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Old 09-27-2005, 04:46 PM
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Default Background Building Blocks

I've been doing a lot of reading on the board recently on how to seal the background so it is safe and I have some questions. First let me tell you what I'm doing. I built a rock background using insulation foam, then covered it in latex paint and finally spray painted the front the color I wanted for the rock. The next step is sealing, which is where I'm confused.

1. Does it matter what kind of epoxy? If it is marine grade will that be ok? The boat store I went to did not have any West Systems Epoxy.

2. Is there some other way to seal it other than with epoxy? The only reason is that epoxy seems to be a harsh thing to work with until it hardens. I need it to be clear, so the paint of the rock shows through.

3. When people say layers of epoxy does that mean letting one layer completely dry ( a day or two) then putting another layer on?

After it is sealed I will be gluing coco fiber onto it between the rocks for looks and also to try and get moss to grow there. I think I'm going to use the silicon method for that. Thanks for the help.

Added - I just remembered another question:
4. Since the epoxy is meant to seal everything do I have to know where all the plants are going to go before putting epoxy on? I'm sure I could drill through the epoxy later if need be, but that would lead to exposing everything under the epoxy which would defeat the purpose. Or would it be such a small area it wouldn't matter? How have others added plants to hard backgrounds? I'm asking because its easier for me to place plants if I can try a few different things. Planning where each plant goes ahead of time doesn't work so well for me.
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Old 09-28-2005, 06:13 PM
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Anyone have any ideas? Would posting this in another forum be better?
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Old 09-28-2005, 08:50 PM
 
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Marine epoxy is required if it will be in constant contact with water. Why do you want to seal it completely? The insulation foam takes a very long time to break down. The only problem I see is maybe the paint peeling. If you want plants to go through into the background you should try to take that into account ahead of time, by carving little wells out for the plants. But if you seal it with epoxy make sure you provide drainage. Why don't you just use the epoxy for the parts you want to be rock like and do the rest with silicone and coco or moss glued onto the foam. That way you don't have to worry about a sealed system leaking.
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Old 09-28-2005, 09:37 PM
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The only part that is in contact with water will be the little bit that is below the surface of the soil. I'm not worried about a leaky system or the foam breaking down, I just thought the epoxy was necessary to seal it all so that there were no chemicals from the paint or foam leaking into the viv. Is this not correct? If I don't need the epoxy it will make things a lot easier to deal with.
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Old 09-29-2005, 05:15 PM
 
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If you do a search about the foam there are a million posts about it degrading and possible problems. I've seen many tanks that have been set up for over 10 years with no problems from foam degradation. I would guess that if the paint is a latex base you wouldn't have a problem. I don't know about oil based. I do know that once paint is dried it is no longer considered hazmat because it has released all of its volitiles.
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