New 20gallon build - DIY background

Lilthuglet

Hi All,

I thought I'd document my new tank build here. The theme is blackreach from skyrim - https://www.pinterest.co.uk/lilthugletevilbad/blackreach-aquarium/

I have the bits - a 20 gallon long that I've now cleaned up and am filling gradually to make certain it's water tight. Five sheets of polystyrene (may need a couple more) and a block, and a tub of cement.


project-1.jpg

I'll keep this thread updated for anyone interested.
 

Charlie’s Dad

Interesting.........waiting and watching......
 

Kitley

me too
 

Lilthuglet

First update...

I've roughed out the background, going to start siliconing it down and adding to it until I'm happy.

project-2.jpg

In other news, cutting polystyrene is even messyer than sawing wood in your living room!
 

Lilthuglet

Lessons learned so far:
1. polystyrene is seriously messy to cut.
2. You need more sealent than you thought.
3. You need more cement than you thought.
4. Cement is also messy.
5. To get a smooth finish it is worth sieving your cement before making it up.
6. Make up your cement runnyer than you thought if you want to be able to shape it, nope, runnyer than that, it will still stick.
7. Make up no more than a cupful of cement at a time, it dries FAST, if it is getting lumpy as you work it - add more water.

Picture updates:
Siliconed final polystyrene and pipe layout (with a little bit of cement cos I forgot to photograph).

project3.jpg

Half way there (ish) on the cement - ran out.

project4.jpg

Off to buy more cement now!
 

Lilthuglet

More lessons:
1. Concrete dries lighter than I thought... which shouldn't have been a suprise to me but was.
2. Concrete is not appropriate for backgrounds without a coating, so I'll be plastidip spraying the lot.
3. Plastidip dissolves polystyrene.


project-5.jpg
 

AcornTheBetta

More lessons:
1. Concrete dries lighter than I thought... which shouldn't have been a suprise to me but was.
2. Concrete is not appropriate for backgrounds without a coating, so I'll be plastidip spraying the lot.
3. Plastidip dissolves polystyrene.


project-5.jpg
Woah that looks dope!
 

Sanderguy777

Neat! What is the story behind the pipes?
 

Lilthuglet

Neat! What is the story behind the pipes?

I like the way they look
 

Lilthuglet

Been a while but I am still working on this, just had a bit of a hiatus whilst dealing with a new job and some other tank issues.

Updated picture with the concrete in and plastidiped:

project-6.jpg
 

Lilthuglet

After extensive soaking I have discovered that whilst the plasticote sticks well to the cement, it comes off the plastic and the glass really badly. I am scrubbing, soaking and water changing to get anything that could flake or leach out and hurt a fish out. I think I may wrap the white pipe in java moss or moss ball algae instead, that could work nicely. I haven't put the sand in yet because I want to get all the chemicals and flakes out first.


20-12-Dec-20-cropped.jpg

I've been thinking about stocking and I think I'm going for 8 guppies, if I can all in different monochrome colours. It'll be a while before any fish go in here first. It'll need to be sure everything wont flake or leach then have supported healthy plants for at least a 4-6 week cycle so it'll be well into the new year before we get any fishes.
 

Sanderguy777

After extensive soaking I have discovered that whilst the plasticote sticks well to the cement, it comes off the plastic and the glass really badly. I am scrubbing, soaking and water changing to get anything that could flake or leach out and hurt a fish out. I think I may wrap the white pipe in java moss or moss ball algae instead, that could work nicely. I haven't put the sand in yet because I want to get all the chemicals and flakes out first.


20-12-Dec-20-cropped.jpg

I've been thinking about stocking and I think I'm going for 8 guppies, if I can all in different monochrome colours. It'll be a while before any fish go in here first. It'll need to be sure everything wont flake or leach then have supported healthy plants for at least a 4-6 week cycle so it'll be well into the new year before we get any fishes.
That's too bad about the flaking plastidip. Just for future reference, you could use sandpaper to rough up the pvc pipes next time and then coat them, maybe that would help it stick...

And guppies would look great in there!
 

John58ford

Hello, sorry I didn't join you on this build earlier. To get plastic dip to stick to pvc you just need to "etch" the plastic. You can wipe it in acetone to accomplish that task. For chemical resistant plastics a light sanding with 220 grit or finer sand paper should coat over fine.

I love it so far. Welcome to the diy 3d background family.
 

Sanderguy777

Hello, sorry I didn't join you on this build earlier. To get plastic dip to stick to pvc you just need to "etch" the plastic. You can wipe it in acetone to accomplish that task. For chemical resistant plastics a light sanding with 220 grit or finer sand paper should coat over fine.

I love it so far. Welcome to the diy 3d background family.
Good to know. I might use that info for some "caves" I'm planning...
 

Lilthuglet

Thanks for the intel. I am starting to really like the idea of an entirely moss covered pipe now.
 

Lilthuglet

Latest update, the first plants are in and the pipe is overed in moss and algae. I've toned down the light a bit as I was getting a LOT of algae growth. I quite like how it looks now, but I don't want any more.

21-01-Jan-planted.jpg
 

Lilthuglet

The plants have grown in well now, and the guppies seem to be liking their new home:

21-03-Mar-Growing-in.jpg
 

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