Cichlid Fish Forum banner
1 - 20 of 28 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
76 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,
I have a 3' tank (40 gallon) tank, i am going to build a 3D BG, i have read alot of other builds on here, and have now decided to build one myself.
i have never done this before so any advice you can give to me will only help me out, so feel free to add pointers.

Tools and building materials:

1x... 8' x 4' sheet of polystyrene
2x... GE silicone
1x... quickcrete
Saw to cut the polystyrene
And lots of things to pick away at the polystyrene. e.g Knives, Forks, Spoons, Tooth picks ect.
You also might like to dye ur quickcrete wit non toxic cement dye. ( I am not useing this method as the bg will start to grow alge on which will then cover the dye you spent time applying.)

I am also going to be building the tank in to my wall. i measured the tank and have cut out the hole in the wall ready to house the tank, looks a bit of a mess at the moment but all should look well once finished. Fingers crossed :-?



I have started siliconing the layers of polystyrene together in this picture and have placed in the tank to check it all still fits.



Thats all for today i will add some more pictures tomorrow.

Any advice you can give to me will only help me out, so feel free to add pointers
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
76 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hello again.
I didnt get chance to get on the computer yesterday so i will add quite a bit today.
Starting with how i am going to hide my filter.



As you can see from this picture i have left a space in the right hand corner for my filter to go, with plenty of circulatoin for the water. I am going to cut holes in the polystyrene to allow flow of water to the filter at a later date.



Now for the fun and messy part!
P.S i mean messy!
As i found out.

Right, time for making the bg look more like rocks instead of just a plain sheet of polystyrene. I first marked out what shapes i wanted my rocks to be with a marker pen, letting my hand do the thinking just drawing random shapes. Then with the offcuts of the polystyrene i started to layer up the bg, to make it more 3D. After i was happy with the shape of the bg i siliconed the shapes to the polystyrene, allowing it over night to set.



The following day i set to work on shaping the polystyrene to look like rocks. for this i used a Dremel and belive me it makes mess! but all worth it.
This is a picture with the carving and dremeling finished, and the bg is in the tank for a preview of what it will look like.
Looks good to me :wink:



Then i siliconed it to the back of the tank sealing all the edges to stop water from getting behind it. Then i left it over night for it all to set. Excuse the pictures on the tank my little brother decided he was going to draw fish. :?



Today i started the cementing. the picture above is only the 1st coat of cement and i am planning on putting another 3 coats on top of that, just to ensure that it is quite strong.
Anyway thats all for now and i am about to go put a 2nd coat on to it because the 1st coat is dry. Will update soon.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
76 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
davidhusker said:
looks good, are you going to add any color variation? Very nice carving too.
Cheers :) i think it looks good for my first ever build. No i am not going to add any colour to it as it will grow alge on it which will then cover up any colour i added.
Just hope it all go's to plan fingers crossed.
has gone to plan so far.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
76 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Anyone know how long i need to let the concrete cure for before i add the 1st lot of water? :-?
Everyone has different opinions of this time( 24hrs - a few days)... and i dont want to add water and it ruin it so some advice needed thanks.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
294 Posts
cement will cure under water. let it set for 24 hrs and wait and see. a lot depends on how thick the coats are applied also.
Can you scratch the cement off easily with your finger nail? if so give it more time. Its one of those things that you need to judge for your self :thumb:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,825 Posts
Keep the mortar moist with a spray bottle and a wet cloth draped over the tanks top. A slower curing process helps prevent stress cracks from developing which can happen if it were to dry out to fast. I would give it a week to make sure its well cured before adding water. Use your own best judgment to determine whether its ready or not. As was said earlier you shouldn't be alble to scratch the mortar with your fingernail and it should "feel" as hard as a rock.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
76 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Hi ya all... i have just built my first 3d bg... and i have concreted it and let it dry for over 24 hours whilst misting with water... i have read that people put salt into the water when they first start the curing process. what kind of salt do i need for this (any kind or just sea salt ect )? and how much for a 3' tank?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
76 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Keep the mortar moist with a spray bottle and a wet cloth draped over the tanks top
thanks for the tip. shame i had already done it lol.
But for anyone who is reading this and needs tips... it is a good idea to spary the cement a few times with a spray bottle and drape a damp towel over it for a few hours to stop it drying out to fast.

