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Old 03-26-2013, 06:17 PM   #1
rowdaddy
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Aquarium friendly products...


Hello all!
I'm hear to talk about products that are safe for use in an aquarium. I recently had a center brace break on my 55. Now I intend to derim the tank, and make a paludarium/vivarium. (I've read all over and still understand the difference. Lol)

I know silicone is safe for aquariums. I also know that particular types are not. Which brands are safe? Better yet, what ingredient(s) define a safe silicone? Are any pigmented silicones safe? ie: black, gray, brown, etc.

I intend to do a custom background/terrestrial barrier in the tank. I have found that contractor foam (the pink and blue stuff) is safe and commonly used. I have found that "Great Stuff"(expanding spray foam) is used. Though it seem that people always seal it, or at least the visible parts. There is also a pond foam spray, that comes in a black variety. I understand it is about 4x the cost. I haven't encountered any posts of diy projects with this product.So I don't know of people typically seal this product.

Pink styrofoam and yellow spray foam are not good looks for any project. I have heard of several different methods for taking care of this issue. First, outdoor acrylic paint. I have seen people paint the smallest details to foam waterfalls;algae, shadows, imperfections in the "stone", etc. I have also heard of a certain type of cement that can used over the foam. Can also be pigmented. There is also a product called "Drylok" that can be used and pigmented. I saw one project, where someone used "Titebond II" (a weatherproof wooglue).

I've seen people use organic materials. I've heard of mixing peat moss, sphagnum moss, coco fiber, mixed into silicone, and the other products mentioned.

Of course there's wood. General consensus is that a longdead, properly boiled/dipped/baked hardwood it's ideal. Though specific species are debated continuously. Mopani and Manzanita are obvious.

People have also added sand, to their coating products for texture.

Would any/ all of these materials need to be sealed?

Time to seal any materials that were used. Of course, the safe silicone mentioned earlier. I've also heard of epoxy being used. There are different types of epoxy. What makes them safe or not? I know some will dissolve styrofoam, so i know that would be a bad idea.

If you made it to this part....Thanks! I know this is a really long post, with a lot of questions worked into it. I have spent a.lot of tine.bb reading around of different forums, researching. I would greatly appreciate any help/advice from anyone. Especially if you have first hand experience.


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Old 03-26-2013, 06:46 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rowdaddy View Post
Better yet, what ingredient(s) define a safe silicone? Are any pigmented silicones safe? ie: black, gray, brown, etc.
I think it's the addition of mildewcides that makes certain silicones unsafe. I hear the silicone intended for high humidity household environments like kitchens/bathrooms has large amounts, and is the worst. Whereas silicone intended for aquariums is guaranteed to be safe.

Pigments are generally inert. Carbon black and titanium dioxide (TiO2, white) seem to be common pigments. I've custom tinted silicone/epoxy with these, using finely powdered hardwood charcoal as the carbon black. And TiO2 from an auction site, a little goes a long way.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rowdaddy View Post
I have found that "Great Stuff"(expanding spray foam) is used. Though it seem that people always seal it, or at least the visible parts.
I've heard it breaks down with extended exposure to water, and sealing exposed surfaces helps. Plus some algae eaters seem to like rasping away exposed foam.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rowdaddy View Post
I've also heard of epoxy being used. There are different types of epoxy. What makes them safe or not? I know some will dissolve styrofoam, so i know that would be a bad idea.
As far as I know, all epoxies are safe. Though some may include solvents as a thinner. That's what dissolves foam. And they require additional time to fully evaporate before being placed in the aquarium.

Not comprehensive by any means but it should be a start.
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Old 03-26-2013, 07:05 PM   #3
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Default Re: Aquarium friendly products...

No, no. Thank you. Every bit helps.

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Old 03-26-2013, 09:49 PM   #4
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I think DarkCobra covered it pretty well. I've used epoxy for several backgrounds and paludariums in the past, usually over styrofoam. I don't recall it melting the styrofoam at all. Check for 100%solids epoxy, as that means it doesn't have any solvents added to it. Acetone is typically used to thin epoxy, and this will probably dissolve stryofoam. I usually mixed my epoxy with sand, and then used that to coat, effectively sealing it, and texturing it all in one layer. If it's something that will be exposed, I'll typically dust it with loose sand, and then vacuum/brush it out after curing, so the bacground doesn't have that glossy look. I've also heard of people using chinchilla powder/dust. Not really an issue for submerged pieces. I've had good luck with the epoxies you can purchase in craft stores or paint departments, usually advertised for table/bar tops and such.
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Old 03-26-2013, 10:18 PM   #5
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Default Re: Aquarium friendly products...

Can you silicone plexi to glass?

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Old 03-27-2013, 03:27 AM   #6
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Yes, you can silicone plexi to glass, and vice versa. And as far as silicone goes, I've used GE Silicone 1 for years. It's great stuff!!!! When choosing a silicone safe for aquariums/fish/plants etc. you're looking for one that is safe for food. Obviously if it's safe for your dinner to be prepared on it's safe for the other live things you plan to have around
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Old 03-27-2013, 03:49 AM   #7
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Default Re: Aquarium friendly products...

Indeed...i intend to roughly outline my barrier with plexi with holes drilled for water flow. Then.cover that with G.S. To give a.more natural look

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Old 03-27-2013, 04:06 AM   #8
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Since this is a viv/pal, this may not concern you. Plexi does expand a tad when in water. So, if it does get in contact with water, you may want to cut it short espescially if it is in a position where it can push the glass outwards.

+1 on ge silicone I. The II has mildewcides.

When I was into cichlids, I used sheets of the white foam insulation. I siliconed a couple pieces together and waited for it to cure. Then carved out whatever shape I wanted. I covered in grey drylok. The drylok already has some sort of sand so that adds some texture to the overall look. I also tinted the drylok using some acrylic tint to get different shades of grey for some added depth. Then I sealed it in an epoxy, forgot the brand, and let that cure till the chemical smell was gone.
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Old 03-27-2013, 02:39 PM   #9
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Default Re: Aquarium friendly products...

You guys are awesome. Thank you

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Old 03-27-2013, 04:20 PM   #10
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Epoxy just popped into my head. It's sweetwater epoxy resin. I think I got it from aquatic eco.
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Old 03-31-2013, 07:48 PM   #11
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+3 on the GE Silicone I, I have used it for years with no ill effects
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