This is my first ever real planted tank build. I have spent the past 10 months running a small 10 gallon, and 2 20 gallon planted tanks to try and learn as much as possible in hopes of converting my 75 gallon paludarium into the real deal. I am still a newbie in this game but it’s a total blast trying to master a bunch of new parameters. Let me know what you think and any suggestions you may have to make it better. As always….thanks to all the folks on this site who have helped answer the billions of questions over the past year.
Tropical riverscape theme
2 Ehiem 150 watt heaters
1 Eheim 2213 canister filter
1 Eheim 2217 canister filter
1 canister pre filter hooked into the 2213
2 Koralia nano pumps for extra water movement
DIY background (drylok method)
Coralife 4 x 54watt T5 light (only running one for 9 hours/day)
Pressurized CO2 with ceramic diffuser underneath the Eheim' intake (3.5 BPS)
Drop checker (yellow in color by half way point of photo cycle)
Water temp: 76
3 inches of crushed orchid pumice stones in deeper back portions of the tank
Play sand in right foreground
Heres a shot of the pauld before the project began…
Last edited by Learner; 11-23-2013 at 06:28 PM.
I started with 2 inch thick pink foam from HD. Pieces were cut and siliconed together in the places that I wanted to be quite deep.
I used only a steak knife to carve the rock design I wanted.
It was designed to have gaps in both corners for the multitude of hardware and holes were carved out so that the nano pumps could be attached to the tank using their magnetic bases. I tried to angle them to cover any possible dead spots.
When the carving was done I lightly brushed the entire BG with a propane torch to smooth out the edges and make it more realistic. Be careful here not to get too close and make sure your ventilated.
Last edited by Learner; 11-23-2013 at 06:29 PM.
Original Drylok (which is the best) is white in color. I didn’t really use much of any coloring for my first coat. The drylok is really thick so I went with a light first coat to make sure I got good adhesion right off the bat. I let it sit over night.
My second coat was with charcol concrete coloring added to the drylok. I used the only powdered brand that HD had. Mix your batch up in a good sized cup and just keep adding until you get the proper color. I made sure to get a good covering with this second coat. I sprinkled some play sand onto the BG while the drylok was still wet and left it overnight.
My third coat of drylok was to create the muddy/ sandy/ rocky look; like the bank of a tropical river. I made two batches of drylok for this. 1 with buff and a bit of brown and 1 with buff, a little bit of brown and then some charcol. I painted a darker layer in the crevices and went lighter on the parts that stuck out the most. Sprinkled some more sand onto the wet BG, and when I got the look I wanted, let it sit overnight.
The last part was dry brushing some un-pigmented drylok as highlights over the entire BG. Just dab the brush in the white drylok and then brush off what appears to be all of it onto a piece of cardboard. Then just lightly swing the brush back and forth on the BG’s high spots to give it a weathered and even more natural look. This is the key to a good BG in my opinion.
Last edited by Learner; 09-22-2012 at 07:00 AM.
I siliconed the BG into the tank and then added the faux rock dividers for my substrate. I am trying to lessen the constant erosion and make the undulation bottom more permanent. It also acted as a splitting barrier between the eco-complete and the sand in the foreground. They were all siliconed in. I let this sit for about 2 weeks before adding water.
I soaked the DF pieces for 4 weeks and changed the water as often as necessary to get all the tannins out and try to outlive the plaguing white fungus. Everything soaked for about 5 weeks total with multiple bags of activated charcol to get any impurities out of the water.
Last edited by Learner; 11-23-2013 at 06:30 PM.
Just a few days ago I planted what plants I had been growing in the two 20 gallon “learner” tanks. I have amazon swords, crypt lutea, dwarf sag, rotala, anubias nana, anubias hastifolia, and anubias lancelota.
I'm hopin for the best
Last edited by Learner; 11-23-2013 at 06:32 PM.