Current pros and cons of concrete/foam 3D backgrounds?

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Awen Hawthorn

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Sep 5, 2020
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Hi all new to this site. I am an experienced aquarist but have been out of the game for several years. So much has changed and so many new thing. I have a 28 gallon cube as a nano reef currently that I am about to completely gut and transition to a fw plant /shrimp /nano fish tank. Since I will have the tank completely empty it gives me opportunity to do some shaping. I want to do a 3D background and am liking the customizability of the foam/concrete. From my current research in many forums there are many for and against it but the posts are all 2018 or older. Does anyone have current info or long term experiences with this?
Thanks in advance I'm excited for the future of my tank.
 

dudley

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Feb 9, 2005
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Hi and Welcome to AC!!

Are you just interested in doing a DIY background or would you be interested in buying a pre-fab one?
 
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dudley

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Feb 9, 2005
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I have no personal experience using concrete and foam for a DIY background but have seen on other forums where they last for years assuming they used sufficient cement to cover the foam to reduce flaking and secured the BG in the tank so it doesn't pop out.

Just for clarification, you would use cement and not concrete which contains gravel or rocks.
 

Sprinkle

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I know what you mean, but I'm no expert on making DIY backgrounds and I'm no expert either when it comes to fish. But I'm gonna tell you one thing, foam, blue or other coloured backgrounds aren't as good as black ones. I will just recommend you on getting a black background where all plants, fish or corals will stand out way more :)
 

fishorama

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Jun 28, 2006
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My major concern is with the cement, it may raise you pH maybe by a lot. Will you seal it with something?

I've only read a few things about DIY backgrounds, they can be very cool looking! I've also read animals can get trapped behind them & equipment difficult to service...

We'd love to see what you come up with!
 
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Awen Hawthorn

Registered Member
Sep 5, 2020
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Texas
Hi thanks 😊 the tank is a bio cube so the filtration is inclusive behind the tank so the back wall is just plain aside from the pump outputs and overflow at the top. I've read people silicone the background to the back to keep critters from getting stuck. I think this may be a perfect situation to experiment and see exactly what happens since all the info I am finding online is very mixed.
 

fishorama

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If you're keeping shrimp you might want to have the background at least little above the surface to discourage them from climbing up & over. They love to go...everywhere! they possibly can. Maybe something to keep them from doing that...I'm not sure just what...they can be very determined when the see al the "goodies" getting sucked up!
 
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Sprinkle

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Mar 21, 2020
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If you're keeping shrimp you might want to have the background at least little above the surface to discourage them from climbing up & over. They love to go...everywhere! they possibly can. Maybe something to keep them from doing that...I'm not sure just what...they can be very determined when the see al the "goodies" getting sucked up!
They can and will climb, I watched a video from Foo the Flowerhorn. The shrimp were climbing over this filter, from lava rock was made I believe, and ended up dried up. Over the hedge :)
 
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