Sorry for lack of updates. My plan was to move on to the roots, but I still needed to fix my problem with attaching the removable foam section that covers the filter intake. I guess that I have trouble multitasking. Recently, I bought some super strong magnets and planned to use them, but have been wrestling with a couple issues with how to attach secure them on both sections of foam. So, I came up with a variation of my original idea and scrapped the magnets. If my idea fails, then I can always go back to the magnet idea.
I bought some nylon spacers used for spacing nuts and bolts when attaching hardware and decided that I can glue two of them to the removable section, and one of them to a foam piece on the background. My first step was to cut to fit that foam piece and glue it to the background. Then, I had to use a drill bit (not using a power tool, but by hand, so as to remove foam at a controlled pace and get a more accurate hole size). The nylon spacers are basically 1" long by 1/2" in diameter. Once secured, then I could slide a plastic rod through all all of the spacers and secure the removable section. I did it, but it wasn't easy aligning everything.
This pic shows the two nylon spacers glued into the removable foam section:
Here is the third nylon spacer glued into the extra foam piece that I attached to the main background. I used extra pieces of the plastic rods and glued them in to help with the alignment of the nylon spacer holes.
Trying to check for the fit, prior to sliding it in place. Getting the removable section in place isn't that bad, but getting the rod that connects them through the holes is a little challenging. I can get it done, but doing it with the tank filled with water might not be so easy. My solution to that is if I ever have to clear the filter intake behind this section from debris, then I'll drain the tank enough so that this section is out of the water (more than half of the water volume).
Sliding the plastic rod through the hole and nylon spacers provided a pretty tight fit, but it's a little challenging to get it aligned properly. You have to adjust the removable piece with one hand while sliding the plastic rod into the structure. It's not bad, but could be trouble in a full tank.
I needed a little bit of the plastic rod to stick out so I could remove it from the removable section to free the filter intake for maintenance. I'll have to figure out a way to disguise it from view later on but still have easy access to it. My current idea is to hide it with a movable root section.
I'm fairly happy with how it turned out. We'll see if it works correctly once the background is installed and the tank is filled with water.
I'm torn on my next steps, to paint the background then move on to the roots, or work on the roots and paint it all at once. I'm leaning toward the latter option.
Thanks for following!