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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
How do I make a vivarium background that is tiered and can be heavily planted?

I see a lot of threads using siliconed wood and GS spray foam.

I am assuming that after this they kind everything with that coconut fiber stuff?

Does it need to be siliconed in or will the fiber stuff stay?

Basically if someone could post a step by step or link me to a really good (pic heavy) thread on how to do this that is really detailed for noobs, that would be fantastic. I have been searching the construction thread for an hour now but im not quite finding what I'm looking for.

I would love to add a nice background to my current viv but want to make sure I do it right!
 

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GS foam, silicone (usually black) coating all the GS, place coco fiber over silicone nice and thick, wait at least 24 hours, touch up any areas that need

1. Silicone glass where GS will be placed to give cleaner look and allow GS to stick better.
2. GS foam background add pots to place plants in (make sure they have drainage)
3. Wait 24 hours for foam to cure all the way through
4. Shape GS foam usuing razor blade
5. Silicone GS foam using black silicone coating all the crevices of the GS
6. Cover with coco fiber/ peat moss
7. Wait at least 24 hours to dry
8. Touch up any areas missed from first attempt with coco fiber/ peat moss
9. Wait 24 hours before adding plants to allow fumes to disapate
10. Add plants, moss, etc.

This is usually the steps that I take. I haven't done one in a while but it can be fun. I would use latex gloves while applying GS and Silicone. You don't want to get the GS on your hands because it sticks with you for days.

Type in "how to make a great stuff background" on youtube and you should be able to find some. This is how I leanred and got started on it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Wow that was very helpful!

How do I stick the Coco fiber to the foam, or does it just stick by itself?
 

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When you apply the silicone over the GS the coco fiber will stick to it. Don't apply the cocofiber to the GS. You have to wait for the GS to dry and then apply silicone and then apply cocofiber. When you apply the GS foam to the back or sides of the tank apply it lightly as it expands quite a bit. Apply big handfuls of cocfiber or peat moss as not all will stick. Then when you go back to check for any areas not covered, shake all the leaft over coco fiber off before applying more silicone and cocofiber. If you go to HD or Lowes you should be able to find a big bag of peat moss for very cheap. That is what I usually use for backgrounds.

Wow that was very helpful!

How do I stick the Coco fiber to the foam, or does it just stick by itself?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Gotcha.

If I wanted to, I could skip the GS and just silicone peat or coco fiber as the background correct?
 

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I've never tried that but it might work. Maybe others will chime in a give their experience with this. I might be concerned with the coco fiber coming off in the long run but this happens in the GS way too. Glad I could help. I hope whatever you do, you have fun doing it. Setting up the tanks is most of the fun.

Gotcha.

If I wanted to, I could skip the GS and just silicone peat or coco fiber as the background correct?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Agreed! Thanks!

Does anyone else have any insights on backgrounds for noobs? I would love to add a nice background to my current viv but want to make sure I do it right!
 

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HERE is a construction journal I made for my leucomela tank and it has been going strong for over 5 years now...
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
HERE is a construction journal I made for my leucomela tank and it has been going strong for over 5 years now...
The visuals are very helpful. Did you silicons the 'forest bed' to the GS foam?

I will be applying this background to an established viv so I might run into some issued with the foam :(
 

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Do an advanced search for titles with "Clay Backgrounds"
Very, very, very easy and quick. Also may be more benefical for frogs and plants.
 

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You could just use the silicone and substrate on the glass, but it would be rather flat unless you kept building up the silicone.
I usually leave gaps in my GS background that show glass and then fill this areas as mention above. This way the GS forms a cave or ledge or overhang and it keeps things close to the back of the tank. As opposed to building out so much that most the open space is background.
Hope that makes sense.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
yes it does thanks. I think I am going to pull out a bit of growth so I can construct a proper background.
 

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Looking good!

I made a reply to your post asking for good sources of info, but I guess I was too late, so I deleted it haha
 

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Just a suggestion for future vivs, next time, you might want to put some sort of plastic liner on the tank before putting on the GS/silicone, because if you ever decide to redo it, it can be a bit of a pain to remove. Trust me. Learned this from experience. It took me an hour with a putty knife just to remove stray bits of silicone from making the background. It was of coarse my fault for getting the silicone everywhere, but it was my first tank. I plan on maybe starting another viv sometime in the near future, and I'll be sure to be careful this time! :rolleyes:
Whoops. Rambling again. ahaha
 
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