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Discussion Starter #1
Does anyone have experience with using cork tiles as a tank background?

I've obtained some dark 1-foot square cork tiles approximately 1/2" thick from a hobby store, and hope to use these as the basis for the background of a AGA 15-gallon long (24"x12"x12") plants-and-shrimp tank. I'm planning to attach some moss, anubias, and java ferns and see how it works out.

Does anyone have firsthand experience with cork-tile attachment inside the back of the tank? How much silicone to use? Dots? Stripes? Ever tried to remove it?

Would I be better off getting a sheet of plexiglass (or normal glass) cut to fit inside the back of the tank? If so, how would THAT be attached? (I'm afraid this could go bad and fish might somehow find their way behind it ... but it at least would be non-permanent!)

I'm hesitant to go all-out with the silicone glue on the back glass for fear it might later be very tough to remove. While an AGA 15-long is a cheap/standard tank, I've noticed than NOBODY local seems to carry this size anymore, so I'd like to preserve the one I've got!
 

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Aquaverde was using thick natural cork, which looks a lot more problematic to manage than flat cork tiles. In searching, it seemed the "bad" experiences were clustered around natural tree-bark-style cork, as well as cases where critters could get trapped BEHIND the cork.

I've decided that it's worth the effort trying; I'm just working out the "how" part.

I'd post some of the links I'd found, but evidently my post count isn't high enough yet (guess that's what I get for being a lurker). Original idea from The Krib's "Tank Backgrounds" page, but that page was short on practical how-to's.
 

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Cork backwall

Aquaverde was using thick natural cork, which looks a lot more problematic to manage than flat cork tiles. In searching, it seemed the "bad" experiences were clustered around natural tree-bark-style cork, as well as cases where critters could get trapped BEHIND the cork.

I've decided that it's worth the effort trying; I'm just working out the "how" part.

I'd post some of the links I'd found, but evidently my post count isn't high enough yet (guess that's what I get for being a lurker). Original idea from The Krib's "Tank Backgrounds" page, but that page was short on practical how-to's.
Earlier this year I covered my 180 back wall with cork panels. This were cork panels which are being used in terrariums, etc. I attached to the cork panels three varieties of Java Fern and Java moss. I'm very happy I did it, and so are happy hundreds of RCS-es, three varieties of Borraras and CPD-is. Up to date I haven't noticed any negatives about the whole project if not taking under consideration that my dwarf chain loaches don't eat snails( Lauralee probably will take this as a negative side of cork panels...:eek:)

Click on my avatar and you will find a picture or two of it in these few posts I wrote on this or Aquatic Plant Central, forum.

If you really decide to continue with you idea, let me know if I can with
help you specifics of how I've done it.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Mmm, coffee sounds good right about now. I'm hoping to assemble things this weekend -- if it's a disaster, well, oops. :)

Plan A: Directly Silicone Cork Tiles To Tank Glass

Slice tiles to fit 1" beneath tank rim (I've had climbers before... :frown: African Fan Shrimp), and 3" above tank floor (I see no point in burying the bottom in the substrate, but maybe that would be safer as it would absolutely prevent fish from trying to get behind?) Glue tiles with silicone dots in the middle, and lines around the edges, weigh down for a few days and let it cure.

I assume a sharp razor will let me get the silicone off if I ever want to tear down & redo the tank?

Plan B: Use separate slab of glass or acrylic or plexiglass for cork base

Select media, and get a piece cut to exactly the inner width and height of the tank. The substrate would wedge the bottom, and then at the top I guess I could use clamps? Not sure about the best way to manage this top attachment; maybe find some plastic clips (binder clips rust too fast!)

I'm not sure how thick to get plexiglass or acrylic (are they the same thing?) cut for this, and am a bit worried that it would bow/flex in the tank. Glass wouldn't, but seems more accident-prone. If I also have to silicone this base to the back glass, that seems no better (actually worse) than just gluing the cork directly.

Other notes...

My Cork Tiles are identical to these (but cheaper locally):
http://www.amazon.com/Board-Dudes-Dark-Cork-Tiles/dp/B000HJB9OK

Original background planting inspiration from The Krib:
http://www.thekrib.com/TankHardware/backgrounds.html

(I covered the back of a 15-tall tank with broken slate a few years back based on some ideas from there... worked ok, except that it's HEAVY and perhaps a sturdier tank would have been a safer choice...in hindsight, I've learned a 15-tall is an awful shape to work with).

Planned Tank Contents: cherry red shrimp (RCS) breeding colony and planted tank, possibly with a handful of either Pygmy Cory's or Boraras brigittae once the plants are thick enough for most shrimplets to escape notice. 65W Coralife PC, SMS substrate, leonardite sub-substrate, light EI fertilization & possibly DIY CO2. Possibly some coral sand (or just limestone rocks) to help out with shrimp shells (Houston tap-water is already rock-hard, so chemistry difference wouldn't be big). And inevitably snails.

p.s. My Chain Loaches chowed on most of my ramshorn snails, but some small pond snails have survived. There was a spell when the tank "went hungry" more often than it should, and I think that's when the snail buffet started!

p.p.s. Edward, the cork you used for your 180 looks MUCH nicer than my plain tiles! Nice!
 
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