DIY 3D background using "Great Stuff" - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 35 (permalink) Old 03-11-2011, 02:50 PM Thread Starter
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DIY 3D background using "Great Stuff"

I'm going to try my hand at a very simple 3D "mangrove river" background in my 55gal using some twigs, sand, and "Great Stuff" rigid expanding foam. I'll start with a slab of 1/2" pink rigid insulation cut to size for my backer board, then hot-glue my twigs to that... making them look like tree roots dangling in the water. Once the twigs are affixed, I'll use the spray-foam to add some depth and build up areas to hide the filter plumbing and heater. While the foam is still "wet" I'll sprinkle some sand and colored tile-grout over everything to give it some texture and color. When that is all done, I'll seal it all with WBPU and paint if necessary with acrylics... should be fish-safe after soaking it in the bathtub a few cycles. I hope to start the project this weekend, so I'll put up some step-by-step progress pics.
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post #2 of 35 (permalink) Old 03-11-2011, 03:28 PM
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Great project. There are a few members here who have done similar projects.

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post #3 of 35 (permalink) Old 03-11-2011, 03:55 PM
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Solid. The tough thing about 55g is they don't have much depth already, so don't make it too thick. I did a similair thing with the bottom of my paludarium. It will still look good.


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post #4 of 35 (permalink) Old 03-11-2011, 04:15 PM Thread Starter
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Yeah, I'm going to try to keep it pretty flat against the back wall with just a few sticks jutting out to give the fish places to hide. Then I'll plant some anubias nana at the base, x-mas moss on some of the bigger branches, and java fern on a few sprigs so it looks like leaves on shoots. In the foreground I'll have some crypts, an ozelot sword, red rubra, a mound of pellia (coconut cave for blue rams), HC carpet, a patch of lilaeopsis, and a few other odds and ends tucked into the nooks and crannies.
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post #5 of 35 (permalink) Old 03-12-2011, 05:01 AM Thread Starter
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And here we go... did the whole thing in about 2 hours.

It stinks like hell right now and will have to off-gas for a few days before I can wash it and put it in the tank. I think I'll hollow out a few caves in it too once it hardens up.
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post #6 of 35 (permalink) Old 03-12-2011, 05:35 AM
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I like it. It has character.


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post #7 of 35 (permalink) Old 03-12-2011, 05:40 AM
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Looks good. I also like your kitchen. Sorry, Im a sucker for nice appliances...
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post #8 of 35 (permalink) Old 03-12-2011, 05:53 AM Thread Starter
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Yeah, if I get any Great Stuff on that stove my wife will castrate me.
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post #9 of 35 (permalink) Old 03-12-2011, 06:26 AM
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Originally Posted by warhead_71 View Post
Yeah, if I get any Great Stuff on that stove my wife will castrate me.
lol... My next stove will have a center griddle burner. Enough about stoves...

Are you going to space that background out from the back of the tank and plumb behind it?
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post #10 of 35 (permalink) Old 03-12-2011, 06:52 AM
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lol... My next stove will have a center griddle burner
I have one, it's been used like 2 times since we got it 2 years ago, but I like it


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currently looking for a co2 system,i have plants,shrimp and live food cultures to trade
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post #11 of 35 (permalink) Old 03-12-2011, 07:23 AM
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I have one, it's been used like 2 times since we got it 2 years ago, but I like it


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I cook a lot of breakfast and when I do its for a lot of people. I was also a short order cook for a while so cooking on a griddle is fun for me. Mine would get used...
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post #12 of 35 (permalink) Old 03-12-2011, 01:26 PM Thread Starter
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I built up the foam on the far right edge. I'll carve that out from the backside so I can run the filter intake. My output is a spray-bar, so I might have to carve a little notch for that so at least the gooseneck is hidden.
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post #13 of 35 (permalink) Old 03-12-2011, 01:56 PM
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Very cool, what kind of tank is this going to be? I picture a cichlid tank but I am probably wrong.
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post #14 of 35 (permalink) Old 03-12-2011, 01:58 PM
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Fantastic job!





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post #15 of 35 (permalink) Old 03-12-2011, 02:18 PM
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Is that thing 4' long? Doesn't a 55 have a center brace? How are you getting that past the brace?

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