Building Stone Cave For 65 Gallon Tank

Little fry babies

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Super excited to start my landscaping for my 65 gallon tank. Bought my organic soil need to buy my sand and rocks this weekend and then buy my filter and plants the following month. I am gping to use beach pebbles ro create my rock wall cave. But my question is, what do i use to keep them together? Does anyone have any suggestions???
 

NavyChief20

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great stuff is what i use for 3d backgrounds and rock/cave formations. you have to paint it though
 
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Little fry babies

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What do you mean? What kind of paint? Does it have to be colored paint or clear or white?

I would think that woyldnt be safe for the fish? Lol .Sorry i am just confused what you mean .
 

NavyChief20

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Fishcrazed23 said:
I would think that woyldnt be safe for the fish? Lol .Sorry i am just confused what you mean .
So that was made by using great stuff and a few pieces of lava rock and some rustoleum textured paint. All fish safe once cured. My son is passed out so I cant yo take a pic of his tank, but he has a similar one in his 55 gallon convict tank
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Little fry babies

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Oh okay. That looks cool . thank you! I was going to use slate but my local lowes doesnt have any there or at least i could not fons any and i came across the beach pebbles in bulk and though they looked flat enough to use as a wall
/cave . I've heard of people using silicone to "glue" rocks together so i might go that route as they use silicone to seal aquariums and know that would be fine, but didn't knoe you had to paint them .Thats interesting .I'll look more into it .Thank you so much
 

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Fishcrazed23 said:
Oh okay. That looks cool . thank you! I was going to use slate but my local lowes doesnt have any there or at least i could not fons any and i came across the beach pebbles in bulk and though they looked flat enough to use as a wall
/cave . I've heard of people using silicone to "glue" rocks together so i might go that route as they use silicone to seal aquariums and know that would be fine, but didn't knoe you had to paint them .Thats interesting .I'll look more into it .Thank you so much
If you look at my profile pic you'll see the insert we built ourselves. we used a mix. we used real schist rocks for the cave and the rest of the insert is fake resin coral. we did our build dry so all my advice is for the same (eg, building outside of tank or inside tank with no water)

to hold things together, silicone can be a pain. if you're gluing a flat surface to a flat surface, it's fine but it takes 24 hours to cure. and then it can peel off ime. also, it dries milky instead of truly clear.

you can get fish safe epoxy - google it. it can be a pain to use, too, because you hafta heat it in the microwave in a bowl you never want to use again, then kneed it like bread for a certain amount of time, and then you only have like 10-15 mins to work with it until it goes hard. BUT! it works a charm. i can link you to my build step by step if you'd like.

we used the epoxy together with fish safe reef glue. We did this so we could affix things at odd angles without holding them for ages. we would get small amounts of epoxy ready at a time, then we'd put dots or a line of glue on the item we were affixing, then epoxy, then more dots/line of glue and then press and hold onto whatever we were putting it on for up to 1 full minute. usually stayed in 2o seconds but some of the stuff we had was heavy.

EDIT: here's the link to our build process...

75 Gallon Tank - Thank You, You Helped Us Transform A Gross Tank Into An Underwater Fantasy Land!
 
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Little fry babies

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Oooh i would greatly appreciate that! It sounds like a long process but honestly everything with this hobby is painfully long but well worth it when its complete! I finally found a hobby i love sticking to. So i think i am going a little crazy and out there with it. I have so many ideas i want to do but every time i come up with a new plan, and i go window shopping, i come up with something different to create. My tank is tall, long and narrow verses wide and long or tall. Let me upload a pic .It's empty right now but i am so obsessed with wanting to start on it .Its just waiting for the pay days thats killing me and bills.

Your tank is beautiful! I love the colors you chose. Makes the whole tank really pop and looks spacious, too!
 

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NavyChief20

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the spray foam technique takes about 20 minutes to apply, let dry overnight then paint. let that dry 24 hours and done. you can sprinkle sand on the foam for texture or irregularities. my sons background i hand painted with acrylic paint then polyurethaned.

@Jenoli42 is right about the epoxy, read all directions and you really gotta move with it. my 550 gallon tank is epoxy lined and it gets stinky while curing.
 
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Little fry babies

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I'll take both of your advice and use epoxy with the reef glue. I want to make sure i do everything right the first time around. You two have been extremely helpful. I appreciate you taking your time to respond.

