DIY : 3D aquarium background for my Tang tank

Post the details about DIY Projects.
User avatar
adesh8028
New Star of AquaPetZ!
New Star of AquaPetZ!
Posts: 97
Joined: Thu Jan 12, 2012 11:41 pm
Location: Pretoria, SA (Hometown - Pune)
Contact:

DIY : 3D aquarium background for my Tang tank

Unread postby adesh8028 » Tue Jul 17, 2012 1:31 pm

Hi All,

After having a lot of trouble with natural laterite rock structure for my tang tank, 3 weeks back I decided to start DIY background.

The main reasons to go for it over the earlier scape were
1. Lot of debris in the gaps, creating unhealthy environment
2. The WC and siphoning process was cumbersome
3. Too many hiding places made frontosa a little shy
4. Rock arrangement was risky as they were not fixed with silicone or any adhesive.
5. Scratches on the glass as the small rocks kept falling

OK, to start with; I removed all rocks and kept only a few at the bottom. This has made frontosa a little brave and I can see they coming for food. Not great improvement but a little.

Material Used
1. Thermocol sheets - one can get as thick sheet(s) as they want to
2. Fevicol
3. Silicone - for pasting the background to glass
4. Silicone gun
5. Construction grade cement
6. Painting brush 4" width
7. Old newspapers
8. Cutter
9. Cement paint (optional)

I had a lot of thermocol sheets lying with me as part of excess sheets to cover my discus tanks. Since I've left keeping discus, I thought to make use of these.
So, started with the front side with pasting the sheets with silicone - First mistake. As I had 1cm thick sheets and I had to make a background with depths and valley I was forced to put silicone only on the sides and cross from the corners to be cost effective. This has resulted sheets to come out when I started cutting.

This has taught me lesson and I used fevicol for pasting subsequent sheets. The fevicol was diluted in water to make it little easy for spreading it to cover whole sheet. The result was amazing after it dried out - as stiff as a plywood :)

The joints were pasted (again with fevicol with little pressure on the sides) to make it fit the tank's width. BTW, the drying of fevicol took a day. Picture below

Image

After it dried, started with designing the rock sculpture.

Image

And the same day (in fact it started in the evening and was doing it late in the night - around 1am), I started cutting it. Believe me, the cutting was so cumbersome as it creates a lot of mess. And since it was late in the night, I had to be maid to clean it :LOL

After the cutting part, a single coat of cement with brush was applied. The cement mix was watery to make sure to cover each and every corner of the scape. And a picture of the scape next morning.

Image

As you can see the joints were still visible and they were still shaky/unstable when i tied to lift. In order to make joints more firm and to give them strength, I mixed cement with fevicol and water to put the mixture into the gaps. After 2 days, the joints were amazingly stiff. Then came the 2nd coat of cement. This time it was much thicker than the previous one. And then the next coat. Remember to have each coat thicker than the previous one.

Image

The joints were not visible, thanks to the brilliant mixture of cement/fevicol/water. And of-course 2 coats with thick cement also made it look as one piece. The scape needed to be kept damp for at least 2 days before the next coat is applied. Since I missed a few sprinkling schedules, I started seeing some cracks on the scape. Then again I applied a little coat spread of thin cement/fevicol/water mixture. After the 3rd coat, the background started looking good.

Image
That's my cousin holding the background. It was soothing to eyes, however I was not fully satisfied with the flat look of the rocks, I wanted to have them as natural as they can look with some uneven surfaces. Hence started with another mind-blowing idea of making use of old newspaper soaked in water to make it. Used a lot of newspapers soaked in water and applied some fevicol to have some binding and pasted them on the background.

Image

Again, after 2 coats of cements on whole background, currently it is looking like this

Image

It is still in drying/curing stage, where after that I will see if cement paint can be applied. I've got "Dark Gray" cement paint for this purpose.

Comments/Suggestions/Questions are welcome.

I will also keep this thread updated with progress on it.

Regards,
Adesh



User avatar
SCORPIO
Site Admin
Site Admin
Posts: 10353
Joined: Tue Oct 04, 2011 11:01 am
Location: Delhi, India
Contact:

Re: DIY : 3D aquarium background for my Tang tank

Unread postby SCORPIO » Tue Jul 17, 2012 1:43 pm

A very good step by step guide to make a 3D background. :clp

I have some queries:

1. You have used newspapers to make it 3 Dimensional. What if water leak and newspapers get wet?
2. Why do not you have used thermocol instead of newspaper?
“Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life - think of it, dream of it, live on that idea. This is the way to success.”

