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Mao 05-22-2013 07:34 AM

DIY Ruins Question
So, while I was lying around trying desperately to get to sleep last night....I had an idea (a dream?) for the new planted tank I want to make.

I have a 5-10 gallon tank in with my stuff to move at my house in PA (moving to TX) and I know I want to do it right - learning from any mistakes I make with the 3 gallon I started up just recently. I've been toying with a few ideas of how I want to do it, and I came up with one that I am wondering if I can actually do.

So I was thinking...what if I built a castle ruins for one side of my tank? I was thinking of getting a rock tile something like this:
and just cutting it to fit the shape of the broken down walls I want.

But then I wondered. Could I just get individual stones and use silicone or super glue gel to build the walls myself? So I could get exactly the look I wanted? Would that be safe for my tank?

Any thoughts on this are welcome. Keep in mind the only other things I know that will be going on with this tank is:
- It will have plants
- It will have a good full substrate
- It will have a HOB planted filter
- It will have water :D

dprais1 05-22-2013 07:54 AM

stoe will take forever and will not give you the look you probably have in your mind.

I would do this

then I would do it again, styrofoam is cheap.

Then I would do it again. practice makes perfect and you will learn A LOT each time you do it. plus it is just kind of fun.

Then the last time do it with aquarium grade silicone and drylock paint that has been tinted with concrete tint. Take your time and before you are all done put your aquarium light over your castle because it will look 10x add some more really dark paint and check again.

Turxiat 05-22-2013 08:01 AM

Howdy Mao! I will preface this by saying that I'm pretty new to this stuff! I'm in the process of putting a built in tank in my house (currently under construction). I've been looking into doing the same thing you are, with regards to a custom background, but have come across something you might want to look into. Instead of constructing the background from natural stone I have been looking into using styrofoam with a coat of either fibreglass or quickcrete. They look amazing and, if done correctly, very natural. Below are some links that I found very useful in my research. Hopefully they will help you out if you decide to go down the Styrofoam path.Good luck!

Courtesy of "the deeb":


They are both from the same gentleman, but he is extremely thorough in his process, I hope this helps!

lochaber 05-22-2013 10:03 PM

If you are going to use actual stone, I'd recommend using epoxy or silicone, I think superglue will be more trouble then it's worth, and probably not as effective.

Styrofoam coated with something would probably be a bit easier, and give you more control over it. I've done foam coated with an epoxy/sand mix that turned out fairly well for some paludariums in the past. You may be able to just use epoxy/sand and mold/sculpt it, but that would be quite a bit more difficult.

I'd avoid the fiberglass resin, usually it's some sort of polyester resin, and it tends to be more troublesome then the epoxy resins, and the catalyst is pretty nasty. Getting the mix right can be tricky - too little catalyst and it takes longer to cure, and will likely leach stuff into the water; too much catalyst and the mix runs the risk of overheating and igniting, or leaching catalyst out.

Mao 05-22-2013 11:30 PM

Thanks for all the suggestions everyone. I have a lot to think about :3

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