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Discussion Starter · #21 ·
I don't have grey cement yet, but when I get it, I plan on brushing over the rocks so that they're grey with green showing through. I want to get some pigments, ochre and brown, are preffered to use for the "mud" areas.

I am wanting to work the stone into the wood a bit, I am gluing it into place and I will try to get the background to fit the wood a bit better.

if you look at the rim of the tank, you can see the green reflection going on.

I removed the upper right corner bit of wood, the one that is standing up. I probably will put a willow in there, inspired by something ugly :p I will try to prune the willow to keep it small and managable. We shall see how things go. I go agree the rocks are still a bit luminous, but we will get that dumbed down more.

I am a rock collector... I have enough green rocks kicking around. Some are pretty shocking. :p
 

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Make sure you use a pretty willow, this tank is way to cool to be ugly! I wouldn't worry about getting the stone color perfect, stuff will grow on it after awhile and dull it down. Your pics of the dry run looked awesome! I think this tank will put any commercially made background to shame, especially since you are blending real plants and roots/wood into it. This thread is a huge inspiration, this is the look I am aiming for when I redo my big tank, a natural looking cut in a stream bank with roots growing out! You really are a bad influence....You might want to soak the roots so they will sink, and they might not need any glue if they fit snugly, that way you can rearrange things without having to rip anything apart...stepping off my soap box now...keep the updates rolling!!!:whoo:
 

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I concur re: the green rocks. Sorry, not trying to diss what you have 'cos it's really coming along nicely, but a more subdued colour will help the moss, ferns and crypts to stand out on their own more.

I'm also loving the driftwood! Looks real nice!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #24 ·
Ghengis:
I will keep it in mind. I really want to get some smooth cement, the current stuff I was using was way too course/green.

It's called constructive crit guys, not dissing. And "artist" needs this sort of feed back. Its good.

Zer0zax:
I am "mudding" it so that the wood is covered in areas. I do not have much intention of moving stuff around. The piece of willow is very small. it will take time to grow roots, but I chose one that I could train myself.

speaking of training. I taught kaon to jump at a toy. When he does that, I give him some food. What a silly and cute fish!
 

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Discussion Starter · #25 · (Edited)
Kaon: Not in his tank. Just in his temp home.

I think I stressed him out just a little by moving him to the Photo table. I wanted to try to get a couple nice pics, but the vase, being round, just won't show him clearly enough. However, I think I got a nice face shot and a nice shiney scale shot.

He's doing really well, very lively, very happy, eats F.D. Bloodworm, sea scallops, bits of peas carrots and corn, and will jump at some of his toys to get a treat.

He flares at my finger tip, my school ring, Starscream and his reflection in the mirror. He's happy and I am won over by bettas.

his water is peat tea stained.


Such a sad looking face.


Such a pretty colour.

Video of Kaon jumping for a plastic pepper (treat involved)

 

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Discussion Starter · #28 ·


we shall see how tihs turns out. It's being recoated then the rocks withll be repainted as well shortly with grey cement. Hopefully I can get it detailed nicely... *crosses fingers*

looks like wet mud. I think that is closer to natural than luminous greeen.

I put glass over the top to keep the humiditiy in so it doesn't dry too rapidly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #29 ·
Earthdate: 12.06.08
Subject: Mucking around

I got cement, or rather concrete (had to sift out the rocks and bigger sand) and a pigment to work with. FINALLY it is really starting to take shape. The pictures that follow, the cement is still quite damp, so it appears darker, however, I do hope that this colour returns once the tank is under water.

I need one more thing before I can finish this and that is Silicon again. My last tube was pretty much used up and it exploded.

The brown pigment, when mixed with the cement gets a most perfect mud colour. I have brushed the whole thing over with tinted cement then painted the rocks with regular cement, then brushed it off with a tooth brush. Once things are more solid, I will brush the rooties off again with the tooth brush.

Still, I am requiring a coating of hypatufa. That is a mix of peat, cement, courser sand and pigment. That I hope will give me a more "muddy" bank look around the rocks as well as a better surface for moss to adhere to. I have intention of having moss growing on all "mud:" surfaces. You folk said green was too green, well, you were right. Some green still shows, I will cover it as time goes along. I need a couple more coats of cement, probably this evening. Some silicone and then touch up spots with cement or hypatufa and then I think I can go to the leeching/curing stage.

As you can see in the following pictures, I am grouting around the roots. This is to make the roots look as if they belong. Some need to be re-glued to the bottom glass, but that will come toward the end. The biggest roots are still removable for now. If they weren't it would be hell to get in and about them.





The photos are dark. I will try to get more taken this evening.
 

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That is looking really good! I can't wait to see it all put together with the substrate, moss and your betta. I'm liking this color much better.
 

