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BerryBeezy

Member
55 Gallon Project

I started mine yesterday! This is for my 55 gallon baby. I'm doing a lot for it because my wife is not going to go for one bigger than this. Not for a while anyway.

I used the pink extruded polyprene from Home Depot thatost everybody uses. Mine is 1" thick. At the thickest point it will be 3" but that won't happen except for 2 spots. In the center will be a cave effect with glow lights behind some airbrushed film on the outside.

This is a ruff cutout of the background.

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I got the idea to do an underwater cave from another guy on the internet. I hope it turns out the way I see it in my head.
 

millca

Member
Can't wait to see it.
 
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BerryBeezy

Member
I had to resize some photos. Here is a ruff out of the cave in the tank. Maybe now the cave is more obvious.
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The glow lights will shine from the center. I used some of the scraps from the cutout on the left but then later decided I liked it better in the front. So the side is just tapered back.

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I haven't started to work on textures yet. I wanted I make sure that the bones were ready before I put the skin on.
 
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BerryBeezy

Member
This was the hard part. I want to hide my equipment so I cut a spot in the corner for my heater.
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The top view shows where my intake will go for my canister filter. I want to get an eheim. I'm thinking f getting a 2215. I hope its big enough. I' also looking into the sunsuns on ebay. Still on the fence there. My intake will be behind the background with a cutout for the nozzle. I'm not sure how long the hole should be so I'm done with that for now.

My air stone will be hidden behind the left side of the "rock" closest to the front on the right. It will bubble up in front I my glow light. It should make a nice effect.

I'm stuck on where to put my outflow for my filter. Maybe somebody has an idea. I don't know if I should do an outflow pipe or spray bar. So until then I will be working on my rock textures. Stay tuned.
 
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BerryBeezy

Member
Here is a question, are there any paints I could use on top of the dryloc for the purpose of accenting shadows and highlights? I have read that when you apply dryloc that there is potential to lose some amount of detail.
 
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BerryBeezy

Member
Tonight I did a little work on the skin. I added rocks to the mid-ground of my back ground. First I drew my stones with a pen then with my exacto knife I came about 1mm from the line on each side at roughly 45 degrees and followed the outline of the stone. It gives the effect that the stone has some depth and doesn't stack directly on top of another stone. That's the reason for the holes between some stones. Just the way my eye sees nature.

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I also used my knuckles to make some indentions. Just to add some character. If you guys see anything that's off or anything just give a shout.

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millca

Member
Looking good so far. I've never seen anyone do anything like this so it is fun watching your work. What do you eventually cover it with to make it safe for the aquarium? (I know, I know, patience and you'll eventually get there.) ;-)
 
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BerryBeezy

Member
millca said:
Looking good so far. I've never seen anyone do anything like this so it is fun watching your work. What do you eventually cover it with to make it safe for the aquarium? (I know, I know, patience and you'll eventually get there.) ;-)
Thanks! I'm kinda learning as I go along. Most people cover their backgrounds with dryloc. As far as I can tell it is some sort of concrete paint that won't mess with the ph of your water. From there you can paint it but I'm still researching aquarium safe paint. I would hate to put in so much work and then kill all my fish. I have some more texturing to do tonight after work. Hopefully I can find the dimensions of the filter intake and spray bar I am going to buy so I can cut out spots to hide them. Then I can start my dryloc process. It will take a little while because you have to wait 2 or 3 days between coats. Stay tuned!
 

troyvsc

Member
Looking great. Cant wait to see it finished. keep up the good work.
 
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BerryBeezy

Member
troyvsc said:
Looking great. Cant wait to see it finished. keep up the good work.
Thanks!
 

troyvsc

Member
BerryBeezy said:
Thanks! I'm kinda learning as I go along. Most people cover their backgrounds with dryloc. As far as I can tell it is some sort of concrete paint that won't mess with the ph of your water. From there you can paint it but I'm still researching aquarium safe paint. I would hate to put in so much work and then kill all my fish. I have some more texturing to do tonight after work. Hopefully I can find the dimensions of the filter intake and spray bar I am going to buy so I can cut out spots to hide them. Then I can start my dryloc process. It will take a little while because you have to wait 2 or 3 days between coats. Stay tuned!
From what I have read you will also want to let it sit in a water filled only tank for good period of time (few weeks) as the concrete will play with the PH levels until fully cured,
 
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BerryBeezy

Member
troyvsc said:
From what I have read you will also want to let it sit in a water filled only tank for good period of time (few weeks) as the concrete will play with the PH levels until fully cured,
Thanks! I will keep this in mind. Technically I'm not supposed to have this tank until my birthday at the end of March but I knew my background would take a while so I started early. I hope to be done with it by the first weekend in March. I will leave it full until I finish my stand. Should have plenty of time before I add fish.
 
