Diy Background Question

MeganMYO

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I hoping I'm putting this in the correct section! So I'm planning on making a diy background for a 10 gallon tank I have.... I'm just wondering if Quikrete Mortar Mix is fish safe and if it isn't what should I get that is fish safe. I'm pretty sure its ok to use but I want to be sure that its not going to poison any fish I get.

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Aquarist

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Link of interest above while you wait for more responses.

Ken
 

BerryBeezy

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If you can get your hands on some drylok, I think you would like it a little better. No mixing and goes on just like paint. It has the texture of paint with sand mixed in so you still get a rocklike finish. It's what I used. ImageUploadedByFish Lore Aquarium Fish Forum1436996472.195505.jpg
It's what you do with your paint afterwards that makes your background believable. But in all of it, just have fun and make what's nice looking to you!


 
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MeganMYO

MeganMYO

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Thank you for the links Aquarist and waterlilykarI those were both very interesting... I decided to just go ahead and use the Mortar mix as I'm pretty sure its safe as long as I make sure to do plenty of water changes in order to stabilize the pH... And thank you BerryBeezy I haven't seen drylok at my local hardware stores, but I suppose I never did actually look for it and your background looks awesome!

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junebug

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Concrete mixes ALWAYS raise pH. You'd need to seal it with something to keep the pH stable. Or alternatively, use an open cell foam and carve it like I did for my last one.

Here's the one I did with Poret foam.
DSCF8445 (1280x960).jpg
I didn't paint over this with anything because it's also a filter wall, but you could potentially douse it with a few coats of Drylok if you wanted a solid wall. This will look a lot more natural than any of the foam backdrops, and better than concrete too.

Edit: Concrete mixes also will never stop raising pH, for the life of the tank. Not worth the hassle IMO.
 
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MeganMYO

MeganMYO

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Oh I didn't realize it will always raise the pH! Yikes! So what do I need to seal it to prevent it from raising my pH? I'm glad you told me this before I sealed it in my tank! Thank you.

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MeganMYO

MeganMYO

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So junebug is there anything I can use to seal the concrete?

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100% (which is aquarium-safe) silicone is one thing you can use to seal it.
 

Bijou88

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Krylon spray paint is supposed to be aquarium safe, I know a lot of people have used it without issues.

 
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MeganMYO

MeganMYO

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Thank you Kasye I have some silicone I do intend to use to seal it to the tank and Bijou88 I have also read that krylon is suppose to be good I think the Krylon acrylic spray paint is the one that most people use for their backgrounds.... Now I'm just going to have to find some... I'm so excited for this tank to be up and running lol

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Bijou88

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I want to say it's krylon fusion, that I've read about people using but I'm not certain. ..

 
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MeganMYO

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Oh I think I read that somewhere Bijou88! thank you guys so much... Hopefully my tank turns out ok!

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MeganMYO said:
So @junebug is there anything I can use to seal the concrete?

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There is a clear liquid called "pond shield" used for pond building and 100% fish safe. This way you can use what ever color, cement, motor, ceramics or other and coat/seal it making it 100% aquarium safe.
 

junebug

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Drylok is inert and won't raise pH. You could seal it with that, just make sure you don't miss any spots.
 

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You can find drylok at homedepot or lowes. In either the concrete section or paint section. I can't remember exactly. I thought I remembered seeing on a bunch of posts that concrete would be bad for Ph. As far as paint goes, I used just regular acrylic paint from the crafts section at Walmart. Just let it dry for 2 days before you put it in your tank. The most important thing is to make sure you really secure your background to the glass. That foam is very buoyant and will pop out if you don't use enough silicone.

And thanks for the comment!


 
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MeganMYO

MeganMYO

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Ok so I did more research and I think I need latex drylok masonary waterproofer, is that the right kind? And then I need to find some acrylic paint. Will any acrylic paint work or does it have to be a specific type? Sorry for all the questions!! I just really don't want to mess my tank up and I really like how my background turned out so that would stink if I had to start over.

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junebug

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They make dye that you mix in the drylok. I would just use that, personally, and smear sand or dirt over it in places to create variances in the color.
 

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Lots of questions is a good thing! It shows you are doing your homework and putting the wellbeing of your fish ahead of your own convenience or eagerness to finish. It may also benefit future FishLore members looking to do similar and searching past articles for how to go about it. Never worry about asking questions; someone here will always be happy to help whenever they can.


 

waterlilykari

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junebug said:
They make dye that you mix in the drylok. I would just use that, personally, and smear sand or dirt over it in places to create variances in the color.
To build on this idea, would it work to mix small amounts of sand of various shades/colors/textures together with a little Drylok in a pallet like mixing paint colors for a painting and either paint or sponge it on to create the look the OP desires? If this is the case, just to be cautious about the foam leeching anything, I would recommend sealing it completely with Drylok or other sealant of choice first then applying the mixed "colors" over that.


 

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