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Discussion Starter · #33 ·
Earthdate: 12.06.08
Subject: Mudding

I added the hyper-tufa mix to the walls in between the stones and around the roots. Again the big roots are not glued in. I have to wait a day or two until the hyper-tufa has solidified enough.

The scratches in the glass have really come to light, but that is because the cement has "grouted" it. I hope that the vinegar solution and a scrubby will clean them out. Perhaps I put too much effort into a low grade ancient tank, but really, this is a learning experience and to test it out on an old tank is better than mucking up a new one.

The hyper-tufa is as follows:

1 part cement
1.5 parts peat moss
1 part heavy grit sand.
Enough brown cement pigment to get it to look like wet mud.
Water until its thick and mud-like.

I am aiming for an appearance of mud. I want the tank to look like some flood has taken place and eroded away some of the soil to expose roots and rocks. And indentation in a small stream wall. You get the idea? Perhaps a story will come forth when I am completed and ready to put the betta in; that day is still a very long way away.

Personally, I think the texture of the wall is idea for what I want. Now the question is, will it hold up when I fill the tank? Heh, will the water not seep out that crack in the back... if that is the case, I will have to fill the water up part way and grow plants up the wall instead. I hope that doesn't happen.

I added a couple more rooties to the back wall, they appear almost white in comparison to the others. I will get a toothbrush to the rooties tomorrow. I just need it all to firm up some. The peat in the mud mix will take a few days to dry out fully. So, I have to be patient, which I can tell I am in somewhat short supply of. I am SO jazzed.

I may go out and splurge on a new java fern for this tank The ones I have in my main tank are so tiny. I also want to purchase a couple plants of Mondo grass or some other terrestrial plant. Yep yep, I got ideas going :D

Anyway, the pic below is the stage I am at now. I will keep you posted.

 

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Discussion Starter · #34 ·
It looks great! Reminds me of a vivarium
Don't forget to give it a vinegar bath and then a good wash to neutralize the pH
I won't forget. I plan on running a pump in it for a couple days with a good vinegar solution. Then run water in it for a few days after that, drain it, apply moss to the walls and put the lid on for a couple weeks. THEN put the flourite (red) in and see if I can get some nice happy mulm collected from my main tank to add everywhere.
 

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Discussion Starter · #36 ·
Thank you. The "BIG" one I want to do is a "cave" with blind fish and things that are weird like that.

I figured I would do my update for the day which is simple:
I am currently keeping the hyper-tufa layers and cement surfaces quite wet now. to help aid curing. I need to get the silly cone(I spell it that way for fun) calking so I might glue the wood in. I am going to get some pickling vinegar and pickling salt to aid in the curing process.

Then all manner of water tests, iron, copper...you know the drill.

I have brushed off the loose bits with a toothbrush in order to make the rocks look more rounded stone like. How it ends up in the future is sort of up to debate. However, thus far, it should be good.

I been thinking about the curing and neutralising process. And yes, Vinegar is the correct solution to use against a basic solution. I recall this from when I make soap with lye. Spill lye on you and you'll burn something unbelieveably nasty. you don't use water. You take vinegar and douse the splash. sounds strange? Not really. When you make soap, you mix lye with oil. Lye being basic and oil being acidic. The two react, heat up and then the result is a salt, commonly called soap.

I see the logic at work.
 

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Discussion Starter · #37 ·
I got some important things today for it. silicone, vinegar and popcorn. I have been reading up on the leeching process. The Hyper-tufa layer appears quite hard, but not fully dry. Kind of hard to be dry when I paint water on it at night and put a lid on to keep the humidity up.

I will silicon the roots into their final positions. Some of them were glued down but they moved off their spots while I was working on them. Others need to be glued in fully. Once those are set, any that are on the bottom, I'll lightly cement around them in later.

Wish me luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #38 ·
Earthdate: 12.09.08
Subject: Mad scientist

The next 24 hours will tell me if I made or broke this tank. For starters, I have not painted the side walls of the tank and in the left hand side, I can see water trickling up behind the foam and the glass. Also, I forgot to silicon a bead along the top rim of the tank. I will do that once I finish leaching.

So far so good, but it's been less than an hour since I added my vinegar, salt and water solution. Makes me crave french fries. Hey... a french fry... is that a baby fish from france? Ugh that was lame. Okay.

I am not sure how much of salt and vinegar I have used, but enough. I will do a water change tonight and refill it again, then a water change in the morning.... I will aim for twice a day and relocate the water pump to a different spot. To the flow is in a new area. I should get my fountain head... might be kinda fun :p


So here it is, with the water solution. Looking good, getting there. I will be using Christmas moss for the background. I am getting some shortly so I am so jazzed!!!!!
 

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Sunstar---I wouldn't go "over-crazy" with the moss! You will end up covering up all that hard work! Looks amazingly natural, and aside from adding some plants stategically located, I wouldn't cover up everything in there with green! Leave some of the background open!
 
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