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I am in the process of constructing a vivarium with a rock background. I am wanting to have all of the cracks be filled with coco fiber, but I am disappointed with the coverage and depth that simply putting coco fiber onto the silicone, so I thought about mixing the coco fiber in the silicone.

Interestingly, a tent that I recently got suggested mixing silicone with mineral spirits to thin the silicone so it could be painted onto a floor as an anti-skid mat. The spirits would then evaporate away and the silicone would dry in the painted pattern.

I thought about doing the same with a vivarium. Essentially, make a very dilute silicone-mineral spirits solution and then mix in coco fiber. I could then put the mixture into the cracks to cure. I tested it out on a sample outside of the viv and I like the look, but it looked wet, and I imagine, when it dried, it would still look wet since the silicone will have dried to all of the coco fiber. I solved this by simply dusting some coco fiber over the top of the mixture so that it lightly stuck to it, that way when it dries, it'll look like a thick layer of coco fiber. I'm still waiting for it to dry to see if it works.

My big question is, will the use of mineral spirits cause problems for viv with frogs and plants in it? It's the sort of thing where I would let the viv air for a week or so, so that everything dried and evaporated. Would it leave a residue? And would the residue be harmful? If it is harmful, would it be something that could be removed? As best as I can tell, it completely evaporates off and isn't an issue..
 

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Grimm is working on a tank where he used toluene for this purpose: http://www.dendroboard.com/forum/parts-construction/65988-peninsula.html More information can be found in that thread.

After his use of it someone posted asking about Xylene: http://www.dendroboard.com/forum/parts-construction/68060-xylene-compared-toluene.html There is a lot of information solely on the use of these thinners.

Mineral spirits should evaporate completely as far as I am aware. After curing I believe it should be safe, others can chip in more so there, but read through the two threads and it should help some too.
 

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It is going to depend on the grade of mineral spirits you use. The inexpensive kinds tend to leave a sulpher residual when they dry. As to whether it is enough sulpher to affect anything is a good question..

Better grades used by artists tend to be better purified and unlikley to leave a residue behind.

Ed
 
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