Cichlid Fish Forum banner
1 - 10 of 10 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
127 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello;

I have a very tall and narrow Hexagon tank which is around 40 gallons. The tank is at least 4 ft tall by itself and around 16 inches from front to back (going off of memory). I am trying to think of a really nice rock formation I can build inexpensivley for this tank. Most LFS's do not have the rocks I would want and so I've been thinking about using Mortar or Cement and making my own rocks. I plan on stocking the tank with baby convict cichlid feeders for my other larger fish to eat at a later time. I am thinking about building a tall and narrow rock with molded out with caves and hiding spots for my fish. The only problem I have right now is what material to use? I don't really wannt the decoration to be too heavy or scratch my acrylic tank. Let me know what you think.

Thanks
-Cosmic
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
521 Posts
make it out of styro and quickcrete like a background. it will be much easier to make and much lighter than mortor. just my $.02
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
601 Posts
is it going to be viewable for all sides? if so make a pvc stand for support in the center and build up :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,825 Posts
My sister has the same tank with convicts. She has plastic hollow cave structures with suction cups all up and down the sides of it and all her convicts have paired up each using one structure.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
127 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Stickzula said:
make it out of styro and quickcrete like a background. it will be much easier to make and much lighter than mortor. just my $.02
Where do I get Styro and how would I paint it? This seems like the best idea, but won't styro break off into small pieces?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
127 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
bell said:
is it going to be viewable for all sides? if so make a pvc stand for support in the center and build up :)
It's a hex tank and I'm placing the tank in a corner. I thought about making a cool PVC pipe structure and glueing rocks to it to make the structure natural. But then I figured by the time I was done spending $$ on PVC, rock and glue I probably could have bought or made a cheaper piece. My Exact Tank Dimensions are as follows:

46.5" High x 12" Front to back and one small side of the Hexagon is 7.5 Inches. At best the largest object in circumference I can think of that fits into my tank is a gallon milk jug. Any object larger in diameter would take up too much room. And I need something at least 40" high. If I can find durable enough Styro that would be a good solution. Or maybe some type of a mortar/clay combo. I've been thinking about building an agrocrete-style cave structure, but I'm afraid I could screw it up and be left with a tall, pile of mud and dirt floating around in my tank :(
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
5,606 Posts
cosmic665 said:
Where do I get Styro and how would I paint it? This seems like the best idea, but won't styro break off into small pieces?
You can buy styrofoam as sheets for insulating buildings at home centers and lumber yards. You can get it free from packing boxes, especially electronics seems to use lots of it. Foam pieces where you can see the little beads it is made from, are most likely to break off pieces. The insulating foam board has a smooth texture and is less likely to "shed".

To carve the styrofoam, use a paint brush wet with acetone in a well ventilated area. The surface may be rough and that is the way you want it so that the cement coating will stick. Use a brick mortar formula, Dryloc type paint, or acrylic paint that sticks to plastic. Once the cement coating is applied, keep it moist but not submerged for as long as you can (four weeks if possible since this moist curing time chemically locks up the most excess alkalinity. Paint will cure much faster but lack the same texture. To add texture to paint, you can add diatomaceous earth, a white powder that wil thicken the paint giving it a texture imitating live sponges.

Then use the acetone paint brush more aggressively on the back where the styrofoam is still exposed. The foam will melt down to a thinner layer of styrene plastic that will then harden. Once it hardens, it is not going to "shed" little white styrofoam balls. No need to melt the foam down 100%. The remaining foam will counter the weight of mortar and any embedded rocks lowering any risk to the tank bottom from excess weight.

There are several ways to attach the background. Including: 1. Weighted and freestanding in the center of a round or hex tank. 2. Suction cups, 3. embedded magnets with other magnets outside the back of the tank to pin them (like the magnetic algae cleaners). 4. Silicone aquarium sealant, 5. waterfall foam, 6. stainless steel clips that attach the background to the top frame of the tank. I prefer 1., 5., and 3.
 
1 - 10 of 10 Posts
Top