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Hey~

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.

Cool 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)

Comments?? Opinions??  Huh?

Modest Fish Aquarium Fish Disease Guide 

A very nicly compiled list of fish diseases and treatments.

F I N S : Fish Disease Diagnosis

Nice fish disease chart which includes a series of questions to help you solve the problem.

Tetra Fish Disease Help

Specific to Tetra remedies, but may be helpful.

Animal World Fish Disease & Treatment Page

Good overall help with fish health, disease and treatment.

FishDoc UK

This UK site bills itself as the home of fish health. Lots of good content.

 

Organism: Ichthyophthirius multifilis

Names: Ich, White Spot

Description: Ichthyophthirius multifilis, ich for short, is a parasitic organism that feeds on the blood and epithelial cells of its host. Although the disease is the equivalent of a skin infection, it can easily be fatal to a fish stressed by poor diet, water conditions or aggression.



Symptoms:

1. Small white spots resembling sand or salt.

2. Fish is flashing (rubbing against rocks, gravel or tank).


Infected fish are covered to various degrees with small white spots. Severe infestations are easy to spot, but small occurrences often go unnoticed. However, Ich won't remain unnoticed for long. Like a bad penny, it will be back with a vengeance if not treated properly. The adult parasite burrows into the skin of its victim, feeding on blood and dead epithelial cells. The irritation caused by the burrowing parasite causes the skin of the fish to swell and produce white cysts seen as a small spots. It's not unusual to see infected fish flashing against rocks and gravel in an effort to get relief.



After several days of feasting, the engorged parasite develops into a trophozoite, burrows out of the fish and sinks bottom of the tank. Secreting a soft jellylike substance, it forms a protective membrane inside of which it divides into hundreds of baby parasites, known as tomites. The hungry tomites soon leave their home in search of a fresh fish to dine upon.

It is during the free-swimming stage that the parasite is vulnerable to treatment. Once it has burrowed into a new host fish it is safely protected from chemicals in the water.



Treatment:

1. Raise water temperature to between 82 and 85 degrees F

2. Increase aeration and surface movement. This will help with oxygenation and gas exchange.

3. Salt for 10-14 days. 1 Heaping tablespoon per 5 gallons of water

4. Perform water changes between treatments



The entire cycle can take up to 2 weeks. I like to go a little longer just to make sure that the infestation has been dealt with. Higher temps shorten the cycle between adult and free swimming tomites. Therefore, raising the water temp shortens the time it takes for the parasite to reach the stage in which it is susceptible to medication/salt.



When raising the temp of the water do so slowly. Raising the temps to quickly can easily shock your fish and kill them. It can also starve them of oxygen so have your aerator ready.

Treatments must be given for a long enough period to assure that all parasites are gone. Watch carefully for other infections, as secondary infections often occur where the skin has been damaged by the parasite. The salt will also help with this, as it is a natural healer. Although nothing kills the parasite once it has checked into it's fish "hotel", several chemicals kill ich once it has left the fish. Malachite green, methylene blue, quinine hydrochloride, and mepracrine hydrochloride are all effective, and are available under several brand names. Be careful though as all of these chemicals can be hazardous to you and your fish. Especially scaleless fish like plecos and catfish. This is one of the main reasons I don’t like to medicate. Salt is just as good as any of those meds and is far less harmful to you and your fish.



Regardless of the treatment used, it should be given continuously for 10-14 days to ensure all parasites are killed. Between treatments a partial water change is recommended. Keep water temperatures higher than usual to speed up the life cycle of the parasite. Discontinue carbon filtration during treatment if you are using one of the medications, as it will remove the chemicals. There is no need to pull carbon if you are using salt. Personally I don’t use carbon unless I am trying to remove chemicals or smells from the water.



Prevention of Ich:

1.Quarantine new fish for two weeks in a separate tank.

2. Treat plants before adding to tank.

3. Keep your Ammonia, Nitrites, and Nitrates under control.

4. Provide fish with a nutritionally balanced diet

The best way to avoid Ich is to quarantine all new fish in a separate tank for two weeks before moving them to the regular tank. When quarantine is not possible, a prophylactic treatment may be used. Either methylene blue or malachite green given when new fish are introduced and again four days later will help reduce incidence of infection. New plants should also be treated, as they can carry ich cysts. Maintaining high water quality, avoiding temperature fluctuations, and providing a robust diet is the best preventative for ich and other diseases. Remember stress is a major cause of ich, as the fish’s natural defenses to the parasite and other diseases have been compromised when they are stressed.


This is by no means the end all be all to getting rid of ich but it has helped me keep my tanks ich free for a long time.

Keeper

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