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Old 06-02-2004, 12:43 PM   #1
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DIY Saltwater Background Help

Ok, I’ve decided that since I successfully built myself a sump/refugium for my aquarium, my new plans are to build a back wall for my aquarium consisting of sand, crushed coral, small chunks of crushed base rock, some small pvc elbows and such as caves and hiding places for my smaller fish. Here is where I need some help.
1.Should I use a sheet of plexiglass or acrylic and how do I secure it to the aquarium? Also, how thick?
2. What can I use to glue the sand, rubble, and pvc to the plexiglass/acrylic?
I’ve checked out many sites and examples of DIY backgrounds but they all seem to be for freshwater aquariums. Does anyone know of any saltwater DIY background sites out there for reference?
I'd also like to stay away from foam based, multi -layered resin backgrounds because my working space is limited to a small 2nd floor balcony and, well, I'm somewhat lazy when it comes to huge projects A simple sand and rocks background will do me just fine. Any and all help is greatly appreciated. Thanx...
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125gal. megaflow. Fish Residents:
Yellow Tang -(Junior), Flame Angel -(Flamey)
Bicolor Blenny -(Butch), Randall Jawfish -(Jaws)
Lawnmower Blenny -(Lenny), Talbot's Damsel -(Dottie), Tomato Clown -(Ketchup)
Nameless fish include, Neon Blenny, Singapore Shrimp Goby, Yellow Tail Damsel, 1 Skunk Cleaner Shrimps, purple pseudochromis.
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Old 06-02-2004, 02:26 PM   #2
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How about using glass and aquarium safe silicone? Just an idea. I'll try and give it some more thought...
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Old 06-02-2004, 02:40 PM   #3
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When I first read that I thought you asked if you should use glass or acrylic. I was suggesting acrylic but re-read it and noticed you said plexi glass. Only reason I still suggest acrylic is because it's obviously aquarium safe, I don't know anything about plexi. For glueing things to it, silicone would work perfect. I don't know about sand though. That would be a lot of silicone, and take forever. Hopefully someone can help more with that. But for sure the pvc and any rocks or rubble it world work. For thickness, just go thin. I mean it doesn't really make a difference so I figure the thinner the cheaper. Securing it to the aquarium... if you want it to be permanent you could silicone it. If not the only thing I can think of is using slips to hold it on, similar to what a tank divider would use. Have you seen those? It's just a metal bracket that would hold it to the back of the tank.

Hope I've helped some.

-brent
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Old 06-02-2004, 03:24 PM   #4
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I don't think that silicone will stick to acrylic. you could smear the silicone into a thin layer and then sprinkle the sand onto that.
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Old 06-02-2004, 03:31 PM   #5
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I have seen and used those tank divider brackets, but i'm hesitant to use them on this because debris, waste, and oher tank gunk, and maybe a nosy fish or 2 could wiggle its way back in there and trap itself and die,in turn, wreaking havoc on my water quality, so i'd probably have to silicone it. In my excitement i didn't take into account the difficulty of glueing sand to the wall. Anybody have any ideas on that? Is there anything i could use that would be easy enough to spread with a paint roller with?
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125gal. megaflow. Fish Residents:
Yellow Tang -(Junior), Flame Angel -(Flamey)
Bicolor Blenny -(Butch), Randall Jawfish -(Jaws)
Lawnmower Blenny -(Lenny), Talbot's Damsel -(Dottie), Tomato Clown -(Ketchup)
Nameless fish include, Neon Blenny, Singapore Shrimp Goby, Yellow Tail Damsel, 1 Skunk Cleaner Shrimps, purple pseudochromis.
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Old 06-02-2004, 05:48 PM   #6
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I can't think of anything that would spread "with a roller" and still be safe to put in your tank. Most folks use some sort of cement mix to sculpt the backgrounds. These need many days to cure in fresh RO water before they can go into your tank (major Ph spikes etc) but i'm not sure of a pure and simple solution. You could take sand and LR rubble, use some silicon and roll the silicon onto the plexi, then dump the sand and rubble onto it. Shake it and move it around, fill in any obvious bald spots.... seems like minimal effort but also seems hard to predict what the results would be...

One background I saw that I really liked used everything you've stated you didn't want to use but was extremely simple to create. The guy set up the base of the background, you could use plexi/acrylic. Then a couple cans of "Great Stuff" (self expanding insulation in a can) shot the Great Stuff all over the background and let it set up for a couple days. He then mixed some cement very thin and applied a few coats on top of the great stuff. Let that set up for a few days and thats all there was to it. You could easily mix sand crushed coral and bits of LR rubble into the cement when applying...

just thoughts...
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Old 06-02-2004, 06:11 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bound_for_obx
I don't think that silicone will stick to acrylic.
why wouldn't it? what do you think seals the 5 sides of an acrylic tank together?

-brent
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Old 06-02-2004, 06:20 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flipz
Quote:
Originally Posted by bound_for_obx
I don't think that silicone will stick to acrylic.
why wouldn't it? what do you think seals the 5 sides of an acrylic tank together?

-brent
Weld-On 3 and/or 16?
...I'm trying to find where I read this.
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Old 06-02-2004, 06:28 PM   #9
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Hrmm, I remember reading that too. Maybe I'm wrong. I mean I know for sure acrylic cement will do it, but I thought silicone would too. :|

Well in either case, garf.org uses thin acrylic cement on their acrylic tank builds. so i change my answer to that. :P

-brent
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Old 06-02-2004, 06:33 PM   #10
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I'm still searching for the link but I found another one:
http://www.villagebistro.info/article2003010301-1.php

If you scroll down the page you will find "Success" in bold letters. Look for Silicone about five lines above the bold "Success"
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