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Old 04-30-2012, 11:15 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Pton46
Cool, I was able to collect some nice Fieldstone, limestone and some Slate...I have other stuff to do but I'm encouraged after seeing your set up.
Pon46t, you may want to do your research on Limestone beforehand. I know it will make the water Alkaline, but will it do so too much? I bet fieldstone would be safe. Matter of fact I almost went that route myself, but opted for the river rock for the smoother, safer edges. I'm sure whatever you use can be ground down safe with a Dremel or a file, etc.
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Old 04-30-2012, 11:22 AM   #12
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Found a little time over the weekend to do some more work. As it gets more precarious I need to leave more time for drying between stages. I utilized a flexible cup as a form for an arch. What a time saver! The bottom picture is the next morning with the cup removed after the silicone cured. I plan to use the cup again to continue forming the top cave. Admittedly it still still looks a bit odd as is, but I'm planning to fill in around the edges and in the back. It's about 12" tall right now. It's still not overly heavy. I have store-bought ornaments in the tank that are about the same weight.
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Old 04-30-2012, 02:35 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Labenator65000 View Post
Pon46t, you may want to do your research on Limestone beforehand. I know it will make the water Alkaline, but will it do so too much? I bet fieldstone would be safe. Matter of fact I almost went that route myself, but opted for the river rock for the smoother, safer edges. I'm sure whatever you use can be ground down safe with a Dremel or a file, etc.
Thanks I will do my homework on the limestone....(at Least that is what I think it is)....As far as the Fieldstone....you are 100% right. I have a Dremel and I file the Rough and Sharp Edges down. I actually have drilled holes it and use them as a base for some Fake plants. My wife had a container of Silk Fake plants, I Cut them down and used smaller Fieldstone for that purpose. Attached it with silicone.

I'll probably test it ("the Limestone" ) by soaking in old tank water and and check the PH levels....all my Tanks run like 7.6 (the SA Cichlids) 8.0 (community) to 8.2 (Africans) respectively
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Old 05-01-2012, 02:06 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Pton46

Thanks I will do my homework on the limestone....(at Least that is what I think it is)....As far as the Fieldstone....you are 100% right. I have a Dremel and I file the Rough and Sharp Edges down. I actually have drilled holes it and use them as a base for some Fake plants. My wife had a container of Silk Fake plants, I Cut them down and used smaller Fieldstone for that purpose. Attached it with silicone.

I'll probably test it ("the Limestone" ) by soaking in old tank water and and check the PH levels....all my Tanks run like 7.6 (the SA Cichlids) 8.0 (community) to 8.2 (Africans) respectively
Check your pH for sure, but also do a before/after check for Alkalinity (GH/KH).
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Old 05-01-2012, 11:23 PM   #15
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Check your pH for sure, but also do a before/after check for Alkalinity (GH/KH).
We'll Do...

In the meantime, I checked with my Neighbor who gave me the Stone a couple years back said, He believe it was rough cut Granite. Which could be...I dropped one on a Decent piece of Fieldstone and it Shattered (the Fieldstone). I then proceeded to hit with a mallet...nothing then a Ball peen... little dust and then a 25 pound Sledge...which sent it 2 inches into the lawn but cracked it....maybe he's right...which would be very cool. I'll need Egg Crate for the bottom because it heavy....I'll still test though
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Old 05-02-2012, 09:37 AM   #16
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We'll Do...

In the meantime, I checked with my Neighbor who gave me the Stone a couple years back said, He believe it was rough cut Granite. Which could be...I dropped one on a Decent piece of Fieldstone and it Shattered (the Fieldstone). I then proceeded to hit with a mallet...nothing then a Ball peen... little dust and then a 25 pound Sledge...which sent it 2 inches into the lawn but cracked it....maybe he's right...which would be very cool. I'll need Egg Crate for the bottom because it heavy....I'll still test though
Granite would look very cool, especially if it were cleaned up well.
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Old 05-02-2012, 10:08 AM   #17
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On the left side of the pic immediately below (not in the container) is the main structure with the two separate side structures just set beside it to get an idea of the end results. The arch at the top is two layers deep, although from this angle it doesn't show too well.

I had a revelation last night. I'm kicking myself for not thinking of it sooner! On the right side of the below picture you can see that I just repurposed a round plastic container to use as a form to build a hemisphere. It only took about 10 minutes.
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Below you can see how the hemisphere looked in the morning after the silicone cured. That's about 4.5 " outside diameter, so probably about 3" inside diameter. Really, if I would have left an opening big enough for a fish to go, I would have a DIY Cichlid Stone. I know what I'm doing for my next DIY project!
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So the picture below shows the new hemisphere attached to the back of the main structure arch (left-side of the top picture in this post). The results will be a cave about 4" deep. It's face-down now until it cures.
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I plan two attach the two side structures to a small wall of stones that the hemisphere-cave of the main structure will rest on. I will keep the then two pieces separate to distribute the total weight, and to allow it to be disassembled for cleaning.
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Old 05-03-2012, 10:16 AM   #18
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OK lesson-learned time (did I mention this was my first DIY rockwork?):
The procedure for the "instant cave" that I illustrated in my last posting was absolutely what I should have been doing right from the beginning. My current project has been going on for a couple of weeks now because I have had to wait for silicone between free-standing rocks to cure before moving on. Using "instant caves," I could probably have created a very slick 3-6 cave grotto in one week. Well, if my current project does not look as nice as I would like when it's done I can always start over. There are plenty of rocks in the yard. In the mean time, though, I'm going to push on and see how it works out.

I had a slight change of plans. I made another "instant cave" to prop up the back of the main structure. Below are some pics of the new little cave. You can see I left a fish-sized opening in this one.
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I envision that I will need to use some small artificial plants to incorporate into the project to hide the inevitable blemishes and to make it look more natural.
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Old 05-03-2012, 11:34 PM   #19
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Man that looks cool...with plants and sand it will blend in nicely. Giving me good ideas lab6500 .

I just got the "future Fish room" almost cleared. Should be done this weekend and I can start moving the Tanks I got for set up. Plus I Have a workbench I can use for my rock work. I am only going to keep my Hex and maybe my 60 Gallon on the First floor with the 2 75's and 55 gallon in the Basement I promised to give my 30 gallon away but you never know....I need to tap into a water source though so I need my Buddy the Plumber to either tap into one of the Outside faucets or just install one of those Laundry sinks which could drain into my Basement Sump pit. Just worried about my crazy town (even though it would be only tank water) they would consider it an Illegal drain....ugh living in NJ stinks.
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Old 05-04-2012, 10:24 AM   #20
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So last night I stepped back and took a look at the project overall, and was not really happy with the main structure. It was rather misshapen, and was getting too bulky and heavy. So I removed the instant cave off of it and took the main structure apart, keeping the original cave in tact. Meh, this is my first rock formation, so I'll allow myself some mistakes and re-dos. Boy just a little of that silicone is really quite strong. I used an X-Acto knife to cut it apart. I may need to use a wire brush to clean up old silicone.

So now, repurposed the original smaller cave (because it had a floor), and attached it to the two instant caves that I just created a couple of days ago. It's not quite "back to the drawing board" but it is back to a very basic foundation.
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Honestly, I may just keep it simple and not build it up too much more. I may add a few more rocks in the corners to round it all up and make it look like a unit.
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