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Discussion Starter #1
Guys, I'm having trouble deciding what is the most cost effective way to make the background for my Xenopus laevis tank that I'm working on.

Now that somebody mentioned Becker's foam at Homedepot that is black, I may want to go with that instead of the Black Expanding Foam from Dr. Foster and Smith. I know there is debate right now on the forum, and if anybody can provide more info about that other type of Becker's foam, that would be appreciated.

Whatever foam I choose, the more important thing to consider is a good coating. I don't think my method for my tricolor and mantella tank with silicone and peat is going to work in this situation very well. It will be VERY difficult to cover inch per inch in such a large tank. Plus, clawed frogs could rip the coating right off with their claws.

While I've thought about the pool epoxy, its going to be white. I want it dark colored, but Jhupp mentioned that the stuff by Bondo (which I think is darker colored) contains noxious off gassing, potentially taking a long time to off gas in such as large tank.

I saw this stuff at my local hardware store called "Garage Shield" with a nice, dark gray color. (but brown would look nicer) any ideas on this? (i think its identical to that bondo stuff)

Sorry guys if this kinda topic has been brought up a million times lately on this forum. If anybody has a good website to link me to on DIY reef tanks (for good examples) that would be greatly appreciated. Don't mean to be pesty.
 

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alright guys. Jhupp, make sure you read my PM before you read this. Once again, I did try out that website, but wasn't able to locate much. Most people want to paint their TANK behind the glass a blue color, not somethng I want for the misty, table mountains of Cape Town, South Africa.

I guess I am going to go with the Black foam from Dr. Foster and Smith. I cannot really find a medium to actually paint the yellow colored Great Stuff. I cannot find Beckett foam at Home Depot either. The only epoxy that I've seen colored is Garage Shield with a two part formula that is medium gray, but it is highly expensive and I might as well just forget about it, as it will be more work and no more expensive than the gun foam. Plus, there will be more expense as a bunch of Great stuff would be needed.

I've considered painting Great stuff first, and then apply perhaps a translucent layer of fiberglass resin, but I don't remember if its transparent or not. I have heard rumors that this fiberglass crap also has air bubbles which isn't good.

About making fake rocks, apply the coco fiber isn't going to work this time considering the fact that it'll rub off underwater.

Damn, I'm stumped. Are there any suggestions?
 

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Read the PM and I will just respond here.

The point of the link wasn't what they were doing, but the links contained with in the thread. It was the various chiclid tank backgrounds that I thought you might have been interested in. Good instructions for producing a concrete coated background, amoung other things.

The epoxy pool coatings come in just about every color imaginable, not just white. If you hit the web you should be able to come up with something. I belive all the following links go to black epoxy pool coatings.

http://store.yahoo.com/poolsinc/epoxytypeep.html
http://www.intheswim.com/catalog.cfm/de ... toreid/134
http://www.aqua-pool-warehouse.com/Cata ... HI%20Build
http://www.intheswim.com/catalog.cfm/de ... toreid/134

Going the painting route, I have seen West Systems epoxy resin used to coat painted backgrounds in fish tanks.
 

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Jhupp, correct me if I'm wrong, but when this paint lasts for 5-8 years, does that mean I'm going to have to take it apart and reapply when it reaches that amount of time? :shock
 

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http://www.cichlid-forum.com/articles/d ... ground.php

Actually, this is the site that got me interested in DIY tanks. Sorry Jay, my brain hasn't been working. :lol: Dude, I want that. :D I asked around a while ago about using cement background, but I'm more concerned about leaching. Is leaching itself the bad part, or is it the pH alkalinity of the water that is harmful? Several species of Xenopus will inhabit the same areas that cichlids are from, however, I don't believe Xenopus laevis laevis likes more alkaline conditions. Xenopus victorianus from lake Victoria I think appreciates more alkaline waters, but not laevis laevis.

Now that I know epoxy paint comes in other colors, I'm still debating. One thing is for sure. For the amount of Great stuff, plus the epoxy paint, its going to come out more expensive then if if I just used the black foam plus some kind of cork bark and wood.

I find the naturalistic concrete look to be the nicest, but its the leaching that bothers me. I'm sure if I add some sort of acidic subsoil for the anubias plants like laterite and peat mix, it should help balance.
 

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I did some more research, and yes, many have complained that this cement background will not work well with other types of fish/ frogs that like lower pH.

well, I visited Vivarium Concept's webpage, and this mortar got me interested, especially the 12 pound bag.

I have a question about this stuff. Does it cure shiny and stiff, or more rough like actual rock? The real reason, other than expense, why I want to find something else other than epoxy is the shininess that will make it look fake.

I really see this as my alternative, (hopefully) to the concrete idea. How well will it bond to styrofoam or Great Stuff? This is all assuming I follow a similar pattern as this link

http://www.cichlid-forum.com/articles/d ... ground.php

Is it actually possible to mix in concrete pigment? As a final note, will it leach any lime?



 
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It pretty much cures like cement....

This might look shiney but it has water running over it....

this one also has water running over it.... I would say it looks more like rock than shiney, though I suppose how it dries might play a role on how it turns out. The first picture I actually applied most of the mortar *after* I had water running down the waterfall(don't ask how I managed to keep the pump from clogging with cement), and it seem to come out fairly smooth compared to the streambed in the second picture.


-tad
 

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well, another big let down. I got a reply from Cindy from Vivaria concepts, and apparently, a 12 pound bag is NOT going to be nearly enough to cover an entire back wall of a 100 gallon.

She recommended "acid washing" the concrete, but I have no idea how effective or even how to do it.
 
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