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DIY Freshwater 3/D background for African Cichlids!

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DIY Freshwater 3/D background for African Cichlids!

Post by DonnieP on Sun 16 Jan 2011, 4:37 pm

I did this project a few years ago when I was planning an African Cichlid tank. The background worked out great, the tank even made tank of the month on Cichlid-Forum.com Check the second tank down November 2003 Tank of the month click here
Anyway, I have included a link to my old catfishing homepage that has the background build in detail with pics. I left it here because over the years I have had lots of requests for the info and pics. If anyone builds one of these please post pics and show it off. While your there click on the link to HOME and check out some of the catfish pictures. I have the world record Flathead, Bluecat and channelcat listed.


LINK TO BACKGROUND BUILD


Last edited by DonnieP on Sun 16 Jan 2011, 5:24 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: DIY Freshwater 3/D background for African Cichlids!

Post by JoseH on Sun 16 Jan 2011, 4:44 pm

WOOOOOW That tank looks awesome. Do you still have it?
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Re: DIY Freshwater 3/D background for African Cichlids!

Post by BigBlue on Sun 16 Jan 2011, 5:13 pm

Sweeeeeeeet!!!
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Re: DIY Freshwater 3/D background for African Cichlids!

Post by DonnieP on Sun 16 Jan 2011, 5:24 pm

JoseH wrote:WOOOOOW That tank looks awesome. Do you still have it?

No, I donated it to my Son I did'nt want to mess with freshwater anymore and he ended up selling it for like $1400.00 to his Sargent in the Army last year, of course I did'nt see any of the profits :>(
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Re: DIY Freshwater 3/D background for African Cichlids!

Post by Texas Gypsy on Sun 16 Jan 2011, 10:02 pm

Awesome job!!! I would try this myself, and although it may not be that hard, I'm sure I would find a way to screw it up!

Badass write up too!
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Re: DIY Freshwater 3/D background for African Cichlids!

Post by Daniel1381 on Mon 17 Jan 2011, 2:30 am

Wow donnie great job!!
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Re: DIY Freshwater 3/D background for African Cichlids!

Post by taimoortwm on Tue 18 Jan 2011, 2:24 pm

I have a question. Does the material safe for the fish?
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Re: DIY Freshwater 3/D background for African Cichlids!

Post by DonnieP on Tue 18 Jan 2011, 2:43 pm

Yes it is safe for fish, the quickrete is used in potable water systerns. I cured this background in saltwater to set the color and cement. The background is still in the tank and is still holding up well and its been what 7-8 years since I built it. The only thing it might do is raise the ph of the water for a brief period, once algae film starts growing ph will return to normal. I built it for African Cichlids so I wanted a high ph anyway so it worked out great.
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Re: DIY Freshwater 3/D background for African Cichlids!

Post by taimoortwm on Tue 18 Jan 2011, 4:09 pm

Thanks , that is good to know. Very Happy
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Re: DIY Freshwater 3/D background for African Cichlids!

Post by Shank on Sat 22 Jan 2011, 2:15 am

DonnieP wrote:No, I donated it to my Son I did'nt want to mess with freshwater anymore and he ended up selling it for like $1400.00 to his Sargent in the Army last year, of course I did'nt see any of the profits :>(

My brother was notorious for this! Sold my highschool freshman bug project, made like fifty bucks off my hard work and didnt see a dime. THEN, a year later he sold my Warhammer 40K army for like 400 bucks! Granted I feel like a tool even admitting I used to play this but I really enjoyed painting those guys... I felt robbed both times haha!

This was an awesome project, I'm really glad you documented the whole process. Really seems like something I could get into whenever I get a bigger tank. What led you to abandon freshwater? Not going to lie, sort of feel out numbered by the number of salty's on this forum. Don't get me wrong, Salt tanks are incredibly beautiful, have I just not seen the light or something?!
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Re: DIY Freshwater 3/D background for African Cichlids!

Post by DonnieP on Sat 22 Jan 2011, 11:13 am

This was an awesome project, I'm really glad you documented the whole process. Really seems like something I could get into whenever I get a bigger tank. What led you to abandon freshwater? Not going to lie, sort of feel out numbered by the number of salty's on this forum. Don't get me wrong, Salt tanks are incredibly beautiful, have I just not seen the light or something?!

I always had reef tanks until 1998, I had a bad accident and was unable to care for my reef anymore so I sold all the rock and livestock, put the tank in storage until I decided to do this project, I figured African cichlids might take the place of salt but it was not to be. I finally just gave my son the tank but the reef bug just would not go away so I finally retired this year and sitting home with nothing to do, I had to get back into reefing. I'm tellin ya once you go salt, there aint no goin back.
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Re: DIY Freshwater 3/D background for African Cichlids!

Post by Win on Sat 22 Jan 2011, 6:58 pm

donnie ive wanted to do this for 5 years now, i just havent worked up the nerve to do it (or had the means to hold my stock while it cured)...


can you teach me how to do this for a 55??? ill give u a used 8 gallon tank... huh huh???? Very Happy
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Re: DIY Freshwater 3/D background for African Cichlids!

Post by DonnieP on Sat 22 Jan 2011, 7:22 pm

John
Man it is really easy, just follow the instructions I wrote out, The only thing though with a 55 is it is so narrow front to back you will not be able to glue multiple layers as I did. My tank was 18" front to back. Two layers is the very most you could go, one even better. The hardest part is finding the materials. I still have one piece of the three inch styrofoam 2'x8' if ya want it, but I'm sure Cassity Jones in Longview has it pretty cheap prolly not worth the drive to Marshall. Be sure to use the Quikrete, not just cement. A tiny butane torch is a must to get the rock effect. A little practice and its easy, you can do it GO FOR IT!!!! Send some pics..