@NavyChief20 i would love to see your other aquarium when you get a chance to. My othee small tanks dont look that great as when i started to add things in there i wasnt as knowledgeable. Here is my other small tank design. I couldn't even get foreground to grow as my lighting is low and i didnt give ot any tome to root before adding fish in there .
 

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NavyChief20

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I'll get some pics of his tank in the morning. My 3 125's and my 550 dont have backgrounds in them yet as I have been waiting for it to warm up so i can put the kiddie pool in the garage as a temporary tank while i make the back grounds for them.

I love how you are going with a natural look. I like to make my tanks look like they are a slice out of a river bed or part of a lake shore. I think it just looks so cool that way. Once all my tanks have backgrounds and are running, my girlfriend wants me to build her a reef tank so I will be trying out @Jenoli42 's coral tricks
 
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Little fry babies

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Thank you @NavyChief20 i love the natural look. Green grass rocks and hills like out in the country or wooded forest area. For the background i was thinking about building a river rock wall against the back of the tank, and then using the beach pebbles for the front of it and making a cave out of it. Maybe that'll look too tacky. but i see a lot of people use Styrofoam and paint on concrete mix with cut outs of the styro rock. Would there be any way to use real river rocks to stand against the glass .Like how you would use it for blacksplash in a kitchen? or would it be too heavy? As cool as the Styrofoam looks, i heard the styrofoam eventually breaks away from the glass? .So i don't want to use that. Its so difficult to find the best solution. Lol.

A kiddie pool is a great idea to use until you complete the background. Its been really cold out so far this spring its really unusual. I like the cold weather and all but it would be nice if the weather would make up its mind. @Jenoli42 her ideas are terrific for the coral reefs. That will be a fun project for you and your girlfriend . hopefully my husband Will help me build this rock formation. I don't know if i can build this on my own.
 

Jenoli42

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Fishcrazed23 said:
A kiddie pool is a great idea to use until you complete the background. Its been really cold out so far this spring its really unusual. I like the cold weather and all but it would be nice if the weather would make up its mind. @Jenoli42 her ideas are terrific for the coral reefs. That will be a fun project for you and your girlfriend . hopefully my husband Will help me build this rock formation. I don't know if i can build this on my own.
I fully believe you need help with projects like this. and good music
 

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Your backgrounds are amazing.

Something to plan in the future.

I built a couple of white quartz rock caves for my office tank using aquarium safe silicon. The white quartz looked great on the black sand, then the diatoms and algae took over, ugh!

I left the light on over the weekend. 1 Mystery, 1 nerite and 1 bristle nose pleco later and it’s looking good again.

But to build an entire background, I am envious.
 

Jenoli42

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Hunter1 said:
Your backgrounds are amazing.

Something to plan in the future.

I built a couple of white quartz rock caves for my office tank using aquarium safe silicon. The white quartz looked great on the black sand, then the diatoms and algae took over, ugh!

I left the light on over the weekend. 1 Mystery, 1 nerite and 1 bristle nose pleco later and it’s looking good again.

But to build an entire background, I am envious.
your office tank is pretty wikkid actually
 
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Little fry babies

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@Hunter1 white quartz cave sounds beautiful with the black sand! Its really hard to do an entire background, im sure . Your tank sounds gorgeous though
@NavyChief20 really love your tank and the caves . you did a great job on that. Caves definitely msie the aquarium whole .Love the natural scenery .
@Jenoli42 yes, it is definitely needed to have the extra hands . i always tell my patients at work that i need 8 instead of two as i am constantly carrying linen and things and try to carry too much at one time .Lol .
 
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Little fry babies

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Okay so i started on my aquarium today. So far this is where i am at .Its not perfect, but for a beginner, i am quite inpressed with it. At least for me i am lol. It ia definitely a lot harder than ot looks .And my caves already weigh a lot so i decided not to do a whole wall of these rocks. They are too big and too heavy .
 

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Little fry babies

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Finally have everything done except fixing the sand a tad. just need my lights and let it cycle before adding my fish. So excited! thank you for everyone's help and advice on how to set up the caves. I appreciate it. ❤
 

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Although i’m not a plant expert, I have a lot of em.

You need light and iron for the red ones to thrive.

But it looks good.
 
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Little fry babies

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Thank you @Hunter1 . i have lights but i am not sure how to set up the glass doors on it. I am going to try to set that up tomorrow and i need buy another set of lights as well. I want to make sure these babies grow this time .I didnt have any luck in my smaller tank. I bought leaf zone to make them thrive. I will buy iron supplements for them tomorrow as well . Its the foreground that i had a difficult time with .So we will shall see.
 
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