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Old 09/23/2018, 01:19 PM   #201
Michael Hoaster
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Ha! That's what I figured - you're hanging around LED forums now. I'd love to see an update on your tank! How about a current FTS? Thanks for the damsel recommendation. Gorgeous fish! Does he get along with the clowns?


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Old 09/23/2018, 01:49 PM   #202
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I frequent the 4Runner boards to gather ideas for future projects. Haha


The clown picks on the damsel somewhat, but it doesn’t keep the damsel from swimming where it wants. The bi-color blenny hangs out in its shell in the upper back corner and swims around up front. It doesn’t get picked on or pick on anything, but the glass. Lol
Waiting for the lfs to get another Pygmy cherub angel though. They haven’t gotten any in a while now.
Cleaned up the 2.5g and found a little purple crab in the back! Going to the beach in 2 weeks and plan to make it a beach only tank. Currently has a hermit and little conch in it.


That actually was the most recent FTS, from June. Haha I’ll have to take another today.


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Old 09/23/2018, 03:24 PM   #203
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Ok, I promised pics of the new fake wall progress and here it is. Note that I didn't say GOOD pics…






This project has proved difficult. It took me all day yesterday to get this done. PITA! I may need another sheet of egg crate, to get better transitions.


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Old 09/24/2018, 01:13 PM   #204
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I've been trying to figure out how best to get what I want, with the new fake wall. What I want is a wall that contains and hides the wave box and flow-through vents, and also looks natural and flows into the back wall, and tapers naturally down to the bottom, as well as towards the front glass. This could be achieved easily enough with lots of foam, but then you have buoyancy issues. And going back and removing foam would be difficult, with the egg crate. So ideally the foam is a fairly thin skin. I'm finding using the egg crate alone to be difficult work into natural, flowing shapes.

I think a better solution would be to sculpt the shape I want with a filler material, and then foam over it. Then I'd need to remove the filler and attach the foam skin to the egg crate structure. Using a removable filler would allow me to play around with it to get a good look, before I commit to foam.

I have had success with a filler material in the past, with the fake mangrove root. Anyone remember what I used? Tin foil! Could that work? I think so. Fortunately, I could try this out without destroying the progress I've made, so I think I'll give it a try.

So I'll first sculpt the shape I want in foil. Then I'll cover that with a plastic garbage bag. Then I'll foam over that. Next I'll remove the foam skin, remove the foil, then attach the foam skin to the egg crate structure. For attachment points, I'll just need make it so there is no foil in some places, so I can adhere the foam directly to the framework here and there.

Thoughts? Does this sound plausible?


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Old 09/24/2018, 04:43 PM   #205
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It sounds plausible, especially since you used a similiar process for the fake mangrove root. I am speaking from absoluting no experience in this area whatsoever so take my opinion with a grain of salt.


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Old 09/24/2018, 04:52 PM   #206
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Cool about the goby, but a bummer that it took the place of a barnacle blenny. Any chance Liveaquaria will send you another blenny?

That damsel is beautiful! Sweet! Sounds like the project is coming along too. Have you considered using PVC is a support for your egg crate, since the foam will be away from the tank edge, maybe it will help prevent the foam from changing shape due to buoyancy? You can use a heat gun to bend the shapes to get better contours and get rid of straight lines. Maybe that would work on the egg crate too? I haven't tried using a heat gun on egg crate. No matter what you wind up using, I'm sure it will look great. I like your idea about the filler material and using the plastic bag to keep foam from sticking to it. As frustrated as you might get, when it's done, your creative juices will be rewarded when you get to sit back and admire your work...as will we


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Old 09/24/2018, 05:25 PM   #207
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Thanks Dawn, I appreciate the support!

Thanks Kevin! I didn't bother about the goby, and now it's been months, so no worries.

I'm not sure what you mean on the PVC. Like a sheet of plastic backing on the egg crate? I was thinking I would need to do something like that, before I came up with the filler idea. I think my idea will work. I'll need to get the plastic bag material adhered to the foil, maybe with a spray glue.

