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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok so after checking out Devanny's viv and a few others on here, I decided to tackle a rock wall myself. For the water fall I cut poly foam used in seat cushions into general rock shapes and hot glued them in place.

I then sprayed GS for Windows and doors (blue can) on either sides of the water fall to hold a few pieces of malysian driftwood and plastic planters. For smaller planters I used small plastic shot cups.

What I aim to accomplish is a corner concrete background overlooking the pool which will cover the majority of the bottom.

This is where I'm at so far so questions, comments and concerons are all welcomed.
full view
front
side
waterfall detail
 

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wow looking good so far. I just did my first rock backing and loving it, Also starting a new rock water fall soon. What type of pump are you using
 

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Are you planning to put peat on the great stuff and just concrete in the rocks? I thonk that is a great idea
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
wow looking good so far. I just did my firstrock backing and loving it, Also starting a new rock water fall soon.What type of pump are you using
Thanks Young. As of right now I have an old ZooMed 501 that I'm debating on using. I think I might go with a larger canister filter due to the height of the enclosure and stand when I get one. The tank has been drilled so everything will be external except for the aquarium heater for the water feature.
What are you plnning to keep in this? I assume it's not darts, since there will be no land area..
No darts yet, I looking into a small, colorful species of tree frogs and maybe some vampire crabs and shrimp down below. The pool will also be planted so it may end up being a marsh.
Are you planning to put peat on the great stuff and just concrete in the rocks? I thonk that is a great idea
Beth my original plan was to concrete the GS also, but I have thought about finishing it with peat, coco fiber and jungle moss. I know if I finished it the latter way I would have to finish and cure the waterfall then allow the GS to dry completely. I think for the sake of simplicity I'm going to concrete everything and hope it turns out nice.
 

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Thanks Young. As of right now I have an old ZooMed 501 that I'm debating on using. I think I might go with a larger canister filter due to the height of the enclosure and stand when I get one. The tank has been drilled so everything will be external except for the aquarium heater for the water feature.
No darts yet, I looking into a small, colorful species of tree frogs and maybe some vampire crabs and shrimp down below. The pool will also be planted so it may end up being a marsh.
Beth my original plan was to concrete the GS also, but I have thought about finishing it with peat, coco fiber and jungle moss. I know if I finished it the latter way I would have to finish and cure the waterfall then allow the GS to dry completely. I think for the sake of simplicity I'm going to concrete everything and hope it turns out nice.

Mixing crabs and frogs isn't a good idea...
Frogs...especially tree frogs like to sit in the water and absorb the water
I'm sure at some point a frog will get attacked by the crabs...
I wouldn't mix crabs with anything.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Didn't think of that Dragon... I thought Vamps would be ok due to their small size and I figured the tree frogs would stay higher up out of the crabs reach.
 

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They sure aren't darts...but a group of firebellies would be neat to watch...and I have some Endler Live Bearers in the water portion of the paladarium...having some "sunning rocks" that could be covered in a low growing moss would be a good spot for the firebellies...Since the firebellies have some toxins on their skin, make sure to not handle too much...they don't bother the fish at all. I have emerging plants, part under, part over the water...you have to consider how you could feed crickets to whatever frogs you choose...they drown pretty quickly unless they have a land mass...good luck...love the spillway for the waterfall...keep us posted
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks Judy. I've kept firebellies in the past in a vertical set-up similiar to this one... Needless to say no cricket ever lost its life due to drowning.... FBT's are voracious eaters. What surprised me the most about them is that they climbed the near vertical bg surprising well and they spent a lot of time near the top of the tank. I hope the spill way turns out how I plan I want to plant it with dwarf anubias and maybe java moss.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Ok so yesterday I stopped by Home Depot to pick up some concrete but they had the whole concrete isle blocked off. Luckily there is a Lowes five mins up the road so I paid them a visit and picked up a 10lbs page of Quikcrete mortar. So tonite I began applying a extremely runny mix to the poly blocks of the waterfall, and this is how it came out.



I was a lil hesitant about using mortar because I couldn't find many tuts on applying it but from what I have seen from vivs built with concrete it actually looks the same IMO.
 

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okay...I'll bite...what is the blue material covering? I really, really like the appearance of the stones...they look particularly authentic...more so than carving GS...explain more how you shaped them, etc. and how you stacked them...looking so good. Are they on a GS background, a seperate piece of styro, what...?? Are you going to have to go thru the soaking phase to change the pH?? Explanation of the plumbing, etc.???
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
You pretty much made my day Judy:)! Now I'm no expert at this at all and its a lil experimenting mixed with a lot of trial and error.

