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Foam, GS and Silicone construction question...
I have been reading this board for about two weeks. I have tried to post here a few times but keep loosing the post so I am going to try again.
I am working on a 45-55 gallon bow front tank for PDF. I am slowing getting the materials together that I need to build my first tank. I have the stuff for the false bottom and various other supplies on hand. I have not done anything to the tank yet.
I am going to make the background out of Great Stuff foam. It was suggested from another forum that I use Jasco translucent cure seal to seal the background with. I wanted to do that, but I can't seem to find it around here. Which is a real bummer because I wanted to sculpt, paint and then seal the background, but in less someone knows of another translucent sealer that I can get in Philadelphia I will have to go with another idea instead. I know most of you use the GE Silicon and coco bedding to cover the foam with but I didn't want to cover the foam with coco bedding. So today while I was out I got the GE Silicon II in grey to seal the background when I am done. The only one I could find was the one that has BioSeal on the label. They didn't have any other kind in the stores around here. I read where someone said that it doesn't matter if it has this on the tube because the other one with out the Bioseal on the label has the same ingredients in it. I couldn't compare because I didn't have anything to compare it to. Will this GE Silicon II grey with the bioseal in it be safe for me to use in my set up?
I was also going to do my waterfall with the foam but thought maybe I could use Sculpey clay to make it instead. Has an yone done this? I know people have done aquarium decorations out of it, then sealed it without any bad effects to there fish. Would it be possible to do the same with a waterfall, seal it and use it safely for the frogs? Also what kind of pumps do you guys use for your waterfalls? The ones I have seen in the pet shops have a max of 17-18 inches high and I think after the false bottom is in and the waterfall is built I will need a few more inches. I was going to buy one at Lowes but the max height is 3FT I thought that maybe it would be to much. What do you guys think? I did ask this question on another forum but only one person seems to try to help us and you all seem to try to help everyone over here! So any advice would be great! By the way all your tanks look awesome and I hope mine will turn out to look as good as all of yours do! Thank you in advance for any help! Heather
Hi Heather.
Sounds like you have a nice size tank to start with.
I'm not familiar with Jasco sealer, so I can not say what the advantage of using this to cover the GS would be. I would say you might try fiberglass resin, however I don't know if that will react with the spray foam or not.

As for the GE silicone with BioSeal, there are mixed opinions on this. Some people that have spoken to GE say GE tells them that it has been in their formulation all along, and they are just now using it as a marketing ploy. I would be very reluctant to use the silicone with the BioSeal, it may release a chemical in such a small amount that it might take months or years for any adverse affect to show up.

Haven't tried Sculpey clay, but if it can be used for aqaurium decorations, I don't see why you couldn't give it a try.

Pump size will depend on the size of the tank. For the size tank you are wanting to set up I would go with a canister filter. We usually use the Fluval 104 for tanks in that size range. Using a canister filter will require drilling the back of the tank.
What did you use to seal your foam with? I didn't see anything but silicon with Bio seal. I don't know what else to use. Have any ideas. The epoxy was there but the guy that helped us wasn't sure if it would react with the foam or not. Does anyone else know?
How would I drill the back of the tank and where would I drill it? For the canister filter? I am not sure if I like this idea of drilling the tank. I am afraid that it will break. Is there a safe method that someone knows of? The only canister filter I am familiar with is the Fluval 501. I hated that thing! It worked well but was such a big pain in the neck to open and clean. The hardest part was opening the dial in the top of the filter. Would a small pond filter be okay to use then? I saw one in Lowes and the smallest one was 17.99. I think it would give plenty of power. I might do more research on water pumps. I saw one in the pet shop today but it didn't say how high the pump could pump water. I got a glass conapy today but it is cut a little too long so I will have to take that back and change it for a smaller one or get a different brand name. I don't know what brand name the tank is because I got it at the flea market but I am sure I will hit the right one eventually! I got some chicken wire the other day as well and I intened to bend that into the shape of the back wall and the waterfall, and will cover that in foam. I don't want to use the clay because I am not 100% clear on it. But with the help of the wire I should be able accomplish a great loooking waterfall and background. Thank you very much for answering my post!!!! I really appreciate that a lot! I plan on taking pictures and documenting this process. It is going to take me forever and many trips to all over Gods creation but I know it will be woth it in the end!

this might help you with your pump selection:
I think anything above the Fluval 104 will be too much for that tank. I don't know how old your 501 is, but Fluval has done some design changes on the latches and seal.

