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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
i put on my 3rd (and hopefully final) coat of cement last night and tried mixing in some cement colorants (red, buff, and charcoal). i still have intentions of going over the 'grout' lines between the rocks with a darker grey/black mix but i'm not sure i'm really feeling the colors. what do you guys think? should i roll with it and just fill in between the rocks? or just coat everything with a boring coat of grey?

first coat partially dry:


second coat immediately after applying:


third coat immediately after applying:


third coat around 12 hours after application (still a little damp):
 

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Design looks cool but I'm not a fan of the colors.. You should have did something more natural and neutral. I would change out the reds or at least darken the bright one.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
well i filled in between the rocks with a dark charcoal 'grout'. i'm not sure if i like it or not, but i needed some way to fill in the gaps between the 3 pieces once i secure them into the tank. i'm half-tempted to start over with a fresh solid coat of grey, but that was a bit boring too, and i dont have the artistic skill to make the colors realistic. meh.

here's a more current pic:
 

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I actually like the color patterns of your background, but in an artsy way. If you're looking for a natural look I would agree with the other posters that the reds and yellows stick out a bit.

If you were happy with it, I'd say put it in the tank. Since it sounds like your not I would say go over the whole thing with a neutral gray color and give it another try. In your next attempt I'd recommend:

1. Use the red and yellow, but mix them with the grays before applying them to give more natural tones.
2. Each rock doesn't have to be one color. Use combinations of colors in different coats to make the different rocks blend together.
3. The depth of the rocks will give shadowing and separation no matter the color of the rocks around it so don't be afraid to use the same or similar colors on adjoining rocks.

Good Luck. The fun part about this DIY is if you don't like the result you can always go over it again :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I'm going to roll with it. It's definitely different and its starting to grow on me. It's kinda funny as the red and tan colors are very close to the bright red walls and the tan/beige tile in our living room where the aquarium will be residing, maybe i was onto something all along :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
also, i tried test-fitting it into the aquarium last night and as i figured, it wont fit anymore. it was a pretty tight fit before i went through 2 10# tubs of cement. looks like i'll be trying to shave some off the sides this evening. i notice some of the pieces of styrofoam were starting to seperate from each other as well - grr! :x i personally think silicone sucks for gluing the styrofoam together. i'm debating on using more silicone vs gorilla glue for attaching it to the tank. i wish i had a way to further adhere the 2 big chunks of styrofoam to each other...

oh, and its super easy to scratch the sides of the aquarium even when gently moving these pieces around. :(
 

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It actually looks much better with the grout filled in between.. Go with it, see how it looks.. Only thing I see it doing it possibly washing out the colors of some of your fish if you will have any cherry red zebras for example or even yellow labs.. They may blend into the red/yellows.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Cromak said:
It actually looks much better with the grout filled in between.. Go with it, see how it looks.. Only thing I see it doing it possibly washing out the colors of some of your fish if you will have any cherry red zebras for example or even yellow labs.. They may blend into the red/yellows.
i still need to learn all about the fish. i figure i'll have plenty of time to do my research while this thing cures/cycles/etc for the next 3-5 weeks... i haven't found any impressive pet stores locally... sadly, petsmart has nice the nicest fish so far and I saw (and again, I'm completely new to cichlids) electric yellows [i think] and some bright orange ones. personally, my favorites so far have been the bright yellow/orange/blue cichlids and then i'd like to get a few synodontis petricola catfish.
 

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Im sure fl has some good privately owned lfs.. do a google search and see what shows up
 

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I like the look of the background. It looks very "southwest", or "south-of-the-border".

Everything doesn't always have to be natural to look nice. I doubt the fish can tell the difference between a real, natural rock, and a sunken ship aquarium decoration, for example. Some day, I'll get around to posting some pictures of my day trip to the aquarium at the Atlantis Resort in the bahamas from last year. Everything thing is sunken city themed, nothing natural about it at all. And its amazing.
 

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Hey as long as you like it that's all that matters. It's your tank and you have to look at it so enjoy your creation I say! :thumb:
 

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I like it but do think it could distract from the fish (sorry). I think it'll look good in the tank for sure, but I like to choose a background that fets lost or emphasises the fish/planting.

But as said, if you like it, and it fits in with your decor, that's cool :thumb:

If you hang a black background behind your tank (anything cheap will do), maybe that roll of aquarium background you can buy, that should stop the gaps/joins been so visible.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
M&S said:
I like it but do think it could distract from the fish (sorry). I think it'll look good in the tank for sure, but I like to choose a background that fets lost or emphasises the fish/planting.

But as said, if you like it, and it fits in with your decor, that's cool :thumb:

If you hang a black background behind your tank (anything cheap will do), maybe that roll of aquarium background you can buy, that should stop the gaps/joins been so visible.
thanks for the feedback. i actually planned to paint the back and sides of the tank with gloss black paint after the background is secured in place. also, its probably not obvious, but i intentionally cut out a 3" channel along the entire back of the aquarium for the syn petricolas to hide. :)
 

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Looks great, it's like a piece of art! However I had a colorful background with gravel once and my fish didn't stand out. If you want your fish to "pop" I would just simply switch to black grays and maybe tint of brown. To give it a really natural rock look I would recommend the dry brushing technique. Get your entire background to your standard basic color say a dark gray. Then add paint to your brush and using a paper towel take off most of that paint or colored cement. Then brush it on. Give it that scratchy look and build up the color where you want. However your background really looks cool, just depends how you want the finish product to look with your fish.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
more pics...

back of tank with background attached:


first coat of paint on back of tank:


there are definitely some things i'd do differently if i was to make another one of these...
 
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