I love that rock backscape..... thats a possibility for next tank for sure.
Hey guys. Was reading thru this thread as i already made some rocks. My question is on cure time. I have them sitting in tubs w circulating water and change it out every day or 2. I keep getting this film on the surface which in assuming the concrete is leaching out. The clear tub rocks were done w salt the blue one no salt used. How long should it take until the water doesn't get this film. On pH in using a fw test kit and the tap water is 8.2-4 and after the rocks sat it is in the 10s ( deep purple color in fw kit). I'm kinda Leary on throwing these in the tank as i don't want a mass extinction. Forgot, they have been in the tubs for 2 weeks now and don't plan on removing them til after this month.
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Pics would b nice Lol. If u enlarge them u can see the crap floating
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my first DIY rocks look pretty much the same as jeff5347!! They too got the scummy lookin oil on the top of the soakin bin at the beginning of the curing process. However, I used running water every second day for about 10-20 minutes and then let them sit in the tub for another two days and do it again. After about 3 weeks (24 days to be exactly) there was NO scum on the water when I uncovered the bucket. I then stopped running them in moving water but started to change the water every second day. After about a week of this the pH was still showing as 8.8(+) on my API high range pH liquid test kit....
Changed water every second day for another 3 weeks and on about the 26th day the tub had tested 8.4 three days in a row. I then decided I would use the two best pieces in my starter 10 gallon nano tank that I am now cycling using ammonia. I added them in with 2 pieces of wet "live" rock from one fish store, 2 pieces of dry but cured "live" rock from another pet store AND 2 inches of CaribSea pink fuji "live" sand. I guess we will see.
my original recipe was 1.5 cup of crushed oyster shell, 1.5 cup of washed pea gravel from my local landscaper, 1 cup of grey cement & 1 cup and 1 cup of rock salt.
I have since gotten fancy and started using 1 cup oyster shell, 1 cup fancy white aquarium gravel, 1 cup crushed coral, 1.5 cups of cement (or alabaster grout) and 1 cup rock salt. I have made some decent looking pieces now that are all still in tubs in different stages of running water, moving water, still water curing processes. I also have a ton of rubble resulting from all of this and it will all eventually (in bits) go into my new 50 gallon & 90 gallon that are still in the planning stages. I will try to remember to post pics of some of my rocks...
Whipped up my first batch of rock yesterday. Seems pretty gray for now though. I'm wondering if it will stay gray or the color will shift over as it dries? I'm no mason. I used 1 part portland type I/II cement, 3 parts play sand and 1 part dark gravel. Will it stay gray?
Here is some DIY Rock I did, I used Plum Krylon Plastic spray. It cures in several minutes to be safe on your reef. Eventually It got covered by coraline and has 4-5 different shades of coraline. I use acrylic rods to keep as little rock off the sand to reduce any detritus buildup.
Yes, you will have to use Krylon FUSION (meant for plastics). It cures in about 10-20 min, the chemicals dissipate from the spray. This is what people use for their pvc, I also called Krylon to confirm that it is Reef Safe.
It will be doing this at a much greater scale soon, for my 250DD, 2014 Build.
Following along as I am in the middle of a new build.
I'm surprised the krylon doesn't get pulled off by snails. I'd rather let it encrust with coraline naturally even if the krylon is bulletproof. But I have multiple colors of coralline on my rocks, that might be why
I dont wanna start any issues but I just called Krylon technical customer service and was told they do not suggest to use any of there products submerged in water 18007772966
My tank has around 5 different shades of Coraline. All the rocks that saw light got caked in Coraline. I did get two heavy with the spray. But the new rock I'm making and Marco rock I'm using dry I will mist it. Just to give it a slight Coraline look. The Coraline actually encrusted more on the DIY rock than my already live rock. Not sure if the oyster shell cal traces accelerated it.
Just sharing my experience.
I've used an inflated rubber glove to create a cave rock. After it drys you pop the glove and pull it out where the wrist sticks out. You can even leave the fingers sticking out the back of the rock and create little tunnels for smaller critters to climb through. I love rock building.
I can never get my rocks to be that porous, I must have my mixture too wet. do you just make little droplets of cement or just throw it on there in big globs?
also I found if you use the low alkaline Portland I/II it has a pre-"kure" pH of about 8.6, I have made rocks for 3 of my reef tanks and this is the last tank I did about 2 years ago (still running the tank today). The first day after filling with fresh tap water the pH was 8.6, after an overnight soak I drained the tank and filled it with RO/DI water and added salt, when I tested the tank the pH was 8.4, and after a quick bacteria cycle I moved over my corals from my previous tank. In another tank I added a 40lb DIY rock into a 55g reef tank and there was no pH flux at all. Also I'm using a pH probe and calibrated meter for testing. The other great thing about the low "pH" cement is that you can get it on your skin with no (for me anyways) reaction unlike the high pH Portland cement. The only issue seems to be curing time and cured strength, it takes 2-3 times longer to get a good solid cure, and sometimes the mix just dose not cure right and turns into powder with any good bit of pressure.
The other thing I would mention is that once the concrete is set(12-24 hours) the best way to finish the curing is actually under water at a moderate temperature. As an inspector we would create cylinders from the same concrete the crew was placing and then cure them and put them under compression until they break to determine the strength and the strongest were cured completely underwater and maintained between 68 and 80F.
The back tank of a toilet is a good place to cure Portland cement.
For anyone interested... in most of Florida and the south east states, it is near impossible to find WHITE portland. This is how I just got it. Called the local cement plant, got their reps # and had him hunt it down. In florida it is Cemex. I will have to drive 50 minutes to pick it up and that's fine because at least I can get some! It runs about $21 for a 94lb bag but they will sell it to you and they will even order you some
There is some available in the Ocala, Fl. area right now call 352-867-1558 if this helps anyone in my area that is looking for white.
I'm in Florida and appreciate the info!