And this is a link to Ben Green's website. Enter the site and go to building vivariums, then scroll down to drilling glass.
Thank you for the great web sights! I did take a look at them and they where very interesting! I think I would still be afraid to drill the back of my tank though. I might just experiment a little with this area and see what happens. I am in no great rush to get this done. I just want to do it right and have a great looking tank that is a great environment for my frogs and plants. I haven't even started putting anything together yet.
I did take that top that I got for the tank the other night back last night. It was a little too long. I went to a different pet shop to see about getting the top. I had one ordered and will hopefully be able to pick it up on Friday. I am hoping that this one fits. Its a little difficult because I don't know what brand tank it is. If this one does not fit I will get a pice of plexi glass with the special tool and cut my own. This is a bit more of a challenge then I thought it would be! But I know it will be worth it when I am done! I can't wait for that but like I said I am not going to rush it either.
It is suppose to be an all glass top. There is no screening. So I was wondering if I should get the computer fan everyone is talking about. The other idea I had is to get a air pump and connect the tubing on it so that it reaches the bottom of the tank for air circulation. Will this work? It will be a little easier for me to do this then to try to figure out how to wire a fan. Thanks
Heather, it's good to hear that you are taking small steps. It's easier to do it right the first time, than it is to go back and have to redo it once the frogs are in the tank.

It is very difficult to find a pre-made glass top to fit and existing tank, when you don't know what make the tank is. Even the manufacturers will change their designs from time to time, so if you have a lid for a 20 gal Perfecto tank from 5 yrs. ago it may not fit a "new" Perfecto tank.
What you might consider doing is calling some glass shops in your area, and actually taking the tank to them so they can cut and fit the top for you. While you are there, you might ask them about drilling the tank.

I would be very hesitant about using plexi-glass. While it is easy to work with, it will warp and curl allowing for an escape route for the frogs.
I will find out tomorrow. The top for the aquarium should be ready for pickup from the store. I all ready paid for it. Now all I have to do is cross my fingures and hope it fits. The guy I ordered it from said the same thing about fitting the lid. I have no idea how old it is. I know it was set up as a fish tank though. It still had some rocks in the bottom of it. I am hoping I get lucky! I really don't want to have to find a glass shop and lug the tank there. It is a big tank! But if I have too I will just not happily. This is becoming a pain in the neck! I am a little frustrated. I can't seem to find stuff as easily as everyone makes it sound to set this tank up. But I know it will be well worth it when I am done or at least that is what I keep telling myself lol! That leads me to a question can I just clean the tank with water to rinse it out? I never used bleach or any kind of cleaner in my turtle tank just tap water and a scrubbie to clean it. She did just fine with that. Will that be good enough for the frogs? I don't want to really use any kind of cleaner in there if I don't have to. THANK YOU for any adivice Smile. Sorry about all the questions just want to get this right!
you will either become very resourceful, or very good friends with your local glass shop.
If your lid is close to fitting (say 1/32-1/16") you can take some emory cloth and sand the edges of the glass, and also sand the plastic trim on the tank.

