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Discussion Starter #1
Earthdate: 11.22.08
Subject: Betta get Started

yes, cruddy puns :p

This tank is approximately 4 gallons and I expect this will take me some time to complete. For one, what am I going to do with 50 pounds of cement? Build a wall I suppose.

I plan on actually constructing this directly in the aquarium. This aquarium is on its last legs and it has fractured in the back which is why I am going this route.

For starters; I am going to carve the back and side walls to look like.. something.. primus knows what. I would like to get small bits of twisty wood and whatnot to stick into the walls to make it look sort of like roots of trees and basically a rocky wall of a river bank or something of that nature.

I would like to a close approximation of a biotope. It won't be accurate, but it will be fun. Hopefully for the fish, Kaon, too.


Kaon

I am using pink foam to carve, being a warhammer geek, I have this kicking around. I need to pick up some aquarium safe silicon, to glue the foam to the back when ready and glue the "rocks " onto each other to create the backdrop.


looks like crap, but hopefully it'll work for me.

My plan is this: The rocks will be cement, maybe with a pigment. The back wall, with the branches and things will be a hypatufa blend. (peat, sand & cement). I will soak the tank for a couple weeks to get the PH down and stable before Kaon enters his home. To be honest, my plan might take a couple months to get going.

So the steps I see in future is:

1.build "stage"
2.soak, drain, soak, drain....
3.drain, brush moss bits over hypatufa surfaces, cover and let humidity go nuts and pray to the powers that be that the moss starts to cover said surfaces well. May be good time to attach moss to roots as well.
4.Fill with water, plant and again wait.
5.Add Kaon.

Materials I am looking for:

1.that red coloured wood stuff, which is rather branchy. I feel this may suit my purposes.
2.Red or black flourite. Not sure which one would be most suitable, I suspect red.
3.Black water extract or
4.almond leaves
5.cement
6.advice, suggestions in general help.
 

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Looks like a fun project! I like the "rocks" at the lower back. The only suggestions I can offer is to paint the foam black before adding the moss and make sure you don't forget to leave room for filters, heaters and all.

I would also love to see more of a bumpy appearance on the walls so they blend in with the "rock" ledges.

Nice project! I'll enjoy watching you build it.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Earthdate: 11.22.08
Subject: I need silly cone.

I been working on this a bit this morning. I really need silicone so I can get the rock pile back area put together so I can chew it apart and work with the backdrop easier.

I haven't started much on the right hand corner of the tank. That is my, "equipment" area and I need to work something out that I can hide the equipment. This is a tiny tank so there is not much room. I am not putting in a filter, as I will be doing water changes by hand once or twice a week.

I am strongly considering an under tank heater, is I go with the idea I am considering to put the tank on a raised stand where the underside can be easily accessed.

Chewing out the wall, I need to get bits of wood for is. Prehaps I will go hunting today.


More details on rock face. May change, likely will. (flat areas are "mud" with roots sticking out.)
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Earthdate: 11.22.08
Subject: Thinking out loud.



Quick shot of how it should look. I am drying wood again that I had soaking. I have a piece that should do what I want it to do and as long as I find a couple more rootletts, things should look the way I want it to.

This is not glued yet. The rocks are simply pinned to where I want them so I can make marks and think about where I want things to go and how I want them to look. Now I am seeing some things that could cause me issues. Thank you pinning for making me see what will give me a hard time. I can easily solve this problem now. Rocks will have to be done layer by layer. I can cement them all at the same time, but I will have to glue them to their spots afterward. This is so I can seal it well at the bottom when I glue it down. I think I will get a sheet of that sticky plastic stuff people use in kitchen cupboards so I can keep the bottom of my tank relatively clean.
 

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Looks very interesting! Can't wait to see it finished.
 

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Wow! That has got to be the best betta tank ever! I think it looks like a 10 gallon, amazing work with details. I made a foam background twice, if you use plenty of glue then the wall won't float up. The biggest problems I ran into was the foam rocks loved to detach and fly out of the tank like rockets! You might want to look into using liquid nails and crazy glue also, having the background fall apart is no fun. Can't wait to see this tank planted up! Oh yeah, vinegar might help the cement cure a little quicker, just Google around, some good tips/tricks out there!:D
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Earthdate: 11.26.08
Subject: Feeling a little green

Oh boy is this ever green. I might be looking around for something that can help mute the colour. I already added powdered activated charcoal to the mix to dumb it down. Perhaps once I get the grey cement, I can blend the green with the grey and the black charcoal to get something less...alien looking. I don't mind doing say, 7 layers to get the effect I want, just this level of lime is kinda frightening. Oooooh, I gots me an ugly tank!!!!

