DIY 3D Aquarium background.

Hairy_Trev

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Finally, as promised please enjoy my video showing how to make a budget 3D rock wall background for your aquarium.

Considering that a moderate sized background might cost you around £300+ ($450), I think this is a great option, plus the benefit that you can design it to include whatever features you like in terms of caves, ledges or overhangs.

Total cost for me to build was about £40 ($60) using polystyrene sheet, silicon sealant and builders cement.

PLEASE NOTE: I forgot to mention in the video that the finished wall is likely to need rinse quite a bit, either by constant spraying under a shower before installing, or by several water changes after it's been installed. This will rinse out the lime content of the cement which clouds the water and sends your pH values haywire!

Sorry about the poor quality.... I'm 56 years old and don't have these high tec gadgets of the younger generation!!!

ENJOY!

 
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JennySolano

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Wonderful, Trevor! I love it! I plan to start with a few cave hides. Did you attach the pieces & then cement over the entire cave? Please forgive me if you made this clear. A few minor distractions on my end during the video. I will view it again. And again. Like how you cut the sections.

I’m wondering if a crafts store would sell thicker smaller blocks of the same material so I don‘t have to haul a 4’ X 8’ panel home. I’m not ready to do a full 3D background as of yet. It would also spare me the lamination steps.
 
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Hairy_Trev

Hairy_Trev

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Wonderful, Trevor! I love it! I plan to start with a few cave hides. Did you attach the pieces & then cement over the entire cave? Please forgive me if you made this clear. A few minor distractions on my end during the video. I will view it again. And again. Like how you cut the sections.

I’m wondering if a crafts store would sell thicker smaller blocks of the same material so I don‘t have to haul a 4’ X 8’ panel home. I’m not ready to do a full 3D background as of yet. It would also spare me the lamination steps.

If I'm using a single colour across the entire structure like the rear wall, then I layered up all the pieces and did final shaping and countouring, before cementing over the whole structure.
However, if you are making structures with multicoloured layers like my monoliths and rockwork across the floor, then break off and shape individual pieces and find a way to stack them which is pleasing on the eye... Paint each piece separately before joining with silicon sealant.
Although I'm not sure that would also make a difference, but it might be an idea to make sure there's an area of polystyrene left clean for gluing... either scrape away the cement 'paint' or just make sure there's an area clean where you held it in your fingers during painting. You might find it gives better adhesion this way.

A DIY store will sell panels of varying size and thickness. If you go too thick then you'll probably find it's a lot of work to smooth down the angular look and make a smooth and natural shape to the cave...

Polystyrene is also VERY bouyant so you're going to need to glue the final structure down to the bottom glass of the tank before adding your substrate. (Remember to add the substrate depth onto the bottom of your creation so you have plenty of construction above the level of the gravel or sand).
 

JennySolano

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Yeah, I found some & posted pics. Blocks of 8x8x4 inches & other sizes.

So the concrete does not add sufficient weight to keep the caves down? I prefer not to move my axies from their tank & glue anything t the bottom. I may try adhering adequately sized stones (real!) to the cave base. Or something like that.

I liked the natural color of your cement. I wouldn’t use multiple colors.
 

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