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Old 02-02-2006, 04:49 PM   #1
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Packaging Styrofoam Acceptable for 3D Background?

I'm currently making plans for a 3D Background for my 200G Mangrove Swamp tank. I went to price out sheets of styrofoam yesterday and found that pretty much the best price I could get was $5.49USD/each for 1"x12"x36" styrofoam sheets and double that for 2"x12"x36".

I looked at Ebay and found I could get similar or larger sheets of styrofoam at a very low cost, but it's packing foam not art/craft foam. In my experiences I've noticed that typical packaging foam is made up of a bunch of ball bearing sized balls of foam that are compressed together.

Does anyone know if this would be acceptable for sculpting a 3D background? Anyone know of a good styrofoam source?
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Old 02-02-2006, 11:25 PM   #2
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it'll be fine. just use a heat gun to melt them into each other and smooth out the shaping.
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Old 02-03-2006, 03:28 AM   #3
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I'm not sure if it's toxic or not, but you can also get giant sheets of insulating foam for fairly cheap at Lowe's/Home Depot.
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Old 02-08-2006, 12:14 AM   #4
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I used "florists" foam and acrylic paint... could anyone tell me if this will kill the fish? here is a pic of the whole project (Incomplete)
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Old 02-08-2006, 12:53 AM   #5
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The foam might be ok, but the paint, I'm really no sure about.
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Old 02-08-2006, 12:58 AM   #6
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That is cool though!!! I just bought that scenery paper to put on the back of my tank. I like it but your idea is way better!
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Old 02-08-2006, 04:38 AM   #7
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Tetrin, who had a concrete and foam background logged on AA, had found references that the styrofoam must be extruded and not expanded for submerged use. I used the insulating styrofoam from HD and it worked great.

Besies sulla's tank and such on AA, the cichlid-forum aquascaping library and forums have a ton of useful info on backgrounds. Besides sources of stryrofoam used in some very large tanks, they may have discussed the paint issue: http://www.cichlid-forum.com/articles/diy_list.php
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Old 02-10-2006, 08:54 PM   #8
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I looked on the web and found this:
"Well, didn't really dawn on me till I
was almost finished that I probably shouldn't put that
in my tank since I painted it with Acrylic paint. What
should I do? Can I coat it with something that will
make it safe for my tank?
<Acrylic once cured (dried, in a day or so) should be fine ... Bob Fenner>
I believe Bob Fenner is an expert so I would go with what he said. Personally, I dye-stain all my rocks. See www.grottosandfins.com Good luck
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Old 02-10-2006, 11:08 PM   #9
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I ended up going to Home Depot and got Polysytrene Sheets, 1.5"x24"x48", for $4.19 each. I bought 4 of them to start. I also happened to find these huge sheets of styrofoam out on the street that must have fallen off a truck. They barely fit in the company minivan I was driving. Even will all the foam I have, I'll probably need more.

This background wont be all that cheap though. I've spent $30USD on Foam, Silicone, and Spray adhesive alone. I'm guessing it will be about 100-150 to complete it. I guess that's decent for a 200 Gallon.
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Old 02-14-2006, 03:26 AM   #10
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good job on the back ground, I never thought about tdoing anything like that hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm
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