It is always a good idea to throughly clean a tank that has been previously use for other animals. A 10-15% bleach solution is very safe and effective if done properly. You can fill the tank with water and add your bleach, let it sit for an hour, drain, rinse, refill the tank with water, then add aquarium dechlorinator, let it sit for an hour, drain, rinse and let air dry.
I will have to go buy some bleach today. I want to put the flase bottom into the tank soon. After I wash the tank out, it will be okay to sit for a while right. I wont be completely done for a while and I just want to make sure that sitting won't require me to wash it out again later. I never even thought to use the aquarium dechorniator to diffuse the bleach. Thank you for the great tip! I will be picking up my lid sometime today hopefully or maybe tomorrow after work. I am hoping today though. I will try what you said if it dosen't fit by a small margine. There is a reptile show near us in Fort Washington PA in September I think the 2-3rd. I am hoping to go to that. Maybe I can pick up my frogs from there. I will see if I am ready for them by that time. But even if I am not, I will still go to the show if I can. Its been a long time since I have been to a show. So I am looking forward to that.
The good news is the top to the aquarium that I ordered and picked up tonight fit like a charm. The bad news is when I opened it, it was cracked in the left hand corner. We called the shop and I will be able to exchange it for new one next Friday. I am going to bleach the aquarium tomorrow. So I can start putting the false bottom together or at least arrange it to how I want it. I am going to have levels in the layout. I just am not sure how I am going to arrange the the levels yet. I also want to have a stream that runs from the waterfall to a pool. So I will have sloping sides down to the pool. I picked up some stones tonight that are natural colors and bigger then the two frogs put together lol. Thank you for all of your help I really appreciate it a lot! I am sure I will have more as I go along. But I am really enjoying this alot even with the little frustrations.
You sound like me in regards that it is your first viv. I too have been doing crazy research for months and am anxious to get started. I'm using a 30 tall for my first viv and will probably put gasp! red eyes in there first. If all goes well, which after all the research it better, I plan on doing a 75 gallon for some azureus. I'm looking forward to seeing some pics and I will post some as well as my viv gets underway this week. It's nerve racking yet exciting because i want to be sure everything is done completely right ( i hate being the cause of dead frogs) and because I can't wait for mine to be done so I can enjoy viewing it. Best of luck to you. By the way the whole bioseal thing has gotten me whipped into a frenzy and to be honest has been the only thing from keeping me getting started n it this weekend. I'm tired of waiting and am ready to build but again I too want to do everything right. Good Luck!
Yes it has gotten me in a bit of a frenzy too. I had bought the one with Bio-seal because that is the only Ge II I can get around here the Home Depot and the Lowes. The people that work in the stores aren't much help when it comes to this kind of application because they have no clue about the product being toxic or non toxic when it comes to this kind of thing. I was reading another board and everyone is saying hands down don't use it so now I have to figure out what the heck I can use instead! I am wondering if GE I is okay to use now? If not I am going to just get a bunch of aquarium silicon and use that. It might get a little white later on but at least I know it is hundred percent safe for the frogs!
I am very hesitant to start as well. I have the wire I am going to use for the armature of the water fall and the background for the Great stuff. I have three cans of the Great Stuff on hand as well. I have everythiing I need for the false bottom as well. I was thinking about waiting until I get the pump before I settle on final arrangements for the false bottom. I want to be able to acess the pump if and when necessary. I have setteled on getting the smallest pond master pump that they make. I think it will be best for the size tank I have. I want a good flow to the water fall, and stream to the pond.
I even picked up some 20 gallon tops yesturday at the flea market that where brand new and only 6 dollars for the two of them. I am not sure yet if they will work for the plants or not. The one is equiped with the Flouresent tube which I checked when I got home and works perfectly. The other I haven't really seen before it has a socket in the middle that will take a screw in bulb one on each side but that one didn't have the bulbs in it so I couldn't check it. I figure all I need is the light strip part and I can pitch the other parts. But I will have to see if I can get a grow light that will fit them. If I can't get the right bulb sizes or its not enough light I will just use the hoods for something else lol. No big deal after all they where a great price.
Do you have any ideas besides the Ge silicon that can be used to seal the foam? I am going to look into the fiberglass resin as was suggested but as I said before I have to do it on my own because no-one seems to know what is safe for this use around here.
I am getting tired of waiting as well! I have a lot of the stuff and I am just going to start and hope for the very best! I want to get this up and running so badly. It is just sitting in the living room with some of the stuff that I have collected just begging me to get my butt in gear lol! Thank you for the good wishes! I hope yours turns out as well! I am going to take pictures and was even thinking about taking pictures through the different stages of putting it together.
I also like the little quote the bottom of your post Smile.

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