DIY 3d background, no cement. - The Planted Tank Forum

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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-14-2014, 10:28 AM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Norfolk, UK
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DIY 3d background, no cement.

My first attempt at this. It is for a 70"x30"x24" freshwater tropical tank with sump.

Blue core styrofoam. Cut to size to fit either side of a central weir. Decided on a sedimentary style background.
The lines represent my intended layer separation.


Next I cut the channels. The vertical lines are a rough approximation of a horst and graben fault so I can cleanly separate each side into 2 pieces. This allows me to get the background into the tank through the fairly small openings between the bracing.



Next I weathered the surface using a wire brush and a woodfile. The lumps were then attached after using a grinder to hollow out the rear faces to form cups I can put plants in. I used aquarium safe silicone to attach and strengthened the placement with cocktail sticks.
After initial weathering, I then used a heat gun to gently melt and smoothen the surface.



Next I painted the background. I'm using non toxic, 100% acrylic paint.
Not sure on my 'artistic' interpretation of sedimentary rock but I'm happy with it for a first attempt.
I will then seal it with g4 pond sealer. This will alter the paintwork a bit but should add, not detract from the final article.


You twist and turn like a... Twisty,turny thing!:- Lord Melchett
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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-14-2014, 11:42 AM
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Awesome write up and good job, I have wanted to do a 3D background for some time now just have not ever gotten around to it. Would love to see the finished product in the aquarium!
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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-15-2014, 10:41 AM Thread Starter
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Sealing it this afternoon. Found on a test piece that it's best to let the acrylic dry for a few days to reduce smudging. Also stops the pond sealer softening the finished piece.

You twist and turn like a... Twisty,turny thing!:- Lord Melchett
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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-18-2014, 06:21 PM Thread Starter
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Mock fitment.






You twist and turn like a... Twisty,turny thing!:- Lord Melchett
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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-27-2014, 07:19 PM
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very cool

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14 Gallon Tall Aquarium
Picture link Soon
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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-27-2014, 08:24 PM
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Very nice. One question though what made you want to create a horst and graben formation.

Have a gniess day. -Scott

GEOLOGY Rocks Have A Gneiss Day
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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-27-2014, 10:51 PM Thread Starter
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It handily concealed a split I needed to make to get the background in the tank. Can you fault me? It was an uplifting experience.

Night viewing.







You twist and turn like a... Twisty,turny thing!:- Lord Melchett
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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-27-2014, 11:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Renrag39 View Post

Can you fault me?

It was an uplifting experience.
Gniess.



Have a gniess day. -Scott

GEOLOGY Rocks Have A Gneiss Day
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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-28-2014, 03:04 PM
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Too many puns for my taste... but gneiss job
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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-30-2014, 12:56 AM
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Looks amazing, cannot wait to see more update!
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post #11 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-30-2014, 06:52 AM Thread Starter
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Right, the acrylic paint leaches a bit at first, staining the water slightly, BUT it isn't toxic like cement, just unsightly.
If you do go this route, you'll still need a massive waterchange after a few days but then that's it.

Have just planted the first wave. Will take pics later.
Thanks all

You twist and turn like a... Twisty,turny thing!:- Lord Melchett
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post #12 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-30-2014, 02:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FreshwaterInvertsCA View Post
Love the background. Inspired me to go buy some foam. I think I'm going to go with drylok, but now I'm starting to question it. Look forward to some more updates.
What's your reservation about Drylok?
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post #13 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-30-2014, 05:08 PM Thread Starter
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My filter.
Main filter compartment filled with some pond sponges, scrubbies and lava rock.
There's a heater in there somewhere too...



My refugium, 10w 6500k led floodlight on a 14hr timer. Cat litter substrate.



Secondary filter compartment, pond sponges, scrubbies and more lava rock. Another heater in there too. Overflows into pump chamber, pumping iro 4-5000lph.


You twist and turn like a... Twisty,turny thing!:- Lord Melchett
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post #14 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-30-2014, 05:26 PM Thread Starter
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This is the main tank. First wave of planting. Full daylight part of my fade in, fade out cycle. 2x 6500k 50w led floods and 2x 3500k 10w led floods. Will be adding another 30w 6500k flood soon.










You twist and turn like a... Twisty,turny thing!:- Lord Melchett
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post #15 of 21 (permalink) Old 05-11-2014, 12:56 PM
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Looks gorgeous! If I wasn't pining over my driftwood project, I'd consider trying this. Puns intended.


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