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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm looking for a viv and frog safe epoxy to cover and cut down cure time for a drylock fake rock water feature. I've looked through some threads only to find that it works. But I'm looking for brand names or any success with the method.

I did find that on fish/reef forums that they have successfully used epoxy resins rated for potable water. Would this be viv safe as well?

Thanks and sorry if I over looked what I'm looking for
 

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Epoxy is the best way to go. It CAN be the safest way to go too. You must use it properly and use an appropriate kind of epoxy. You will not find this at a local hardware store which is why everyone has been flocking to Drylock. Its a far inferior material compared to epoxy in multiple ways, but its easily available and in this hobby that tends to take priority.

If you do a search online you can find manufactures of "100% solids epoxy resin" fairly easily.

Unfortunately here in the USA, we have not successfully banned the use of a particular epoxy additive that has some pretty nasty side effects on aquatic life that every epoxy in the US market contains. (So far as I've been able to find.) It's nothing to freak out over for PDF's, however it is something to be concerned for if you are not mixing it properly or you use it for saltwater fish.

I'm designing an epoxy that does not contain this additive/filler for the use of this hobby and the saltwater industry. Its taking forever, but the initial results have been pretty good. Yes every epoxy manufacturer knows what this material is, and knows its effects as it has been WELL documented and even banned from use in the UK. Why the US manufacturers continue to use it is plainly because its cheaper and easier to formulate an epoxy system with it than without it and because it doesn't have a conclusive effect in human studies. So it is used in potable water systems as well.

If I had decided to use this filler/catalyst/additive it would have cut my formulation headaches in half, however, I its not an environmentally conscious thing to do, especially if I plan to sell to the saltwater industry.

So go ahead and use a true "100% solids epoxy", mix it well and let it cure properly. You'll be fine with it for this usage. Just expect a better material somewhere down the line eventually.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Is there an alternative to the epoxy? Like a non-toxic clear coat paint?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I may just can the idea and wait for something more appropriate like what your designing. This is kind of bad timing for another cure & wait, cure & wait vivarium. And nothing close to the clean cut, and as natural as I would like it to be. I'm a little edgy as this is my first day on this bs thurs-sunday shift I was forced into. And add injury to insult I am being forced to stay over 3hrs to cover for a call off. Damn union and my lowest seniority position -_-
 

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Polygem makes most if not all of the epoxy formulations used by zoos and world. Their products are expensive but worth it if you want a long term display. However, they take a long time to master in terms of working with them and achieving the right look...basically sculpting with peanut butter.
 

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True, but many of their products still contain the aforementioned material. I inquired about getting them to custom formulate a product for me that did not contain this, but I didn't get any traction. I like their stuff and think its the best of what is available in the USA, but until they reformulate to remove that particular accelerant/filler from their epoxy system I'm opting out of using them. (Problem is by removing this material it requires an fundamental change in the chemistry which is no easy or cheep task so I by no means dislike them for not doing it, it just is something that it looks like I will have to undergo myself to achieve. Luckily I'm a biochemist with no life.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
By all means keep EVERYONE updated. That would new a turning point in this hobby and in the vivarium/palu/reef world!




True, but many of their products still contain the aforementioned material. I inquired about getting them to custom formulate a product for me that did not contain this, but I didn't get any traction. I like their stuff and think its the best of what is available in the USA, but until they reformulate to remove that particular accelerant/filler from their epoxy system I'm opting out of using them. (Problem is by removing this material it requires an fundamental change in the chemistry which is no easy or cheep task so I by no means dislike them for not doing it, it just is something that it looks like I will have to undergo myself to achieve. Luckily I'm a biochemist with no life.)
 

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And thus why I do it. :)

The epoxy is only 1/5 of what I'm working on. If/when everything is finally in order (only 2 years working on it as of now) you'll have a full line of DIY vivarium/aquarium safe materials to choose from that are chemically formulated from the ground up for this exact hobby and background/interior design. None of this "Will X i bought at Home Depot work?". So many different things out there can work with various success, but many of them have hidden issues and setbacks that I hope to alleviate by starting from what properties I want and then designing something that meets that rather than finding something meant for another purpose that only sort-of works. Plus you'd be surprised at the markup on so many of the things we use in this hobby too. Not saying my end formulations will be cheaper, but I really hope for them to be close enough to what we currently use as possible, if its not less expensive. No point if its 2-3X the cost.

Just this week alone I designed a "flevopol" like material. Appears to yield much better results than my previous attempts using the methods I've seen on this board. Have to go into the testing phase to determine the exact degree of effectiveness for waterfall usage and the like, but very happy with it at the moment. Only time and testing will verify though. Figured out why some people see bubbles and others don't, why some mixes work and others don't. Why the folks over the pond have better results than we do, sometimes. Here's a hint. Everyone is using a different material (even from the same brand), the shelf-life is typically <6 months, and it can never get below or above certain temperatures or it ruins the batch permanently and the temps are different for each polymer well within temps easily seen in transit. Oh and my favorite is that some polymers used are water-soluble. (Doh!!) On top of the fact that we are all using at most a 20% polymer solids mixture. So cut out all that garbage and you can get something that should work much better, and even under more stringent conditions. But all in good time.
 
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