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  1. #11
    The thickness of this BG was pretty thick at it's deepest point. I really wanted to thin it out so I took a saw and grinder to the back. I got 6" out of the BG and back into tank space by doing that.. I did punch through on a small piece but I was not upset by it at all. I just stuck a plant there lol..

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    ^ the blades I used. Also a close up on the process I described above. Measure, stab for as a quide, then cut. This was to get width off of the sides to make room for the overflow towers.

  2. #12
    I took some 2"x6" to make a ghetto stand in front of the tank so I could get an idea of what I was working with. This is the part that takes a bit of nerve...

    In order to get the BG in the tank and through the small holes in the acrylic, you have to cut it into pieces.... It's not that bad though I promise. If you use a saw, the teeth will remove a small amount of the BG material and will forever be noticeable. Scoring the back with a razor, and snapping the fron like drywall is the best way to go. It makes a broken oddball line that fits back together like a puzzle. The guys at DBN recommended this one to me.

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    This is where I learned (the hard way) not to do large BG's in tank that is upright..

  3. #13
    I forgot the most important part of scoring/snapping a BG.

    BG touching BG = Score back, snap front
    BG touching Tank = Scrore front, snap back

    If you score the edge going up against the tank glass for example, snapping the front will give the above desired jagged edge only it will snap off some of the design you were tring to keep. I had to switch PC's so hopefully the home LT will let me load more than 10 at a time.

  4. #14
    This is where the supplies really come into play. I cut this BG into 4 pieces and tried to strap them all together using scap boards on each side. That failed miserably.. The silicone was getting tacky on me and I was stuck trying to figure out to get the pieces back together. It was really frustrating becase I knew I just screwed it up. Once I got the tank on it's back, it was only lining up edge to edge, not edge to edge and vertical height and front to back etc.. The straps, scrap boards worked lovely once the tank was on it's back. ( no more ladder, no more cursing..

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    While the BG was drying back together, I started planning out placement and height of the BG. I had no 90 corner to work from or start at. The BG is "floating" here..

  5. #15
    More pond foam! 6 cans on this tank lol.. Instead of using the 3" ID white PVC pipe as filler along the bottom, I used a 1.5" ID ABS pipe. The 3" ID was puching the BG too hight for the returns. I used allot. It feels like your a little insane spaying all this stuff, wondering how this will look anything like a BG. Its very glossy and shiny as it drives.

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    Like I mentioned before, this stuff is really sticky. This is the front panel of the tank. If you do get it on the tank let is dry and take it off with a razor. DONT wipe it off.

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    The return hole completely filled in with foam..

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    I gave the above ^^ about 12 hours to dry before carving it..

  6. #16
    Using a utulity knife, I carved the surface of the foam to match the contours of the BG. The inside of the foam is not nearly as glossy and the BG I chose for this tank is dark for a reason (this is it) so I can hide the line. The only section I carved out all the way to the acrylic wall was in the return area.

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    I carved both the top and the bottom. foam flush to the tank walls on bottom and top. I also dried out a bunch of sand for the next part.

  7. #17
    The bottom layer of foam is going to be covered in sand. I used GE1 black silicone and a paint bruush to "dab" on the silicone. The more the better in this case. After the silicone was wet and thick, I poured dry sand (same substrate as in the tank) to about 1/2" - 1" thick over the silicone, then put preasure on the sand pushing it into the silicone.

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    fallin49er came over to help me flip the tank upright again. I think the sand came out nice IMO. None the less there is no other BG's I am aware of that are 96" or 30" tall, much less both so I had to try it! Custom BG's are waaay overpriced.

  8. #18
    Add a T5, head to the craft store, buy a few new silks, cut em into a few chunks, a few river stones from the local landscaping supply and you have yourself an overhauled 8' tank for less than $400 (< that's including supplies, beat that Aquaterra )

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    I have allot more scaping to do etc.. but some folks are getting thier backgrounds up soon so I wanted to help with pics. No more pics until I start the next tank..

  9. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by jcardona1;4672704;
    Great write-up, thanks for sharing! This will be a sticky in no time
    Thank you Jose! I worked really hard on these tanks, I appreciate that.

    Quote Originally Posted by ballinouttacntrol;4672716;
    pretty sweet. definetely wasn't what i was expecting. lol, i was like people are writing to ask how to tape a background to the back? hahaha
    Up Next: "HOW TO: install pirate bubblers

    Quote Originally Posted by soulpatch;4672848;
    After helping on ACW's tank would you still use the foam or instead now use the black silicone with the straps to ensure tight fit and invisible seams?
    For seams I would not use anything other than silicone. What color really makes no difference. The only reason I did the foam on the 120 gallon was the seams had a gap between them I wanted to fill. I still like the idea of using the foam if possible because you can fill up areas that are not being used/durect water flow where you want it for better mechanical.

    Anyone else have pics (from any company) of their backgrounds or better yet installs? Care to add your experience for other members??

  10. #20
    Awesome information! Thanks!!

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