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RE: Waterproof adhesive

Kevin Zippel is looking for a waterproof adhesive to attach cork bark.

> Caulk works
> well in thin beads between 2 panes of glass, but I've found it to be
> ineffective in 'globs' on irregular surfaces.  Hot glue has worked well in
> the few small places I've tried it.  Spray foam insulation holds bark well
> in terraria, but I don't know how safe it is in water.  Any thoughts?

I've just finished re-doing my 130 gallon tank. Once I had the thing empty
and clean (and I do mean cleaner than it was when it was new), I used
several tubes of Silicone Aquarium Caulking (pick your own favourite brand)
and applied it to 12"X12"X1/2" Cork Tiles I had bought at Canadian Tire (our
favourite aquarium supplies store here in Canada). This worked like a charm.
the cork is porous enough so that the silicone has formed a physical bond by
seeping into the crevices and sort of locking the sheets in place. Many
posts about doing this advocate applying this to a sheet of glass or
plexiglass first and then putting that in the tank, but I couldn't be
bothered - I slapped it right to the inside of the tank.

It looks great!

I also picked up sheets of plate glass and had them cut into long narrow
(some 5", some 7" wide) strips. I glued small glass squares to one long edge
of each strip, using silicone, so that the stips would stand on edge safely.
I covered one side and the top of the strips with more cork, and now I have
multi-level terraces within the tank. This allows for a much more
interesting aquascape plan, as I can plant low or plant high.

I guess that when you say that the glue you tried was inneffective in
"globs", that you are not making sure that you have a large flat surface on
the back of the cork bark slabs. Use a rasp to file off some of the
irregularities if you must (do it outside, its messy!). I used several
pieces of the rough cork slab material sold for reptiles to make ledges on
the back pane (right over the previously applied cork tiles). Again, as long
as I had a good physical fit (flat edge to flat edge, it worked like a
charm. In several cases, I had to clamp the cork in place for 12 hours until
the silicone cured enough - then I ran an additional bead of silicone around
the mating surfaces to ensure that the ledge would stay in place. To cover
up the ugly silicone, I took some of the extra cork and broke it into tiny
pieces (like coarse gravel) and used tweezers and/or my fingers to imbed the
cork particles into the wet silicone. Voila, it dissappears visually.

To keep my band of Kribs happy, I went to the grocery store and bought a few
coconuts. A few hours with a saw and a few files and rasps left me with some
delicious fresh coconut meat (a better snack than Pringles) and two "caves"
which I attached to the back wall of the tank. Depending upon you skill with
sculpting the sawn opening, this can either look kind of hokey or very
realistic (I used more than a few coconuts to prefect my sculpting skills).
Again, silicone worked perfectly to attach these to the back wall.

After everything was allowed to cure for several days, I filled the empty
tank with water and let it sit for 24 hours. Tannins from the cork colored
the water brown, so I drained the tank and repeated the process with fresh
water. After a few water changes, the majority of the tannins were gone and
I was able to drain the tank, put in the substrate and plant the tank.

The cork backing on the back wall and the terraces allows me to "pin" things
like java fern, java moss, Anubias, etc. wherever I wish. I'm happy.... and
so are the fish. Within 30 minutes of putting in some Kribs, they had laid
claim to the vaious cork ledges and caves along the back wall, and started
doing their "courtship dance" for potential mates and rivals.

James Purchase