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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a presetup 75 gallon malowi mix tankwith fish, i am going to make a foam background that hides my filters, heaters, and pump.... i am going to make it outside the tank, with measurements, and then cover it with concrete.... i am going to bring it to my local fish store and put it in one of there empty tanks and do water changes until the water levels in the empty tank are what i need for my tank and fish.... I'll keep you posted with all my steps with photo's
quick question... how do i post photos on here?
 

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You need to register to a photo hosting service such as imageshack on photobucket. I use imageshack myself. You just upload the pictures you want from your computer and the hosting service gives you url links o copy/paste here and "hey presto" - there you go.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I went a bought a 4 foot by 8 foot peice of 2" foam from the lumberyard... it was 20 bucks, i had them cut it into 4 equal 2 foot peices so i could fit it in my car..... heres what they looked like to start


http://i300.photobucket.com/albums/nn11 ... ay2016.jpg
I then used a ruler to measure the filters and thermometers to draw a pattern of the back wall onto the foam.... it will be the inital template... i am going to borrow a jigsaw from a friend and cut it out exactly.... heres what it looks like so far.... i'll keep you posted...
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
ok i retraced the lines with a thick black marker so you could see them better in the photo... I went and rented a jigsaw for 9 bucks and heres wht it looks like



I cut out the template for the filters and the heaters..... i then realized i can't put it in the tank to check if anything fits... its to long i have a center brace on my tank..... ****y.... i had to cut it in half.... when i tried to push it down in my tank it took alot more force then expected.... not sure how thats going to work once i put concrete on it... it is going to take alot to make it sink..... i think i'm going to hollow out any place i can and fill that with concrete instead of just coating it..... cause i'm going ot install this(hopefully) in my full tank with the fish in it... I'll worry about that later



ok heres the tool i went out and bought.... it was 25 bucks... it has a bunch of differnt cutting tips.....


Ok Save your money.... its a waste of time... this is what i ended up using... way cheaper but much more effective.... its a sawzall blade wraped with duct tape
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Ok i started at the bottom of one of the filter intakes and made the first rock.... my idead was to have the rocks 3-d so i either cut into the intial template and made a rock the sunk in, or i made a rock out of more foam to place another layer on top... heres my first rock



From there it was like a puzzle.. one rock at a time... i tried to make sure that no rocks next to each other were on the same level... i also made sure to make big joints between the rocks... i figure the concrete wil fill in any small details... and i nothiced on other peoples projects it kinda looks like all the rocks connect... i want mine to look real with cracks and gaps for the fish to hide between the rocks.... i also left gaps for water flow to the heaters and intakes for the filters.. heres kinda the steps i took...







And i just kept adding layers to the rocks making sure to keep things on different depths... i tried to make all the rocks fade to flat on the edges of the tank... so when you look in from the sides your tank it isn't full half deep with rocks





As you can see i used not corrisive deck screws to hold the rocks that i add on.... i am going to silicone and screw the **** out of it once i'm done.... i'm not sure how much weight silicone alone can hold over time underwater... i'm not taking any chances.... i am making sure to leave the gaps and vents for the heater.... they look big but i figure once you start adding concrete to everything ..... things are going to shrink....



Ok heres what it looks like all carved.... now i am going to have to worry about how i'm going to get it to weigh enough to sink without losing all my detail with loads of concrete..... i am probally going to hollow out the spots on the big rocks and fill them from the inside... and i have to figure how to connect it to the back of the tank..... i'm thinking some kind of upside down u bracket i can attach into the foam.... i read gutter brackets somewhere.... i gotta go take a peek at the store

 

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Couple things. I like that you've taken the time to make it look like real rocks rather than stone tiling. I agree. Some walls, thouhg they do look nice, they still don't look like a small chunk out of a lake on the edge of a cliff wall or something.

Your method will definitely look more natural.

