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Old 10-08-2011, 07:40 PM   #1
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DIY 3D Fish Tank Background, including cost of materials...

So this is my attempt at making my own 3D background for my 20G tank.

I purposly left a hole on the right side of the Styrofoam because I intend to add a picture behind it.

First I had to carve my Styrofoam to look like rocks and caves.



Then I bough Quickrete and covered the Styrofoam. in the below picture the Quickrete is half dry and half wet as it took me two days to cover.



I will let it set for 72 hours and thenI will be buying paint to paint it.

I can keep you guys posted as I progress....

Thus far I have used:

Styrofoam = Free
Quickrete = $8.00 CAN
Paint Brushes = Free
Glass jar for mixing Quickrete in = Free
Time invested = 8 Hours
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Old 10-08-2011, 07:51 PM   #2
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Keep it up and don't forget to share pictures. Good luck.
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Old 10-08-2011, 09:10 PM   #3
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How do you know what is safe when making a DIY 3D background? I would love to do this, but where would I get the supplies? Is any styrofoam OK? what is that coating you put on it and what kind of paint do you get?
... should i start a new thread with all my questions? LOL
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Old 10-08-2011, 09:29 PM   #4
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I think I did my research correctly, however if not I'm sure someone will correct me

I read that the pink styrofoam was used but I used white as it will be covered in several layers. I read on some sites that 100% percent latex paint should be used and other sites said any kind of paint. Personally I don't think it matters too much as it will be sealed in epoxy resin. I also read once you seal it with the epoxy resin that you have to let it cycle for a month in your tank with no fish.

As for my materials so far I got styrofoam from packing boxes, and I got the cement mix from home depo.
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Old 10-14-2011, 05:09 PM   #5
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do you carve the styrofoam out once the cement dries? wont that thing float?
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Old 10-15-2011, 03:47 AM   #6
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No you carve the styrofoam first then mix the cement, and paint the cement onto the styrofoam.

I don't think it will float as the cement will weigh it down.

However, to add more stability to the structure I plan on adding magnets to the back and securing it to the glass that way.
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Old 10-15-2011, 11:14 AM   #7
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It will float mine did and it weighed roughly 60lbs. The magnets will keep it from floating out into the tank but unless it fits tights under trim it will float up and leave gaps.

I have a thread in DIY called 90 gal build/rebuild about my 3D background. Feel free to pick my brain.

Here's mines
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Old 10-15-2011, 02:00 PM   #8
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OMG your tank looks so great!

I can only hope mine will do my tank justice!

I read you whole13 page thread, that was a lot of work!

I don't remember seeing what kind of material you used for the final sealant. And what you used was it thick or thin did it fill tiny cracks good? I'm worried I will get something to thin that will not seal little crevices.

Also I was wondering if you or anybody else knew if I could soak it in a tub of water for 2-4 weeks before putting it my fish tank because I currently have fish in my tank? Or does it need to be on tank water with a filter?

Ps I have some of it painted I will post pics in a couple of days!
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Old 10-15-2011, 03:01 PM   #9
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I used sika topseal 107 you can mix it to your desired thickness and color it with cement dye. It filled the cracks pretty well

You still need to soak it for 2-4 weeks completely submersed with a filter or power head to circulate the water and do 50% daily water changes.
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Old 10-23-2011, 05:11 PM   #10
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So I finally got around to painting some more. only have to add detailing to the castle.

I am almost done painting then I plan on adding some fake plats to it.



Paint $8
Paint Brushes $5
Glue $3 (forgot to add this at the very begining, I used it to glue the styrofoam before anything was added)

Total so far = $24
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