Finally, I have some much needed time to do some projects!
Puts on the ol thinking cap to muster up some creative ideas.
So here is my adventure down the styrofoam road with my first attempt of making a DIY background. Oh yea I want this for Lake Tanganyika cichlids so I am trying to emulate the rock structures in that region... Gotta love google image.
I measured my 29g tank for width and height for dimensions from inside of glass to inside of glass and subtracted 1/8" from the width. The height i was too concerned as long as it was covered by the black plastic trim on top. Drew out some construction lines for plumbing of intakes and for the spraybar on the backside as well.
Not sure how to increase the showing of the picture but it's there!
I carved the back to accept the intake manifold i built; 3/4" riser teed to a pair of 1/2" intake legs, and all out of CPVC! Yes it cost a little more but the overall outside diameter is smaller than PVC and i can use 1 1/2" styrofoam and still give it some depth when carving. I figure that I will loose approx 6 gallons with the background's displacement. So now ill have a 23g! Yay, time for a beer, this helps with thinking outside of the box.
I used some left-over copper tubing and my trusty heat gun to punch some holes to accept the intakes. I did not glue the piping to the elbows which protrudes through the styrofoam and aided me in this task. I applied some pressure on the 45 degree elbows to put an indent into the channel and used that as a reference to punch through.
With that out of the way I could now brainstorm and carve things up! This is where I had a revelation of sorts for my spraybar placement.... Scary I know!! More on that tomorrow!
I finished up the night content with my progress so far. Cannot wait for the spraybar idea to come alive like Frankenstein.... "Quite a good scene, isn't it? One man, crazy - three very sane spectators! "
More to come tomorrow!
Looking good so far.
Can't wait to see the finished product.
I'm looking forward to watching your progress
If you take your time to do the research FIRST, you can successfully set-up and keep ANY type of aquarium with ease.
"Not using a quarantine tank is like playing Russian roulette. Nobody wins the game, some people just get to play longer than others." - Anthony Calfo
Fishless Cycle Cycling with Fish Marine Aquarium Info
if i may add my two cents... something i learned after doing a bunch of these is when doing the initial carving be sure to make your separation cuts (the cuts between the rocks) wider and deeper than you think you need. Once the cement fills in those lines you will lose some of that perceived depth. Just a thought...
Thanks gmoses for some great advice! I will be reincorporating your advice
Well I built a spraybar that only has a trickle out if it tried using nylon barbed Y connectors which i modified to agitate both the surface and add some water movement in the water column..... Not what I was looking for so back to the drawing board for another idea!
Quick question while i'm brainstorming again. Do I need to incorporate a siphon break into my spraybar for when i would loose power?
So I just got home from my double shift to find that a good friend dropped of some Sikatop 107 for me! So tomorrow afternoon i will be finishing up my spraybar and experimenting with the Sikatop and colored pigments... Pics to follow.
Sorry that this may take some time.. Hospitals never rest and sometimes neither do the patients.
If the spraybar is at the top of the tank then no. If you are trying to run it down to the bottom of the tank then that would be a problem if you're using a sump. If it's a canister I don't think it would be a problem unless it sprung a leak or a hose came loose.
Originally Posted by Tankedagain
I saw another guys background artwork and he added extra pieces of styro to the main piece to build caves and shelves. It looked so cool!
I've always wanted to do one of these.
Here is an update of my trails and tribulations for my background!
So, after 3 failed attempts so far on the spraybar idea I was giving it another go. This time keeping it simple! (if that is ever the case with DIY backgrounds) hehe Three attempts again and I finally figured this thing out! What I ended up doing was slicing a trough into the styrofoam deeper than what i needed. Here is the overall idea.
I sprayed in a liberal amount of expanding foam and draped a piece of wax paper over the trough. The paper was longer than the length of the background too! After I left the foam rise for bout 15 minutes I placed the cpvc piping ontop of the wax paper and left the foam cure. I tried seperating the waxpaper from the foam about 3 hours later and it was like taffy so I just left it set overnight. The following morning it released very easy and left a great smooth surface on the foam with hardly any holes. Success at last!!!
The piping actually snaps into place to my excitement. I hope after the Sikatop the piping still snaps into place. (even held it upside down and shook it hard and it did not fall out)
Here is a profile of the channel I created above! I am very impressed on how this turned out.
After the success of my spraybar channel I thought i would finish up carving out the background and make my intake pads. Using 2 whisper intake strainer tubes which i got for 99c each... These fit snugly around 3/4" CPVC piping too! Carving to be done on them yet.
There are 2 caves so far in the background. Here is the backside showing the cave sizes! I also cut thin 1/4" panels for the backside of the caves. I will be adding 1 or 2 airlines in the center channel and allow for length and silicone the airline to the bottom plate for the tank for future use.
Still a good bit of finish detail to be done before the use of Sikatop. Finish up the intakes, adding sprayfoam to where the heat gun melted a few small holes around the caves and dry fitting into the aquarium. Right now the BG is in one piece, unsure if i should split this in half or just notch out the plastic trim in the tank! I am thinking trimming the trim.
Here it is ready for sikatop and painting! I ended up making the background in 2 pieces as so to fit it into the tank.
Tomorrow will be time to see my creation transform yet again.