Here's my situation. I'm a senior in college (one semester left!) and have a 55g African Cichlid tank and a 10g planted community. The 55g is quite tricky to move back to my apartment at school (6 hours drive) but it's doable. What makes it extra tricky is I aquascape my tank with sandstone tiles. They are heavy and I don't want to keep them in my tank during the trip because I don't want them to break the glass. I normally have to put all of the sandstone pieces into a plastic container which takes up valuable space in my Ford Explorer.
To solve this dilema I'd like to build a DIY foam and concrete background and aquascape. The plan is to get at least one 8'x4' sheet of insulating foam from my local hardware store and cut that down to size to make a rock background. Cut out "rock pieces" from the remaining part of the sheet to bring the background into the 3rd Dimension. I'd cover the background in concrete and then silicone it to the back wall (and perhaps use some burried rocks to keep it against the glass and not floating.
NOTE: the background (and aquascape) will need to be in at least three pieces because my tank has a center brace.
The tricky part will really be the aquascape. I want to build up a realistic looking scape, ideally reminiscent of Lake Malawi but upon more thought that may be tricky to do. The aquascape must accomplish a few goals
1) Cover up/hide the aquarium equipment including the filter intake/outflow, heaters, and powerheads
2) Provide ample hiding places and cover for fish of all sizes and have open spaces for swimming
3) Not restrict the light to the tank (the light is mounted 5+" above the tank so this may not be much of an issue)
4) Look awesome (because it's going to be a permanent aquascape)
The aquascape will be built off and blend with the backround. I plan on using the foam sheets from the local hardware store and foam inserts that come in some packaging. Those should be able to give me random pieces that can be cut down and form rocks.
An interesting thought I had was caves and hiding places can be built and supported with PVC (white) or Electrical conduit (dark gray) tubing. That may provide a safe and easier way to provide caves and hiding places.
Does anybody have any experience with building a background/aquascape and have any suggestions on how to build this. I head back to school most likely on the 20th of January and want to have it soaking in a tub outside a couple of days before then to finish off the pH spike.
Other thoughts I have had is creating individual rocks out of concrete and foam and using super glue/guerilla glue/fragging glue to permanently stitch them together. Using real rocks would make the setup too heavy to move IMO
Thanks. Here's a shot of the tank for your reference.
Here's my progress on the background/aquascape.
I figured out where each piece of equipment will be. I then decided how I wanted the water to flow through the tank and made sure the equipment (heaters, powerheads, filter parts) were in locations that would allow for their proper performance.
I cut the 2'x8' foam to fit the tank. We will use two sheets the dimensions of the tank, one as a "spine" and a second for decorating rocks.
I marked out where the equipment will be and how I wanted the decorating background rocks to be appear.
I had to cut my background into three sections in order to fit it into the tank. My tank is a standard 55 gallon setup which has the center brace.
I cut out the rocks and locations for the equipment and shaped the rocks by trimming the edges with a knife and sanding to blend. I marked each rock with a number to keep the spot. I marked each location and rock with a number.
Let's let the glue dry overnight.
I'm now working on building the aquascape up and completing the equipment chambers. I hope to be concreting this weekend.
After the glue dried
Sideish view of arch
Now it's time for GreatStuff Expanding Foam for blending and gap filling