Go Back   Aquarium Advice - Aquarium Forum Community > General Aquarium Forums > DIY Projects

Join Aquarium Advice Today
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Please support our sponsors and let them know you heard about them on AquariumAdvice.com
Old 11-19-2007, 12:26 PM   #1
Aquarium Advice Newbie
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 1
Need advice on Styrofoam backdrop creation

I am trying to make my own custom background for a 29 gallon tank.

I am kind of nervous because After visiting sites like these:


I learned that styrofoam is inert and wont react with water. But some of these people have used latex paint in the contruction of their backdrops. I went to the hardware store, and the sales guy was somewhat horrified that I would even consider using latex paint for a submerged backdrop. He said it was a bad idea and that it would most certainly alter my water chemistry and kill my fish.

The tutorials also suggest using epoxy, but the hardware store guy also seems to think that this will react with the water in a bad way, even when completely dry.

So I am wondering if anyone on here has ever actually done something like this before. It's a really neat idea, but I dont want to risk killing my fish.

Are there different types of Latex and epoxy, and if so, what type do I need to use that will be aquarium safe?

JeffDenver is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-19-2007, 01:01 PM   #2
AA Team Emeritus
An t-iasg's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Criders Corners, PA
Posts: 9,891
I really can't answer your question about different types of latex and epoxy -- but we just painted out house with latex paint. The paintbrushes washed out quite easily in just running tap water.

I have seen threads here of people painting the tank itself (the back glass on the outside) with blue or black spray paint in a can.


An t-iasg is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-20-2007, 10:11 AM   #3
AA Team Emeritus
roka64's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 13,860
Send a message via AIM to roka64 Send a message via Yahoo to roka64
Latex will dry and be water proof. There are some types of epoxy that will work underwater. I would check with a few LFS in your area. Hopefully some one will pop in and be of better help.....
Age is relative, you are only as old as you act....of course, this works in reverse....

Questions loved, heeded advice greatly appreciated!

Vote for AA
Good reading about:
Nitrogen Cycle
Fishless Cycling
Need more help?
Acronym List

roka64 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-28-2007, 10:52 AM   #4
Aquarium Advice Addict
Sicklid's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Tarpon Springs FL
Posts: 1,045
Exterior latex, like silicone II, has mold/mildewcides that will poison everything. I would not use latex at all because even when cured it is porous, and when left underwater it will absorb water and become rubbery again, most likely lifting off. It is not meant for continuous contact with water... It would have to be coated with a clear epoxy to stay safe in a tank... but for that I would not use latex, I would use artists acrylics which are very similar, but a little more inert and not apt to lift from the chemicals in the epoxy resin.

Really, the best thing is to use epoxy resin with some sand sprinkled on it to knock down the shine. Once algae starts to grow it really does not matter what color or how detailed the paint is anyway. I don't care what anyone says, nobody can clean these backgrounds till they are algae free, so let it grow! It looks natural that way... I just did mine in portland cement because I keep hard water cichlids that don't mind the alkaline nature of the limestone leaching into the water column.
Sicklid is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-13-2007, 06:14 PM   #5
Aquarium Advice Apprentice
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Eastern Pennsylvania
Posts: 47
I would imagine that the correct epoxy would be better than latex...I just resealed several parts of my tank and when I was trying to find a sealant that wasn't as expensive as Aquarium Sealant I stumbled upon latex sealant which specifically stated on the label "not for aquarium use". I ended up using aquarium sealant. Once epoxy is cured it has gone through a chemical reaction and should be safe. Plus there are many types so I'm sure there is one for your needs.
Plowboy91 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-13-2007, 06:32 PM   #6
SW 20 & Over Club
ccCapt's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Northeast PA
Posts: 5,362
Send a message via ICQ to ccCapt
Many people have used HandiFoam from Lowes or HomeDepot for the inside backs. It comes in whitish/yellow and black. I've seen pic of both and they sprinkled some sand over the foam while it was still wet. It actually looked pretty nice, but these were in reef tanks. Dunno how it would look in a fw tank.

125g reef
See My Tank Info
Check out The build project
ccCapt is offline   Reply With Quote

eat, foam, styrofoam

Please support our sponsors and let them know you heard about them on AquariumAdvice.com

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
25 tall planted, trying to decide on backdrop Guyver Members Freshwater Tanks Showcase 7 02-12-2010 01:34 AM
Egg Crate for backdrop. sgc0286 Saltwater Reef Aquaria 6 11-08-2009 09:40 PM
Backdrop for the big show enadeau12 Freshwater & Brackish - General Discussion 2 03-08-2009 10:15 AM
Greatest creation of all.... Lonewolfblue Freshwater & Brackish - General Discussion 11 12-24-2005 09:52 AM
My most wackiest creation yet... My Fistank III (video) Puriti Freshwater & Brackish - General Discussion 39 09-04-2005 08:13 PM

» Photo Contest Winners

Our Communities

Our communities encompass many different hobbies and interests, but each one is built on friendly, intelligent membership.

» More about our Communities

Automotive Communities

Our Automotive communities encompass many different makes and models. From U.S. domestics to European Saloons.

» More about our Automotive Communities

Marine Communities

Our Marine websites focus on Cruising and Sailing Vessels, including forums and the largest cruising Wiki project on the web today.

» More about our Marine Communities

Copyright 2002-2012 Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 05:30 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2016, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.