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jbeining75
02-26-2008, 02:57 AM
Okay so now that the tank is approved I figured I'd start some of the background work now. I am going to do two different styrofoam projects as well as paint a background on the 125 when I get it...

Here goes the first one. I have decided to make a styrofoam tree with the branches underwater throughout part of the tank. The tree will be 3 inches thick and go just 4 inches under water before it starts to branch off... The branches will attach to either the side of the tank mid water. The floor on the tank, or the back of the tank midwater.. Here was the starting shopping list... I held off on the cement and resin still as I'm in a cast until March 3rd.. After that though I will cement it together and resin it nice and tight....

3 1inch 12X36 inch sheets of styrofoam
1 razor blade
1 drywall cutter
1 tape measure
1 square
2 tubes GE Silicone I
1 Caulking gun
Pack of fine grit sand paper
1 butane torch
8 paintbrushes (for cement and resin)

*** still need quickcrete quikwall and resin.....

Here are some pics... The materials, Styrofoam cut and siliconed together, and my "clamps"...lol

I will post throughout the project. This is my first go around so if I stop posting you know something went wrong lol... I will post daily on my progress but once tree is carved I will wait until 3rd of March to cement it due to the cast...

J

jbeining75
02-26-2008, 02:58 AM
darn it here are the pics lol....

gm72
02-26-2008, 02:58 AM
No pictures here.

EDIT: Now they are there!

sailor
02-26-2008, 03:42 AM
Sounds great J, can't wait to see the daily progress.

Halelorf
02-26-2008, 03:48 AM
Good luck, I hope it turns out how you want it to!

jbeining75
02-26-2008, 02:33 PM
I am super stoked about this thing... It is great. I haven't screwed up anything yet and I got the main base carved!!! Here are four pics. First is just straight carving. Second I started adding some shape.. 3D yeah!!!!. Third one is the finished base.... Fiurth is the channel I carved in the back. I will put the intake to the AC110 in this so it will hide it perfectly!!! Some will ask how to clean the intake I'm sure so I will do this... I will lift the entire filter off the back.. Unhook the intake and lift the intake back up through the channel. A little tough I'm sure but this is going to be way worth it... Moved the project to my work shed as the wife kicked me outta the house.. The silicone was getting to her...lol... Here are the pics...

angelcakes
02-26-2008, 02:38 PM
good luck looking forward to more pics!thumbs2: all looking good!!

sailor
02-26-2008, 02:39 PM
Looking great J. The intake should be fine. With all my tanks running I have had only 1 intake to clear or clean in the last year or so. Mind you there was no live plants in that tank. I hear they can be a problem sometimes with leaves and such that come off.

Tooch
02-26-2008, 02:40 PM
Lookin good J-man! Keep up the good work!

jbeining75
02-26-2008, 02:42 PM
Looking great J. The intake should be fine. With all my tanks running I have had only 1 intake to clear or clean in the last year or so. Mind you there was no live plants in that tank. I hear they can be a problem sometimes with leaves and such that come off.

I won't have any plants... I will have Oscars, Green Terror, Raphael Cat, and probably a Red Devil and Jack Dempsey in there... No plants with those guys lol..... I might silicone down some really small plants to the cave top I guess.....

hpt84
02-26-2008, 04:04 PM
Really nice work. You have good hand skill, because many of us would have mess up by now.

Tolley
02-26-2008, 04:56 PM
Looking Good !!!! thumbs2:

You can buy fake plants, separate each stem then silicone them to the background to make it look like they're growing out of it :thumb:

lasm
02-26-2008, 05:01 PM
That looks like fun...!!!

jbeining75
02-26-2008, 05:02 PM
Okay so I'm done for the day. I brought another branch out the front. I have siliconed it and will wait 24 hours for it to cure before I start to carve it down. Looks a little messy now but will be smooth sailing when I actually cut it down and sand it down.... Here are the pics..... The flat pieces are just supports until the silicone cures.. They will disappear. Other branches will stem from that bigger one......

jbeining75
02-27-2008, 01:02 AM
Okay after sitting there looking at the beast for an hour I thought.... What the heck... I don't need silicone. I can use toothpicks!!!!!! No curing time... So I grabbed up my daughter rushed to the supermarket and grabbed some toothpicks (and corona lol.. oh limes too). So after hours of carving changing, throwing away and recarving pieces here is what I got. I will add more down branches tomorrow from the front and of fthe right side. I want to leave the middle clear so the big SA cichlids can swim through. This piece will split my tank probably... with rockwork on one side and a diy cave system on the other. I may throw a rockwall in there. If I'm doing it I might as well go all out. Plus this tree is probably the most fulfilling thing I have done with a tank..... Hope you guys like it... I do!!!

sailor
02-27-2008, 01:07 AM
Looking awsome J!!!!!!!!
When do you expect to be completed?

