View Full Version : Lava rock cave background

03-14-2008, 03:34 PM
I'm sure everyone has seen this already - http://www.duboisi.com/diy/BNdiygrotto/bndiygrotto.htm

In the next few weeks I'm going to start makeing the same type of background, but use varying sizes of pvc pipe instead of gutter. I'm also going to use varying sizes of lava rock. I think that using different sizes of pipe and rock, the finished piece will look more natural rather than a flat wall of lava rock.

My tank is already set up and running, so once I follow through and finish the background, how should go about soaking/cleaning the background before placing it in the tank. Also, is the lava rock going to significantly raise my pH?

03-14-2008, 03:43 PM
can't help with the questions you are asking,but the link with the lava rock background is awesome,:19: :19: good luck on yours

03-14-2008, 03:49 PM
in my experience, lava rocks aren't going to raise significantly your pH... they're composed of silicium, oxygen and metal like magnesium...
I dont' think there's a risk for your fish if your wash them before using them and rinse iyour wall very well... they're real hardy rocks, I mean, they can resist hard weathering... So, in my opinion it's safe to use them...
Stil, if you're anxious (like I am with my fish) you can try to find some epoxy of vernish safe to use in your tank and put a thin layer on your wall once finish.

Hope it help you a little and keep us posted on your wall!!!!

03-14-2008, 04:28 PM
Amazing idea! I wanna try that on the next tank I set up. It looks just like lake malawi in the pic they show at the bottom of the page.

03-15-2008, 01:46 PM
I have two wishper 60 power filters (one on each end of the tank). If the intake tube are behind this wall, will the water still be filter as effectively? There will be plenty of caves and holes for the water to flow through. From a lot of the pictures I've seen of others' diy backgrounds, the filters are always hidden.

07-02-2008, 02:26 PM
i have done this myself and am very pleased. except I did a few things different and took the process further.

i will post pics when, if ever I find the time. first of all I have a 55 gal. cichlid tank. and am currently moving them into a 90 gal.

I made one 2 level corner cave with the gutter cut as to fit diagonal on the corner of the tank as to allow anyone to observe my cave dwellers in there home, I made sure to place that cave on the side facing the wall away from light sources as to not scare off the fish.

I used black aquarium silicone, lava rocks bought at the nearest landscaping store. i also purchased some black sand at the fish store to cover up the silicone that gets squezzed out in between the lava rocks. Its a timely process so you should have every thing ready and setup before gooping the frame work up with silicone. It takes some practice, but well worth the effort.

Goop up the frame one section at a time, press on rocks, then sprinkle sand inbetween the rocks and press it in. use latex gloves, rags and keep everything inside a large container as it will get messy quick.

for my other cave I used a cave from a train model set as the framework. Lastly I am in the process of making a large tall structure that reaches the surface of the water as to provide a landing for my sub aquatic animals. using a 4" carved out pvc pipe as the footing and the modified model train set cave as the landing on top, it looks somewhat like a tall shelf.. I fastened everything with zip ties. it all gets covered up by the silicone in the end anyways. finally to secure the shelf to the glass, I plan on using magnets siliconed to the structure.

I am currently trying to source some feather or normax lava rock or large lava boulders and carve some custom caves out of them. I think that will look much more natural, easier to do, and less messy than the siliconed rocks. i may even silicone stack them together into a nice shelf system protruding out of the water.

tha great thing about lava rock is that it is porous thus practically weighing nothing. Some of the small rocks are actually naturally bouyant. so you wont have to worry much about the additional weight in your tank.

good luck.