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Old 11-23-2009, 09:30 PM
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Default Foam Backgrounds: Rot Resistant/ Durability?

I am thinking about doing the foam background method for my upcoming vivarium. I plan on following this site to the T: Caring for frogs

It is basically exactly the same as everyone else's, though he didn't bother using silicone which would definitely save a lot of aggravation. Also, I like the way they turned out, especially when bits of the foam stick out and look like rocks.

I plan on running a waterfall stream and possibly a dripwall down the background. Will this background hold up or will it eventually begin to degrade/fall apart/rot?

Thanks!
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Old 11-24-2009, 11:50 AM
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Default Re: Foam Backgrounds: Rot Resistant/ Durability?

I built a lot of backgrounds using Brian's siliconeless approach. I used black pond foam. I've not run a water feature over this type of background, but I would guess that it would not not stand up over the long haul and that the embedded material would wear off.

If you want to limit silicone use and run a water feature, you could limit the silicone to just the area where the water runs.
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Old 11-24-2009, 12:21 PM
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Default Re: Foam Backgrounds: Rot Resistant/ Durability?

I've seen a lot of people do it without doing a first & last layer of silicone. (one on the glass and one over the foam) I doubt that will hold up extremely long, honestly. I used GS foam on the outside of the house - and after about a year now it's pretty well destroyed. Granted - most people tear down vivs every couple years so the point may be moot...

The silicone seals it - and if you do a layer on the bottom AND over the top of the foam - water should never even hit the foam.

Just my $.02
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Old 11-24-2009, 02:17 PM
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Default Re: Foam Backgrounds: Rot Resistant/ Durability?

Thanks for the replies! Isn't the pond foam waterproof though, so that it really wouldn't need to be sealed with silicone? I realize the coconut fiber would fall off if not sealed in, but it seems like the pond foam would last quite a while?

Thank you for your help!
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Old 11-24-2009, 03:18 PM
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Default Re: Foam Backgrounds: Rot Resistant/ Durability?

I think the pond foam *may* be waterproof, if it is left intact as it cures after spraying, and not cut or shaved - it is not closed-cell foam internally.

As far as foam durability, I think it depends on where it is used and what the particular foam's specifications might be. For example, many foams have a warning that foam exposed to sunlight (UV) needs to be painted or in some way coated. Otherwise, photochemical breakdown can result.

The foam should last quite a while in a tank. A silicone layer may help lengthen its lifespan, I don't know for sure.

Adding silicone isn't really that much of a chore - just make sure you get some with an acetic acid solvent and no other additives and use some gloves - it takes little time to apply and certainly looks good upon completion. Plus, you can carve the cured foam into whatever contour you like best.


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Old 11-24-2009, 03:37 PM
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Default Re: Foam Backgrounds: Rot Resistant/ Durability?

Thank you for the very informative post roxrgneiss.
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Old 11-25-2009, 02:55 AM
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Default Re: Foam Backgrounds: Rot Resistant/ Durability?

I've used the black pond foam and some of the coco fiber is already falling off plenty in some areas. I'd def. go with some silicone next time around. The good thing is that it does look similar to rock in some areas. I doubt my tank will even last 2 years though at this rate. I've been trying to induce some moss growth on it to hopefully fill in the bald areas.
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