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Old 02-13-2016, 01:00 AM   #1
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DIY Slate Background Crisis

I have a 55 gallon established freshwater community aquarium. Recently I decided that I wanted to upgrade by making my own DIY background out of slate floor tiles. I cut a piece of plastic wall paneling to the size of my aquarium and I used that to silicone (100%) the pieces of slate tile to. After I let it cure for a little over 48 hours I put into my aquarium. After this happened, the health of my fish degraded very quickly. My tetras and mollies stayed at the surface and my angel fish sat on the bottom along with both of their activity being cut to a minimum. To ensure that it was actually the background, I took it out. When the fish returned to normal I put the background back in and they returned to their unhealthy states. Does any one know what the problem could be?
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Old 02-13-2016, 01:25 AM   #2
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Sorry to hear about this.
It could be a few things. It's possible that the plastic wall paneling was treated with something (fungicide, antimicrobial agent). Which brand of silicone did you use? The slate is probably inert but maybe it was previously treated or has had a sealant applied at one time. Just throwing guesses out there.
If you have a bathtub large enough, perhaps you can soak it in water for a few days. But then again, if it's any of the above items, not sure if soaking will entirely remove whatever is toxic.


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Old 02-13-2016, 02:29 AM   #3
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That sucks, but I'd have to agree with the post above, more than likely it's due to chemicals on one of the objects (if not all) that you put in your tank.

I think I saw somewhere that if you poor vinegar on it, and it bubbles, then it's not fish safe??


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Old 02-14-2016, 01:16 AM   #4
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The vinegar thing just lets you know of the Rock is high in KH(which increases ph), and for most freshwater tanks you want low ph so it's advised to not use rocks with high KH. However on the contrary if one keeps African cichlids, this is beneficial since they live in hard alkaline waters...

Anyways I'm thinking its your silicon. Can you post a picture of it?

Also if your fish are acting the way they are, immediately do a 50% water change!
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Old 02-14-2016, 02:28 AM   #5
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Upon closer inspection of tube of silicone I'm sorry to announce that I was in fact using GE Silicone II which is harmful. Before embarking on this project I did as much research as possible so something like this would not happen. When I went to the store and bought the silicone, I knew which ones we're okay and which one were not okay. I must have overlooked the small print and assumed since it said 100%, that it was the silicone I was looking for. Thank you guys for quick and thoughtful responses.
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Old 02-14-2016, 02:50 AM   #6
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Sorry to hear about this but I'm glad you found the culprit. The "not knowing" would really bug me. At least no fish were harmed in the process.
Selecting the correct silicone product can be confusing. I'm hoping this thread will help folks make the right choice.


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Old 02-14-2016, 01:22 PM   #7
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Glad you figured it out! I'd love to see a picture of your project, in curious about making one myself!
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Old 02-14-2016, 02:40 PM   #8
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Here's a picture of it while it was still in the tank. I just bought slate tile from a local flooring place. I then used a hammer to chisel at the sides to give them a more natural look. When applying them to the plastic backing I raised the tiles in a kind of checker board pattern to give it more depth.
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Old 02-14-2016, 02:58 PM   #9
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Here's a picture of what it looked like while it was still in the tank. I bought the tile from a local flooring store. I then used a hammer to chisel the edges to give them a more natural look. When applying them to the plastic backing I raised them in a checkerboard like pattern to give it more depth.
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Old 02-14-2016, 04:13 PM   #10
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It looks nice! Are you going to start from scratch or salvage?
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