If you got to Cassity Jones for the styrofoam, you may have to tell them they have it, they keep some there for one of their contractors and some of the guys working there may not even know they have it. If you do go there, ask for Gil Martin, tell him Donnie sent ya and what you want. I dealt with Gil for years in my work, good guy.

BTW, it does require a few days curing, don't know about the stock:>(
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Re: DIY Freshwater 3/D background for African Cichlids!

Post by Win on Sun 23 Jan 2011, 9:33 am

lol donnie.... i just dont wanna have to clean up the mess, i was hoping we could do the carving at your place?? HAHAHAHA Very Happy
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Re: DIY Freshwater 3/D background for African Cichlids!

Post by DonnieP on Sun 23 Jan 2011, 11:30 am

You right on the carving, man that stuff sticks all over you especially if its hot weather.
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Re: DIY Freshwater 3/D background for African Cichlids!

Post by 1fish2fish on Fri 04 Feb 2011, 4:51 pm

Awesome project! I have been wanting to do something like that but I was uncertain about safe materials to use. Thank so much for the outstanding directions and photos!

I have not crossed over to saltwater yet. This will be a great project for my new front tank.

It does seem like there are more saltwater enthusiast about. Maybe there is something to the salt exposure.

Thanks for this great idea!


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Re: DIY Freshwater 3/D background for African Cichlids!

Post by A-Rog on Sun 06 Feb 2011, 8:03 am

You did a really good job. Wish i could do something like that.
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Re: DIY Freshwater 3/D background for African Cichlids!

Post by layne on Sun 06 Feb 2011, 5:50 pm

can i make this to use in a saltwater tank?

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Re: DIY Freshwater 3/D background for African Cichlids!

Post by DonnieP on Sun 06 Feb 2011, 6:47 pm

layne wrote:can i make this to use in a saltwater tank?

I guess you could but why would you want to?
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Dam but that project gave me some seriously time consuming ideas

Post by Yeti on Tue 08 Feb 2011, 3:37 am

I found your diary fascinating and really encouraging. I'm hoping to get a larger tank soon, fingers crossed, and I was picturing a tank which had a landscape such as you built in one back corner (Effectively climbing rapidly from the front corner up the side, and then proceeding along the back about 1/3rd the back length before sloping down, about 1/2 to 2/3rd along the back of the tank).
I'm thinking this may allow me to create a multi shelf like effect (I can see it in my mind, think curved shelves around a corner) with possibly even a swim through (never bother walking when you can leap straight in....you may fall, but you learn faster).
If you have the picture in your head, then you can see areas where there maybe a possible "still water area" on the sand/gravel, due to the corner and over hang, which is my concern, I'm thinking a build up of sediment could be a problem...apart from building and internally supporting the whole concept.
THEN!....as I said why walk when you can leap. I was wondering if the same principle could be used to design and make your own sunken log.
Yeah..take the easy route I know.
But. If I was to carve expanded poly into a short tunnel, and then add longer slimmer pieces (in the hope of creating a log effect) do you think I could get the finish of the smooth wood? Or is it going to be cheaper, easier and more effective to fork out $$ and buy something that may work.
On the other hand, I may end up just making my own rocks, using the same colour (yes English spelling, sorry but I refuse to change somethings) from poly and cement, so the corner background and the "artistically tumbled" rocks tie in.
This could even qualify as a project. In which case I guess I will be obliged to take a plethora of pics, so all can enjoy my pains...
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Re: DIY Freshwater 3/D background for African Cichlids!

Post by Yeti on Tue 08 Feb 2011, 3:46 am

Oh BTW, working in retail, where they sell the kitchen appliances, which come with so many shapes and sizes of packaging poly foam, I'm thinking I can experiment on the poly shaping very cheaply. It's rarely in sheet, but I'm thinking the appliance corner blocks will be easy to bond. If you are wanting to have a play and will be in the Tyler Mall, let me know, and I will see if I can sort out some good pieces, same goes for styrofoam (poly) sheets, I will now be looking out for those to keep safe and unbroken for rock tank bases.
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Re: DIY Freshwater 3/D background for African Cichlids!

Post by DonnieP on Tue 08 Feb 2011, 5:33 pm

Sounds like a good project, you could always incorporate a return water line in the construction in that corner to give you current in that zone, The heater could also be hidden in there and have the return flow by the heater.
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Re: DIY Freshwater 3/D background for African Cichlids!

Post by matt_longview on Tue 08 Feb 2011, 5:38 pm

You could do a refugium behind the other corner too if you wanted to get real fancy with it. All of the filtering you would need could be hidden into that rock. lol.
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Re: DIY Freshwater 3/D background for African Cichlids!

Post by sheridan on Mon 14 Mar 2011, 11:40 am

I finally started construction on my background. Thank you Donnie for the inspiration and instructions!! I didn't want to copy cat so I changed my design. Look here for the progress so far.

www.sheridanstotts.blogspot.com
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Re: DIY Freshwater 3/D background for African Cichlids!

Post by Win on Mon 14 Mar 2011, 3:30 pm

oh that looks real nice Smile good job Smile love to see more pics Smile
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Re: DIY Freshwater 3/D background for African Cichlids!

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