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Does this work? DIY aquarium decor/backgrounds using styrofoam and quickcrete?

16803 Views 10 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  Ltraine
So i recently aquired a new 40 gallon tank and was planning on making this my summer project. that being said, i want to make a completely unique, heavily planted, custom decor-ed Apisto Community tank. i want to build next to everything (breeding caves, rock fixtures, the works).

with this being said, i found an article on a different website that talks about forming decor out of styrofoam and expanding foam and then coating it in pigmented quickcrete to create custom caves and backgrounds and stuff for an aquarium, I was wondering if this was a safe thing to do in a freshwater tank, as the article is fairly vague on the subject.

here's a link to the article:

thanks in advance for the help, if there's a better material/method to building this kind of stuff i'm open to hearing it.
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This is an area where it seems to work but when I look at it further, I find many problems that keep it from being a project for me.
My view just for info?
One stopper for me is that it IS permanent. Any major design mistake is very difficult to change. It all can be made to work but it has lots of ways to get it wrong and some can be a major problem. One is getting it designed to avoid whatever is holding it down to stay. If it comes loose and not designed to stay down, it can come loose suddenly and shoot to the top. I read about losing glass tops and lights as the "sub" comes up!
Filtering and water flow behind and under the background has to be designed to avoid dead spots where water becomes stagnant. Lots of flow has to then have ways to keep fish and debris from collecting under and behind. Quickcrete is very alkaline. How to soak it, treat it, or deal with the way it may change your water?

All these can be dealt with but for me, I don't need the hassle. For African cichlid tanks, I was tempted but then flat limestone rocks are much cheaper and far easier to deal with in my area. They also look like rocks, which mine do not! I have a cheap ($50) tile saw which makes it easy to cut and fit rocks to make the background. I find it much easier to design as mistakes can be corrected, it doesn't float and can be taken apart and sections changed if I'm not right the first time. For caves and things that might have to move, I don't want them permanently attached or sealed so that they become stagnant.
Works for some but it is not for me.
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