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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
So I just experienced a somewhat surprising event. I had made a background for a ten gallon out of pond foam with a single piece of wood yesterday, just to get some practice before trying to make a background out of foam for my 40 breeder.

Just now it exploded, blowing foam and glass out the back. Fortunately it was pointed towards a wall that had a large piece of cardboard leaned against it. It occurred behind the wood, so I assume the foam tried to expand behind the wood, but the wood was held in place by the cured surface of the foam so it couldn't expand anymore to the sides due to the small size of the tank. The pressure built, and it exploded... Sounded like a gun going off in the living room.

Anyway I thought I should share this experience, as if that had been pointed a different direction it could have caused severe injury, or massive property damage. The point I guess is to be aware that this can happen and to place your vivarium appropriately while curing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I didn't take any pictures, I just threw it out. Should've, I'll see if it's still out there in a bit a snap a photo or two if so.

Grimm, I think I may have. I touched up a couple gaps around the wood, when I guess I should have just let it expand and then touched it up. I also tried to make a vine like look, so the way I applied it may have played a part. Maybe it created a layer trying to expand under another, but the blast was directly behind the wood making me think it was still a curing dynamic with the surface and underlayer. Honestly I don't think it would have occurred in a larger tank.

Oh well, no one got hurt. I wasted a can of foam, and broke a 10 gallon. 25$ mistake and/or lesson.
 

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Chalk it up to experience. I had a 10 gallon blow up on my poarch when I first started, scared the crap out of me. At least it didn't happen to your 40 gallon. I've done tons of tanks since then and have never had a problem.
 

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I've always worried about this, esp since my tanks are larger oceanic ones. I do my foam backgrounds outside the tank on foam board or eggcrate and then install it. Next tank I'm doing clay though.
 

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Wow - I'm glad nobody got hurt !

I'm just scratching my head here - why don't you guys just simply use aquarium sealant? Lay the aquarium down so that the "back" is laying flat on a flat surface, and just glue on whatever you want to glue on as the background, and let it cure - and ... done!
Why go fancy? (That's a honest question - why use foam anyway?)
 

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the key here is to apply the GS in thin coats so that it hardens some before putting on the next layer. this will help with the possibility of cracking the glass. there are also different types of GS that have different expansion qualities. window & door GS will have much less expansion and should also reduce the risk of breaking your tank.

james
 

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the key here is to apply the GS in thin coats so that it hardens some before putting on the next layer. this will help with the possibility of cracking the glass. there are also different types of GS that have different expansion qualities. window & door GS will have much less expansion and should also reduce the risk of breaking your tank.

james
how long should you be waiting? and can you wait for one layer to dry fully and put another one on top of it afterward?

i'm going to be setting up a 75g and a practice 10g and i want to make very sure this doesn't happen to me. the glass on the 75 is really thick though, whereas a 10g is very thin so i doubt it would happen.
 

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I have made over 30 vivs using gs and it has never expanded to the point of breaking the glass. Its not common, but can happen. I usually notice after a couple hours the out side wil be dry , but the inside is still expanding. I have also seen my gs (once cured for couple hours) expand so much inside that it erupts a small admount of gs threw the surface. you could poke some holes around the gs once cured for a few hours. It might help release some pressure.
 
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