"Waterproofness" of great stuff spray foam?

JaceW/Lifer-Log

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Hello
I'm FINALLY committed to making a bioactive set up for my sal, I want to make a stream with a waterfall to simulate groundwater streams from northern Michigan. (if you ever visit take hikes they are beautiful, you find them near rivers, there popular around Newago) I want a stream, that looks like sand/sandy dirt. I can do this easily with great stuff, but will it hold water? how can I make it hold water, and still silicone sand to it?
Thanks in advance.
 

minorhero

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Hello
I'm FINALLY committed to making a bioactive set up for my sal, I want to make a stream with a waterfall to simulate groundwater streams from northern Michigan. (if you ever visit take hikes they are beautiful, you find them near rivers, there popular around Newago) I want a stream, that looks like sand/sandy dirt. I can do this easily with great stuff, but will it hold water? how can I make it hold water, and still silicone sand to it?
Thanks in advance.
Its waterproof to a point. It can degrade over years and if its on an unstable surface (shifting substrate) it will eventually crack and split where the substrate shifts. In order to do what you are planning I would make an elevated area out of eggcrate as a scaffold to support your stream. You can cover this section in fiberglass window screen and then you can spay your foam on top of this surface. After its down it will take a few days to cure based on how much you use. Then you will carve it with something, some people just use their hands, others use a knife. If you have a drill you can use a wire wheel. This gives the best texture but is absurdly messy (wear a respirator, eye protection, and do it in a cleared area that is easy to sweep like a garage floor). After you carve you are going to want to coat it completely in a silicone that does not have additional mold inhibitors, and then while the silicone is still wet (within 5 minutes of going down) you smooth it out on the surface its on and press sand into it. You will want really good coverage with the silicone as this is what will mostly keep the water in. If you take too long (longer then 5 minutes) the silicone will start to cure and won't be as sticky. This means you will be doing this in stages.

All this said.. There are some major pitfalls you will need to consider when building something like this. 1) You need the pump to be very accessible because eventually its going to clog or straight up fail. When that happens (not if) you will need to remove it for maintenance/replacement. The best way to do this is to drill the glass, use bulkheads, and keep the pump external from the tank. You can make use of a sump or a canister filter in this situation. This brings us to 2) you need to filter and replace this water on the same schedule you would use for any freshwater aquarium. If you don't it will get yucky very quickly. 3) Because this is really a paludarium instead of a vivarium you should be aware that the water is going to leech nutrients from whatever substrate is in there because it will eventually get into whatever substrate is in the tank, and consider using a substrate that does not break down in water. 3) Assuming this is a salamander that is going to dig, be mindful not to make an enclosed box when erecting your scaffold for the steam less the salamander manage to dig its way under it and then get stuck.

Finally I will offer my own 2 cents that its incredibly difficult to make a stream actually look good and not just like a weird grade school art project. Really I've actually never seen one look good, even at zoos. The best moving water features I've seen in a tank have been dripping branches attached to the back wall of a tank. Those don't take up much space and can be made to look good because they rely on the sticks and branches put in the tank to look good, and those are natural looking at baseline. Definitely check out build videos of vivariums with streams/waterfalls on youtube to find people doing similar things. It will help you a lot to see the various steps.

Good luck!
 

JaceW/Lifer-Log

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would siliconing acrylic panels on either side I want the stream to be work? I would then build the great stuff inside, that would prevent leakage, correct?
 

minorhero

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would siliconing acrylic panels on either side I want the stream to be work? I would then build the great stuff inside, that would prevent leakage, correct?
Silicone won't stick to acrylic. When using a acrylic you need to use a plastic 'welding' glue. If made correctly then you could end up with a waterproof barrier made out of acrylic. Its hard to emphasize how big of a pain this would be when working with small pieces to actually achieve something waterproof. It still would be iffy at best for the result to not eventually have the water get out and soak the rest of the tank. That might not happen right away, but will almost certainly happen one day. You might be best served by finding someone who has a tank you like and then poking them to figure out 1) did their tank work? and 2) if it did, how they made it work.
 

dendromad

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You can use pond and landscape expanding foam. It is black and is used for blocking gaps in rock waterfalls in and around ponds. You can then coat using Drylok to fully waterproof it as well as add texture (mix sand into it) and add colour (tint it with acrylic paints). Once dry it is safe in aquatic environments (some fish keeper even use it for rock effect backgrounds).
The photos are of the Atelopus zeteki exhibt at my work. I added a water fall and some "rock" planters to the existing fiberglass background using pond and lanscape foam coated with drylok.
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JaceW/Lifer-Log

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So, if I understand correctly...

1. Pond & Stone foam
2. I can carve foam?
3.regular drylok coating
4. tintable, texturable
5. silicone on drylok if wanted?
6. waterproof feature?

Is this all correct?

P.S. I didn't know Golden frogs like water, you learn more everyday!
 

dendromad

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Yes. No need for silicone though, unless you wanted to make a removable feature and use the silicone to adhere it to the glass. You could build the feature out of eggcrate and then expanding foam and drylok that rather than directly to the glass

P.S yes A. zeteki live near streams and actually lay their eggs underwater underneath rocks
 

JaceW/Lifer-Log

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thankyou, i have a good idea of what I'm gonna do on my setup, i will update with another post when more progress is made
 

Shaina23

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You can use pond and landscape expanding foam. It is black and is used for blocking gaps in rock waterfalls in and around ponds. You can then coat using Drylok to fully waterproof it as well as add texture (mix sand into it) and add colour (tint it with acrylic paints). Once dry it is safe in aquatic environments (some fish keeper even use it for rock effect backgrounds).
The photos are of the Atelopus zeteki exhibt at my work. I added a water fall and some "rock" planters to the existing fiberglass background using pond and lanscape foam coated with drylok. View attachment 86581View attachment 86582View attachment 86583View attachment 86584View attachment 86585View attachment 86586View attachment 86587View attachment 86588View attachment 86589View attachment 86590View attachment 86591View attachment 86592
This is absolutely stunning. How did you make tree trunk?
 

dendromad

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This is absolutely stunning. How did you make tree trunk?
I didn't do the tree trunk that was done by an external rockwork company. I believe it is fiberglass. I did the waterfall on the far right and the grey rocks on the back wall
 
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