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Thread: DIY Background

  1. #1

    Join Date
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    Default DIY Background


    0 Not allowed!
    As the title says I'm doing a 3D Background for my 90Gallon. I'm using Polystyrene/styrofoam as the base for it.

    I know all the steps, and how some people use Quikrete and some use DryLok. I'm here about a different product that gives the same look and texture. I have built two backgrounds for reptiles using Polyfila Tile Grout, I'm wondering if I am able to use the same stuff for this? It's fairly easy to spread and I'm familiar with it.

    Any suggestions as to what to use and how to go about doing this to get a nice dark black effect and sealing it without causing any problems in the long run will be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks for your time, Ben

  2. #2

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    2 Not allowed!
    Ben, I'm new to the forum and do not claim to be an expert at 3D backgrounds. I just did my 120 gal background a few weeks ago. My first 3D background. I used Quikrete hydraulic cement. I found this substance very difficult to work with. The directions state it sets up in 2 minutes. I found it starts setting up in 30 seconds and you constantly have to keep stirring to prevent it from hardening. However, it will be too hard to work with after 60 to 90 seconds. You can only do a small section at a time. I don't know anything about Polyfila Tile Grout. If you go that route, please let us know how difficult it is to work with. I would suggest making a small test background and testing the water. My PH got a little high, 7.4 - 7.6, but I'm not sure if it was the cement or my tap water. My tap water tested the same level as my aquarium. I have fish in my aquarium now and they are healthy.
    Anyway, let us know how it turns out. Good luck.

  3. #3

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    3 Not allowed!
    I used the Drylok product when I did my background; it is inert and won't interfere with pH. It is easy to use and tint, and is easy to keep details in the foam background but also gives a nice texture as well. I don't think the grout is safe for aquariums and will not be durable in the long run, but not 100%.
    5.5g- Shrimp tank
    Tub Tanks
    5g Opa Ulae salty tank
    Fish room-*pending*


    TUB tanks:
    5.5 Shrimp Tanks
    Goldfish Tank
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    Salty Shrimp


    DebinWhitmore

  4. #4

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    0 Not allowed!
    Quote Originally Posted by Boundava View Post
    I used the Drylok product when I did my background; it is inert and won't interfere with pH. It is easy to use and tint, and is easy to keep details in the foam background but also gives a nice texture as well. I don't think the grout is safe for aquariums and will not be durable in the long run, but not 100%.
    I was told anything would be safe to use as long as it was cured properly. But I ended up grabbing 2 bags of Homecrete. Not sure how well it will work out but the DryLok is pricey as all hell.

  5. #5

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    0 Not allowed!
    Your in for a couple weeks of curing the concrete, just watch the water parameters.
    5.5g- Shrimp tank
    Tub Tanks
    5g Opa Ulae salty tank
    Fish room-*pending*


    TUB tanks:
    5.5 Shrimp Tanks
    Goldfish Tank
    Fish Room
    Salty Shrimp


    DebinWhitmore

  6. #6

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    0 Not allowed!
    I'm really glad I ran across this post. I was getting ready to go buy some Quikrete and start coating my background next week. I'm 2/3 of the way done with the styrofoam, and I think I'm going to go with Drylock instead.
    Also, I read somewhere that you can use acrylic paint in aquariums. It's this accurate?

    One last thing there is a specific type of polyurethane that you can use to seal your background.
    This https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0009XELPS..._YUxSzbNEEFG90
    Last edited by UserName; 09-07-2017 at 05:05 PM.

  7. #7

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    Default


    1 Not allowed!
    You can use acrylic paints either to color the Drylok (which comes in assorted colors including white) or directly on the background on top of the Drylok. If you tint the Drylok you don't have to seal it with the sealer as the Drylok is the sealer. You can also use concrete pigments in the Drylok to color it as well. I used both paint and pigments when I built my background-I have no issues with flaking or peeling and its been in the tank for ~3 years (will be 3 in November).

    If you paint on the acrylic then use a acrylic based sealer and give it a week to fully cure. From what I understand the spray sealer has acetone in it, so that would need to dry off to make it OK to use in the water.

    Good Luck!
    5.5g- Shrimp tank
    Tub Tanks
    5g Opa Ulae salty tank
    Fish room-*pending*


    TUB tanks:
    5.5 Shrimp Tanks
    Goldfish Tank
    Fish Room
    Salty Shrimp


    DebinWhitmore

  8. #8

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    0 Not allowed!
    I was really saying the polyurethane would be a good idea for concrete to avoid the issue of ph spikes, but that's good to know.

  9. #9

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    Let the gift giving begin, Merry X-mas ;-) - steeler58   Merry Christmas to you and your family Nat. - Taurus   Merry Xmas to you! - angelcraze2   Champagne for the holidays. Cheers! - mermaidwannabe   Merry Christmas! - Slaphppy7   

    Default


    0 Not allowed!
    No pH spikes with Drylok, its inert unlike Quickcrete or grout so no need to seal it at all cause Drylok is a masonry sealer already.
    5.5g- Shrimp tank
    Tub Tanks
    5g Opa Ulae salty tank
    Fish room-*pending*


    TUB tanks:
    5.5 Shrimp Tanks
    Goldfish Tank
    Fish Room
    Salty Shrimp


    DebinWhitmore

  10. #10

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    0 Not allowed!
    Now that I think about it, does the concrete really put that much texture on the styrofoam? Being as I'm going to use Drylock now, that would seal the concrete so I wouldn't need to work about the ph spikes, providing that I use a layer of concrete for texture.

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