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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
After doing much reading on diy backgrounds I decided to practice the various techniques on my 20 gallon tank. Since there are many detailed how-to's posted already i will try to stick to the unique things i experienced. So here is my background completely carved out[/img]
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
After careful thought i decided to go with the masonary mix for my firsth coat because it is more coarse than Quickwall or Hydraulic cement. Well here it is with the first coat.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
For the rest of my layers i used Quickcrete Quikwall, Quickcrete Masonary mix, and Quickcrete Hydraulic cement. I supplemented all of my mixes except the last with Quickcrete Acrylic forifier. Portland cement is the base for all of the above mixes. This is w

Here is a summary of what i experienced with the various different mixes:

Quikrete Hydraulic cement dries fast, grey in color, smooth finish, can be applied in water making it perfect for touch-up or small tanks.

Quikrete Masonary mix light grey in color, coarse finish, no need to add additional sand, looks natural, needs to be applied in thicker coats.

Quikrete Quikwall comes in grey or white, mixes well with colored sand, fiberglass reinforcement to help resist cracking, designed to be applied in thin coats or even sprayed with appropriate equipment.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
As John D. Dryssdale points out in the DIY library article, it is possible to get good detail using styrofoam/concrete it just requires a lot of patience. Because detail is so important with small tanks you must take the time to carve out the fine details even though much of them will be filled in with concrete. In order to maintain as much detail as possible I chose to use Quikwall since it is designed to be applied in thin layers. The trick is to apply cement with old paint brush and just before it finally sets do all of your fine detail tooling with wet brush, screwdrivers, putty knifes, etc. whatever it takes to reach the tight areas.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I decided that i wanted round rocks with overhangs and a pronounced 3d look. As Lomax stated in Trammel's prject it is very important to stay away from straight lins and symetrical shapes for a real 3d look. So as you can see from the following photos i tried to make sure that i had alot of overlaping rocks with different shades and colors.

http://www.skellyloy-gis.com/developmen ... ndcoat.jpg
moderator edit: same picture, tags removed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I will have algae growing on my background before I know it so I decided to stay away from the color dyes and pigments.I was able to create various different colors by mixing different cement products, colored sands, and acrylic fortifier. I will list my mixes from lightest to darkest below.

Quikcrete Mason mix, acrylic fortifier

Quikcrete Mason mix

Quikcrete Quikwall (grey), playsand, acrylic fortifier

Quikcrete Quikwall (grey), playsand

Quikcrete Quikwall (grey) , playsand, black marine sand, acrylic fortifier

Quikcrete Hydraulic cement

Quikcrete Quikwall (grey), black marine sand, acrylic fortifier

Quikcrete Quikwall (grey), black marine sand
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
i basically used the lighter colored mixes for my foreground rocks and the darker mixes for backround rocks. The following photos will show you just how 3d the background really is.



 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·

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looks great... kinda what I am going for.

I was alittle worried.. cause some mentioned it might look like a 'built wall' ie man made/not natural.

But that looks nice!
 

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trigger said:
Looks great.

One thing though, bacuse this thread takes ages to load, I removed the tags from identical or similar pictures. They still can be seen by clicking them, thanks.
ok, thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
My UGJ's and Filter are now complete. Many people would say that UGJ's are not needed for a small tank, however since this is practice for a larger tank I decided to set every thing up as if it were a large tank. Besides the obvious reasons for using UGJ's dead spots and filtration I wanted to move filtered heated water from behind the background to the foreground. I used one pump with two outlets one under log and another behind rock.





 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I also decided to upgrade my old penguin 170 filter by making it quieter and adding more filter media.



 
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