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[APD] Re: Cork Background

Thanks very much, Diane!  I've copied this deliberately so that if anyone 
happened to miss it the first time...you get the mesage :)

In a message dated 9/7/03 7:25:10 PM Pacific Daylight Time, 
aquatic-plants-request at actwin_com writes:

> I 've done this to several tanks now, but only once did I have the luxury
> of doing it to an unoccupied tank!
> I get 12 inch squares of cork designed for bulletin boards at Target.  Real
> cork sheets are probably nicer, but I doubt they're as thick (handier for
> attaching plants).
> I remove the livestock to a q-tank or bucket, remove plants as needed to
> allow full access to the back of the tank, then drain the tank down to the
> gravel and a little beyond (make a well in a corner of the gravel and drain
> all the last  bits you can).
> Pull the gravel or substrate away from the back glass--give yourself at
> least an inch of room to work in front of the gravel.  Now scrub and dry
> the back glass (on the inside of the tank--this is to promote a larger
> surface area for planting, so we need it inside the tank).
> Measure and cut the pieces of cork to fit the inside dimension of the back
> panel exactly, end to end, and top  down to about 1 inch below the gravel.
> The cork will swell a bit when wet and fill tiny gaps in not-quite-perfect
> seams, but not gaping holes.
> Using aquarium-safe silicone sealant, draw a grid or spiral or whatever
> pattern you like on the back of the cork sheets.  The pattern isn't
> important, but this is:  be sure that the silicone stripes are generous
> (don't be stingy  with it) and no more than an inch apart, and no more than
> a quarter inch from the edges.  Caution:  while you don't need to smear the
> silicone over the entire surface (messy/icky to do), you do need the
> stripes of stuff to be very close together, because if you don't, the cork
> will swell into buckles and bubbles when it gets wet, looking lousy and
> possibly--if you're not sealed the edges of each piece well enough--making
> pockets that small fish can reach and even become trapped in.  I did this
> the first time and it wasn't pretty.  Now take the pieces and slap 'em up
> to the back panel.  If you start with the bottom panels and move up, they
> should support each other without collapsing away from the glass.
> If you're doing this in an empty tank, you can lay the tank on its back on
> the floor, and it makes things a little easier, but isn't necessary.
> Now wait at least 6-8 hours, and better yet 24, before refilling the tank
> and adding fish back.  The labels to the silicone say it should be cured
> >24 hours before use, but the silicone cures even when wet, and the curing
> releases only a bit of acetic acid--vinegar--if I'm remembering correctly,
> which is non-toxic to the fish, at least at low concentrations.
> Now you can get to aquascape, attaching plants to the cork.  My cork
> backgrounds are in a relatively dark portion of the tank, so I've only used
> low light plants like Java fern and anubias, and I use heavy duty staples
> to attach them by the rhizome to the cork (applying the staples by hand,
> not by stapler, to be gentle to the plants.

Fran Sanders, LMD
Marysville, WA

Growing old is inevitable; growing UP is optional.
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