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mubender 07-07-2009 10:34 PM

sealing natural bamboo shoots

First off, i've done a lot of searching and buying/testing of bamboo/polyurethane varnish combo's to find one that is safe for my aquarium.

here's the scoop.
I've decided to go for an asian themed aquarium scape much like that of roy deki's bamboo aquarium.
From what i've been reading it is necessary to coat the bamboo shoots with a polyurethane varnish of some sort in order to keep the natural bamboo from leeching toxins from inside the cane itself.
My first try(out of the aquarium) was bamboo shoots with a minwax polyurethane varnish...4 coats. I tested this combo outside the aquarium in a clean plastic bucket and noticed the varnish began to liquify and leech completely into the water column seriously fouling the water.

My second try was with a new set of bamboo with the cabot brand semi-gloss polyurethane 8017, and 4 coats...again i let them sit in a clean bucket to ensure safe water parameters, and again the polyurethane liquified into the water column fouling the water to unsafe parameters.

I'm out of options, and have been doing lots of searches, a few sites i have found simply state to coat the bamboo with polyurethane varnish, but don't give a varnish type/name/etc.

I was simply wondering if anyone had any options i could try before i pull my hair out...i've been at this for 2 months and still haven't come to a good conclusion.

Thanks in advance,

Bellaru 07-07-2009 11:02 PM

Have you read up on or thought about marine grade epoxy? It can be alittle pricey but is supposed to be good. I used it when I made a back drop for in my tank.

customdrumfinishes 07-11-2009 04:08 PM

aquaticmagic sells the bamboo caves, they are burned and black in color, i guess to seal them ?
i have read up on bamboo in aquariums several times and seems everyone has there own opinion on it lecching or falling apart in the tank if left natural and dried out.

id like to know how to keep it in the tank an it not rot. the marine grade epoxy or fiberglass resin would work but it would be shinny , plastic looking and not cheap.

this post should be moved to the diy forum

ER9 07-12-2009 01:53 AM

krylon sells clear gloss and clear matt spray finish in spray paint cans. its acrylic resin based and i would think an excellent sealer for bamboo. the clear matt might not look as 'plastic' as the gloss. basically its acrylic resin (same used in acrylic aquariums) dissolved in solvents. it might be a good alternative to the urethane but give it a day to cure and then soak it to remove any residual solvents.

brycerb 08-07-2009 10:53 PM

I have heard that if you let the bamboo grow out of the tank it will stop it from rotting.

talontsiawd 08-15-2009 07:47 AM

I forget the company but somebody makes an actual catilized spray clear out of can. You can only find it at autobody supply stores (not like autozone). It is somewhat pricey as well. I think this would do the trick as it actually has hardener in it (it is like 2 part expoxy). I would be it is overkill but if you are really struggling, might be worth a shot. I think any clear enamal will hold up well, especially automotive stuff in a can (though it doesn't compare to automotive paint out of a gun).

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