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  1. #1

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    Default aquascaping hills... need some opinions


    0 Not allowed!
    Hey all. I decided to try my hand at aquascaping and I'm making some good size hills for this out of Styrofoam. My question is what to do with the foam. Should I coat it in cement like I would any other background I've made or just leave it and not worry about it. Most of the foam is going to be under 3 inches of sand so it's not like I'll see it or anything. the way I carved it out its pretty rough so I don't think either way will really help/hurt how the sand holds in place. It's more of do I really want to coat it 3-4 times like a background and wait a week for it to cure if I don't really need to....
    So what to you all think? Coat it or leave it?

    Anyone else ever do this? What did you do?

    Thanks all
    Angel breeder wanna-be

  2. #2

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    Default


    0 Not allowed!
    I'm not an expert (never done a background myself), but I am wondering about two things...

    - is there anything in styrofoam that can leach into the water and harm the fish? Most of the sources insist that you completely cover/seal styrofoam before sticking it in the tank.

    - how are you going to stop it from floating if you don't cover it in the cement? Is it glued to the bottom of the tank?

  3. #3

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    Default


    0 Not allowed!
    Thats a good question. I've never had problems with the styrofoam before. I've made a few backgrounds before that had uncoated backs or bottoms.

    I plan on siliconing the styro to the bottom of the tank. Even coated in cement they will still float. lol
    Angel breeder wanna-be

  4. #4

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    Default


    0 Not allowed!
    Quote Originally Posted by Jaster View Post

    I plan on siliconing the styro to the bottom of the tank. Even coated in cement they will still float. lol
    I was hoping you would say that! LOL I have a fairly large resin rock thing in one of my 55's. I didn't realize I had placed it ever so slightly over a buried air stone. That sucker filled with air and I heard it from the next room. What a mess it made in my planted tank, and the noise, I thought my tank let go! Now I drill holes in EVERYTHING. Since styrofoam is so much air, I can imagine the entire bottom of your tank rising/tipping over OMG ! LOL
    55 Gallon community tank.
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  5. #5

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    Default


    3 Not allowed!
    I don't think the sand would stay on the hill over time. It's likely to show the styrofoam in spots. I would think building the hill with Rocks then a layer of pea gravel and then sand would hold better and look more natural. You probably would need to maintain it by topping off with sand now and then.

  6. #6

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    Default


    0 Not allowed!
    OK I had another thought... Been reading a lot of mosses/clovers/grass type plants don't like sand because it's hard for them to root. Gee guess what my plan was... moss sand hills... I know in actual landscaping I've used things like burlap to hold things in place until they have a chance to root. Could I place something like that under the sand? I also have a bunch of plastic mesh. Would something like that be better?


    Quote Originally Posted by dishsnthings View Post
    I was hoping you would say that! LOL I have a fairly large resin rock thing in one of my 55's. I didn't realize I had placed it ever so slightly over a buried air stone. That sucker filled with air and I heard it from the next room. What a mess it made in my planted tank, and the noise, I thought my tank let go! Now I drill holes in EVERYTHING. Since styrofoam is so much air, I can imagine the entire bottom of your tank rising/tipping over OMG ! LOL
    I have nightmares about that all the time with some of the backgrounds I've made. I made one for my 80g and it was huge. With 2 25pound scuba weightbelts it still floated. lol I used so much silicone on that to attach it to the tank it was crazy. For the first couple months it was in the tank every noise I heard in the house I went running to the tank. lol I just had this image of the background breaking free and trying to flip over in the tank and smashing out the front glass.
    Angel breeder wanna-be

  7. #7

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    Default


    0 Not allowed!
    Quote Originally Posted by openbook View Post
    I don't think the sand would stay on the hill over time. It's likely to show the styrofoam in spots.
    I had the same thought.

    -S

  8. #8

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    Default


    1 Not allowed!
    I've never done this, but you have me thinking. How about this:

    Coat the bottom of the styrofoam with epoxy so you have a firm gluing surface for the silicone. Be careful of the type of glue you use--some epoxies melt styrofoam. You also want something with a 10-20 minute working time for the next step.

    Anyway, once the bottom cures, coat the top as well. Before the glue cures, sprinkle the whole thing with gravel that is the same color as your sand.

    Once that cures, paint another coat of epoxy on the gravel, covering it thoroughly, and sprinkle the whole thing liberally with sand.

    This would do several things, I think: 1. It would provide some extra weight to help hold this moster to the bottom of your tank. 2. It would provide a nice, rough surface to help hold (some of) the sand in place, and maybe give your plant roots something permanent to adhere to. 3. When the sand slides off--and it will--it will still look good.

    Thoughts on that? I'm thinking about trying something like this with my tank this coming summer. Thanks for the inspiration!

    Tom

  9. #9

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    Default


    0 Not allowed!
    Here's a good build thread on a foam 3D background that turned out really nice: http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/aqua...d.php?t=114717
    10 Gallon Beginner Tank... Journal
    40 Gallon Breeder: ... Journal
    29 Gallon: ... Journal

    “If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went” - Will Rogers

  10. #10

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    Default


    0 Not allowed!
    My dwarf swords hold well in sand. Occasionally one comes loose and floats away. Mostly they are all connected to each other by runners and stay put. Java moss can grow on anything even glass but in time it will turn into a huge blob and you won't see the hill.

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