adwebster123 wrote:has anyone ever done a real rock background using veneer rocks? that maybe could be affixed to the back wall somehow?
To answer your question directly, NO, or even MAYBE, Depending on what type of "veneer rock" you are talking about.
I have researched it and I have not bought comercially manufactured and sold products because of weight, cost & availability of product.
You could do it but you would need to make sure the veneer is made from NATURAL rock not concrete, composite or a faux type rock. As mentioned they may be made made with wire mesh, colorants/dyes and the concrete and other materials will leach out into the water.I have made my own DIY veneers from natural rock that was either "aquarium safe".
Vermont Slate flagstones or tile is the easiest to use. You only need handtools to work it. Or if you want a "stacked stone" look you would need to have a tile/masonary saw. I did not "glue" it directly to the glass but used several different "aquarium safe" adhesives for rock work in several aquarium and pond builds. In aquarium I have used a "backer board" to stick the rock veneer to. For the backer- acrylic or PVC sheets. You can use acrylic fluorescent light eggcrate diffusers. There is quite a few options that are safe to use as a backer. This way you can remove the background and not compromise the aquarium structure in any way or just for maintenance.
I have used Vermont Slate flags and tiles either cleaved thin and cut to shape or just tiles that fit perfectly standing up in the back of the tank. I cut them to fit with a tile saw.
Also- granite, limestone, dolomite and basalt rocks that I made into veneer with a masonary blade and chop saw.
Home Depot used to sell granite pavers that where 4"X4"X8", I think, that where easy to cut.
Yet one more option is riverstone and gravel from a lanscape store, quarry or hardware/pet store in bags and "glue" them to a backer board.