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Old 12-11-2011, 04:48 PM   #1
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Can i use concrete for scaping?

Hi i hate the look of my flat bedded tanks and wish to add some depth by adding river bed walls and substrate them to my tank, then simulate flow of a stream.

im a pretty handy mason, but what sculpting materials could i use.. any advice would be appreciated
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Old 12-11-2011, 11:11 PM   #2
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you can use concrete, but you'll have to cure it for a while. keep it submerged and do water changes on it daily. keep checking the ph of the water and when it comes down enough to use you should be ok from then on.
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Old 12-12-2011, 07:29 AM   #3
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I've coated my cement with marine resin. It's rather expensive but I believe it eliminates a lot of the long curing process required for uncoated cement. However I'm still in the build stage so I can't report my own findings. I should be filling the tank in a couple of days so I'll keep you posted if you're interested. I'm planning to soak it for a day without substrate, then drain, put in substrate, and refill. At that point I'll start up the filtration and then do 50% water changes every couple of days for a week or until the chemistry is right to start cycling. At each point I'll be taking readings.
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Old 12-12-2011, 10:11 AM   #4
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Another alternative for next time is to use sikatop. It's a polymerized concrete that once cured is completely safe.
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Old 12-12-2011, 01:11 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alyssa
I've coated my cement with marine resin. It's rather expensive but I believe it eliminates a lot of the long curing process required for uncoated cement. However I'm still in the build stage so I can't report my own findings. I should be filling the tank in a couple of days so I'll keep you posted if you're interested. I'm planning to soak it for a day without substrate, then drain, put in substrate, and refill. At that point I'll start up the filtration and then do 50% water changes every couple of days for a week or until the chemistry is right to start cycling. At each point I'll be taking readings.
Yeah would definatly like to hear how that goes thankyou, at the moment im going to use large segments of slate for a less permenant scape until i hear from you otherwise

ive seen it done but would like to see written results before furthering the project . thanks!
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Old 12-12-2011, 01:23 PM   #6
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You can also use the pond foam between your slate or other rock;



You can then coat the foam with a two-part epoxy and sprinkle it with sand to give it a more natural look;


HTH
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Old 12-12-2011, 04:50 PM   #7
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Pond foam is a good idea, once cured it won't leach toxins. One can skip a step though and put the sand directly onto the foam as its very sticky stuff. Not sure how that would hold up underwater but I stuck soil directly to the foam when I built my poison dart frog terrarium and it did well there.
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Old 12-12-2011, 06:50 PM   #8
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The only problem with adding directly to the foam would be in regards to the expansion ~ since I wasn't sure how much it would expand and/or if I would need to trim it back I didn't want to add directly to the foam. The other mistake I made was not putting foam between each rock, and I simply laid rock on rock. We went back and siliconed all those areas, but I'm still having trouble getting all the leaks stopped. Next time I'll do it more like mortering a wall. Individual rock, foam, next rock, etc.
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Old 12-12-2011, 07:13 PM   #9
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Depending on the foam it will expand differently. I would recommend only ever using the crack filler and not the big gap filler. Big gap filler expands way more and depending on what your doing with it that may be an issue. Lots of people use it to make backgrounds in which case it can actually expand and break your glass. Once it's fully expanded you can tell since it stops expanding, you need to act quick o get the sand on before it dries. It can be applied while its still expanding, just pile a generous amount o sand and gently pat into the foam.
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Old 12-12-2011, 08:43 PM   #10
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The biggest problem with DIY cement and why I ended up just buying a background was the cure time. I have read about drastically different lengths from weeks to months. It will effect the PH for awhile. Just make sure you are setup to have it submerged, the water being circulated and have the time for routine water changes. I have read about hydraulic cement (I think?) and dyes.
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