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Old 10-21-2004, 11:33 PM   #1
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DIY background for 20 gal...for beginners

after finishing the 10 gallon desktop background that you will find earlier in this forum, I decided that I would move onto a 20 gal long. This tank is going to be in my children's room. This is an old tank, kinda beat up, but i think that it will do the trick. Not sure what I am going to put in here yet, but some kind of dwarf cichlid more than likely.

the first pictures are of the foam after it was cut and siliconed together. I then used a propane torch to help round out some areas and make it look a bit more natural. The concrete mix will help smooth out alot of the rough areas, so I wasn't very particular about it. You can see where the bio-wheel filter will be placed in the back and on the side there is space for a powerhead that will be directed across the gravel bed to keep the waste from settling, and it has a sponge pre-filtter on it that i will be able to easily access and clean.

as you can see, i just used the pink insulatng foam that you can buy at your local HD.

I'll add the pictures of the tank after the first coat of cement mix in a minute or two.
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Old 10-21-2004, 11:51 PM   #2
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ok...i know that the drift wood looks kinda wierd in there, but i had a brain fart and siliconed it in there before i did the cement...decided to peal it out and things are going easier. these pics are just the first and second layer. I will be putting 2 more coats on and when i'm done you won't be able to see any of the pink stuff.

for the mix i just used quickcrete that i bought at HD and also quickcrete acrylic fortifier that was also picked up at HD. the first layer is put on fairly thin and runny and the second is put on thicker inorder to shape and sculpt. i don't know if it will help or hurt me, but i took a damp paint brush and brushed all the area after the second coat had dried for 1 hour and again after 2 hours. i think that it smooths it out some.

under the larger center structure is open for water flow to the inlet for the filter and the hole also goes through.

I will be putting on the last 2 layers tomorrow and will post them... on monday, after allowing 48 hours to cure, i will be putting in water, after which I will do 50% changes every 18-24 hours for atleast 4 cycles.

post more tomorrow after the last coats are on.

i know that this doesn't look quite as detailed as sulla's temple background that is found earlier in the forum, but i'm just experimenting here, and designed it on the go. but much thanks goes out to sulla for his beautiful tank and his helpful information.

you can click on any of the pics to enlarge them.
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Old 10-24-2004, 12:56 PM   #3
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algae growth is starting towards the top. left the lights on 4 days straight to help get the bloom, there's alot of brown, but some nice green underneath. the cichlids that i have in there are really enjoying it, hopefully i will be changing them out in a week or so. could i put a pair of white calvus in there? or are they too big?
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Old 10-24-2004, 04:47 PM   #4
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digital_cichlid,

The 20 looks geat so far.
Keep us posted.
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Old 10-24-2004, 06:04 PM   #5
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still have 1 more coat of concrete to put on (you can still see some pink) i think that i might put a dimmer light on the tank, not sure, any opinions?

i just put it in the kids room and lit it up to see what it was going to look like.

i should have pics with water in it tomorrow...maybe

then i'll do 50% water changes for about 3-4 days.

does anyone know if i should use my media cartriges in the filters when i cycle it? or just run them empty to circulate the water until i get the ph down?

i'm not sure and would really appreciate some advice, thanks!
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Old 10-26-2004, 04:54 PM   #6
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added water today and will do a 50% water change tonight, then another tomorrow, and the next day, and so on

water is a bit cloudy, so will post pics when it gets a bit clearer, maybe tomorrow

looks good so far
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Old 10-29-2004, 03:43 AM   #7
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water is getting alot clearer now...no time to post pic...looks good now. will probably be putting in the dempsey tomorrow after another 50% water change and will post pics after that
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Old 11-01-2004, 08:57 AM   #8
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So all you did was cut the foam and form it then put it in the tank then coat it with cement? Does cement do anything to the water conditions?
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Old 11-29-2004, 07:58 PM   #9
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I have just finished a 2 section cement background. It has no styrofoam so it is hollow, ( averages 1/4 inch thick in any place) and displaces very little water. the ph took about 6 weeks to come down. I put the sections in kitty litter pans filled with water in our bathtub and changed the water daily. Used ritt dye to darken up the cemnt a bit. btw, the mixture I used was pearlite, crushed activated carbon, spagnum moss and cement. this makes for a strong, but light and porus product. Have a look in my gallery for a few pics of it as I do no know how to post a pic here yet.
ahha,, just scrolled down and found the upload thing Ill try it. [/img]
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Old 11-29-2004, 08:09 PM   #10
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Sorry about the mulitple pics of the same thing. I didnt see the pics in preview.
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