It's funny, I was writing about the project and I just sort of stumbled on the idea, as I went. That has happened several times when I've posted about challenging situations. Just talking about a problem can lead right to the solution! I tend to do things in a linear fashion, rather than planning it all out in advance. "I'll start with this and see what should come next" is pretty much how I do stuff.

This project has been a catch-22 for me. Since I've kind of dreaded it, little gets done. So I inch along in small, tolerable steps. If this new idea works, things should pick up. And it should look really good if all goes well…


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Old 09/24/2018, 08:36 PM   #208
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Thanks Dawn, I appreciate the support!

Thanks Kevin! I didn't bother about the goby, and now it's been months, so no worries.

I'm not sure what you mean on the PVC. Like a sheet of plastic backing on the egg crate? I was thinking I would need to do something like that, before I came up with the filler idea. I think my idea will work. I'll need to get the plastic bag material adhered to the foil, maybe with a spray glue.

It's funny, I was writing about the project and I just sort of stumbled on the idea, as I went. That has happened several times when I've posted about challenging situations. Just talking about a problem can lead right to the solution! I tend to do things in a linear fashion, rather than planning it all out in advance. "I'll start with this and see what should come next" is pretty much how I do stuff.

This project has been a catch-22 for me. Since I've kind of dreaded it, little gets done. So I inch along in small, tolerable steps. If this new idea works, things should pick up. And it should look really good if all goes well…
When it begins to come together for you, does it ignite you and get you on the jazz? When I catch a glimpse (in my mind) of the finished product I turn into a maniac about getting it finished.


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Old 09/24/2018, 11:44 PM   #209
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Yes it does Dawn! When I'm struggling and I get a glimpse of the way forward, that's when I get jazzed. Now I'm looking forward to making some real progress.


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Old 09/25/2018, 12:33 AM   #210
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I've been doing a lot of damsel watching these days. I'm still marveling at how mellow these guys are. Especially the tuxedo. Despite his superior size, he doesn't bother anyone. I've read they're less sociable than the humbugs. So I'll only keep a few, say four of them.

The neon is still kind of nervous and shy. It looks like a schooling fish without a school. I may try seven or so of them. The thought of keeping a group of these fish has me very excited!

The talbot died after a few weeks. It was a model citizen as well. I like the yellow color too. I may try adding another one to the QT. I see this one as another larger school candidate of seven or so.

The springer's has done well too. Being the oldest resident, he seems the most comfortable. A good looking fish, but I'll probably only do one blue variety, and the neon wins that contest. Looks similar to a blue devil, but angel suits it better. Plus it eats flatworms. Maybe I'll just keep the one for flat worm control.

The yellowtail and the azure are two other damsels with chill reputations. I haven't tried them yet, but I may. Right now they're my alternates.

I've been trying to determine a pecking order of the three that I have. But no one picks on anyone, so it's hard to say. I'll give it more time.


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Old 09/25/2018, 07:04 AM   #211
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I have kept blue tail damsels in groups of 3 when I had my 90 gallon reef. They are a laid back quiet specie of damsel from my experience. My reef was more agressive in those days however with a small snowflake eel, a puffer and small lionfish.


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Old 09/25/2018, 08:29 AM   #212
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I'm not sure what you mean on the PVC. Like a sheet of plastic backing on the egg crate?
I was thinking that maybe a sturdy frame of PVC pipe might help to anchor the wall and assist the egg crate with keeping the foam's flotation from being an issue. If the structure isn't very thick, there might be a risk from the force of the foam trying to float, causing it to split or crack. Maybe a frame would prevent that? I guess that these materials are cheap enough that after you try building your structure and test it underwater, you'll have an idea if you need to do anything further or not. You know what you're doing though, having experience with these things. And maybe egg crate is sturdy enough.

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This project has been a catch-22 for me. Since I've kind of dreaded it, little gets done. So I inch along in small, tolerable steps. If this new idea works, things should pick up. And it should look really good if all goes well…
I'm the same way. It's like a DIY aquarist's version writer's block...LOL


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Old 09/25/2018, 10:49 AM   #213
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Oh, I see what you mean - additional structural support, using pic pipe. I'll keep that in my back pocket. My egg crate structure is pretty sturdy, so hopefully I won't need it. We'll see how my plan works. I think my biggest concern will be attachment points, between the foam and the structure. I can also attach the foam skin to the light diffuser on the bottom of the tank that the back wall is attached to. Once I get to work, I should be able to see any other issues I haven't thought of. Wish me luck!


