This artificial rockscape attempts to recreate a setting of layered sedimentary rock where uneven and broken surfaces provide unintentional opportunity for plants to take root and schools of fish to thrive.

Click
here for step by step instructions on how to build your own DIY aquarium background.
DIY Aquarium Background
Rock Ledges
This 90 gallon DIY background was built using 1 1/2 inch thick pink polystyrene (styrofoam). A special hacksaw hand tool was the primary cutting tool. A surform shaving tool was used to smooth and shape the artificial rock formations.

The 90 gallon capacity of this aquarium provided the advantage of enough space to create layered terraces with deep pockets for plants to be positioned above the substrate.
A folding table in the garage made a good temporary workspace.

After the polystyrene rock formations were siliconed together, a 1000 watt hobby heat gun was used to smooth surfaces to give the formations a more natural looking texture.
This lower left corner section of the background was assembled outside the aquarium for ease of applying the cement on all sides.

In this photo, the first of three coats of Quikrete brand Quikwall cement has been applied. Quikrete Acrylic Fortifier was used instead of water when mixing the cement to increase strength and reduce permeability.

This piece includes three pockets for live plants and when installed will provide room behind the formation to hide aquarium hardware and for fish to safetly navigate as they like.
The two main sections have been completed, each with three layers of cement applied.

Quikrete brand charcoal and brown liquid color were added to the cement mix before brushing on the final layer.
This photo shows the backside view of the right corner of the background.

The corners cutout from the polystyrene before the cement was applied will provide room for a PVC overflow to be installed behind the background and almost completely hidden from view.

Note the large gaps between the layers where fish will be able to play and hide.
Page 1 of 4
welcome to
do-it-yourself aquarium and semi-aquatic background designs beyond the traditional
Dramatic AquaScapes