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Old 06-16-2010, 03:25 PM   #1 
LMac54
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Lightbulb Fish-Friendly materials for making aquarium decor

So I've been trying to plan out my future 5 or 10 gallon tank. Trying to think of unique themes that aren't "pirate" or "zen" that I've seen done before... but those are really the only kinds of fish decorations you see at stores.

So I figured, maybe I can make my own decorations? ...Which is a whole big endeavor in itself.

So, for you crafty people out there, what kinds of materials are safe for fish? Are there any paints that won't fade or leech into the water? Ceramic? Glass?

If I find any plastic toy figurines, is there anything I can treat it/glaze it with to make it safe for my tank?

Has anyone tried making their own decorations?
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Old 06-16-2010, 06:00 PM   #2 
MoePaac
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I've been lurking a while, but finally decided to join the board. I've been reading quite a bit, did some research, and finally made a "home-made" cave earlier today.

I bought a small, plain terra cotta pot from Wal-mart a while back. I broke it into smaller pieces as it was a little large for what I wanted. You can put the whole pot in the tank if you would like, turning it on its side to make a cave. But I broke it up and sanded the rough edges of the pieces I wanted to keep.

I then took some landscaping rocks/pebbles, tested them with white vinegar (if they sizzle, probably not a good idea to use them), washed them and then boiled them just to make sure they were clean.

I then used some aquarium safe glue and piled them together while also using a part of the terra cotta pot and made my own cave. There are two sections that are tunnel-like. I made this one more in mind for my cory cats, but the larger section formed by the terra cotta could definitely be used by my betta.

In the link is an image of it. I'm letting it sit at least 24 hours to make sure it is thoroughly dry. I also read recently that it's not a good idea to plant Java Ferns in the substrate (is this true, anyone?). So I think I'm going to tie the ferns I have to this cave once I submerge it.

http://i30.photobucket.com/albums/c3...s/IMG_0458.jpg

Last edited by MoePaac; 06-16-2010 at 06:04 PM.
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Old 06-16-2010, 07:06 PM   #3 
Zeetrain
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Silicon can be very helpful when putting together caves. Use GE Silicon I not GE Silicon II. The first one is safe for your fish.
Also I wouldnt recomend boiling your rocks, theres a chance they can explode.
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Old 06-16-2010, 08:02 PM   #4 
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Explode?! What do you mean? Like you are sitting there and all of a sudden you hear "KABOOOOOM" in your kitchen? Or do they crumble?
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Old 06-16-2010, 09:55 PM   #5 
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Ive heard they literally explode because of moisture inside of the rock or something like that, dangerous stuff.
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Old 06-16-2010, 10:12 PM   #6 
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you could always use sea shells. craft stores sell them; just make sure you soak them or rinse them very well first. you can make a "beach getaway" theme. : )
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Old 06-16-2010, 10:23 PM   #7 
LMac54
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Beach theme's been done a lot. I don't really want a conventional theme.

I also want to make my own decorations by scratch. I just want to know what kinds or resins/clay or plastic and paints I could use.
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Old 06-16-2010, 10:42 PM   #8 
Phoxly
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Aquascape with real plants, and some bogwood, do a river floor theme? Use large rock style gravel for the floor maybe?
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Old 06-16-2010, 11:00 PM   #9 
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As far as clay's go:

Terra Cotta is porous even after being fired. Stoneware is nonporous, as well as porcelain. All are non-toxic and none of them will leach as long as they are fired to temp (in the store, they all will be).

Most commercial glazes being used are safe. Older dish ware may contain lead and will leach (but these have been taken off of the market. Good to know just in case you find something handmade).

Plastics that are food safe, should be ok. Be wary of others.

As far as paints go, be wary of anything with lead and anything that may chip or flake. I personally, would not paint anything and put it in a tank. I'd question how it would hold up being submerged for long periods of time.
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Old 06-16-2010, 11:38 PM   #10 
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If I wanted to use some kind of plastic or pvc toy figurine, would I have to treat it with something to make it safe?
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