Questions about background for a turtle tank

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Questions about background for a turtle tank

Postby w1ll1am » Sun Jan 28, 2018 2:48 pm


I have been working on a background for my 125 gallon turtle tank for a few weeks now. I am starting to get nervous after reading about others backgrounds flaking over time. I would like this tank to last at least 5 years and I think i would have no problem with that if I had fish. However I have a turtle and they have claws, and like to tare at things to get to their food if it gets caught. Plus they are heavy and tend to bump in to things. She also likes to hang on the filter exhaust so I would assume she will try to hang on the "rocks" as well.

So my question is, how tough is this stuff? Are their any recommendations to make it stronger? I have read some places suggesting that anything submerged in water should be covered in silicone? However that isn't suggested in the DIY directions here.

I am following the directions here, using glass block mortar and I just started on my third coat. I am using the acrylic fortifier as well.

I am really considering covering the final product in silicone, but I have a feeling it will take a ton of silicone to cover the entire 125 gallon background and at $5 a pop I don't know what it would end up costing me.

Any suggestions would be great. Thanks!
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Re: Questions about background for a turtle tank

Postby gminor » Sun Feb 18, 2018 6:23 pm

Hi W1ll1am,
I haven't kept turtles but think your build will be ok with the mortar/acrylic fortifier mix. Put the mortar mix on nice and thick on areas you think the turtle may be more active. I kept the "rock ledges" tank for 6 years before selling it and it was in great shape then.

Using extra silicone over rock surfaces may not look very good since it will trap air underneath and won't look very natural. It also won't support natural algae growth which we want to some extent. I recommend holding off on using it beyond securing the background.

One great thing about the build materials and method we use for these backgrounds is we can change / improve / repair our design years later if you want or need to. In my experience, they hold up for years just great as long as we follow the steps I detailed in the do-it-yourself section.

Thanks for your post. Any photos or video links you could share would be great!
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Re: Questions about background for a turtle tank

Postby w1ll1am » Wed Mar 28, 2018 5:23 pm


Thanks for the response, I was expecting to see an email when I received a reply and didn't or I would have responded sooner.

I didn't add any silicone on the background other than to attach it. I have been doing water changes at least every 3 days for 40+ days and my PH still spikes after 24 hours. The PH out of the tap is between 7.2-7.4 and after 24 hours it is well over 8. I followed the directions on the site using glass block mortar and the fortifier.

Can you think of any reason why things don't seem to be improving? I am running a small filter (without any media) and I have a heater in the water.
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