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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I was thinking of making a DIY background for my 90 gallon.

I might try a Styrofoam/concrete background but, one of the concerns I have is, the down time of the aquarium (I don't want to wait weeks/months for the ph balance to lower due to the concrete)

Has anyone tried or has any input in breaking up slate tiles and gluing them into the back of the tank?
http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=36129&d=1318714885
http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=41223&d=1328075974
http://i97.photobucket.com/albums/l215/Oldmanstanwicks/Fishes/foundationbuild.jpg
I've seen various pictures of it being done but will it be too heavy for a larger tank? I assume there will be no ph spikes since it is slate, so this would likely have the least amount of down time

I've also looked into sprayfoam backgrounds, using paint/sand to give it texture
(Lighting defuser + sand)
IMG_20110905_171713.jpg Photo by Stuwobbe | Photobucket
but I don't if this will be any cheaper than the said methods above, but general consensus says that other than letting the foam cure/dry there is no ph spikes

Does anyone have any experience with any of these?
 

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I've done a combination, not as a full background but more to create height without using a ton of rocks. (Foam is buoyant and reduces weight in the tank as well)

I used light diffuser to create a 3d structure. Then I covered with spray foam and attached rocks. The spray foam does ooze quite a bit so once it dries you use a screwdriver to scrape away the excess.

Once cured (overnight) and scraped to remove excess foam I have used it straight away with no side effects.

Here's the final outcome on a 210g - this has been in use for about 3 years now.

Water Green Organism Terrestrial plant Pet supply Water Terrestrial plant Aquatic plant Marine biology Fish Water Organism Body of water Underwater Coastal and oceanic landforms
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I've done a combination, not as a full background but more to create height without using a ton of rocks. (Foam is buoyant and reduces weight in the tank as well)

I used light diffuser to create a 3d structure. Then I covered with spray foam and attached rocks. The spray foam does ooze quite a bit so once it dries you use a screwdriver to scrape away the excess.

Once cured (overnight) and scraped to remove excess foam I have used it straight away with no side effects.

Here's the final outcome on a 210g - this has been in use for about 3 years now.

View attachment 102497 View attachment 102505 View attachment 102513
Oh wow that's really nice, I might try doing that then, how many cans of Spray foam did you use?
 

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The rock work across the 6 foot tank consists of 3 sections, each about 2 feet in length. I sectioned it as it makes them easier to lift into the tank once complete. They can be heavy!

Each section required about 1 can of foam. Not much really required since it expands. My recommendation: start with spraying a small section holding 3 - 4 rocks. Let it stand for an hour and see how much excess foam results. That will give you a sense of how little is required moving forward.

As FYI: some nurseries stocking pond supplies carry black spray foam as an alternative to the yellow hardware type. Black can be messy on rocks even if scraped clean. Yellow is fine as algae soon hides it.

Good luck
 
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The rock work across the 6 foot tank consists of 3 sections, each about 2 feet in length. I sectioned it as it makes them easier to lift into the tank once complete. They can be heavy to lift!

Each section only required about 1 can of foam. Not much really required since it expands. My recommendation: start with spraying a small section holding 3 - 4 rocks. Let it stand for an hour and see how much excess foam results. That will give you a sense of how little is required moving forward.

As FYI: some nurseries stocking pond supplies carry black spray foam as an alternative to the yellow hardware type. Black can be messy on rocks even if scraped clean. Yellow is fine as algae soon hides it.

Good luck
 
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Here's my 3-d background. I used the "water safe" latex mixed concrete and mixed w/ concrete pigments. It is 5 years old and has mainly a buffer effect. I keep stable 7.2 can can keep cardinals and Bolivian rams pretty happy. I am doing a good scrub this weekend, so pardon some green algae on the glass. I like it on the background....it makes it look really real, I like that. The lighting makes everything look fuzzy...I am not good at taking pictures of tanks.
I am pretty much the other end of the spectrum from fluorescent gravel and mermaids that blow bubbles...but if that's you...keep giving 'r.
Despite what any product says...I believe any concrete-based product, by it's nature, will effect the ph. In the beginning by raising it drastically and once aged it will act more as a buffer. In fact, I think I could only have high alkalinity fish for the first year. If you could get that effect without the having to wait that would be ideal. I am sure the plants/co2/wood also regulated the PH somewhat. Does anyone know what the Vancouver Aquarium does for its hardscapes....surely the Amazonian fish would not like a ph of 8.5.

Keep us posted. I am happy to answer anything from my limited experience, but I am not an expert. I am excited to see how it turns out for you. Water Plant Green Botany Organism
 
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