DIY 3D Background - Too Much Detail?

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Jumko

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So I've been playing around with background ideas, but I'm a bit worried that they're too intricate and won't show up once I start adding cement over the styrofoam. Can anyone who's done a styrofoam background chime in? Here's an example of what I plan on doing:

3d background 002.JPG

Leaning towards the bottom design.

3d background 002.JPG
 

oo7genie

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I would imagine only the deeper cuts will be visible with the cement applied, but I defer to those who have actually done this before for a more accurate answer.

On a side note, I would cut your grooves a bit more randomly. Nature doesn't usually create such uniform squarelike patterns. That's not to say that it wouldn't look good, it just won't look quite natural.
 

garyfla

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Hi
have done this in many different ways and by far the easiest cheapest and best results were using Expnading foam and acrylic paint. There are some limitations but much less than other methods.
Eliminates the coating of cement , though you can certainly put it on if wanted. One of the best thing s is it's not limited to "rocks " you can make it look like roots even muddy stream banks or dock pilings whatever lol

When using the "stuff " underwater you need to use a different method as the main drawback to the materal is the extreme bouancy gary
 

stormywendyann

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Wow. That looks Awesome. And I have the boring store bought backgrounds.
 

catherinecarney

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I just finished a foam and drylock background for my 20 H and have pix I'll try to post here and on the 75 g DIY background thread so people can see...Drylock is a bit thicker than paint, but even with 3 coats of the stuff it didn't obscure the detail in my build. Can't wait to see how yours turns out!

For those who have not done these, it's pretty easy (but messy)--foam, silicone (GE I is safe), cutting/rasping/shaping tools, drylock, concrete colorant, and your imagination are pretty much all you need!
 

Jumko

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I just finished a foam and drylock background for my 20 H and have pix I'll try to post here and on the 75 g DIY background thread so people can see...Drylock is a bit thicker than paint, but even with 3 coats of the stuff it didn't obscure the detail in my build. Can't wait to see how yours turns out!

For those who have not done these, it's pretty easy (but messy)--foam, silicone (GE I is safe), cutting/rasping/shaping tools, drylock, concrete colorant, and your imagination are pretty much all you need!
Yes, please do! Just curious, how long did you wait after siliconing (is that a word? haha) to start applying the drylok?
 

catherinecarney

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I waited about 4 days from the last round of siliconing to start drylocking, put on 3 or 4 coats of drylock (about 12 hours between each), then let that cure for another couple of days before adding water.

Once I added the water, I had tannin staining (from the driftwood and sphagnum moss you'll see in the pictures), so I did 2 50% water changes before adding fish.

Couple of other things. There's a homemade spraybar across the top of the tank to allow water to trickle down the background, keeping the plants moist. The plants are pinned to the background along the edges of the cork and sphagnum moss--by the time the pins rust out the plants will have rooted into the background and hold themselves in place.

Hope this helps! Pix to follow!
 

catherinecarney

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OK, here are the pix. I apologize for the poor quality--I'm not much of a photographer yet!

The original tank--it's been running for 2 months, still doing water changes to keep the tannins down (don't use peat on your background unless you really like the blackwater look):
Ipod Series 1 172.JPGPlants are sparse, but doing better now that I've added more light.

Ipod Series 1 172.JPG
 
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