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Re: Making a rock wall

> Date: Sat, 20 Feb 1999 17:57:36 -0600
> From: Steve Benz <steveb at talltree_com>
> Subject: Making a rock wall
> Anybody got any experience to share in building a steep rock wall in a
> paludarium?  Specifically how to keep the rocks from collapsing?
> On the archives, I find warnings about concrete turning into sand and
> worries about epoxy and other adhesives not holding up.  From what I
> can gather, the worries about concrete turning into sand are unfounded --
> providing you get concrete that's built to hold up in water.
> (Perhaps "Hydraulic" cement?)
> Certainly it would pay to stack up the rocks in such a way that
> gravity holds them in place.  Say, by securing them with gravel, but
> I'm figuring to run water over the rocks, which would tend to erode
> the gravel away, I'd think.
> 					- Steve


I have a 29-gallon tank set up for dwarf African cichlids, and I took 
some extra time setting it up with a rock wall in the back.  The wall 
is 18"h by 30"l, the length and height of the tank.  It does not touch 
the sides of the glass, and it does not fall down if I lower the water 
level.  It took some practice to get it right, but now that I have the 
hang of it, it's easy.

First of all, be sure to use rocks that won't affect the pH.  Avoid 
limestone, tufa, marble, etc.  One or two might not make a 
difference, however.  It depends upon your application.

Secondly, wash and scrub the rocks.  Do not use soap.  Just 
water and a good brush.  Then boil the rocks.  This part will take 
time, because my rocks were so big I could only fit two or three in 
a pot at once.  However, it's better safe than sorry.

After drying, choose a few pairs of rocks and epoxy them together.  
For example, I epoxyed a large flat rock to a medium roundish-
squarish rock.  What I had was a rock with a ledge growing out of 
the top.  I did this a couple times, and no more than two rocks are 
epoxyed together at the same time.

Think of how they make brick walls by alternating the bricks.  If you 
simply stacked the bricks on top of eachother in rows and 
columns, it would fall down.  This way, I was able to add stability 
while keeping the rock pile from becomming permanent.

I also had some success building a terrace for my planted 
aquarium.  I cut slate to 5"h by 2"w strips, and epoxyed them all 
together in a row, so I had a line that was 5" h by 36"w and it was 

I then epoxyed the whole thing to a piece of glass that was the 
same length and width of my aquarium. I first epoxyed the ends, 
then shaped it into a curve and sealed the form in place.  It looks 
great and keeps the gravel 7" deep in the back and 4" deep in the 

The thing to remember here is that you're going to have to wait 2-3 
days for the epoxy to dry.  I had to wait several weeks because I 
did some of my projects in sections.  Trust me, it's worth it.  Be 
sure to get epoxy that is safe for an aquarium.  Look for charts 
where they sell epoxy.  You want clear silicon rubber.

Good luck!

-Eric Golden