Secondly, I think you should scrap the screws. At worst if you need some kind of spike to hold them together you could use plastic tooth picks or something like that and silicone them into place? Metal and fish = sick fish. Even if they are siliconed. Water will find a way to get in there I think... Especially cause you arent going to concrete the back of the wall, are you? I'm doing the same thing and Im not concreting anything but the front view... Might paint the outside of my tank's glass with some removeable paint or something for anywhere the styrofoam backing is showing but im not sure yet... Concrete would do a number on your glass...
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
i'm concreting the front side of everything.... not on the back at all.... i scraped the silicon and bought this stuff... some kind of fish water safe epoxy... and here are the screws i am using too... i guess there coated with some kind of waterproofing... it looks like ceramic
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
i also figured a sloution to the "sinking problem" i was worried about how many layers of concrete i was going to need to get all the foam to sink,,,, and i didn't want to lose all my detail... i am now burning holes in all my rocks with a lit cigarette... it sinks right in like butter..... alll the rocks now look like swiss cheese... i figure all the holes can be filled with concrete and and won't just chip off like on a smooth surface.... i think it will work well with out having to put on all the exrta layers.... and you won't even be able to see the holes...
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I need Help??????? i am putting the concrete on now,,,, i choose not to dye the concrete because i'm tryingto put it all on at once and i'm trying to use different colors on all the rocks... i'm also trying to shade them for a more realistic effect.... i'm not trying to use regular paint and cover it with epoxy(to risky,,,, i don't want to miss a spot or have a shiny finish) i'm also not trying to use that krylon spray paint.... give me some options guys....
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
so i've been running into multiple problems,,,,,,, nothing major yet,,,, just little things i've been fixing on the fly,,,, if you hve any questions or concerns on what i'm doing please let me know,,,, i could use the help.... so far so good.... i realized that the cig holes i have been putting in are doing more then just give me extra weight..... they are giving the weird angles of the rocks something extra to hold on to,,,, gravity is a 8itch,,, the underside of the rocks won't give you a bond thats going to hold for any period of time....
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
These are the holes i was talking about..... there working out relly slick.... the concrete hold nice to the sharp angles with them.....


ok heres my first layer of concrete... as you can see i have the foam in 6 main sections i'm done with 3 of them..... i did it like this so i can remove and mess with the filter after its done and so i can fit everything in my tank after its done(my tank is allready setup with fish) in these next pictures they are differnt shades of grey becasuse there still wet... they will all be the same color when fully dried



 

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here is an idea you migth want to consider.

a) regarding loss of detail, I think you can create detail in the concrete, you don't have to just coat the styro. You can sculpt the concrete, I think.

b) if you are worried about buoyancy, you can consider removing the styro after the concrete is cured. THis would give you water space behind the background, which might or might not be desirable for you. But then you would have a much easier time putting it in place
 

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mikesl said:
here is an idea you migth want to consider.

a) regarding loss of detail, I think you can create detail in the concrete, you don't have to just coat the styro. You can sculpt the concrete, I think.

b) if you are worried about buoyancy, you can consider removing the styro after the concrete is cured. THis would give you water space behind the background, which might or might not be desirable for you. But then you would have a much easier time putting it in place
How would you remove it? I'd think maybe torching it out? lol... Could definitely work.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Ok... i just got done with the first layer of concrete on everything..... it went better then expected.... i really like how its going so far....one thing i'm noticing is i had to put everything on really smooth to make sure i got into all the little holes and to get a good bond.... on the next coat i'm going to bulid little ridges and veins and bumps on the rocks to make them look more real.... i think it will be easy since i will be putting concfrete on concrete... instead of concrete on foam like the first layer.... this is what it looks like spread apart.... the parts that are still blue are where the rocks from the peice next to it overlaps... kinda like legos or a overlaping puzzle.... i'm going to paint them so from some crazy angle you won't see any trace of blue, it will look shadows instead..(once agian, in the pic its differnt shades of gray because some peices are still a little wet)



Here they are linked up together.... i'm not going to attach permenantly them together at any point in time.... i want to be able to slide any peice in or out of the tank easily at any time to do anything needed to the filters of cleaning of the tank... after i get all the concrete done i will make upside down U brackets out of something plastic, so the peices just kind of clip to the back wall with Gravity...
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
ok i was laying in bed and i couldn't sleep... i was thinking about how i'm going to make this background look real,,,,,, then it hit me,,,,, this is what my tank looks like now with no background


I'm going to take some of the real rocks out of my tank..... smash them into little peices and stick little chunks,,,, like a inch or two,,,,, to the top layer of my of my background..... i'll just blend them in with concrete and it should look sweet.....
 
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