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Fake Rock Wall Questions

Discussion in 'General Construction' started by ukrainetz, Nov 14, 2007.

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  1. ukrainetz

    ukrainetz New Member

    Hello to all at the HC!
    I am currently in the process of building an "in the wall" cage for my WD. I decided that I was going to line the walls with artificial rock to make it as realistic as possible. I have went over lots of already given advice, and lots of projects already completed, however since this is going to be a really large project I would like to make it as durable as I can. Predominately the greatest questions I have are regarding the materials.
    - Is liquid nails safe to use? I've seen plenty of guides yet no one is concerned about it. I'd prefer this to silicone because the weight of the finished panels will be substantial.
    - Tile grout vs. Cement, has anyone experimented how they compare in strenght and weight?
    - What paints have you mixed into the mixture? (dont just say acrylic, perhaps latex wall paint? hobby model enamels? etc)
    - How well do tile and cement sealers hold up? Some say they allow transmission of vapors and moisture, and are rated for food use. Will these work well to seal a water pool? (I'm not a big fan of epoxy... too hard to get and too expensive, in addition it isn't perfect according to many people)
    - Also, I'm lining the enclosure in plastic before affixing the panels (even the ceiling). Is .23mm painters drop cloth sufficient or do I have to invest in the overpriced pond lining? Remember this is for a WD so humidity is the only real thing of concern. (this is question is mainly for the viv users)
    Let me know your experiences, any testing you have done (most people don't list this because they think its irrelevant). I will be trying some mixtures and ideas next week, since like I said, these panels have to be more or less permanent. Thank you all in advance! Cheers!


    p.s: I am about a month away from being ready to put up the rock walls.
  2. venus

    venus Founding Member

  3. schlegelbagel

    schlegelbagel Frog Lover Premium Member

  4. kriminaal

    kriminaal HH Block Leader Staff Member Premium Member

    I'll try and get to some of your questions today. One thing I've been researching lately is VOC vapours. What I've found out just recently is don't trust a sealer or similiar product just because it's water-based. Water based or oil based has nothing to do with the amount of VOC's released. In fact some oil based products are safer than some water based ones. Also the amount of fumes a product gives off means nothing. Some products that are basically odourless continue to give off VOC's throughout their entire lifespan.
    I know this has nothing to do with your questions yet but be sure to research your products carefully.
  5. schlegelbagel

    schlegelbagel Frog Lover Premium Member

    also, check out Dendro board
    Dendroboard - Your source for dart frog information.

    They specify in dart frogs and lots of them use fake rock and moisture. I'm sure there is something there. I haven't needed to make a rock wall, so I haven't needed this information.
  6. kriminaal

    kriminaal HH Block Leader Staff Member Premium Member

    Here's a site with products that you can consider.
    Welcome To AFM
    Also anything that says "marine" on it should put up a caution flag(somethig else I've recently learned) Most of those products have them have fungicides added. I', also working on researching epoxies and how safe they actually are.
  7. kriminaal

    kriminaal HH Block Leader Staff Member Premium Member

    Excuse my spelling and inproper sentence structure. I'm pretty busy today.
    The thing to keep in mind with products for a WD enclosure is anything that's going to have water running over it be extra careful. Most products will not show short term exposure effects but it's more the long term effects to worry about. The buildup overtime will cause health issues. Also many products that are deemed to be safe are not intended to be used in a sealed box such as a reptile enclosure. Without proper air exchange the airborne toxins will only be compounded.
    As far as the liquid nails question. It's going to be behind the walls holding the styrofoam on where there's no water touching it. It should be safe to use. But just the same research the specific product you'll be using on the MSDS site to look into it.
    I used acrylic craft paint that I mixed in with the mortar for the final coat. Don't have the brand name with me right now.
  8. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    Mike has something changed in the marine paints? Is this something that has come about recently? Back in the 70's when I was heavy into tropical fish, many people built larger aquariums using plywood and were told to paint the inside with marine epoxy. To my knowledge no one ever had a problem with it and I would think that if it didn't bother the fish it should be safe to use in a reptile enclosure.

    Of course this was a long time ago.:rolleyes:
  9. sprkn1

    sprkn1 Active Member

    "what are you planning to use for the pool, imo, if u use tile you add more weight to the finished product. You still have to use mortar to lay the tiles on, might as well use cement, put some color in it and shape it in a way that i like and skip the tiles all together. Remember sealers are meant to help moisture from seeping in, but not meant to water proof anything. Hope this helps, i have many years of experience in construction, so if you have any other questions regarding building and materials, i'll try and help. gl, and keep us posted on your project. dont forget have fun with it and dont be worried to be as creative as you can be, from the sounds of it this is going to be a large, heavy and very permanent enclosure, so might as well make it look as nice as possible."
  10. sprkn1

    sprkn1 Active Member

    sorry for any spelling errors and grammatical errors, ask if you need anything clarified. payce,

  11. sprkn1

    sprkn1 Active Member

    I worked for Sherwin Williams, and I learned plenty. Like how much change the industry has undergone just within a decade. The paints from 30 years ago, are definitely made up of products probably not used today. So in turn the effects it has on biological life will differ. Aquarium Set-Up FAQ page 2
    Marine epoxy is safe, and probably the most used. check the above link and see what you can read and learn.

    hope this helps, payce
  12. kriminaal

    kriminaal HH Block Leader Staff Member Premium Member

    I'm not educated enough in the topic of product toxicities to really say what is safe and what is not. I only pass on the info of the research I've been doing. Simply because a lot of info in the herp industry is passed on with no basis whatsoever. Okay lets look at one ingredient of marine epoxy.
    A toxic white soluble crystalline acidic derivative of benzene; used in manufacturing and as a disinfectant and antiseptic; poisonous if taken internally

    That makes me think it's not safe. BUT. People have been using it in aquariums for years with no effects. So is it safe? You have to make your judgements.
    I'm not saying everything is bad or whatever. What I'm saying is don't use something because someone else said it was safe. Base it on your own research. Know what I mean?
  13. ukrainetz

    ukrainetz New Member

    Thanks for all of the replies!
    There are a couple of "professional" guides for this specific task that I've found in the sites given... one is a product called Hydrostone by Its apparently what they use to make zoo enclosure castings. I'll contact the company for more info. The second is a PDF guide and it uses mortar and then seals with acrylic cement fortifier and bonder (acrylic bonding adhesive). The hydrostone is about $50 for a 50lb pale with s/h. I'll do some more research, but my plan is to also soak my test samples in water for a couple of weeks, to see if they release any toxins (the goldfish test). Since I will have high humidity and a spray system, some walls will definitely get wet very often....hence using a cement with a sealer is not a good idea acording to viv forums... it leches chems, and raises the pH.
    Sounds like I gotta make some phonecalls!
    Oh and I'm planning on posting a how-to for this project so keep an eye out for it! :)
    Thanks to all, and keep 'em coming! Cheers
  14. Rakoladycz

    Rakoladycz Elite Member

    Not that it matter now that you aren't using cement anymore, but if you were going to I was gonna say to use Hydraulic cement.

    When concrete dries is shrinks and will crack especially in thin layers hydraulic cement doesnt shrink (well as much) so it cracks less.

    And two rules of concrete
    1. It gets hard
    2. It will crack

    I've worked in concrete for quite some time
  15. kriminaal

    kriminaal HH Block Leader Staff Member Premium Member

    Good luck with the project. Be great to see it progressing. Also if you can post any info you find on product specs you'll be using, that would be awesome. It's invaluable and sometimes hard to get info.
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