best way to build a stone wall in tank - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-24-2018, 12:22 AM Thread Starter
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best way to build a stone wall in tank

I live in Nashville and I'd really like to re-create the look of the limestone rock walls in the aquarium I'm putting together

see for examples: https://goo.gl/images/kLNWkE, https://goo.gl/images/q7sqoE

I really like the look of elephant stone that buceplant sells, but my question is how to build up a wall along one of the sides of the aquarium? Is it safe to lean rocks against the glass?
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-24-2018, 01:39 AM
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I love the limestone look as well and have used lots of it but I might ask a few questions first.
One is how you want the tank to work as far as PH/GH/KH. Since limestone does run those readings up if you add it to water that is low in any of those. Not a problem if your water is already hard and alkaline but something to consider if you have soft acidic water.
Second is how much effort versus how real you want the wall to look. Also something to consider is how much art skill you have. Art to make a fake look real or mechanical skill and tools to work the real rock?
Cutting, fitting and attaching real limestone can turn out great but it is also a long, challenging process!
I do not advise fitting rock directly to the glass as scratches are almost certain.
That leaves many making a fake which is "okay" but not the real good look they wanted. It's hard to fake natural stone. If not into the real, I suggest looking at foam covered with something like quik-crete, etc.
Maybe do some searching for walls and how to?
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-24-2018, 10:54 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PlantedRich View Post
I love the limestone look as well and have used lots of it but I might ask a few questions first.
One is how you want the tank to work as far as PH/GH/KH. Since limestone does run those readings up if you add it to water that is low in any of those. Not a problem if your water is already hard and alkaline but something to consider if you have soft acidic water.
Second is how much effort versus how real you want the wall to look. Also something to consider is how much art skill you have. Art to make a fake look real or mechanical skill and tools to work the real rock?
Cutting, fitting and attaching real limestone can turn out great but it is also a long, challenging process!
I do not advise fitting rock directly to the glass as scratches are almost certain.
That leaves many making a fake which is "okay" but not the real good look they wanted. It's hard to fake natural stone. If not into the real, I suggest looking at foam covered with something like quik-crete, etc.
Maybe do some searching for walls and how to?
Is elephant skin stone limestone? I had not realized that. I use RO water for all my tanks since Nashville sits on a huge limestone deposit and we get our water from the cumberland river. It's been my experience that the GH/KH of the water fluctuates quite a bit, so I went the RO route for stability in parameters. I remineralize to GH ~7, KH ~3, and pH ~7.5. Definitely not wanting to put stone in my tank that will futz with those parameters.

As to the art skill aspect, I have no skill whatsoever. Thanks for the tip on using foam, I'll check it out.
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-24-2018, 01:22 PM
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You could put egg crate behind it you wanted to avoid scratches and use silicone or similar to secure them to make it more stable. You might want to investigate if there are 3d background available with a similar look though as that would be easiest.
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-24-2018, 01:41 PM
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Elephant skin stone is likely to be something to sort of describe the stone and may not have too much real weight. Sounds like it could be some form of sandstone but then we get into a lot of variables that would need checking. The difference in sandstone and limestone is even a fuzzy definition as some can be made of alkaline material and others contain more sand. Probably some testing with it in your water would be more reliable than any of my guesses!
But cutting and fitting stone is tough work and I mention limestone because I can find a lot of the softer variety locally. I don't try to build walls as they are hard but do cut it on a small tile saw to make all kinds of shapes for hiding places for fish.
There are some nice foam ready-made backgrounds that can look pretty good but they can be pricey. Tons of info on building them DIY but look carefully at how it is to be tied down as you don't want a foam background siliconed in . They may hold for some time and then suddenly come loose and shoot up to tear up glass tops or lights. NOT good!
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-24-2018, 02:42 PM
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egg crate and silicone have always worked for me.

Regards,
Sam
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-24-2018, 03:40 PM
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The best looking but most work background I have built was a combo of cut limestone edges fastened onto sheet foam and screwed solidly. To make the screws not pull through, I used the round plastic caps like used for attaching foam. The rocks were for the parts which stuck out to be seen and then I filled the spaces between with spray foam as it was back pretty well out of sight so that my poor effort at looking natural was hidden! Got to say, it is not something that I would do again but fun at the time. I must have moved and cut a ton of rocks to get the edges I wanted and then drilling and screwing them on took a ton of drill bits! Now I just use wood as a much easier item to work and then cover lots of it with plants. A few rock edges just to hint at rock walls! Mostly now I'm more than happy with just using wood to hide the equipment in the tank. A big log and rip out the back to fit over things and I'm good with that?
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