Some of you here have commented on the background I have started to use for my tanks…. and asked me to do a simple DIY for this easy to complete background that shows well, lasts well, and is much less work intensive than the DIY backgrounds using Great Stuff expandable foam, quickrete, and paint.
It’s very simple really, as a guy who is not a fan of the “Great Stuff Backgrounds” (although very cool, they interfere with my HOB filters and take away too much space from a thinner tank: i.e.: a 55 gallon is only 47” x 12” inside dimension). With the Central American Cichlids I have, they need every inch of space I can give them.
Basically I started to standard spray paint my tanks before installing them, well you know we are always looking for something different, so in a effort to “think outside of the box” I was perusing my local home center looking for paint for my 55, it was wintertime and I had to do it indoors, my garage was too cold (below 50 degrees) so I was going to do it in my basement, as I was looking for your standard gloss black/low VOC Latex, (I like the dark and the way my CA/SA Cichlids color up with the dark background and also use a dark substrate) and I came across a spray can of Rust-Oleum Stone Creations…… I tested it on my 20L and I could not be any happier.
I will say this; the Stone Coat is not something that you could do indoors. I took the tank over to my brother’s car dealership and painted it in the shop (weekend). It has high VOC’s! But the results speak for themselves. If you are able, do it during the spring or fall when the temperatures are not to cool and not too hot, that way the garage is a good place, and as soon as each coat is complete, ventilate your paint area, like I said HIGH VOC’s can kill you!
Stone Coat comes in a bunch of different colors: I am unsure of attaching a link to a Manufacturer, (I will provide the link if asked or you can PM me and Ill email it to you).
So I will just give a quick rundown of the colors I saw. (Percentages are just guesstimates on my part)
Black Granite (N7991) Black (70%) with shots of White (10%), Grey (10%) and Silver (10%) mixed in.
Bleached Stone (N7990) Tan (85%), with a Light Brown (15%).
Canyon Moss (N7987) Black (75%), Grey (12.5%), and a Moss Green (12.5%).
Granite Stone (N7989) Brown (75%), Black (12.5%), and a Grey (12.5%).
Grey Stone (N7992) Grey (75%), Black (10%), White (10%), Silver (5%).
Mineral Brown (N7988) Brown (85%), Tan (15%).
Sienna Stone (N7994) Brown (35%), Tan (35%), Natural Red (5%), Black (10%), White (15%).
Tuscan Rock (N7986) Mustard Yellow (75%), Brown (20%), Black (5%)
Other needed materials:
Clear Coat (V2102938) Fast Dry Hard Hat coating.
3M Blue Paint Masking Tape: (1”) Standard 3M Paint Masking Tape Model Number 2090
I don’t think you need me to tell you to tape off the edges of the tank, cover the top as well; I more or less wrap the entire tank with newspaper except for what I am painting.
This is a 3-4 coat process followed by a quick clear coat at the end to add strength to the back.
1) Using you painter’s tape, tape off entire tank more than 1 layer (newspaper, Chicago Sun-Times works great, I go with 3 layers, never have had a issue).
2) Clean and dry surface of glass (You have no idea how Windex F’s up a paint job should you start and forget/miss a 1”x2” area).
3) Break out your stone coat (I use Black Granite Rust-Oleum Model Number: N7991) and lightly coat glass covering all areas).
4) It is a textured spray paint, resist the urge to touch, (I could not) it will need overnight to dry. Do NOT overcoat, the more paint you lay on the more likely it will not be dry when you want to re coat (dries to the touch in 1-2 hours my ***!)
5) Ready for coat 2? Now try the touch. If it is dry, take a flashlight to the inside of the tank and look for weak coats. Reapply.
6) Retape you newspaper layers
7) Apply the test again for coat 3, and then apply the final coat of Stone Coat.
Now that you have completed the Stone Coat, apply 1 thin but complete coat of clear (I use hard hat coating Rust-Oleum Model number: V2102938) Remember that the Stone Coat is a textured paint, and although you will not feel it yourself, it will chip easy if you do not apply a clear coat of some kind.
I am attaching the images from when I did the 20L. I will add more images to this if asked, as I will be doing this on a much larger scale with my new 110 and 150 in the next month or two.
(Images to follow)