The blue stuff is actually painters tape that I wrapped and covered the driftwood with to keep it from getting covered in concrete.
The foam that I used comes in a 2'x2' block and its about 3" thick. I got mines from Hobby Lobby and it was about $4. I cut the block into many smaller blocks over the course of 2 days while watching tv or whenever I found the time.
Instead of leaving the blocks well blocky, I cut off the sharp edges. I tried to be very random in the sizes and shapes. To build the waterfall I started at the bottom hot gluing the larger pieces directly to the glass and worked my way up. I tried to be random in my placement as well. Some pieces I didn't glue but just jammed them between other pieces to create depth. Now the next time I do a build like this I will actually use the pink styrofoam sheets as a foundation instead of gluing the blocks directly on the glass.

One thing I did notice with the mortar is that it is very gritty and the sand flakes off when you rub it and I really don't like that so I will probably use an acrylic fortifier or floor leveling cement in the next coats to try to get a smoother finish. Of course cement, mortar, grout etc. has a very high PH so I'm going to soak the whole tank in my bathtub with water and vinegar to help cure it.

As far as the plumbing go all equipment will be external and I have already drilled the tank to accomodate this. I have a Zoomed 501 canister filter for turtle tanks but will probably go with something larger to better control water flow and to inject CO2. I used to keep planted aquariums and I believe vivs and palus would benefit from CO2. There are many mods I have planned for this build but I don't want to bore you all at once, but they include modding the stock screen top and a DIY CO2 reactor.
 

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Vampire crabs and other Geosesarma prefer having land as well, so they wouldn't be a great choice for this viv. You could probably get away with some cherry shrimp or similar... I'd stay away from CRS though, it's harder to manipulate water quality/parameters with the water feature leaching stuff into the main pond. Either way, you probably won't see much of the shrimp unless you're doing constant water changes due to tannins tinting the water brown.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Vampire crabs and other Geosesarma prefer having land as well, so they wouldn't be a great choice for this viv.You couldprobably getaway with some cherry shrimp or similar... I'd stay away from CRS though, it's harder to manipulate water quality/parameters with the water feature leaching stuff into the main pond. Either way, you probably won't see much of the shrimp unless you're doing constant water changes due to tannins tinting the water brown.
what is CRS exactly? I plan on getting a stump shaped piece of driftwood to create a land area in the water feature so if I chose land crabs they would have a place to dry their feet. As far as the concrete I'm not worried about it leaching chemicals once its properly cured. Zoos use concrete for their enclosures all the time
 

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Crystal Red Shrimp, if you don't have prior experience with them, I would definitely recommend keeping them separately first.. they can be super picky about water quality/parameters.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Ahh I'm slow. No I would give CRS their own tank filled with Christmas moss covering every square inch of it, ghost shrimp however I would put in to act as a clean up crew along with MTS.
 

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Am hoping to find those blocks at our local Michael's...no Hobby Lobby here...are the 2 x 2 blocks hard like styro, or soft??? I have used the acrylic bonding liquid along with several different colored grout mixes..the Latircrete brand. I still ended up using marine epoxy on the bottom edges and back, as well as the waterfall area just to avoid the colors being affected after painting those areas with acrylic paint. To lesson the gloss, I did use colored sand here and there..and superglued some small aquarium stones....stuff like that. That sort of "landscaping" is truly fun...as well as the plants of course...ah, then there are the frogs!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Re: 1st "Rock wall" ZooMed palu.... pic heavy.

It's soft poly foam, somewhat like memory foam. Our local michaels only carry the green fake plant styrofoam So good luck on that. I was kindof worried about the quikrete mortar until last night well early this morning I was searching on an aquarium forum and a lot of aquarium keepers use mortar with their builds and most with no additives, so with that new found info I slopped on another running coat. I didn't take any pics because it looks exactly the same as the first coat but I have notice that most of the rocks are hard while the one next to it might still be crumbly. The "stones" that are hard reminds me of granite and since I live next to the largest piece of granite above ground, I'm just going to stain themwashed out hues of earth tone colors. I want to redo the GS part but I probably shouldn't, but what will be another alternative? Also do you have any pics of your build Judy? Also there was an error in the title of my thread, the tank is actually a Zoomed not exo terra.
 

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soft foam...ohhh. that's why the "edges" are really not hard, sharp edges...interesting that even side-by-side that one would be hard, the other crumbly...The acrylic hardener might help to stiffen the cementious coating...are you concerned about washing away of any other waterfall area??? From what I've tried, and see...there is no "perfect" way to do it...and with all our efforts to create an authentic appearance...we hope that eventually it will all have moss and vines on it!!! I don't have a camera...don't have time to read the instructions even on my cell phone or answering machine....am too busy on DB...!!
 
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