...................Swami Vivekananda

User avatar
adesh8028
New Star of AquaPetZ!
New Star of AquaPetZ!
Posts: 97
Joined: Thu Jan 12, 2012 11:41 pm
Location: Pretoria, SA (Hometown - Pune)
Contact:

Re: DIY : 3D aquarium background for my Tang tank

Unread postby adesh8028 » Tue Jul 17, 2012 2:03 pm

Rajiv,

Thanks for appreciation

1. You have used newspapers to make it 3 Dimensional. What if water leak and newspapers get wet?
The idea is to have good coats of cement to avoid leakage. BTW, it had fevicol/cement mixture on top and then it will have good 3 coats of cement. However, even after this it leaks, my bad :(

2. Why do not you have used thermocol instead of newspaper?
Newspaper soaked in water is easy to mold in whatever shape you would like to have at runtime. Whereas with thermocol, there are 2 disadvantages
1. Becomes cumbersome to shape it at runtime
2. A lot of mess. Especially when you have cement mixture around you and you dont want to have thermocol mess falling in the mixture :)

Adesh

User avatar
SCORPIO
Site Admin
Site Admin
Posts: 10353
Joined: Tue Oct 04, 2011 11:01 am
Location: Delhi, India
Contact:

Re: DIY : 3D aquarium background for my Tang tank

Unread postby SCORPIO » Tue Jul 17, 2012 4:04 pm

Satisfied by your answer. But make the newspapers more water proof.
“Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life - think of it, dream of it, live on that idea. This is the way to success.”

...................Swami Vivekananda

User avatar
adesh8028
New Star of AquaPetZ!
New Star of AquaPetZ!
Posts: 97
Joined: Thu Jan 12, 2012 11:41 pm
Location: Pretoria, SA (Hometown - Pune)
Contact:

Re: DIY : 3D aquarium background for my Tang tank

Unread postby adesh8028 » Tue Jul 17, 2012 5:38 pm

Hey, just got to know from other forum where one has asked me to use acetone for carving thermocol. The ones who are interested in making 3D backgrounds may try this thing out.

User avatar
Abhishek
Promising Star of AquaPetZ!
Promising Star of AquaPetZ!
Posts: 2165
Joined: Wed Oct 12, 2011 1:18 pm
Location: Bangalore-BTM Layout

Re: DIY : 3D aquarium background for my Tang tank

Unread postby Abhishek » Tue Jul 17, 2012 6:59 pm

Want to see it in action AD Bhai :D

User avatar
ishaan
Promising Star of AquaPetZ!
Promising Star of AquaPetZ!
Posts: 1725
Joined: Wed Nov 02, 2011 11:56 pm
Location: jalandhar,punjab

Re: DIY : 3D aquarium background for my Tang tank

Unread postby ishaan » Tue Jul 17, 2012 7:05 pm

thanks for posting the full detail of making a 3D background. will try for my nano tanks. :clp
A collection of mistakes is called experience and experience is the key to success.
Ishaan Pathania
+919041208868

User avatar
adesh8028
New Star of AquaPetZ!
New Star of AquaPetZ!
Posts: 97
Joined: Thu Jan 12, 2012 11:41 pm
Location: Pretoria, SA (Hometown - Pune)
Contact:

Re: DIY : 3D aquarium background for my Tang tank

Unread postby adesh8028 » Tue Jul 17, 2012 11:20 pm

Absolutely Abhishek, even I cant wait to put it in the tank. Hopefully, if the background dries and cured over a period of 3-4 days; I'm planning to put it in the tank this weekend. Ofcourse the fishes will be put in later.

User avatar
sushant
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 2886
Joined: Fri Oct 07, 2011 12:36 am
Location: Faridabad, Haryana
Contact:

Re: DIY : 3D aquarium background for my Tang tank

Unread postby sushant » Wed Jul 18, 2012 1:52 am

i doubt if favicol will hold in water. a better and more reliable option would have been to use silicon paste alone. still i'm keeping my fingers crossed for this beautiful DIY.
Sushant

User avatar
adesh8028
New Star of AquaPetZ!
New Star of AquaPetZ!
Posts: 97
Joined: Thu Jan 12, 2012 11:41 pm
Location: Pretoria, SA (Hometown - Pune)
Contact:

Re: DIY : 3D aquarium background for my Tang tank

Unread postby adesh8028 » Wed Jul 18, 2012 1:17 pm

Thanks Sushant. Will keep you posted on the results once I put it in the tank.