Material for rock background
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Old 03-04-2014, 02:43 AM   #1
jeremy va
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Material for rock background


I have 40g tank that's about 4' long and 18" high. I'm thinking of building a set up where the tank is half filled with water and where I have a moss wall in the back below the water line and, above the water line, I want to create pockets I can plant. This means I need to sculpt the back. I can make a "rock" base from styrofoam and great stuff but I need some help identifying a grout-like material to go over the foam and/or a sealer. There are plenty of threads elsewhere on this where people mention grout and various other materials. But I can't find mention of a specific brand that is known to be safe in an aquarium/palludarium. Obviously, if lime leaches from the grout into the water that could be bad. One workaround would be to use colored grout (same as you would use with tile) and then layer on a sealant. There are epoxy paints that people use in ponds as a sealant but they are black and not suitable for this -- I think I need a clear, flat finish. Does anyone have a specific recommendations for either a safe grout I can get from HD or Lowes or online and/or a reco for a sealant that is invisible and safe for fish/inverts? I appreciate the help...
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Old 03-05-2014, 03:26 AM   #2
lochaber
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I've done this sorta thing before with a sand/epoxy mix.

One time I just bought some bulk epoxy from a plastics retailer, other times I just bought the stuff from a paint/hardware store. Got the stuff intended for making counter/table/bar tops, usually advertised as "equivalent to 30 coats of varnish"

Just mixed some sand in with each portion, and then sorta 'glopped' it on, since it was pretty thick.

I'm actually considering doing a similar thing in the near future, maybe using ground up safe-t-sorb so it matches the substrate colorwise. I'll have to do some experimenting first, I might need something 'grittier' for texture.

If you haven't already, you should check out dendroboard, it's a bit smaller and slower then this site, but a lot of people with some great tanks and good advice.
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Old 03-05-2014, 05:03 AM   #3
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I have been reading a lot of threads and watching a lot of youtube videos on making backgrounds lately. One coating I see mentioned a lot is drylok. It is supposed to be fish safe after it cures.

Look at this thread. It is what the deeb says he used, and his backgounds look fantastic.

http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh...ght=background
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Old 03-05-2014, 11:59 AM   #4
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Lochaber, I do go to dendroboard and they definitely have some real expert advice -- so good advice. Mixing sand with epoxy might look good. And, im2smart, thank you for the link -- those are both well crafted backdrop -- I'll test Drylok, for sure.

My man concern is, obviously, that I kill my fish, plants or inverts. Inverts are especially sensitive as we all know, and, once I get a tank built, I want 100% confidence that if I change the inhabitants the new residents won't croak.

I suppose I could do a Mengele and buy some drylok and put a blob in a tank with a couple of shrimp and see if they survive.

There was a mudskipper tank that may have used drylok or something similar that I'm sure you've seen -- pretty inspirational.

Thank you for the feedback!
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Old 03-05-2014, 01:10 PM   #5
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I have used drylock, it works very well and suffered no fish losses. you can get several deli style cups (or whatever) and mix up different color batches using concrete tint-so you can layer colors and add highlights.

drylock has some texture to it so it does appear 'grainy' you can add more texture by mixing in some sand.

the negative I have is that you need to realize that whatever color you put on will seem about 5 shades lighter when you put your aquarium light on the tank. So, a medium grey will appear light grey and a dark grey will look more like medium grey.
another pint to consider is that it won't adhere to silicone well.
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Old 03-05-2014, 01:58 PM   #6
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Does anyone know if drylok bonds to acrylic?
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Old 03-05-2014, 03:33 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeremy va View Post
Does anyone know if drylok bonds to acrylic?

don't know. but it bonds to glass just fine. I have a 40breeder set up for 6 months maybe. the back inside glass in painted with drylock
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Old 03-05-2014, 05:30 PM   #8
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Cool, If it bonds to glass it should be fine with acrylic...
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