Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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Welsh 04-18-2011 04:37 PM

Aquaterrarium Help!
I plan to setup an aquaterrarium for my vampire crab. To separate the land from the water I wanted to make a dam out of pebbles but that didn't really work out for me. My sister just had her laminated floor taken up; it has been outside enduring the elements and doesn't seem to be at all damaged. I was wondering, could I use this to separate the land from the water? Would it be at all unsafe for my crab?

Thanks :D

bettababy 04-18-2011 07:11 PM

I wouldn't use such materials, there are likely toxins in there, if not the tiles themselves, then the glues used to anchor them to the floor.
Thick plexi glass can be used, as can glass. Silicone adheres better to glass, you could simply put a dividing piece where its needed and silicone it around the edges to anchor it to the tank for stability. I would be sure to put a thin line of silicone around the upper exposed edge also to avoid injury to you or the crab. (it will dull the sharp edge) Once the solid divider is in you can then pile rocks, pebbles, etc to slope from land to water, making it easier for the crab to move as it needs to, and it would also cover up the divider and help make the tank appear more natural.

SinCrisis 04-19-2011 03:59 PM

ive heard of people using resin plexi and lots of pea gravel to create a pseudo wall. just coat the plexi with a thin layer of resin and pour gravel all over it. Let dry and cure, and then pour the excess off should create a one sided pebble wall. There are special bonding agents to allow plexi to hold to glass. Others, on this forum and elsewhere, have used superglue with a tight silicone seal on the outside to hold it in place.

Both glass and plexi can be sanded at the edges to dull it. You need to be more careful with glass since going too rough will cause it to chip like mad, start with a fine grain and go to ultra fine. If you do plexi, you can sand it any which way you want. You could also just melt it with a lighter if you have a steady hand.

Welsh 04-20-2011 10:00 AM

That sounds like an easy idea. I've heard of people using non-toxic varnish in a terrarium; it acts as a glue, i'm just wondering whether this is actually safe?

SinCrisis 04-20-2011 10:31 AM

all varnish wear and tear faster than silicon or resin, it would need to be reapplied in a couple of years so maintenance wise it would probably be more work than necessary.

bettababy 04-20-2011 03:24 PM

I think using varnish would be dangerous, some (most) of them have ingredients that are highly toxic to fish and inverts. I agree that aquarium safe silicone (not all silicone is safe... avoid anything that is listed as mildew resistant) and resin are safer options.

Welsh 04-21-2011 12:27 PM

I also have loads of red bricks hanging around, that have never been used but I'm not sure whether these would be safe. I thought I'd check here first :D

SinCrisis 04-21-2011 01:39 PM

I would avoid it, bricks can have lots of different compositions, you can't be sure what materials your bricks were made with. anything leeching chemicals can crash a tank so unless you know what it was made with and all the ingredients are inert, I would avoid it.

bettababy 04-21-2011 03:21 PM

I agree with SinCrisis about the bricks. When it comes to rock or wood going into an aquarium, not only do you need to know their composition is safe but also to be sure they have not been exposed to toxins (such as garden fertilizers, insecticides, etc) or outdoor pollution (such as rocks found in natural waterways, on beaches, etc)

Rocks and bricks can often be bleached, however, some minerals react in a negative way to bleach... and some types of rock can dissolve/break down in bleach. Because the majority of freshwater aquarium pets are now being captive bred they have weaker immune systems than a wild animal of their species. Introducing captive bred fish/animals to things they may have no natural immunity to can prove deadly. It is always best/safest to obtain aquarium decor from a reputable pet manufacturing company whenever possible so you know it has been examined and treated to be aquarium safe. (store bought)

Welsh 04-22-2011 02:35 PM

OK. I think I will go with the plexi glass. I'm going to have to order it offline,as none of the DIY stores around here have any and I'm also hoping that I won't need aquarium silicone, my last one is sitting here all dried up and its 15 a tube, which is quite expensive for something I will only use once lol.

Thanks for all your help :D

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