jbeining75
02-27-2008, 01:13 AM
I don't know I only got the one hand so I work slow. I'd imagine the first week of March some time. I need to complete the left side and run some down branches off the right... It is coming together really great though. I have to go back to Wally world tomorrow and get more styrofoam... Once I am happy with it I'll start coating it with cement. Probably 5-6 layers of quikwall... Than paint it. 1 day for base... one day for contrast colors.. one day for shadowing.... Then epoxy resin probably two days. I have awhile before I get the tank though as I have to wait on my big VA pension check of almost $8,000 for the three months I've been off work.. It could come tomorrow or July so I don't know when I will get the tank.... I still have the cave I will build plus maybe a rockwall portion... I'm not sure yet.. I got 6 feet of tank to work with so a million options are running through my head lol....

jbeining75
02-27-2008, 07:00 PM
Okey dokey guys... Couple more hours of carving and here is where I am now......

I have to finish the down branch on the left side and add a couple down braches to the main right side and it will be ready to sand down really good. After the sanding I will quikcrete quikwall it in about 5 or 6 layers. I am going to sculpt vines on it with the quikcrete.... We'll see how it goes... One chance at the quikcrete so hopefully I don't screw up the 15 hours of work I got into it lol......

angelcakes
02-27-2008, 07:05 PM
wow thumbs2: cant wait to see when its all set up,keep pics coming!!thumbs2:

lasm
02-27-2008, 07:43 PM
Where did you get all the information for this project. For example: how do you know what material to use, what kind of paint, how to contrast the colors.. etc.

It looks really amazing. Keep posting.

jbeining75
02-27-2008, 07:49 PM
Just google diy backgrounds.... For the paint I will use latex paint. It is nontoxic and I am completely coating the entire piece in epoxy resin and soaking it for two weeks so nothing leeches into the tank.... I am descent at art so basically what I will do is find a tree root on google images print it out and use it to determine the way I will paint the roots. It will probably be a mid grey color with a lighter inside where I will make the bark disappear like the tree was scraped....

For this project lasm there was no diagram how to do it. I'm sure someone has but I didn't use it. I just went from a picture off the internet to see how the branches moved and I soon found out after looking at 50 or so there is no wrong way to shape a root.. Just whatever you feel is right..... I just went with what I thought would be good as well as still functional for the fish...

jbeining75
02-27-2008, 11:03 PM
Okay guys the carving for the tree root project is finally done. I completed it with one hand in a cast so not to hard. Pictures help your imagination along alot when building something like this. So here are the 5 pics that show it completed and ready for sanding... I am thinking about starting to cement it tomorrow with my cast on lol... I can brush on the first couple layers...... We will see. If not I will cement it in on Monday after I get my cast off or maybe Tuesday morning......

sailor
02-28-2008, 12:14 AM
You are doing an awsome job, keep up the great work.thumbs2:

gm72
02-28-2008, 12:17 AM
Wow, that is looking great!

snipers_den
02-28-2008, 12:25 AM
That is sweet lookin J, cant wait to see it all finished......good job !!!:thumb:

jbeining75
02-28-2008, 04:29 AM
Okay so I am inpatient lol. Instead of waiting until Monday until I got my cast off I went to Lowe's today and got Quikcrete Hyrdo Sealant... It is basically concrete but provides a water seal... I will coat the entire piece. I got around 75% of it done before having to come back inside. It is 20 degrees outside and my shed has no heater lol.... I was outside for 2 hours painting cement on this thing freezing to death lol.... Here are two pics of it... The first coat will be light..... I will put 5-6 coats on it.. On the 4th or 5th coat I will add in vines running down some of the branches..... Hope you guys like it!!!!

cichlid22c
02-28-2008, 04:39 AM
looks good jb. i was wanting to do a diy background too but i got to impatient and set my 75g up and just bought alot of rock the curing time would have drove me crazy .........not done yet.............not done yet ..........then i would of done somthing stupid or got mad or some thing so just ditched the idea

coachfraley
02-28-2008, 04:39 AM
That looks awesome!!! It was worth all the suffering.

jbeining75
02-28-2008, 04:43 AM
looks good jb. i was wanting to do a diy background too but i got to impatient and set my 75g up and just bought alot of rock the curing time would have drove me crazy .........not done yet.............not done yet ..........then i would of done somthing stupid or got mad or some thing so just ditched the idea

I won't have my 125 for a couple months yet so I'm in no hurry. I will do a cave one also here soon. Once I'm done with the tree... I will paint it though so it will take awhile longer....

sailor
02-28-2008, 02:05 PM
Hey J you are doing a fantastic job, when are you comming to my houe to help me with one of those lol.

jbeining75
02-28-2008, 02:22 PM
Hey J you are doing a fantastic job, when are you comming to my houe to help me with one of those lol.

