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Terra Cotta Pot as a Cave (DIY Advice Needed) Do It Yourself

Discussion in 'Aquarium Equipment & Decor' started by Anonymous, Mar 10, 2009.

  1. Anonymous

    Anonymous Thread Starter Guest

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    Turning a Terra Cotta Pot into A Cave (DIY Advice)
    OK I got the clay flower pot from wal-mart today and I was wondering, what is the best way to cut this pots.
     
  2. MOD_Dawn

    MOD_Dawn Active Member

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    Re: Turning a Terra Cotta Pot into A Cave (DIY Cave Advice)

    http://thefishcave.com.au/caves_area/diy_caves.html
    http://aquarium.shuru.com/
    Anthony..not sure how to put the pictures with the diagrams so I linked? Sorry ...you have to teach me [scratch]

    -> You can also use PVC tubes/pipes
    -> You can also use the outter hard shell of a coconut (prepare it first)
    -> You can also use a strawberry planter pot (lots of premade openings)
    -> You can also use glass votive holders..or anything all glass for that matter (ie. tiny vases-goto walmart near the candle section or back in their craft dept.)

    *note* To adhese things together use aquarium safe silicone

    Borrowed Knowledge cuz too lazy to type it all:

    1. Terracotta is non-toxic and pH neutral. Some rocks, such as limestone (which is CaCO3), can alter the pH of a tank. In tanks with cichlids from the African rift lakes this is not a problem, however, for cave spawning cichlids of south America or west Africa this can be problem.

    2. Terracotta is, relatively, easily manipulated. I use both pots and saucers as cases in my aquariums.

    3. Terracotta is light! Compared to rocks anyway. This is of particular importance when you need to catch a fish out of the tank.

    4. You need less pieces to create usable caves (ie: one pot or saucer per cave). With rocks often you’ll need multiple pieces to create caves and hiding places.

    5. Terracotta is cheap. Rocks (at least from aquarium stores) are not.

    So how & where do I cut the holes?

    I cut the holes in standard terracotta pots in two places; either in the middle of the pot or at the base.

    To cut the holes I use a ceramic disk on a standard angle grinder. Be sure to take appropriate precautions when using this potentially dangerous gadget. You can buy a cheaper angle grinder from your local hardware store for around $30-$50.

    I have also used terracotta pot saucers with some success.

    Saucer-caves seem particularly popular with Julidochromis & Chalinochromis spp. and given the choice, they appear to chose the saucer-style cave (for breeding) more frequently (though I’ve not conducted a t-test) than the standard pot caves above. In some tanks I have pot caves sitting atop saucer caves, giving two discrete caves in a very small footprint.
     
  3. Anonymous

    Anonymous Thread Starter Guest

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    Re: Turning a Terra Cotta Pot into A Cave (DIY Advice)

    OK would this work, I'm thinking of just cutting the pot in half and using it that way, would that work??
     
  4. MOD_Dawn

    MOD_Dawn Active Member

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    Re: Turning a Terra Cotta Pot into A Cave (DIY Advice)

    yes, that would work too. push it lightly into the substrate a tad to keep it in place. I did mine that way with the glass bottom beneath it in an old setup I had.
     
  5. Anonymous

    Anonymous Thread Starter Guest

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    Re: Turning a Terra Cotta Pot into A Cave (DIY Advice)

    cool, will it stay with out any glass add, I won't be able to get aqua safe selicone until this saterday and I kind want to get it in there friday so my new ottos have a place or two to hid in.

    I may add both halves if I have the room.
     
  6. MOD_Dawn

    MOD_Dawn Active Member

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    Re: Turning a Terra Cotta Pot into A Cave (DIY Advice)

    it should stay in place if you lightly push it into the substrate. Mine have ALWAYS had bottoms on them. You can even place two of them a few inches apart and toss a piece of slate on top (roof) and that will give you 3 hiding spots!
     
  7. Anonymous

    Anonymous Thread Starter Guest

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    Re: Turning a Terra Cotta Pot into A Cave (DIY Advice)

    I don't have any slate, would the source work like slates?
     
  8. MOD_Dawn

    MOD_Dawn Active Member

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    Re: Turning a Terra Cotta Pot into A Cave (DIY Advice)

    source? Ya lost me on that one..try gently pushing it in the substrate and if it stays then your golden...if not..then you need a bottom or a rather thin slice of slate/rock.
     
  9. Anonymous

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    Re: Turning a Terra Cotta Pot into A Cave (DIY Advice)

    OPPS curse my stupid way of fixing spelling, to help clear the wind, I mean the little plate that you add under the pot. sorry.
     
  10. Leslie

    Leslie New Member

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    Re: Turning a Terra Cotta Pot into A Cave (DIY Advice)

    I laid mine on its side, baried some of it in the gravel. the catfish loves it.
     
  11. Alleycat

    Alleycat Member

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    Re: Turning a Terra Cotta Pot into A Cave (DIY Cave Advice)

    I use this method with my larger Tang Shelldwellers. It's really basic, but extremely inexpensive. I used a drill to bore a a hole in the side of the saucer, and the fish love it. One thing if you're drilling...soak the pots and saucers in water for at least an hour ... You won't have any extra cracks. :)
    If someone else already posted that tid-bit of info, I appologize for the repeat. :cool:
     
  12. Anonymous

    Anonymous Thread Starter Guest

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    Re: Turning a Terra Cotta Pot into A Cave (DIY Advice)

    thanks for the help guys.
     
  13. MOD_Dawn

    MOD_Dawn Active Member

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    Re: Turning a Terra Cotta Pot into A Cave (DIY Advice)

    yep yep, any time writer!
     
  14. redsoxbill

    redsoxbill New Member

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    I used a dremel tool with a cutter blade, gave me nice smooth edges, and allowed me to make two caves from one pot.

    Thanks,
    bill
     
  15. BobV

    BobV Member

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    about pvc tubing....the white is for water supply, and black is for sewer lines. So I'd use white as the black can have leachates from the pvc that may be harmful. White is safe for drinking water, so why not for fish, right?
     
  16. MOD_Dawn

    MOD_Dawn Active Member

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    I've always used the black (new of course from home depot)...I've done the huge connector t's when I had parrot fish...they absolutely loved them!

    And with a black background they blend in perfectly. I , myself, never had water issues from using it.

    I never did the white because it just stands out like a sore thumb too much imo. But if your crafty you can always get silicone and adhese gravel to them to make them look more natural or blend in better.
     
  17. Anonymous

    Anonymous Thread Starter Guest

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    regular pvc pipe floats, the joints are the only ones that will sink
     
  18. MOD_Dawn

    MOD_Dawn Active Member

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    you can weight them. wedge them in your substrate and they'll stay put.
     
  19. redsoxbill

    redsoxbill New Member

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    I basically used a dremel tool with a saw blad on it. went slow as to not get it overheated or cause it to crack, ended up with two caves instead of one.

    Bill
     
  20. CichlidStorm

    CichlidStorm Member

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    GE Silicone 2 same as aquarium silicone. cept ALOT cheaper and ALOT bigger unit