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Re: DIY Styrofoam/Drylok Aquarium Shale Wall Background

PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2019 10:10 am
by drfish
Looks awesome, thanks for the update! :)

Re: DIY Styrofoam/Drylok Aquarium Shale Wall Background

PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2019 10:42 am
by Chasmodes
Thank you drfish!

Re: DIY Styrofoam/Drylok Aquarium Shale Wall Background

PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2019 12:18 pm
by wryan
Unfortunately, not all the images in your recent posts show up ... :-?

Re: DIY Styrofoam/Drylok Aquarium Shale Wall Background

PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2019 2:18 pm
by Chasmodes
wryan wrote:Unfortunately, not all the images in your recent posts show up ... :-?


That's weird. Everything looks good on my end. I looked using my PC and also my phone. Anyone else having a problem? Maybe photobucket was down for a bit? Looks OK now.

Re: DIY Styrofoam/Drylok Aquarium Shale Wall Background

PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2019 3:38 pm
by Deeda
Looks fine to me, I see all your pics and the project looks great!

Re: DIY Styrofoam/Drylok Aquarium Shale Wall Background

PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2019 3:48 pm
by Chasmodes
Thank you Deeda!

Re: DIY Styrofoam/Drylok Aquarium Shale Wall Background

PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2019 9:40 pm
by Kipnlilo
Great work! Glad you finally found time to work on it. Can’t wait to see it underwater. FYI, I see All pics no problem also.

Re: DIY Styrofoam/Drylok Aquarium Shale Wall Background

PostPosted: Tue Jun 18, 2019 8:36 am
by Chasmodes
Thank you Kipnlilo! I'm very motivated to finish this up now that I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Plus, I have another tank project that needs to be done, and this one is holding everything up!

I took a few pics of the latest version of the roots in the tank, to get a sense of what the roots and rock wall will look like. Sorry that the pics look a bit blurry.

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This view from the left side of the tank shows the functionality of the root design. The big hole underneath is where my powerhead will be, mostly hidden from view by the root structure from the front of the tank. That was my goal with the roots, to hide equipment. Another thing that I'll do is paint the side and back of the tank with Drylok/black cement dye, to hide the silicone adhesive and equipment from view.
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Re: DIY Styrofoam/Drylok Aquarium Shale Wall Background

PostPosted: Tue Jun 18, 2019 9:50 pm
by Kipnlilo
I painted my sides also to hide silicone. Works great and doesn’t look bad. Still itching to yours in water.

Re: DIY Styrofoam/Drylok Aquarium Shale Wall Background

PostPosted: Mon Jun 24, 2019 8:03 am
by Chasmodes
My buddy Nick used Drylok to paint the sides and he said it works great. I was going to buy one of those paint on rubber products. No need now :)

Yesterday afternoon, I had some time to work on the roots. However, when I went downstairs, I remembered that my paintbrushes were all ruined. Also, I opened up my can of Drylok and it was solid as a rock. When I first bought the can a couple years ago, it fell out of my truck, opened up, and spilled white Drylok on my driveway. Apparently, when I put the lid back on, I didn't put it on tight enough, and air got in there. I was also out of the charcoal color cement dye, which is necessary to bring out the deeper nooks and crannies of the work. So, I went to HD and they had everything that I needed in stock.

When I got home, I slapped on the first coat a Drylok, pretty thick too, to make sure that all of the root surface was covered, to seal everything in. Drylok tends to shrink when it dries, I think, because sometimes, small holes in your work tend to open up when it dries and they require a touch up. I only found two of those last night, so I'm really happy about how this coat went on. The roots look pretty good now, as the pink foam is finally covered, but, they aren't the rootsy color that I want. I will add a few new coats of Drylok to add color and try and bring out some realism. I may add a few tricks to do that too, regarding texture. I need to think about how to do that, and if I can pull it off, I'll review the how afterward.

Here is the Drylok that I used. I prefer the Gray. It's important not to get the "extreme" Drylok product because it has mold inhibitors and other chemicals that could be harmful to the tank. This is latex based Drylok. I mixed it with Quikrete charcoal color cement dye. It's easy, just pull out some paint, pour in the liquid dye, and stir it in.
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I painted the first coat on thick because I really want to seal everything in to prevent pH issues from happening.
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First coat finished, from the front left side.
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A close up of the split bark section. It looks much nicer with the pink foam board finally covered up. I'm really happy with how this turned out. Drylok is great because if you have detail carved into your work, it does not fill in the gaps and cover it up. This is the only exposed foam after the grout coating.
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Showing the knot and hole. I think it turned out too big, but I can live with it.
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More of a left side view.
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It's getting there...I can't wait to get home from work and work on it again tonight.

Re: DIY Styrofoam/Drylok Aquarium Shale Wall Background

PostPosted: Mon Jun 24, 2019 10:44 am
by Deeda
I think it's looking fantastic, nice job!

Re: DIY Styrofoam/Drylok Aquarium Shale Wall Background

PostPosted: Mon Jun 24, 2019 12:04 pm
by Chasmodes
Thank you Dee!

Re: DIY Styrofoam/Drylok Aquarium Shale Wall Background

PostPosted: Tue Jun 25, 2019 9:22 pm
by skwerl
Thumbs up from me too!

Re: DIY Styrofoam/Drylok Aquarium Shale Wall Background

PostPosted: Wed Jun 26, 2019 7:47 am
by Chasmodes
Thank you skwerl!

Re: DIY Styrofoam/Drylok Aquarium Shale Wall Background

PostPosted: Wed Jul 03, 2019 11:16 am
by Chasmodes
My original plan was to have the roots done by this past Sunday. I had a 3 day weekend to work on it, and only managed to work on it on Friday. I slapped on another coat of Drylok, this time, mixed with Brown cement dye. I totally covered up the dark charcoal color, not really planning ahead. But, once you paint it, you either have to do it over or settle with it. I confused myself over the coloration of the roots that I was after.

I had two different approaches for coloring the roots. The first option was to color them as if they were tree roots above water, and let nature take its course in my tank. This would be the darker gray base that I used on the first coat, dabbed with lighter shades of gray, maybe a tint of brown and green here and there. After a while, option one, with fish tank life, like algae and bacteria, would grow on the roots and eventually bring some realism to them. The other option was to color the roots up like you'd see them underwater in the wild, simulating algae, bacteria and other life on them already. This would be the brown base, colored up with lighter shades of brown. My first coat was option one, but, instead of dabbing on the grays, I coated the second coat, not thinking, like option 2. Fortunately, the fix is easy. Either I re-coat for option one, or keep it as it is and proceed with option two.

Option one would look like the roots that are above water, and option two would look like the underwater roots, both seen in these pics that I took the other day:
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Here's the brown coat, option 2, started, that I will complete. I figured that the additional algae and other life in the tank will take it from being sort of lifelike to lifelike. It will look more like nature sooner than option one.

Below are the roots after the base brown coat. On the split root, I messed up and mixed up a funky mustard brown color. I wanted a lighter shade of brown, but, it didn't work out. I will fix it on the next painting application.
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The underneath/back side of the roots:
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