use epoxy or will silicone work? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-04-2007, 07:46 PM Thread Starter
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use epoxy or will silicone work?

For my new loach tank I am planning on making a cave decoration. I bought an abs (3" if I remember) Tee-Wye. I am thinking about coating it with sand (the same sand as in the tank) and probably plant some ferns on it so it hopefully becomes invisible in the tank. Will it work if I smear silicone all over it and coat it with sand? I've got plenty of silicone left over from my days as the cable guy(we used it whenever drilling a hole into an outside wall to seal it up) so its free and I'd like to be using it up. If that isnt best then I guess the alternate is epoxy, in which case can anyone point me in the direction of a good aquarium-safe epoxy?


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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-04-2007, 07:58 PM
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The silicone will work as long as it doesnt have any mold inhibitors or other nasties added in. Ive never done what you are talking about in a fish tank, but have tons of exp doing the same thing in frog tanks. The mold inhibitors will keep any bacteria from growing, which is a big problem in the nitrogen cycle. Other nasties may harm the fish. Some silicones are 100% food safe, and I would reccoemnd them if you have them. Currently (and for 6+ years) Ive been using the GE II silicone which comes in a few different colors. This is perfect in case you dont get full coverage of the sand. It comes in black, brown, and tan which covers most of our natural substrates.

Also, IME all 2 part epoxies are animal safe once fully cured. The curing process is when they release their toxins, and this can be very harmful (even to humans), so dont expose your fish to any curing epoxy, and you should be fine. You can find a slection at lowes or HD near the paint section where they have their adhesives. The LOC-TITE brand also has a few differnt colors, but I think they are amber, grey, or black. You may luck out and find a sand color as well.

Either of these options shouldnt cost more than $8 or so, as long as what you are covering (not sure what a tee wye is, but its only 3" ) isnt too big.

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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-04-2007, 08:43 PM
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It's possible to do, but as mentioned above, I would only do it with aquarium safe silicone. I made PVC tunnels/caves just as you mentioned, using aquarium silicone. They held well. Silicone is better to use, since you can take it apart if you don't like it. With epoxy, once it set, it will hold. If you do go with epoxy, you also have to use aquarium safe epoxy as well.


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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-04-2007, 09:34 PM
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I've used this here before, and it works great. As previously mentioned, it's rather permanent.
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-04-2007, 09:52 PM
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I've used the silicone for windows and doors (GE silicone I). The kind for kitchens and bathrooms will kill your fish. The most important thing is that it is 100% silicone rubber.


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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-04-2007, 10:12 PM
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Ive used this for building tanks.
http://www.westsystem.com/

Ive also used the small tubes of loctite for small repairs wihtout issue.

A friend of mine uses evercoat epoxy extensively in custom built plywood tanks.

I did forget to mention though about the door and window silicone

BTW, all the epoxies I mentioned are liquid type and not putty type. IMO, it would be a lot easier to apply sand or other coating to the liquid types. Ive used them for sealing waterfall in vivariums, then coated with small grain gravel and sand. You can actually see one of the fall in the left corner of my sig pic.

Good luck!

Landon

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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-05-2007, 12:50 AM
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Ive done this before, I usually work one half of the obect at a time, Squirt your silicone all over it, and get a throw away brush. the "paint" it around. Sprinkle your sand and rocks over it. Thick applications of silicone will take awhile to dry. If you want to get it really detailed I would wait 30-60 mins for it to setup a little. You can then "pat" the sand/rocks into the silicone.

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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-08-2007, 05:17 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the ideas. I just wasnt sure how well sand would stick to silicone. Yeah the stuff I have says aquarium safe on it. If the sand will stick I'll just go that route. I;ll keep the epoxies mentioned above in mind for future projects.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Landon View Post
Either of these options shouldnt cost more than $8 or so, as long as what you are covering (not sure what a tee wye is, but its only 3" ) isnt too big.
Actually its quite large... 3" is the diameter as in 3" pipe. Its big enough that I can put my arm inside it and it goes nearly from my elbow to wrist plus the extra Y part that goes off to the side. I am hoping it will fit a few larger clown loaches in it, or all of them right now since they arent full grown yet.


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