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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have built caves from rock before. They didn't last very well. Anyone have good success and want to tell me what they did? One of mine just became too unstable, now I'm a cave short in a territorial tank.

Bump: I guess I should give more details. It's for a 4-6 inch cichlid (red devil or blue johanni). Looking to go cheap, but natural looking. I have tons of Java fern in the tank that can be used to cover it if that helps.
 

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I am no expert here and have never done it, but i believe if you build it out of water and use silicone to secure... cure a couple days and place back in.

In the short term, would a cheap clay pot from any "lawn and garden" center work for a temp cave? a short piece of PVC?
 

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I've built caves for my plecos using natural slate and 100% silicon. I use a hammer/chisel to shape the "walls", then silicon it all together and let it cure (out of water of course). I also use a file to smooth the edges so that it doesn't injure the fish if they are being a little wild.
 

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I agree with SwissCheeseHead here! Slate, that is 1/4"-1/2" in thickness can usually be found pretty easy and in colors that blend in with most natural tanks. Then like posted ^^^ use a hammer and Chisel to score and break the slate into your desired shape and size. Next use a file or sand paper to knock the sharp edges off. Lastly use 100% silicone from hardware store to hold into desired shape, and you can also take some of your gravel/sand (dry and clean of course!) that you have in the tank you are putting the cave in to "hide" any silicone that shows on the outside or front of the cave by pressing it into the silicone when it is wet. Just make sure to use 100% silicone with NO MILDEW or MOLD INHIBITORS!!! These will kill your inhabitants even when cured, where 100% pure silicone when cured for 24 hours is aquarium safe!

For smaller fish I like to use Coconuts! Get them from the Super Market, I try to find the ones that will make short and round caves, I use my Dremel tool to cut the coconut at the desired location. Then once I have cut the coconut in half I hollow it out, give the flesh to the wife and son as I don't like coconut!, Change bits so I can cut out a suitable opening for the fish I want to use it. Lastly I will boil it for a few minutes just to make sure it has nothing on it, and to release some of the tannins. Let it cool and put it in the tank! The Kribs in my 55g have 6 coconut caves in it, and they LOVE THEM!!! They are constantly trying to steal they from each other!!!Java Ferns and Moss will grow to them very well if you leave them rough like when you bought them! You can also sand them down some to give them a finished look if you are not going to grow plants on them! Either way I have had them last longer than most people leave their aquariums up anyway!!! :( The ones in the 55g have been in there for at least 3 years and are still hard and going strong!!!

Hope this helps, and if ya have any questions about either one feel free to PM Me!!!
Take Care and have fun building your caves!!! I bet your fish will LOVE what ever you decide on!
Drew
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
The coconut thing is pure genius. I have to see if these guys would fit in one. I love that idea. I have tons of extra java fern. I wonder if my pleco would eat the coconut if I boiled it a little. I'm mildly allergic, so I'm not eating it.
 
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