Rocky Foam Background - Now Planted (135 gal) - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-20-2012, 12:18 PM Thread Starter
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Rocky Foam Background - Now Planted (135 gal)

Here's a journal of my 135 gallon show tank. I built the stand, canopy and background. It's my first attempt at a styrofoam background, originally intended as a Malawi cichlid tank. The tank operated for two years with all-male haps / peacock cichlids, shown here:



However, I kept reminiscing about a planted tank I used to have and missed the movement and greenery. So I took the plunge and converted this tank last week. It's now intended to be a mixed community/rainbowfish aquarium. These initial pictures are just after initial planting with Gordon's group order:









The substrate is pool sand - which I agree is pretty bright. I hope to get a carpet going eventually - perhaps of marsilae minuta or something similar.

Other specs:

Filtration: Fluval Fx5 and Eheim 2217 in tandem
Lights: 2 x 36" two bulb T5HO, 1 x 96w PC
Fish: lemon tetras, rainbowfish, syno. cats, rainbow cichlids, angels (to be moved later), serpae tetras, festivum


Now the plan is get some growth on the plants. I've glued on several patches of moss on the rocks, which when spread, should look pretty awesome. I'm also adding fish - 6 rainbowfish (goyder river trifasciata) and 6 roseline sharks arrive today.

More pictures to follow as things grow and progress.
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-20-2012, 12:54 PM
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Wow... That is beautiful.
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-20-2012, 01:04 PM
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Did you make that background yourself? Very nice.
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-20-2012, 01:12 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the compliments!

Yes, I did the background "freestyle" Here are some pics from the background build a couple of years ago....











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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-20-2012, 01:14 PM
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I think I read or saw that one on youtube.
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-20-2012, 01:19 PM
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Very nice!

What did you cover the foam with?
How did you get the color?
What did your carve with?

And what would you do differently next time?

Thanks
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-20-2012, 03:34 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
What did you cover the foam with?
It's 3-4 coats of Drylock.

Quote:
How did you get the color?
I used brown cement dye powder as well as black. Combined with the white Drylock in a separate container, I created a palette of various shades of gray with light brown highlights. The first coat was a base dark color - almost black. Then each successive coat was lighter and lighter so that a natural mottling effect is achieved. Finally, very sparing highlights of white and light tan were applied. I diluted some brushstrokes with water to get various intensities in color.

Quote:
What did your carve with?
Just a serrated carving knife (that we used to cut turkey and ham), much to my wife's dismay.

Quote:
And what would you do differently next time?
First I would make the crevices more shallow which would allow the background to be thinner. Right now it's not as narrow as I would like. Second, I should've split the background into three pieces before painting. I ended up painting it before realizing I'd have to break it up to get around the center braces. I'd also plan out the filter intakes a little better....they work and are hidden, but it's awkward.
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-20-2012, 05:23 PM
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Nice work.

You can make some really nice features with that styrofoam + Drylock construction. It is surprisingly easy to shape the styro into almost any form you want, though it does make a huge mess with all those little expanded beads. I found it easiest to just sweep up frequently with a vacuum cleaner.
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-20-2012, 05:44 PM
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Thanks for the follow-up. This is one of the most realistic backgrounds I've seen yet. i think that can be attributed to your painting skills. You did a very nice job with the highlights which helps to sell the pc as real rock...Well done!
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-25-2012, 12:24 PM Thread Starter
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Here's an update on this tank one month later - with lots of new plant growth, new fish, and a new layout:

















Let me know what you think!
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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-25-2012, 01:17 PM
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Your tank is looking great! I wanted to do a styrofoam back for my tank, but it wasn't deep enough. It's only 12", if it was 18", I would have done it. That's why I need to get another tank


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Who would have thought that plants like dirt?!
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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-26-2012, 02:01 AM
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I love the colors, the roselines are sweet! Very nice job on the background.
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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-26-2012, 03:13 AM
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Stunning!
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