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Old 12-11-2011, 03:48 PM   #1
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Can i use concrete for scaping?

Hi i hate the look of my flat bedded tanks and wish to add some depth by adding river bed walls and substrate them to my tank, then simulate flow of a stream.

im a pretty handy mason, but what sculpting materials could i use.. any advice would be appreciated
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Old 12-11-2011, 10:11 PM   #2
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you can use concrete, but you'll have to cure it for a while. keep it submerged and do water changes on it daily. keep checking the ph of the water and when it comes down enough to use you should be ok from then on.
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Old 12-12-2011, 06:29 AM   #3
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I've coated my cement with marine resin. It's rather expensive but I believe it eliminates a lot of the long curing process required for uncoated cement. However I'm still in the build stage so I can't report my own findings. I should be filling the tank in a couple of days so I'll keep you posted if you're interested. I'm planning to soak it for a day without substrate, then drain, put in substrate, and refill. At that point I'll start up the filtration and then do 50% water changes every couple of days for a week or until the chemistry is right to start cycling. At each point I'll be taking readings.
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Old 12-12-2011, 09:11 AM   #4
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Another alternative for next time is to use sikatop. It's a polymerized concrete that once cured is completely safe.
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Old 12-12-2011, 12:11 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alyssa
I've coated my cement with marine resin. It's rather expensive but I believe it eliminates a lot of the long curing process required for uncoated cement. However I'm still in the build stage so I can't report my own findings. I should be filling the tank in a couple of days so I'll keep you posted if you're interested. I'm planning to soak it for a day without substrate, then drain, put in substrate, and refill. At that point I'll start up the filtration and then do 50% water changes every couple of days for a week or until the chemistry is right to start cycling. At each point I'll be taking readings.
Yeah would definatly like to hear how that goes thankyou, at the moment im going to use large segments of slate for a less permenant scape until i hear from you otherwise

ive seen it done but would like to see written results before furthering the project . thanks!
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Old 12-12-2011, 12:23 PM   #6
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You can also use the pond foam between your slate or other rock;



You can then coat the foam with a two-part epoxy and sprinkle it with sand to give it a more natural look;


HTH
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Old 12-12-2011, 03:50 PM   #7
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Pond foam is a good idea, once cured it won't leach toxins. One can skip a step though and put the sand directly onto the foam as its very sticky stuff. Not sure how that would hold up underwater but I stuck soil directly to the foam when I built my poison dart frog terrarium and it did well there.
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Old 12-12-2011, 05:50 PM   #8
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The only problem with adding directly to the foam would be in regards to the expansion ~ since I wasn't sure how much it would expand and/or if I would need to trim it back I didn't want to add directly to the foam. The other mistake I made was not putting foam between each rock, and I simply laid rock on rock. We went back and siliconed all those areas, but I'm still having trouble getting all the leaks stopped. Next time I'll do it more like mortering a wall. Individual rock, foam, next rock, etc.
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Old 12-12-2011, 06:13 PM   #9
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Depending on the foam it will expand differently. I would recommend only ever using the crack filler and not the big gap filler. Big gap filler expands way more and depending on what your doing with it that may be an issue. Lots of people use it to make backgrounds in which case it can actually expand and break your glass. Once it's fully expanded you can tell since it stops expanding, you need to act quick o get the sand on before it dries. It can be applied while its still expanding, just pile a generous amount o sand and gently pat into the foam.
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Old 12-12-2011, 07:43 PM   #10
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The biggest problem with DIY cement and why I ended up just buying a background was the cure time. I have read about drastically different lengths from weeks to months. It will effect the PH for awhile. Just make sure you are setup to have it submerged, the water being circulated and have the time for routine water changes. I have read about hydraulic cement (I think?) and dyes.
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Old 12-12-2011, 08:16 PM   #11
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took about 4 weeks to get the pH within testing range on api high pH test. my water from the tap is 8.2 so i was able to add it by then. i cannot imagine how long it would take to get down to low 7s, lots of wasted water.
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Old 12-12-2011, 10:29 PM   #12
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That's why I opted to spend the extra cash and get sikatop, saved its worth in water alone.
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Old 12-13-2011, 05:51 AM   #13
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Managed to get it looking vaguely how i wanted it to, it does exactly what i intended it to , with the tank being relatively small my neon tetras finally are settling to one territory within the tank, my shrimp and yoyo loach love there new cave and the others are doing great.
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Old 12-13-2011, 08:59 AM   #14
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That looks spiffy! I can hardly wait to see how fish will like mine. Here's a pic this morning. The ledge/cave in the foreground on the right is the future home of the black ghost knife I will get. That's my favorite FW fish by far and they like a cave. I'm going to put water in tonight.
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Old 12-13-2011, 10:03 AM   #15
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Very nice - both tanks that is. Viper did you cut the flagstone in order to keep it thin enough for that small aquarium?
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Old 12-13-2011, 10:45 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alyssa
That looks spiffy! I can hardly wait to see how fish will like mine. Here's a pic this morning. The ledge/cave in the foreground on the right is the future home of the black ghost knife I will get. That's my favorite FW fish by far and they like a cave. I'm going to put water in tonight.
Core Blimey thats amazing Alyssa kinda belittles mine in awsomeness a ghost knife will love it in there!!
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Old 12-13-2011, 05:18 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alyssa

The foam method was good so far. I like the creative freedom it allowed. Hopefully it will all work out in the end as a good healthy and attractive environment.
i can imagine so withit being such a robust material. i can really see what you were trying to do. And i can probably take a guess to what planting methods you will use.
i envy your tank alyssa, as thats kind of what i had always imagined my perfect tank to look. I cant wait to see pictures of your ghost knife poking hs head out his cave what else you going to stock in there?
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Old 12-13-2011, 06:07 PM   #18
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Not totally sure yet but tentatively planning dwarf gouramis, gold angels, rasbora het., cherry shrimp, one hammers cobalt lobster... I have a list somewhere ;D
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Old 12-13-2011, 06:28 PM   #19
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And thank you so much for your kind words. This project has had me in tears on more than one occasion, but I'm a pretty stubborn cuss when I set my mind on something. If you have any planting suggestions I would love to have them. I haven't kept many live plants in the past so it's a whole be world for me.
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Old 01-01-2012, 07:22 PM   #20
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That concrete probably holds a lot of BB!
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