Aquarium Decoration (Rocks, Plants and Substrates) • real rock background for african chchlids

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real rock background for african chchlids

Postby adwebster123 » Thu Dec 19, 2019 10:29 pm

has anyone ever done a real rock background using veneer rocks? that maybe could be affixed to the back wall somehow?
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Re: real rock background for african chchlids

Postby Deeda » Thu Dec 19, 2019 11:12 pm

I did a quick search for this type of background on the forum and didn't come up with any real good results.

Most of the posts mentioned the ingredients used to make the veneer rocks and whether they were natural stone, cement based or contained metal lath as a support plus if the man made types are meant to be permanently submersed under water. These are questions you need to ask the vendor or product labeling before moving forward with this project.

As far as mounting in the tank, my suggestion would be to mount the product using cement on a product such as light diffuser grid or egg crate usually made for drop ceiling installation. You would need to cut sections and mount them on the back wall of the tank using some silicone sealant along the top edge to hold it in place. You would also need to cure the finished product in order to diffuse the high pH of the cement product for a couple weeks before it would be safe for any fish or wildlife.

Have you considered buying a pre-made in tank aquarium background? There are quite a few available nowadays and seem to be more reasonably priced than they were years ago.
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Re: real rock background for african chchlids

Postby DJRansome » Fri Dec 20, 2019 6:30 am

I saw a used tank for sale in an LFS years ago with that treatment. It would have to be natural stone to avoid unknown chemicals used in manufacture.

You could not lift the tank. It's one thing to load it with rocks that can be removed if you ever have to move the tank, and another thing to permanently affix 40 or 50 pounds of rock to the back glass.

IME silicone does not hold rocks securely or long term...even small ones. I once tried to silicone small flat rocks to a terra cotta cave and some stuck but many did not over the years.

I have artificial in tank backgrounds in all my show tanks since I joined Cichlid-forum...would not have a tank without one. The heaters and filter intakes go behind which is a big reason to have an in tank background as well IMO.
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Re: real rock background for african chchlids

Postby Squidhead1967 » Fri Dec 27, 2019 3:45 pm

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.
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Re: real rock background for african chchlids

Postby SoccerMbunaAndShak » Tue Apr 07, 2020 1:47 pm

I am planning on doing something similar. I got my inspiration from a video by Tazawa Tanks where he made a frame from 2 by 6s where the inside dimensions of the frame were identical to the inside dimensions of the tank. He used that expanding foam stuff. He scattered 1 or 2 large (6-10 inches) pieces of what seemed to be seiryu stone, but he just said it was some aquarium safe rock I think. At the end, it seemed to work. He did however cover the front with concrete and paint so you couldn't actually see the rock. My plan is to build the frame, put a very thin layer of the foam at the bottom, put some pieces of pvc pipe strategically spread throughout the base layer, and put a lighting diffuser with the same dimensions of the tank's inside on top of it. Before it dries, I would put another, thicker coat of the foam and start placing the large rocks onto it. The PVC pipe would be used to make sure the lighting diffuser doesn't sink in the wet foam with the weight of the rocks on top of it. I would make sure to put the larger, more protruding rocks at the bottom of the background to keep it steadier, and to potentially allow me to stack any other rocks that are not part of the background on it easier. Before it all dries, I would put some gravel made out of shattering remaining rock in all the cracks so you don't see the foam. After it dries, I would take the pvc pipes out and silicone the background in place in the tank.

I haven't worked this out yet, but I will let you know as soon as I can whether it works or not. I will also start a new thread on this project to further elaborate on this process and to receive suggestions, warnings, etc. Feel free to check in on it!
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