Building a DIY Background – Continued

So still having a bit of silicone left in the tube, and now thinking of sharp edges, I decided to place a nice bead around the edge of back wall of the background. Pretty much anyplace that would come close to contacting the glass. I figured this would give me a nice rubber bumper to protect my glass.




And that’s about it. We’re done!! So grab a drink to celebrate and show off your insane creative skills. Re-acquaint yourself with the family and let this cure a couple days.

Hint: After playing with the silicone (if you have) you understand how much this stuff sinks. Go kiss some serious butt… buy some flowers… go out to dinner because this next part of siliconing the background is going to stink out the room your tank is in for a couple days. Also plan on some butt-kissing while the living room stinks of vinegar…

Now before you even pop the top on the silicone, place everything in the tank that you plan on having there right down to filters and heaters. (except sand/gravel) and make sure everything fits where you want it. I would also suggest marking where the background’s edges will be with masking tape. Reason being is so when it comes time to placed the already siliconed base to the glass you will know exactly where it goes.

Before you silicone this here is something to think about. While I was spraying this down, I noticed color was bleeding out from the back ground as well as some sand pieces coming loose. If you have the option I would suggest taking this outside and hosing it off and taking a firm bristle brush to it to make sure any loose gravel and/or sand washes off. Also the hosing will help bleed out some of the color. I’m not really sure what the concrete color will do to the tank but I know my water will be red… With it being winter here right now (and the girlfriend is at work) I put this in the tub and took the shower head to it until the color ran clear.

When you silicone this and you press the background to the tank the silicone will spread. If you don’t want ooze from the edges, I would suggest leaving a good inch or two space from the bead to the edge of the plexiglass (or any edge depending on how you are attaching this to the tank). Personally I’m not too concerned since this will be on the bottom of the tank and covered with substrate.

Now two ways you can silicone this to the bottom of the tank. Either silicone the bottom of the tank or the bottom of the plexiglass. It pretty much depends on how tight of a fit you have getting this into the tank You don’t want to accidentally drag the silicone loaded plexiglass across the top edge of the tank making a silicone sticky mess. I would suggest placing the background back into the tank and really paying attention to what is bumping into where. Make your choince from there on what you want to silicone first.

Personally, with the tight fit I have, I choose to silicone the bottom of the tank first. Since I marked where the background will exactly be I know where to place the silicone. I placed a good sized bead all the way around about an inch away from the tape outline and then did a zig-zag pattern all the way across.

Place the background in the tank and place it where you want it. Silicone isn’t like super glue so you have a few minutes to adjust things if you need to. Peal off your tape outline and give the background a good push and hold it to the glass for a few minutes and make sure the silicone spread out well. If you need to add some weight to the back ground to hold it firmly to the glass. If you have some silicone left you can place a bead around the outside edge if you feel it’s needed (or to just use up the last of the silicone. I had some left so I places a few small beads here around the edge.


Now it’s back to hurry up and wait for the next 24-36 hours…

Once this is cured and it’s solid, you can finally add some water to see how your master piece looks wet! Don’t go nuts and set up your whole tank. Place your sand/gravel and decorations if you want but no filters, heaters, or live plants. Once this is in the water, your Ph is going to skyrocket! Don’t panic it’s normal and will return to normal in a few days to a week. What’s happening is all the bad stuff is leaching out of the cement. Just like it would for driftwood or other types of rocks.
To start I’ll do a 50% water change everyday for about 3-4 days using warm water just from the tap. After that I’ll keep up with the water changes with ballpark ‘normal’ tank temperature water and added the water conditioner to see where the levels for the tank are at until things return to normal.

Once things get back to a somewhat reasonable level you can finish setting up your tank and start your cycling process. Just keep an eye on things.

That’s it your done! Congrats on the new fishy condo!


I have to give credit where credit is due! First off these links I found online were a huge help in my plans. Most of what I did I followed from these with some minor adjustments to fit my needs and wants.

Last but not least, thanks to all the folks at Badmans for adjusting my learning curve on fish care!

I’ve taken a bunch of pictures through this project and only the best are part of the instructions… If you want to see all of them please feel free to swing by my photo bucket page and check them out.

Hope you all enjoyed this!
Rick “Jaster” Cooper


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