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out of curiosity, what size tank are you thinking of?

aside from that, I tend to prefer DIY backgrounds, and I feel that backgrounds are less of a concern in a planted tank (the plants themselves make a background of sorts)

Some relatively easy/low skill DIY backgrounds would be siliconing (you can use a glass panel or something similar if you don't want it to be permanent) a bunch of lava rock, corkbark, slate, or some other material to the back of the tank - this will also serve as a place to mount java fern, anubias, bolbitis, moss, and similar plants.

Another method that takes a bit more time, effort, and materials (and can look anywhere from mediocre to really great, depending on your skills and talents) is to carve up some foam, and coat it in grout, drylok, or an epoxy/sand mix.
 

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I used mirrored plastic sheeting(window covering that makes a mirror on one side but can be seen through on the other) once. It doubled the depth of the tank when the plants were placed correctly. Takes a lot of work to get the "picture" just right.

You sometimes see the stuff on office buildings or office windows.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
The mirror idea is nice. I like to look at my tank through the side sometimes. It's so much deeper!

My tank is 75g long. So it would be a pretty big piece to fit in and definitely be a little bit of $$$.

I'm not opposed to the DIY technique, but I am a firm believer in paying to have something done right. Like... how much research, shopping around for parts and supplies, shipping, the time to build it, frustration when it doesn't turn out how I wanted and then I'm stuck with something that I don't like. When if I can just pay to have something that I know is done by someone with experience.

The other part is that I really like some of the backgrounds, they look so real and add a really neat concept to the look of the tank. I am with you on a planted tank doesn't necessarily need it, but I think it would really round out the habitaty feel. Right now you can see the power cords to my lights, heaters, and co2 line hanging on the back.

I just think it would look neat to have a rock background to pull it all together.

I guess I should do some research but are there any particular threads or sites with DIY background info that you know of, right off the top of your head?

Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
At a quick glance it looks like the DIY method takes several days to build, dry, and repeated applications...

I don't know if this will be an option for me because I am planning on doing this when I move in several months and I will only have one day to make the round trip and set up the aquarium. My drive will be 2 hours one way, so I will want to re-set up the aquarium as quickly as possible to minimize stress to the fish.

Also, I have a center brace on the top of my tank, so I will not be able to do this ahead of time and drop in at the last minute. It seems like most of the demos I've seen so far have people doing it in the tank...
 

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If you aren't much of a DIY person, and prefer to buy things, I can understand that.

If it's mostly cords/tubing/etc. that is bothering you, you could simply paint the back (outside) of your tank. I've found a good cleaning/wipedown, and just black spray paint to work pretty well, be fairly easy, and also quite inexpensive. A lot of people have used brush-on latex and other paints with luck as well. I think it looks really great, makes the tank look deeper, and helps the plants and fish colors show (similar to a black/dark substrate)

75 is pretty big. It would take days alone just to glue in individual lava rocks :)
If you use an epoxy/stryofoam type, a lot of epoxies will cure in 24 hours or so. If you are careful with your measurements, you could build one in segments, get it all set and cured, and then silicone them in right after moving the tank (you would still have to wait for the silicone to cure, but this will probably be an issue with a purchased background as well).

Check out Dendroboard

A lot of people on there with extensive experience doing all kinds of backgrounds, artificial trees, rocks, etc. some great stuff on that site.

http://www.dendroboard.com/
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the tips. Maybe this isn't an option for me... I guess I didn't really think about the silicon drying as part of the equation. Maybe this will be an option for a future aquarium... :-/
 

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Maybe you could keep the fish/critters in the buckets/whatever you traveled in, and hook the filter up to that for an extra day or so while you install the background, wait for it to cure, and then give it a rinse or two.

Some backgrounds (especially if they aren't bouyant) may not need silicone, and may be able to be wedged in, and maybe held in place with epoxy putty (reef keepers use it to attach coral, so it should be safe).

Otherwise, painting the background may be the way to go, just cover the tank to avoid overspray (not an issue if using brush/roller). You don't even have to wait for it to dry thoroughly, as long as you don't touch the back.
 

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Anyone ever buy one of these? Just curious how you felt about it, how easy it was to install, etc...
I used one on my 10 gallon shrimp tank a while ago (empty now) it worked out a lot cheaper to buy than make my own . I love it and will be using it for some nano fish in the near future.
 

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I recommend buying 29g tote from lowe's for like $13 to hold your fish in temporary while you wait for silicone to dry. Make sure you get aquarium safe silicone - GE Silicone 1 which they sell there too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Well.. we will see how it pans out. But part of the whole "drying out" issue was that I will be moving 2 hours. I was hoping to move the tank up ahead of the move so that when the movers finish packing up the house all there is left to do is clean and leave.

I suppose I could plan it differently so that the fish tank is the last thing to come out of the house and that we are all moved in. This way the fish don't have to be left in tubs in an empty house for 2 days.

Last time, we had to finish packing the cars. Tear down the tank. Clean the entire apartment. And then drive 4 hours and re-set up the tank. The entire day was a fire drill. Lots of adult language was used....

Let's just say that day lives in infamy and my partner has already started grumbling about how this will work on this move! I have been threatened that I won't have any help this time, and although it has been said jokingly I am taking it very seirously!! lol
 

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I used one in a 75 gallon planted aquarium. I had to cut it to fit and did so with very little trouble. I used a really sharp utility knife to scour the background and it worked like a charm. In my aquarium I didn't silicone it to the tank. I just made the cuts tight enough that it stayed in place without the need for silicone. The background held up really well over several years of use.

I will say that the rocky (natural) texture of the background made it a pain to clean. When algae does grow on it you will need a medium stiffnes brush to scrub off the algae that settles in the cracks and grooves.

One last thing, the background is extremely buoyant. I found this to be annoying considering that it is supposed to be emmersed in water. All in all it made tha aquarium really stand out!

Sent from my SCH-I605 using Tapatalk 2
 
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