Thanks again IceBlue
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
76 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·


This is a picture of the dremel and bits that i used to carve and shape the rocks. not sure wat the names of each dremel bit is but hope fully the picture helps :wink:

News on the bg:
I have done the first few water changes with out adding any salt or anything just 100% water. All is looking good and i am going to do another few fills in the next few days, before i do any water tests. Hope fully the ph is slowly going down with the water changes.
Will add some pictures of the first lot of water in it soon.

The tank is not in the wall yet as i still have to build the stand and support the wall a bit better.

I know its a bit early to be thinking about fish but do any of you have any suggestions on what fish i should keep, considering i am quite new to this hobby. I have kept guppys, mollies, tetra, tiger barbs and silver sharks before. I would like bright and colourfull fish for this tank.
Any suggestions are welcome.
Thanks
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
76 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
So i got a couple of pics of my first fill.
I think it looks pretty good for a first attemp :D
What do you guys think?
The white in the top right hand corner is polystyrene. I had to cut out for the filter nozzel to come through. :(



Front view



Angled view

P.S dont forget to make a list of the fish you think would be good for this tank :wink:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
76 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Hi ya... i am currently curing my BG in a 35 gallon tank, i used fast set concrete, which does exactly what it says on the bag!( sets fast ).
when i had finished doing the layers of the concrete i let it dry out for an hour or two and then started misting it with a spray bottle, i then placed an old damp towel over the BG for the night to stop it drying out to quick. i took the towel off the next day and placed the tank in the garden to dry out. The day after that i filled it up with 100% tap water and and left it for another day i have done about 6 - 7 100% water changes so far and the ph is a little high at: (8.4), and on the test kit it says it should be between (6.5 - 8.5) i would personaly like it to drop to (7 - 7.5). so i will do a few more water changes and then test again.

The test also includes:
Nitrate(No2 and No3)
General hardness (GH)
Carbonate hardness (KH)

These results are for the water test i have done after 6-7 100% water changes

Nitrate
No2 = 100..... Test kit recomends no more than 50 per liter
No3 = 0..... Test kit recomends no more than 50 per liter

General hardness
(GH) = 16+..... Test kit recomends between 6 - 16

Carbonate hardness
(KH) = 3.4..... Test kit recomends between 3 - 10

PH
(PH) = 8.4..... Test kit recomends between 6.5 - 8.5

How can i lower the No2 and what would be causing this?
And also how can i lower the GH and what would be causing this?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
76 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
So i had to start part of the back ground again.... :x
well i had left it in the garden whils curing the tank as it is easyer to do the water changes. the other mornig i came down to do another water change and part of the bg had come unstuck!!! it was the corner peice that housed the filter. not sure why it came un stuck but it did and it made a mess of part of the bg. any way i got my left over polystyrene and re made the corner peice. i coated it with cement again and tryed to match it in as best as possible. all looks ok but a bit dissapointed, as this weekend i was going to get a few fish to get the tank up and running.
dont look like its going to happen tho... any way shouldnt take long to get the PH back down as it is only one corner.
will post some pictures later.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
222 Posts
Tirral,don't be too concerned about your repair job
not matching well and being noticable.
Algae will cover it up very shortly after you fire it up. :wink:
Don't rush it,you're doing a great job.
Looks awesome.You're almost there.
Good luck,post more pics.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
76 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Thanks tracy. im sure it will look good once it has algae over it. cant wait to get it in the wall and get some of those little fishes swimming around :)



So here is a pic of my repair job. it doesnt look bad, but it was a step backwards because i now have to wait for the PH to drop again. o'well another few weeks and it should be ready to recieve them little rascles. i still have the frame to build behind the wall to support the tank.
Not sure when i am going to get that done because i have recently lost my job and have no money what so ever! o'well just another step backwards again :( its not my year so far.
trying to persuade family to lend me money but not having much luck because i already owe them lots of money. any way, away from my sob story and back to staring at my tank wondering what to do next :roll:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
306 Posts
looks great, you did a good job! :eek:
 
1 - 20 of 28 Posts
Top