90 gallon DIY background build 56k warning - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 03-17-2014, 05:31 AM Thread Starter
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Cool 90 gallon DIY background build 56k warning

Picture heavy, just a warning

This 90 gallon has gone through a few changes, lots of mess ups on my part.
So on my last big mess up, or me getting bored, I don't remember at this point, I tore the whole tank down. It sat around for months until I put together a design that I liked.
I drew layouts, lots of layouts, went through them all finally settling on one that was more realistic then the others.

The plan was to create the usual DIY background build but with a waterfall area and an upper level landing area that could be emersed but constantly wet.

So with the tank drained, cleaned (scrubbed to an extreme with white vinegar to kill anything left and get out all the duckweed), equipment cleaned, tank dried, and initial inserts ready, the process the began after several months.

Before putting the inserts onto the glass, I prebuild the elevated landing area and the two walls it was touching. I used egg crating to build it up, and then zip tied a piece of styrofoam to the platform to create a solid base.
I used a piece of pvc pipe as a leg to the platform to give it more strength.
I used window/door screen to cover nearly all the areas in the platform to serve a multitude of purposes, the first of which to hold the mortar.

I went with mortar over the normal cement mix because of my past trial with it on a 20high. With concrete you have to rake out the rocks and even then its very rough grade. So I went with mortar as its much smoother, mixed it with the normal acrylic fortifier to seal the mortar.

I put in the styrofoam sheets, gluing them in with silicone I. Once in I used several cans of great stuff expanding foam to create depth and features. I also used it to fill up cracks and every where I didn't want fish or plants to get into. I created a lip and build up around the edge of the platform so I can get it to hold soil/plants. The waterfall area is also held into place using the great foam to hold the driftwood into place.

Two coats of mortar later I have a final product!


pictures coming soon once I can get them uploaded off my phone.

As I was building the background I was also gathering parts to build a co2 regulator. All the parts are together, just need to put it together, but I wasn't in a rush yet until I got the tank up and running. I will update on the regulator shortly, I got a great deal of help from FlyingHellFish, much thanks.

The flora plan is most likely for a pure crypt setup.
Parva for the front areas and most likely including the platform area.
Wendtii green and red for the background, along with balansae
lutea for the midground. I may throw in a few others depending on room, but at this point I'm thinking it may be cramped.
For the area under the platform, I have a small branch/bush that I'm going to cover with flame moss I already have.
The walls I might put several pieces of anubius nana or something similar all over it.

Fauna. Undecided still. Really loving the idea of a few breeding pairs of german blue rams with rummynose tetra's for dither.
If I go this route, I have a few caves and pieces of stone made from electrical boxes, great stuff, and I'll coat them with mortar to make them look natural.

Please leave comments, suggestions, or anything else. As I said pictures to come

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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 04-05-2014, 02:42 AM Thread Starter
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most of the plants are in,
just need to get the parva down and HC cuba.

fauna list
5 baby blue discus
2 pearl gourami
1 albino bn pleco 1 albino long fin bn pleco (baby)
1 green phantom pleco
1 male betta

the gourami and betta will be moving out in the coming weeks as I get their tanks set up

flora list
crypt parva
HC cuba (upper landing area)
giant, and I mean giant, mother plant anubias nana
anubias nana needle leaf, small thing sitting on the water fall
crypt lutea x2
crypt balansae x 5
crypt wendtii green and red
lastly, red tiger lotus in the front center, just a bulb but starting to shoot out of it now

I need ideas and what I can do in the darker area under the overhang. I have a bunch of driftwood in there, and I was thinking of moss but realize that the water is much to warm for it as I'm keeping it well over 82* most of the time.

pictures coming, I can't upload them at work.

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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 04-05-2014, 07:42 AM Thread Starter
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Click the pictures to englarge in another window.

You can see the transition as I moved from just soaking the background and pulling out the crap from it.
To adding the wood.
Then adding the dirt.
And now adding the final plants.
Need to plant the parva and HC Cuba tomorrow. Felt lazy tonight and didn't want to mess with it.
Don't mind the caves just kind of chilling in the middle of no where. I'll hide them as I plant the parva. The same with the bag of ceramic rings, they were my cycle jump starters I pulled from another tank and I used it to hold up the filter outtake pipe so it doesn't get stuck on the dirt. I'm going to cut the pipe down and rig up a little jiggy to help stop any possible future baby fish from getting sucked up.

When I ordered plants, I knew I wanted anubias on the wood right in the middle, and I saw they had a XL mother plant, and said 'hey why not?' When I pulled it out of the box I nearly crapped my pants on how huge it is!

Theres two koralia nano 240 gph adding flow. one you can see in the front pointing under the overhang, and another is in the back left behind the outtake pipe and is pointing along the back wall towards the overhang.
Flow overall seems to be very good.

CO2 tank just arrived today, I need to finish tweaking my regulator before I hook it up, but it's almost there! Will take pics of it later in the day.

Last edited by Nestle_; 04-05-2014 at 08:10 AM. Reason: pics
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 04-12-2014, 02:43 AM Thread Starter
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I will be adding a few new pics shortly, next day or three.
The lotus bulb has really taken off and there is about 6 new leaves forming on it, going to be a real eye popper when it grows out.

I need ideas for plants on the back wall and in the front right area. any one have ideas?
keep in mind my temp is at 84 or so and water is soft being RO/DI water, ph is running 6.5 or lower.
Any type of moss that will live? or maybe an anubias type that will pop out against the heavy green of the rest of the tank? maybe gold nana? no idea, someone throw me ideas

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background, custom built, diy, water falls

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