Stage two I suppose. I have a tube of silly cone. This is great. I can go about doing a few things I want to do first off. That is gluing down the foam rocks to the walls and carving them in a bit more. I did that and quite happy with how it is thus far.

I am considering getting a small air powered sponge/charcoal filter to fit in the back. This might require some rethink on the wood, but likely not. I do want to some how blend the filter into the background, if by making it perma or some how removable. I need to get the filter so I can plan that bit. As it stands now, I think I can silly cone the back wall in as soon as I start making the other rocks luminous green.

When I get the basic layer or two of cement down, I can perma glue the green rocks down, seal their edges, then build up the next layer of rock. I know what I am doing even if it is not coming out well on "paper".

I can't show Kaon this because it's his Christmas present. Although, I don't think he'll get to be in it until sometime after January. I don't think red flourite will work....probably safer with black >.>


Let the drinking begin.
 

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Looks interesting! You might want to angle the front edges of the sides to be thin to nothing so you don't see the bluntness of it. I can imagine it done. I think it's really gonna look nice. I like your idea of a small filter in the tank. Great work! :D
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I will be trimming the edges a bit more and it is sticking out a bit. We shall see what I do. I got a few ideas swirling around my insane mind :p
 

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Hey, that looks like a wicked Betta tank! I just finished a DIY Barracks of my own...



...built from the ground up. I plan to 'scape it out, once I get some decent lights.

Can't wait to see yours finished, I love watching Betta tanks being built. Poor things usually get tossed into ridiculous little cubicles... It's about time people started treating them betta...sorry, better :D

Good work, keep it up!!
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
Kaon is in a quarter gallon "cubical" on my desk but we seem to have a good relationship. I don't have children, nore do I want any, so I give all my maternal care to my creatures.

edit: Amazing tank you made. I am impressed! My mum works with stained glass :p I could pester her for glass, methinks.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Earthdate: 11.28.08
Subject: Sanded fingers..ow

Okay, I am almost out of my rock cement, I am hoping to get a couple other colours from my mother to add some ochre and grey to the situation. Not that I haven't already added grey. But I am not sure how well the carbon black will stay in the stones. I mixed the ground up charcoal with th e cement then flicked it on with a toothbrush. I don't care at this point. I just want it to look lesss lime

I took three pics. One of the corner area, one of it face on and one of it with the driftwood just loosely fitted. Once the wood was in, it looked that much better to me. I just need to find some root-like bits so I can put them in to the back wall.

I want to coat the back wall in moss, the side walls in moss. I will also be painting a wee stripe of black onto the front of the tank because, well I think the ends look a little tacky. If I had black silly cone I'd have used it.

Just visualise a betta, moss, java ferns, crypts in a yellow tinted water with oak or almond leaves on the bottom. I think I am gonna go red gravel.


Corner area. Walls are more or less blended to the rocks in the forground. It should look better once I get the grey cement to cover in the pink areas and make it look sort of uniform.


See the scratches in the glass? I had this tank since I was about 14 years old...geez, that is an old tank >.>


The driftwood sort of makes it POP. I am pleased with it thus far.

As for my fingers... I recommend you don't cement bare handed... you'll sand your skin off.
 

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It's looking really good! I can't wait to see it finished with your betta inside.

I have four 5g tanks, but I'm only using one. I have Boraras and RCS in the tank which I have not scaped yet. The tanks are eclipse style so there's little light, especially in the back.

Something like this would really look good! And since I have 4 of them, I could work on one while the fish and inverts are still in another. Given the filtration, I'd only have to worry about the intake tube which I could camouflage with plants.

I can't wait to see how yours turns out when it's done. I love how it turns a regular tank into something special.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
its gonna be a while before kaon gets to go into it. I need to cure and then try to get the moss to grab the walls. but once that is set, I think we'll be in business.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Wonderful sunny day, I decided to go looking for rooty driftwood at the lake. I found exactly what I wanted and more.


Looking rooty. I need to strip the bark off some bits yet. Fun and games

dry run. nothing is glued in.
 

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Wow, that green was bright! I like how you toned it down with the gray but the newest pic seems greener again. Is that just the pic? That new wood is wonderful, very nice and twisted/rooty. This will be a great betta home when you get done.
 

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The wood makes it! I love the way you did the wood on the left of the picture. It's a perfect compliment for the other wood, and the way it travels down is very realistic looking.

I agree that the green is too much even if it's partly due to other tanks nearby. Rocks are brown or gray or beige, but not green. If the rocks were a more natural color, I think it would make the moss stand out more. That's just a suggestion. What you've done is really nice. I'm impressed!
 
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