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  1. #1

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    Default Styrofoam background, advice needed


    0 Not allowed!
    I am putting together a new tank, and wanted to go for a styrofoam background, hiding heating, filters tubes etc, I have melted the styrofoam with a heat gun to get the basic shape I am after, now for some colour, this is where I am stuck, what is safe?
    Should I go for a slurry mix of concrete with perhaps some type of natural pigment mixed in?, would this hold up submerged all the time?.
    Or should I go for a resin based paint, would this be safe?

  2. #2

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    Default


    0 Not allowed!
    As I understand it, if you don't use the right kind of concrete or the right kind of paint on top of the concrete, it can leech lime back into your water and make it harder. However I do know that people do use that concrete mix to do what you are proposing and then somehow seal it very well.
    Considering a Marine Aquarium? A Breakdown of the Components, Live Rock, Cycling a Marine Tank

    "The capacity to learn is a gift; The ability to learn is a skill; The WILLINGNESS to learn is a choice." - Unknown

  3. #3

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  4. #4

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    Default


    0 Not allowed!
    Quikcrete concrete with concrete dye added it to the last couple of coats. (Or what's called Hobby cement.) A darker batch for between the rock cracks. Crack, you're going to have to let each coat dry 2 days and even spraying it with water several times a day to make it dry slower. (Spraying preferred not required.) Not in the sun or wind because drying will crack the cement. You know how cement is when dyed too quickly. 1st coat goes on thin with a brush and other coats go on thick and you can use your hands for that goo. Shape the cement as you want but use GLOVES!

    Make sure cement is not on the two sides that will later be siliconed together if you are doing this as a two piece unit. Also, if you are going to put one big piece of styrofoam on the back and glue your pieces to that, that large piece needs to be shorter than the length of your tank so you can dab cement on the sides. Otherwise, from outside the tank you'll see the edges of the styrofoam. A couple inches shy on both sides should let you get your fat, chunky fingers in there to dab cement in that opening?

    When you think it's finally done, add a LOT of water softening salt and water to cure the cement. Like half a bag of the stuff. Some use only water but the salt is supposed to help harden it. It will take you a lot of curing and a lot of water changes before your pH goes back down. Like daily for a couple weeks with adding salt only the first 3 or 4 days.

    I just threw my styrofoam out a couple weeks ago. I had my pieces all cut a year ago and knew I'd never get around to it. Too long of a process for me and always in too big of a hurry to use the tank.

    What also looks neat is slate siliconed to the back of the tank. That one only takes a few days but makes the tank heavy, obviously.

    Use lots and lots and lots of silicone to hold your styrofoam down. It's going to want to pop up when you start to fill the tank and will have plenty of pressure on it to do so.

    I spent 1 month reading about these cement backgrounds and you might push me in that direction again.
    Last edited by Lady Hobbs; 05-30-2008 at 02:01 PM.

  5. #5

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    Default


    0 Not allowed!
    Cool, how big is the tank going to be?




    If you have to cut large peices, rig up a hot wire. Just get a long peice of copper wire, and run a small bit of current through it to heat it up, and it cuts like a charm.

  6. #6

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    Default


    0 Not allowed!
    LOL I flicked my Bic. Had blisters on every finger! Finally tried my hair dryer and that would OK but would turn off once it over heated.
    Last edited by Lady Hobbs; 05-30-2008 at 06:25 PM.

  7. #7

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    Default


    0 Not allowed!
    Quote Originally Posted by Lady Hobbs
    LOL I flicked my Bic. Had blisters on every finger! Finally tried my hair dryer and that wouldn't OK but would turn off once it over heated.
    LMAO - A smoker's tool, the lighter LOL I shouldn't laugh, but it just struck me as hilarious.

  8. #8

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    Default


    0 Not allowed!
    Made smoking for a week rather painful! LOL

  9. #9

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    Default


    0 Not allowed!
    Quote Originally Posted by Lady Hobbs
    Made smoking for a week rather painful! LOL
    Just buy a blowtorch for any DIY fishy projects, and you'll always have a "spare" lighter to hand (no pun intended)...I hate lighter and ash blisters

  10. #10

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    Default


    0 Not allowed!
    Don't use Resin Paint it will melt the styrofoam. I found a site that said you can use fiber glass resin on your styrofoam. Don't use it it will eat it up like a starving man.

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