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Old 09/25/2018, 10:56 AM   #214
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Dawn, I haven't heard of a blue tail damsel. A quick google search didn't help. Did you mean yellow tail?

Wow, what a change, from a Rambo reef to a peaceful seahorse garden!


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Old 09/25/2018, 12:03 PM   #215
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Dawn, I haven't heard of a blue tail damsel. A quick google search didn't help. Did you mean yellow tail?

Wow, what a change, from a Rambo reef to a peaceful seahorse garden!
Oops, yes I did mean yellow tail. Sometimes I think my fingers have dementia!

I know, I seem to gravitate to the extremes.


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Old 09/25/2018, 04:07 PM   #216
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Yeah, your plan sounds good, not that much foam used to be a problem. I don't know if you have a heat gun or not, but they are pretty cool with shaping plastics and PVC. Also, they help stuff dry faster. Just keep them away from the foam unless you are trying to get a texture effect or look. If you use them on foam, be careful not to heat the foam too much because it will catch fire and leave a nasty smell in the room...Now, how would I know that?

If you are interested, I can do a test to try and see if I can shape some egg crate with mine. I'm curious how it would turn out. I was thinking that might help reduce the amount of foam that you'd need to get those curved shapes and edges.


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Old 09/25/2018, 04:36 PM   #217
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Thanks for the offer, Kevin! Let me see how my plan goes first. Since I think I'll be able attach the foam to the structure in multiple places, I shouldn't need to mess with the egg crate. Plus I need that underlying structure to stay the way it is.


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Old 09/25/2018, 05:22 PM   #218
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Thanks for the offer, Kevin! Let me see how my plan goes first. Since I think I'll be able attach the foam to the structure in multiple places, I shouldn't need to mess with the egg crate. Plus I need that underlying structure to stay the way it is.
OK, no problem. I think that I misunderstood the role of the egg crate. I can't wait to see what you come up with


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Old 09/25/2018, 05:28 PM   #219
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Yeah, with my plans changing on the fly, the role of the egg crate has evolved. I don't even think I understand it!


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Old 09/26/2018, 06:49 AM   #220
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It's interesting how we modify our methods and techniques. Experience is so valuable. I wish that I knew today what I learned while creating my structures. I may have done a few things differently. Also, the overall process would be much faster now that I know how to overcome the obstacles that stumped me along the way. I let the obstacles get to me and slow me down, for weeks even, but usually they are critical steps in the process that determine whether or not I'll be happy with the final product. I'm glad that I took the time and came up with solutions to the road blocks, because the final product satisfies me. So, to recreate what I've done, those time gaps would be eliminated. That said, with revised methods and techniques, there could be new road blocks. It's an obsession with perfection, I guess.


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Old 09/26/2018, 10:48 AM   #221
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Agreed! I'd add that the harder it is to get through, the more satisfying the final results. While I know I'm not the best fake wall builder, I feel like I can get it done to a level where I'll be satisfied with it. And getting it done will be a huge relief, and one of the last hurdles to get over before I can fill my aquarium with life again.


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Old 09/26/2018, 12:12 PM   #222
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I feel like I can get it done to a level where I'll be satisfied with it.
That is the goal. Don't sell yourself short. Your wall looked just like your plan and turned out great IMHO. Between the wall and your mangrove root, that's what got me hooked on your thread to begin with


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Old 09/26/2018, 01:13 PM   #223
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Thanks Kevin, I appreciate the support! I'm so glad to hear the root and the wall were inspiring.


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Old 09/26/2018, 03:37 PM   #224
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Between the wall and your mangrove root, that's what got me hooked on your thread to begin with
Me too, I loved the idea of a harem of royal grammas living in holes in the wall and the mangrove root was brilliant. The look it gave your tank is so unique.


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Old 09/26/2018, 11:30 PM   #225
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Thanks Dawn! Can't wait to get it up and running again!


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