Saltwater DIY Background Project

Information on current projects not quite ready for prime time.

Saltwater DIY Background Project

Postby gminor » Wed Feb 24, 2010 11:23 am

This 20 gallon tall aquarium with DIY cement & polystyrene formations is being built for testing our build
materials in saltwater. In theory, we already have one thing going for us. By natural design, ocean water
has a higher PH than freshwater. The high calcium content in the cement promotes higher PH.

The main question is how the Quikrete cement holds up in saltwater over time. Liquid acrylic was used in
the cement mix as with all my freshwater builds, so I'm hopeful things will hold up in the saltwater just
as well.

mini-20 gallon - custom background - marine test 000.jpg

Above: February temperatures in the workshop (my garage) are offset with an incandescent flood lamp to warm
the cement as it cures. Water misting the cement was not necessary since liquid acrylic was used in
the cement mix.

mini-20 gallon - custom background - marine test 002.jpg

Ample GE brand Silicon #1 is applied to bottom of formations to make sure they stay put.

mini-20 gallon - custom background - marine test 003.jpg

The small black markings on the base were applied before the silicone, and then used to re-position
the pieces permanently with silicone. The goal of the careful positioning is to be to be able to navigate
an algae scraper on all glass surfaces around the formations as needed once the aquarium
is established.

mini-20 gallon - custom background - marine test 004.jpg

After the first three days of tap water rinsing (soaking), you can actually see a calcium film on the water surface.
This serves as testament to the importance of the rinsing process.

Two more three day rinsing cycles to go and the tank will be ready for substrate, all the traditional saltwater
equipment, deionized saltwater and a blue damsel or two to begin the biological cycling process. These fish
are inexpensive, hardy, and worth keeping as permanent residents due to their vibrant blue color and
mild temperament.

For the latest on this project go here:

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