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Old 05-19-2009, 12:04 AM   #1
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Question Coloring concrete

Ok ... I have read lots of articles as well as viewing on youtube the process of creating rock backgrounds uising styrofoam and concrete. In all cases, it is suggested that the concrete can be colored if one desires it. But no where do they say exactly what can be used to color the concrete. After additional research, I have found several methods for coloring concrete. Some indicate mixing the color (either dry or liquid pigments) in with the concrete when it is being mixed. Most others indicate a process for coloring after the concrete drys. Those methods talk of using one of the following: acid stains, acrylic stains, dyes (such as Rit ). There is even methods for Faux finishing concrete with these stains. They all look interesting, but which ones are safe in the aquarium??? So my question is this ... is there anyone outthere who has SUCCESSFULLY collored a concrete background? If so what method did you use? Thanks for your help!
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Old 05-20-2009, 05:21 PM   #2
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i'd like to know the same just started a background for a thirty today thought it would be cool to color it but just scared to do it if i find something i'll give you a holla i'm thinkin that i'll have to see if there's any sites that show diy aquarium ornaments and see what kind of paint they use and just paint it myself
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Old 05-20-2009, 11:01 PM   #3
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I was surprised to find so few responses to my question. I thought for sure someone out there had a better answer. Well since my first post on this topic I have done more reading. I am fairly confident that using a paint is not the proper approach. I can remember going into zoo aquariums where the paint was peeling from the concrete inside occupied tanks. I am now of the thinking that the proper thing to do is to mix the color right into the wet concrete at the start of the project. In this way the color is not only uniform but is also completely through the concrete and thus no need for the flaking or chipping worries. The thing that I am not sure of is what type pigments to use. The most popular seems to be a iron oxide base. At first look, it seems the way to go. After all ... isn't iron oxide simply rust? Have we not seen steel item rusting in water? Still there are acrylic pigments out there. But I still cannot find a definative answer to the question
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Old 05-21-2009, 01:52 AM   #4
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Following along...
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Old 05-21-2009, 08:04 PM   #5
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you know that sounds like a good idea mixing the concrete with the paint i did my own today and i wish i would of thought of doing that heres a little tip tough don't go cheap. i bought the white foam because it was five bucks cheaper but i found that it was very hard to cut i ended up taking a soldering iron and melting the shapes i wanted i didn't really get the look i was looking for i really wish i would of spent the extra five and got the pink type of foam that they use on houses i know that stuff is a lot easier to cut. also i got a concrete with thicker rocks in it again i was looking for a smoother type of look but it gave me a really rocky rough type of look i don't know if they make concrete with no gravel in it or a fine gravel in it but if you want a smoother look i really suggest checking into what type of mud you use. i'm thinking of just scrapping the work i've already done and starting over. i don't know though there might be a chance to salvage this one but good luck
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Old 05-21-2009, 11:21 PM   #6
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At least you are at the point to start experimentating. As for me, I am still analyzing. I did find you are right about the pink insulation. I also found that it is available in thifkness from 3/4" to 3" thick. This will go a long way in varying the size and depth of the rocks. As far as the concrete goes. I have been looking for a "quickrete" product that is supose to be for walls. I went to the local Menards and they didn't have it. I probably will try Home Depot next. I did find at Menards iron oxide liquid color for concrete. They have it is several colors ranging from tan to red to charcoal. Maybe this weekend I will play with a few batches and see what colors and ranges of intensity I can create
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Old 05-22-2009, 05:03 AM   #7
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I think that mortar cement is what would work. You could go straight cement or mix it with mortar sand.
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Old 05-25-2009, 10:53 AM   #8
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QUIKRETEģ - Cement Color (Liquid)

Limited, but still an option.

http://www.directcolors.com/concretepigment/

Better selection, but you have to buy more than you will likely need.
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Old 05-25-2009, 02:00 PM   #9
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All this on coloring and a month after you put it in your tank it will all be covered in coralline algae..................HaHa
My DYI rock got a coralline coat in less then a month..went from red to maroon and then patches of pink.
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Old 05-25-2009, 05:17 PM   #10
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It's a valid point. We all tend to look for the fancy rocks, but then do our best to cover them up with corals and coraline....
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