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Old 02-16-2015, 12:38 PM   #1
Freemananana
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Foam cave floats


I recently make a little cave out of foam, then I glued a bunch of lava rock to it with silicone, and wrapped it in moss. Unfortunately, it floats. I for some reason keep forgetting that stuff floats in water. Any advice on getting it to sink? Does great stuff expanding foam water log and sink? I've got some photos of me putting it together and what I had planned it to look like.

For right now, it is sitting in a large plastic bucket with something holding it submerged. However, I don't think I want a 2x4 with a block on top holding my cave down forever.











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Old 02-16-2015, 12:50 PM   #2
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Get a piece of slate and glue the cave on top of it?
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Old 02-16-2015, 12:58 PM   #3
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Glue a magnet to it
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Old 02-16-2015, 01:13 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Freemananana View Post
Any advice on getting it to sink? Does great stuff expanding foam water log and sink?
It should not "waterlog".Being a sealed cell foam I believe if it soaks up water it is probably degrading.
I like the slate idea.
Or hollowing more out and gluing rocks to inside for ballast?
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Old 02-16-2015, 02:10 PM   #5
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I thought I had hollowed it out. I'll see what I can do about hollowing it out more and using something else for rigidity.

I will also see what I can do about finding a piece of slate for it. The plan was to angle the cave, but that may have to change if I need a piece of slate to hold it down.
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Old 02-16-2015, 02:49 PM   #6
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Alright my man, several things:

1. You HAVE to make sure there is plenty of flat bottom on that cave. Those edges are probably not enough. Remake the cave so there at least a little bit of flat bottom

2. Use GE Silicone I. And smear it on the bottom of cave and/or aquarium bottom glass where the cave will go.

Mine floated because it was an enormous piece. With the silicon yours should not float. But be sure and let it cure a couple of days. Mine cured 4 days before i filled the tank.
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Old 02-16-2015, 02:53 PM   #7
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Quote:
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Get a piece of slate and glue the cave on top of it?
+1 if it is going to be on top of the substrate.

Quote:
Originally Posted by adamfish View Post
Glue a magnet to it
+1 if it is going in the tank before the substrate.
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Old 02-16-2015, 03:49 PM   #8
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There are times when we just need to rethink the whole plan. It may be easier to start over?
I don't know who the cave is for but if it is for pleco/BN, there may be a problem with using foam. They rasp off pieces of wood so I would not want to give them a shot at foam!
My caves were made using cutoff plastic bottles or ilk jugs, then covered with the other materials. they don't float or degrade so easy as foam. I now just go with wood and hollow it out as it looks more natural.
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Old 02-16-2015, 04:04 PM   #9
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It was just an aesthetic thing. I will start over. Maybe I can make it out of plastic or something instead. I just wanted a cave to fill some vertical space while not taking away from the volume of water too much. It also gave me somewhere to put some of this moss. I got a ton of java moss for free recently and I don't know what to do with it all!
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Old 02-17-2015, 10:42 PM   #10
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I'd try to just build a cave out of lava rock.

find a container or something the approximate shape you like, or stuff an old grocery plastic bag full of something - rags, newspapers, dirt, whatever to make a mold, and then just stick lava rocks on it, and silicone them to each other. Most of the work will be selecting and fitting the rocks together, similar to building a stone wall, and trying to keep the silicone hidden.

I built my first paludarium this way, got a couple bags of lava rock, several tubes of silicone, and went to work in a 10 gallon... it worked out pretty well, but it does take some time...
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Old 02-18-2015, 06:55 PM   #11
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I'd try to just build a cave out of lava rock.

find a container or something the approximate shape you like, or stuff an old grocery plastic bag full of something - rags, newspapers, dirt, whatever to make a mold, and then just stick lava rocks on it, and silicone them to each other. Most of the work will be selecting and fitting the rocks together, similar to building a stone wall, and trying to keep the silicone hidden.

I built my first paludarium this way, got a couple bags of lava rock, several tubes of silicone, and went to work in a 10 gallon... it worked out pretty well, but it does take some time...
That's what I originally did, but the cave crumbled when I moved it. This was attempt #2. So maybe I'll go for attempt #3~
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Old 02-18-2015, 10:34 PM   #12
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Make sure it sits on it's mold for at least a day, until the silicone sets up good. And don't be stingy with the silicone - use pretty big gobs, so it gets into the nooks and crannies of the lava rock. Maybe even do a double layer of rocks, to help cover the spots where the silicone shows through.

When I built my paludarium, I had a horizontal shelf made out of lava rock, taking up maybe 1/4-1/3 of the tank surface, and supported by a column in one corner, and the back/side of the tank, and it was pretty solid.

Most of the effort is sorting through the lava rocks and finding ones that match up well together.

It might not hurt to wash them off too, just make sure they are thoroughly dry before trying to silicone them.
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Old 02-19-2015, 12:44 PM   #13
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They charge over $10 per lava rock at my LFS, for mini sized ones. Even a plain black smooth rock the size of my fist, $12. Haha
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Old 02-19-2015, 03:01 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lochaber View Post
Make sure it sits on it's mold for at least a day, until the silicone sets up good. And don't be stingy with the silicone - use pretty big gobs, so it gets into the nooks and crannies of the lava rock. Maybe even do a double layer of rocks, to help cover the spots where the silicone shows through.

When I built my paludarium, I had a horizontal shelf made out of lava rock, taking up maybe 1/4-1/3 of the tank surface, and supported by a column in one corner, and the back/side of the tank, and it was pretty solid.

Most of the effort is sorting through the lava rocks and finding ones that match up well together.

It might not hurt to wash them off too, just make sure they are thoroughly dry before trying to silicone them.
I hosed mine down extensively outside prior to assembling them. I was liberal with the silicone, but maybe they weren't stacked enough. I globbed the junk out of them though.

I have come up with another, different, idea. We will see how it goes. I may go with manzanita driftwood and a lot of swords/vals to get height.
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Old 02-19-2015, 10:24 PM   #15
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If I'm looking for small lava rocks, I'll just pick up a bag at someplace like Lowe's or Home Depot, where they are sold for landscaping and such. I can't remember off hand, but it's not more then a few dollars for a decent sized bag, which would be more then enough for any reasonable sized cave.

If you need more then that, you could get it cheaper in bulk from a landscape supply place, or stoneyard, or similar. Sometimes they also have the really small stuff, gravel sized, or the larger pieces as accent rocks and such.

Epoxy might work better then the silicone, but you would either need to mix it with something to increase the viscosity, or use a putty or gelled version.
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