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Very Pleased with This First Background Attempt (Pic Heavy)

Postby Benaiah » Tue Apr 06, 2010 11:03 am

Hello all - I'm setting up a 135 gallon (upgrading from a 55), and while doing it I thought I'd try my hand with my first 3D styro background. I did lots of research (mostly on these boards) and took pics along the way.

Drawing from my fishing experiences, I wanted to create many rock ledges and shelves that are so common in the smallmouth-laden rivers that I fish. At the same time, I want to leave a lot of open space since I plan on having an all-male hap/peacock setup.

Here I started off with standard 2" insulating styro found at Lowe's. I began with 3 sheets siliconed together, but I took one off after finding it took up too much room.

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I also had some packing styro that came with a new mitre saw I bought. This would be broken up and serve as the shelves and ledges.

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Then I got to carving with a cutco kitchen knife (the bread slicer, much to my wife's dismay), a steak knife, and a butter knife. The steak knife broke off midway through carving.

Left side, carved:

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Right side, carved:

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Standing up in the workroom:

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Postby Benaiah » Tue Apr 06, 2010 11:12 am

Next was to add color. I decided to use only drylok, mixing in black and rusty brown. The base coat was a very dark muddy brown. I found that leaving some styrofoam bits in the crevices made the drylock look craggy and "dirty."

First coat:

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Then I added white (very sparingly) and brown highlights. This was done by using "washes" with just a tiny amount of water to the brush. Variability in the color, brushstroke and water was key.

Detailed left side:

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Detailed Right side:

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Then came the part where it goes into the tank. I got a glasscages tank after I had already carved and painted the BG. The glasscages aquarium had extra large 6" center braces (!!!!), so I ended up breaking this thing up into 6 pieces.

Finally in the tank...

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Used 5 and a half tubes of silicone...

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Then weighted it down with the rocks I was going to use:

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Postby Benaiah » Tue Apr 06, 2010 11:18 am

Then came the fittings and final setup. I have an eheim canister which has ugly green tubing. So I decided to drylok that in a matching color to blend it in. I used screws to keep the spray bar holes open while the drylok dried. Both intakes are in big caves that obscure their view from the front.

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Left side fittings:

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Right side fittings:

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Both intakes are in big caves that obscure their view from the front

Ready to fill her up...

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I got the real rocks from a landscape supply store that gave them to me for free. They went in and next comes the water...

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Postby Benaiah » Tue Apr 06, 2010 11:19 am

Here's the final product....

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Postby jlive » Tue Apr 06, 2010 11:34 am

Awesome! great job. :thumb:
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Postby miracleboy » Fri Apr 09, 2010 12:15 am

looks very good nice job.
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Postby bertolli » Sat Apr 10, 2010 12:41 am

neat like it all particularly the lighting
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Postby BigFish77 » Sat Apr 10, 2010 9:57 am

Nice job everything looks very professional. Those peacocks look tiny, better up-grade to some larger haps, LOL.
:thumb:
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Postby Benaiah » Sat Apr 10, 2010 4:25 pm

Haha thanks - Yes, I plan on adding some larger haps to grow in once the tank stabilizes. It was funny how much smaller the peacocks look in the new tank.
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Postby Afishionado » Sat Apr 10, 2010 5:03 pm

I was going to say how huge those two little fish make the tank look, lol. Very nice work!
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Postby HeatherLuvsFishies » Sun Apr 11, 2010 12:39 am

Wow thats awesome. Thats crazy how you made that out of styrofoam, it looks just as good as the 3d backgrounds you buy. Great job
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Cool Project

Postby acrylicfish » Tue Apr 13, 2010 7:45 am

I like the work you did and it turned out great
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Postby Imaconvict » Tue Apr 13, 2010 9:40 pm

One of the best background I've seen great eye for detail, I wish I had that kind of talent.
Awesome job! :thumb:
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Postby iceblue » Wed Apr 14, 2010 2:24 am

Awesome job. They look like stones that have tumbled upon each other. :thumb:
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Postby Benaiah » Wed Apr 14, 2010 9:17 am

Thanks! I'm hoping that when some algae starts to grow it will look even more natural.
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