materials are fine.
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Old 03-08-2020, 04:45 AM
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Default Re: A more bioactive solution to foam backgrounds?

Unless you want your background to rot away and fall down, "bioactive" is the opposite of what you want lol
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Old 03-09-2020, 07:52 PM
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Default Re: A more bioactive solution to foam backgrounds?

Quote:
I've been trying to think of a way to incorporate clay into the tree. Possibly shoving it between the valleys of the foam? I'd imagine it would fall off. But what if you took that rolled up aquarium filter media( https://www.petco.com/shop/en/petcos...AaAipnEALw_wcB ), glued it to the foam prop, and then impregnated it with thinned out clay and then let it dry/harden a bit as you would a clay background?
I'm thinking about Kalle's experiments with draped fabric and runny concrete. I wonder if there isn't something there that might provide you some inspiration and jumping-off points. Did you see that thing he did? It was pretty fabulous!
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