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BerryBeezy

Member
This is it for the rock sculpting. (Except for this spot I noticed while taking the pic. There is a weird shaped stone the should be changed a bit.) Tomorrow is or should be rinse off the trimmings and put on the dryloc. I can't wait for this step. It will start to show life soon.

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BerryBeezy

Member
Here is an update:

I bought my tubing for my air stone. I used a bit as close to the size of my tube as possible to keep water from getting behind the background.

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Also there was the drylok process. I used quikrete liquid color to tint it. Word to the wise, it only takes a little bit to color your drylok so be careful. I have put on 4 coats. It dries really quick under a ceiling fan. Next step will be browns on the stone and cutting out space for filter intake. It will be here tuesday.

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frampy

Member
The drylok won't effect you pH after drying. Make sure it drugs for at least 5 days before adding water. I have found it doesn't mask the texture as much as say concrete would.
 
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BerryBeezy

Member
frampy said:
The drylok won't effect you pH after drying. Make sure it drugs for at least 5 days before adding water. I have found it doesn't mask the texture as much as say concrete would.
Thanks for the insight frampy. There won't be water in my tank for another month at least. Do you know if acrylic paint is safe? I want to add some brown to my stones. But I guess I could use another color quikrete.
 
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BerryBeezy

Member
Here is some added color to my bg. Its not exactly what I was going for but its ok. I have a little more work to do. Fit test with filter intake and spraybar coming tomorrow.

Forgot my pic..

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BerryBeezy

Member
Here is tonight's update: today both my filter and manzanita branches came in. I'm very pleased with the branches. One was a tad but smaller than expected but its all good. It can go in my soon to be shrimp tank. I got my filter cutout work done and even made a few astetic changes. Just so things blend a little better. I added my spraybar. I believe I have it a bit too low. Its about 3 inches below the rim, not the top of the tank. Hopefully it works out well.

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I tried to get a pick with the driftwood in front of the tank but the glass was reflecting to bad for my iphone camera. Maybe tomorrow.
 
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BerryBeezy

Member
Almost done with the background. After looking at it I got the feeling that some light browns would be good to add to my stone. All cut outs have been made and after I drop some brown paint, the only steps left will be siliconing to the tank (after cleaning it) and my stand and canopy build. I guess I will have to change my thread title to something else. Oh, I forgot about the glow light in the back!! That's the reason for the hole in the background! I guess this isn't the end. Stay tuned..

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I promise I will start using my digital camera for pics.
 

millca

Member
Keep up the great work. Fun to see this tank coming along!
 
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BerryBeezy

Member
millca said:
Keep up the great work. Fun to see this tank coming along!
It's been a good run with this project. I can't wait to finish.
 
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BerryBeezy

Member
Tonight was the last night for painting. I have siliconed the left quarter piece and the left half of the main background. I ran out of silicone.. In the process of pressing my piece against the glass to set the background, I broke the small divider between the heater and filter intake. I don't think it will take away from the look too much. I'm just going to paint the spot where it was and call it a day. Below is a pick of the final paint job and a pic of the spot I broke.

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Next step is the stand while I'm waiting on my lights and transparency to come in. Stay tuned..
 

millca

Member
Dang! That's a cool paint job. Quite realistic. You definitely have some artistic talent there.
 
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BerryBeezy

Member
millca said:
Dang! That's a cool paint job. Quite realistic. You definitely have some artistic talent there.
Thanks! Here is the rock that inspired my color scheme and the materials I used. The green algae color came from mixing the yellow and quikrete color. The brown colors were made with different combos of yellow and brown. Darker shades to give a sense of depth. I wish I could use this rock for cave material but I think it has some kind of rust in it.

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troyvsc

Member
Looks great. Really came out nice. It does match your orginal rock really well.
 
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BerryBeezy

Member
troyvsc said:
Looks great. Really came out nice. It does match your orginal rock really well.
Thanks!
 

buda2u

Member
yep that final paint really set it off. Looks really great
 

EUFolk

Member
Awesome job
 
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BerryBeezy

Member
Thanks guys! That's it for now. I have to build my stand before its set up and filled with water. I am waiting on my lights too. They should be here saturday.
 
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BerryBeezy

Member
Five 2x4x8s, 1 pound of screws, and 2 hours later I have the bones for my stand. I'm headed back to lowes to grab my skinning material. I think I'm going with half in birch.

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VWTDI02

Member
What do you mean by half in birch? Why not just have it all the same skinning material as to make it match?
 
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BerryBeezy

Member
So half inch pine? That will work because after searching the lowes website I could find birch moulding.
 

VWTDI02

Member
Sorry, I'm a bit confused. In your other post you said "half in birch." I took that as "half in birch" as opposed to "half inch birch." Simple pine skinning material with molding would look great. Especially if you give it a good stain and then clear coat.
 
