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diy caves Do It Yourself

Discussion in 'Aquarium Equipment & Decor' started by MOD_Dawn, Jan 1, 2010.

  1. MOD_Dawn

    MOD_Dawn Thread Starter Active Member

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    Here's a little Do-it-Yourself project that I came across online...with complete props going to Brad Newton.

    It's basically a background with a network of caves built-in, and covered w/ lava rock, so it blends in w/ the tank.

    The following materials are required:
    [*]Brown Vinyl guttering... hopefully you can find some identical to the style used here. I found it at McCoys Building Center, Home Depot uses a different type and I’m not sure it would work, but check around, you should be able to find something similar.

    [*]Tubes of Black Aquarium-safe silicone in Caulking tubes... these are available for less than $4 a tube at <a class="postlink" href="http://www.bigalsonline.com" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;">http://www.bigalsonline.com</a> and the manufacturer is All-Glass Aquarium.

    [*]Caulking gun

    [*]small roll of Black Vinyl lawn edging

    [*]Drill

    [*]a 2 ½" holesaw

    [*]rubber dishwashing gloves

    [*]bag of black landscaping rock (golfball size is best)

    [*]hacksaw or jigsaw
    --------------------------------------------------------------
    The total $$$ for this project which in my case results in a background that is 6 feet longx15"high is....
    [*]$7 for 2-10ft gutter sections
    [*]$5 for the lava,$5 for the edging
    [*]$16 for 4 Silicone tubes.
    Under $35 for the completed project

    ........although it will take quite a few evenings of cutting, gluing, and swearing. But looking back, I’m VERY glad I did the project, the fish love exploring the caves, and the tank looks much more authentic, especially after algae growth is prevelant.
    back2.jpg
     
  2. MOD_Dawn

    MOD_Dawn Thread Starter Active Member

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    I drill small 1/32" holes and move the bit side-to-side to make small slots to run zip-ties thru, I use the zip-ties to connect the gutters together, and use a 2&1/2" holesaw to cut the cave openings. It's entirely up to you how many holes to drill, I spaced them close together (to be divided later) and then put another pair of holes further down the gutter, this provides alot of seperate caves that will create alot of different hiding places in your tank.
    back3.jpg
     
  3. MOD_Dawn

    MOD_Dawn Thread Starter Active Member

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    I then cut out pieces from a roll of black vinyl lawn edging (the stuff used to surround flower beds, etc.) and use them to divide off the caves. Using aquarium-safe black silicone I glue the dividers in place.
    back6.jpg
     
  4. MOD_Dawn

    MOD_Dawn Thread Starter Active Member

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    Here's the completed view of the dividers.
    back5.jpg
     
  5. MOD_Dawn

    MOD_Dawn Thread Starter Active Member

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    Here's the outside face of the gutters, prior to gluing the lava rock.
    back4.jpg
     
  6. MOD_Dawn

    MOD_Dawn Thread Starter Active Member

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    Now the time consuming part begins, I but a thin surface layer of black silicone on the entire brown surface, to give it an overall black coloration to match the black lava rock. You could use the maroon lava as well, but the color wouldn't blend as easy. Just put a small amount of silicone on the flatest side of each lava piece, and put together your rock puzzle. This is one of those projects you can do while watching TV, at least it won't seem so time consuming then! Be sure to wear dishwashing gloves, this stuff gets pretty messy!
    back7.jpg
     
  7. MOD_Dawn

    MOD_Dawn Thread Starter Active Member

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    Project's almost finished, I still have a few little gaps to fill in. I have an overflow that goes between the two backgrounds. The cool part about this project is it gives the fish about 24 caves to cruise around in, it's lightweight (about 20lbs/side), and I connect it to the tank w/ zip ties hooked thru the holes drilled in the top of the ACRYLIC tank, if you put it in a glass tank you'll have to divise some hook arrangement, or possibly drill small slots in the plastic edge used to frame the tank. If it needs to be removed I just cut the 4 zip ties and presto, it's out!
    back9.jpg
     
  8. MOD_Dawn

    MOD_Dawn Thread Starter Active Member

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    Here’s an installed picture.
    tank40.jpg
     
  9. MOD_Dawn

    MOD_Dawn Thread Starter Active Member

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    Here’s one with the fish.
    trophs3.jpg
     
  10. stevenrox

    stevenrox New Member

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    nice....i forgot where i saw a DIY rock backround and it was very intresting....similar and possibly easier
     
  11. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

    Top Poster Of Month

    GREAT IDEA TY for posting
     
  12. BobV

    BobV Member

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  13. lil_jess

    lil_jess New Member

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    holy moly, never knew of such thing like that...Now thank you for sharing...I'm going to be more creative on my tank for now...lol
     
  14. MOD_Dawn

    MOD_Dawn Thread Starter Active Member

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    You should see some of the tanks that I have...with hand painted backgrounds and ledges made with acrylic and epoxy! Some are truly amazing ;)
     
  15. lil_jess

    lil_jess New Member

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    I want to see some unique works, please share... [dancing]
     
  16. MOD_Dawn

    MOD_Dawn Thread Starter Active Member

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    Browse through our diy section, many I have seen in person and didn't have a camera handy to photograph...but when I get a chance I'll browse about my bookmarks and see if there's any that haven't been posted.
     
  17. Rainman89

    Rainman89 New Member

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    just a quick question here
    what is the gutter pipe made of
    if its a metal
    wouldnt it afect the ph in the water
    i really dont know im just asking
     
  18. MOD_Dawn

    MOD_Dawn Thread Starter Active Member

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    according to the first photo subtitle "it's brown vinyl guttering material"
     
  19. MOD_Dawn

    MOD_Dawn Thread Starter Active Member

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    I'm sure if you really wanted to get creative you could do the same with black pvc pipe/tubes.

    1st do the cut outs for the fish to swim into them

    then drill small holes to connect them with zip ties

    cap them off at the top and maybe leave the bottoms open (could stick them right into the substrate)

    and probably affix them to the back/side wall of the tank by drilling holes and attaching suction cups...bet the new magnetic type would work nicely?

    Could do a shortened version that was moreso vertical than horizontal and being black would blend into the back probably quite nicely.
     
  20. FishVixen

    FishVixen Active Member

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    OH the wheels are burning rubber. I want to do the black PVC in varient hieghts silcone it, cover with gravel and stne ledges. I have everything to do it but the black PVC. HHMMMMMMMM You people get me in trouble! LOL