DIY Background - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-16-2006, 04:10 AM Thread Starter
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DIY Background

Do DIY aquarium styrofoam backgrounds have to be permanent? I want to try it, but I do not want to be stuck with a ugly background if I mess it up. I do not want it to be thick at all. Just a half inch think, flat and covering my entire back of the tank. I'm thinking it will have to be siliconed to the glass in order to sink. Am I right? Thanks.
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-16-2006, 05:36 AM
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One problem I ran into with a background - made of cork - was that some fish just love to wedge themselves between that background and the glass. Then they get stuck and die. So, I consider that the main reason why the entire periphery, at least, of a background has to be siliconed to the glass. It is easy to do, but hard to make sure there are no gaps where fish can squeeze thru.

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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-16-2006, 01:03 PM Thread Starter
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So what you are saying is that either way, I would have to have a permanent setup? Forgive me, I am an idiot when it comes to DIY. lol If you silicone a background to your tank it will be permanent right? Is there another way of making the background stay in the water and not float or come up?
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-16-2006, 02:37 PM
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If you make it a tight fit, you can have the bottom being held in by the Gravel & the top will not move if it's wedged under the rim of the tank... But, then there would be plenty of space for fish to get stuck in back of the background...

Does that Answer your "Q"?
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-16-2006, 08:16 PM
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The background is not permanently installed just because you silicone it in place. You only need a bead of silicone around the periphery of the background, and it isn't hard to break that bond when you want to remove the background. Of course you may destroy the background removing it, but if you liked it you wouldn't be removing it anyway.

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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-19-2006, 04:22 PM Thread Starter
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Ok, so my next question is about epoxy. Is it clear or nuetral colored? What can I add to color it? I've read that a lot of people just use epoxy and then sprinkle with sand for texture. That is fine, but I want a tannish brown looking background to match my ada malaya aqua soil.

So do I add paint to the epoxy? If so, what kind do you recommend for this application? I've decided to go through with this and I want to take my time and get it right.

Thanks for your help guys.
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-20-2006, 03:05 AM Thread Starter
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Please guys help. lol I have to buy this stuff soon. Tank's just sitting there.
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-20-2006, 03:19 AM
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MIXOL Universal Tints - Woodcraft.com
If you want to do it right, this is the stuff to use.

Hoppy
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-20-2006, 11:59 AM
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This one was made with "a product called Sika Topseal 107 manufactured by Sika Corp. This is a two part polymer modified cementitious material used for waterproofing. This product is approved for waterproofing drinking water storage tanks so it will be safe for the aquarium. Also it can be fully submersed after air curing for 48 hours. No further messy and time consuming curing is neccessary as with straight cement and sand mix applications. "

"After the base coat was dry I applied the color coats using the same material and adding cement color tints made by Sakrete (available at your local HD). I used Charcoal, Red, Buff and Brown cement colors. Mixture of black was the first color applied to the caves, crevices and over the rock surfaces with a brush and sponge"



Mehmet's DIY Background

This guy spells EVERYTHING right out for you in his artical on how to make one...
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-21-2006, 09:54 PM Thread Starter
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Ok, thanks guys for the help. Now the thing I can't find is epoxy. Every hardware store only has the little tubes of it that dry in 5 minutes to an hour. I then went to miller bros paint store and they had acrylic epoxy in a gallon jug for $60. Which one do I use. I cannot afford to pay $60 for epoxy to do this project.
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post #11 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-22-2006, 04:17 AM
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Try silicone, marine goop or marine epoxy. Some hardware stores have more than others.
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post #12 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-22-2006, 05:33 AM
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I have found epoxy to be expensive no matter where I get it. Even in gallon buckets it doesn't seem to get as cheap as I would expect.

Hoppy
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post #13 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-22-2006, 11:51 AM
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You can use "West System". It's for boat building, but, it's very harsh to work with from my understanding. I think the Sika Topseal would be much better to work with. That way you don't need to use a cement material & then use an epoxy sealer over the entire thing, plus, the Sika is for potable water tanks. So, if it's safe for our drinking water, it would be safe for fish. But, it's ultimately up to you!

Steve X.
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post #14 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-22-2006, 01:20 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks guys. Well I was trying to get this all done while I had the time off from work. Therefore anything online is out of the question. I guess I will use marine goop. Should I paint the styrofoam before? Or should I mix it with the goop? Thanks once again.
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post #15 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-22-2006, 01:27 PM
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You should be able to get the West System locally... Although, with the main market being boats... I don't know how many boat builders there are in OH...

I've never heard of "Marine goop", but, it does sound like some sort of boat building supply... Mayeb where you can get that, they would have the West System?

OK, I looked it up, it seems The "Goop" is silicone, am I right?

I would paint it before sealing it...

Steve X.
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