My wife did always want to see Mount Rushmore.. Hmmm... road trip time...... That would put me with closer.....

jbeining75
02-28-2008, 05:17 PM
Okay here is the first and second coats on this thing. The right side piece still has a small section not cementd as I am thinking of carving it off.... I will see though. Here you go guys.... Thanks for all the great comments about the project I appriciate it..

jbeining75
02-28-2008, 05:18 PM
oops pics sorry..... The seams in the styrofoam are coming together really well. You can barely notice them and with more coats of cement I will create matural flowing lines to give it the most realistic look possible. I am done for today. I will let the cement set up tomorrow midday probably I will coat it again.......

Kupcake
02-28-2008, 05:32 PM
That is so cool, I bet its going to look fantastic!

jbeining75
03-01-2008, 09:09 PM
Third coat of cement on....... There are a few spots where the branches cross where I am having a slight problem with cracking cement. Nothing that can't be handled it is just going to take a few more coats of cement along those areas versus the rest of the root..... I'll probably coat it a fourth time tomorrow....

sailor
03-01-2008, 11:13 PM
Nice root system on your stump bud, looking good.

jbeining75
03-02-2008, 01:27 AM
It is weak lol... Every time I nudge it the places where the roots cross crack. I almost bounced it off thhe wall today I was so frustrated lol.... I have a small anger problem when I'm annoyed....lmao

sailor
03-02-2008, 02:36 AM
It still has to dry and cure, it will get stronger

cichlid22c
03-02-2008, 02:42 AM
try spraying water on it so it doesnt dry from outside in and it drys from the inside out. when i was thinking of doing one thats what i found out in reseaching it

jbeining75
03-02-2008, 02:45 AM
try spraying water on it so it doesnt dry from outside in and it drys from the inside out. when i was thinking of doing one thats what i found out in reseaching it

I just went from larger coats to a very watery coat. It is setting alot better tonight..... A was running a wet paintbrush over it to keep it from cracking... I think I got it now.... This thing is probably 10 times harder than just a background because of the cement curving and shaping the piece instead of just coating a huge piece..... It will be mid march until I'm done... The intricasies I added sculpting it are now causing problems cementing it lol.... Oh well I will get it....

karbomb
03-02-2008, 08:17 PM
that looks beautiful jb. is cement safe for tanks? if it is i never knew that.

jbeining75
03-02-2008, 08:20 PM
that looks beautiful jb. is cement safe for tanks? if it is i never knew that.

It is fine as long as the piece is completely coated in epoxy resin to lock all the contents inside the piece... After about 2 coats of epoxy resin I will let it cure in a trash can filled with water for at least two weeks or more....

gm72
03-02-2008, 08:21 PM
Great idea!

BillyVille
03-03-2008, 05:00 PM
It is fine as long as the piece is completely coated in epoxy resin to lock all the contents inside the piece... After about 2 coats of epoxy resin I will let it cure in a trash can filled with water for at least two weeks or more....


how much is the epoxy resin?

jbeining75
03-03-2008, 05:17 PM
It all depends on the store. Most big box construction stores have it. Two part clear epoxy resin is what you need to look for......

ozone ranger
03-04-2008, 12:51 AM
I read somewhere in my online research about the curing process taking 6 weeks or so... if I use epoxy resin on my rock project and leave it for 2 weeks submerged in the tub - does that skip the additional 4 weeks? I never thought to use resin - that might make things a little quicker. Im not ver patient. :)

Dixie
03-04-2008, 03:15 AM
I just found this blog today and it's so cool! Can't wait to see it done. You're doing a terrific job. It's gonna be so realistic looking. Even got my creative brain cells in a uproar. Now I'm gonna have to start some kinda project lol.

I just found out too that we are "neighbors"...eat your heart out Sailor (wink). I'm in Springfield, W.V. but only maybe 25 minutes or so from Cumberland, Md.. I got all my fish in Cumberland. Not alot to choose from there but it's the closest place to me with store bought fish. I haven't bought any from Scales & Tails yet, just Porters and (shhhh Wal Mart). One of these days I'm going to check out some places in Winchester Va.. I need to have another tank ready before then though lol. It's so nice to see someone from the same area here, small world. Keep up the good work on that trunk. Can't wait to see it done.

jbeining75
03-04-2008, 05:24 AM
Dixie I use Porters alot. Craig has a great store and great fish..... Scales n Tails is Okay. If I can't get fish from Craig (Porters) or Mike (SnT) I get them from AZ Gardens.... There is one other member here from Cumberland on here also also one from just north in Bedford. Thats is four close. I will not post there names for anoyomity reasons but if they wanna post it up feel free. The project is coming along pretty good. It has slowed down a little but the fourth coat and all the heavy seam coats are going on tomorrow....

Dixie
03-04-2008, 03:02 PM
Thanks for the reply J.. I've never heard of AZ Gardens. Is it that one downtown across the tracks? I thought it was called exotic something. Never even been in that one. Or is it mail order or hid somewhere in Cumb. that I don't know about lol? Do you belong to that aquatic club in Cumb.? I was wondering what it was like.

jbeining75
03-04-2008, 05:12 PM
I don't belong to the aquatic club.... AZ Gardens is an online store.... They get alot of hard to find fish.....