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BerryBeezy

Member
Oh sorry for the confusion. I think its going to be nice. I don't know if I'm going to tackle doors or not. I really want to hide the canister and small stuff. We will see how it goes
 

VWTDI02

Member
BerryBeezy said:
Oh sorry for the confusion. I think its going to be nice. I don't know if I'm going to tackle doors or not. I really want to hide the canister and small stuff. We will see how it goes
I think doors wouldn't be too much work. You could also do some molding around the doors as to not have a completely flat front. Something along the lines of the following picture. Depending on the tank you may need to add a third door
 

michael73

Member
Does anyone know the UK equivalent of dryloc is as I want to do something similar thanks
 
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BerryBeezy

Member
michael73 said:
Does anyone know the UK equivalent of dryloc is as I want to do something similar thanks
Sorry michael I have no idea.
 
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BerryBeezy

Member
VWTDI02 said:
I think doors wouldn't be too much work. You could also do some molding around the doors as to not have a completely flat front. Something along the lines of the following picture. Depending on the tank you may need to add a third door
I found some old cabinet doors in my storage building in the back yard. They are going to work out good. I kinda wish I had a third door but Incanake it work. I have to do a bit more before I add molding and stain but everything is comingtogether nicely.
 

chadwick61

Member
This looks amazing! Any updates?
 

Crazycatfishlady

Member
Wow!
 
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BerryBeezy

Member
Thanks guys! I will have updated pics soon. I have skinned the sides and part of the back. I wasn't sure on how I wanted to finish the part where the electrical and hoses come out of the stand. The inside is going to be sealed with Drylok. I have practically a whole gallon of it left over from the background. There will also be a divider between the left and right side. This is to keep the filter separate from food and what not. If there are any suggestions let me know. The only reason the project is enen working out is because of other people's input and reading old forums.


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This is the front. It used to be the back but whatever lol.
 

millca

Member
So how much to have you build me one too? (Just kidding, but love watching your progress).
 
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BerryBeezy

Member
millca said:
So how much to have you build me one too? (Just kidding, but love watching your progress).
Lol if you were close I would do it in a heartbeat! I kinda wish I could do one for my 29 gallon. It's a lot of fun.
 

Crazycatfishlady

Member
I'm actually really jealous of your skill haha
 

lala29

Member
Looking great!
 

Ziabis

Member
Yes you have some SERIOUS skills mate, Too bad you don't live beside me. I would be hiring you...
 

Fishy Friends

Member
BerryBeezy said:
Thanks guys! I will have updated pics soon. I have skinned the sides and part of the back. I wasn't sure on how I wanted to finish the part where the electrical and hoses come out of the stand. The inside is going to be sealed with Drylok. I have practically a whole gallon of it left over from the background. There will also be a divider between the left and right side. This is to keep the filter separate from food and what not. If there are any suggestions let me know. The only reason the project is enen working out is because of other people's input and reading old forums.


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This is the front. It used to be the back but whatever lol.
HI Bezzy - like everyone else I can't wait to see the finished tank!

My only suggestion would be to not divide the left & right sides. Once your stand is enclosed it gets a very small feeling. I believe you have a HOB filter (?) and if you ever wanted to go to a canister filter they are generally placed in the center of the stand.

A power strip mounted on that back center bracket makes things so much easier & safer. If you want to make sure fish food stays dry - you could always place it in a see thru plastic container with lid & store it on either side of stand☺
 
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BerryBeezy

Member
Fishy Friends said:
HI Bezzy - like everyone else I can't wait to see the finished tank!

My only suggestion would be to not divide the left & right sides. Once your stand is enclosed it gets a very small feeling. I believe you have a HOB filter (?) and if you ever wanted to go to a canister filter they are generally placed in the center of the stand.

A power strip mounted on that back center bracket makes things so much easier & safer. If you want to make sure fish food stays dry - you could always place it in a see thru plastic container with lid & store it on either side of stand☺

I see your point about it feeling small. I have a canister that's going on this tank. The only reason for dividing the two sides was to keep the power strip kinda separate from the canister in case there was a spraying leak. I was thinking more of a partition. Something that left enough room near the top for the power cord of the canister to go over and plug into the power strip. But for the hoses on the canister I think placing it in the center will work better. My intake and spraybar are on opposite sides. I hope to have a real fit test this weekend with the tank on the stand. I have to wait until my brother can help me lift it. Then I can see how the hoses will work. Thanks for the tip!
 

VWTDI02

Member
Even if you keep it divided it shouldn't matter too much. You can just as easily put the canister next to the center wall and you would only be offset from true center by a few inches.
 
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BerryBeezy

Member
VWTDI02 said:
Even if you keep it divided it shouldn't matter too much. You can just as easily put the canister next to the center wall and you would only be offset from true center by a few inches.
Well that makes sense too. I will try both and see what happens. I think I will be a bit more secure feeling if the power strip and canister were separate. If all else fails I can put the strip in a 1 gallon freezer bag. Problem solved lol
 

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