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Thread: DIY Live Rock (Dark Gray Project)

  1. #21
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    I've heard too much salt or adding the salt too early can weaken it. Add salt last and don't overmix.

    Good luck.


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  2. #22
    Registered User Levi's Avatar

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    Yeah I'm not over mixing and adding it last. From the time I add salt till I'm dumping the mix out of the bucket is probably 15 seconds

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  3. #23
    Village Idiot greaseballpaul's Avatar

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    I don't know about the product you're using but some things, liquid nail for example, if allowed to freeze or just sit too long will fail. I just don't want you to give up. Maybe you just got a bad batch?

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  4. #24
    Registered User Levi's Avatar

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    I'm wondering if its the amount t of water or lack there of that I am using in my mix. Also product manufac date is this year and the cement is all powder, nothing has started to harden.

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  5. #25
    Village Idiot greaseballpaul's Avatar

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    Idk. They could have made a batch that's short on one ingredient etc. You may be right about the water. Is guess not enough. The make up of the dry product most likely is added in individual parts and never really gets mixed around. You'll probably find the next batch dries too fast. That's the problem with not making the entire batch at once. If I'm right and say the hardening agent is dropped in the bucket first blah blah blah, you follow I'm sure. What I was saying about not enough water may apply if theory 2 doesn't. If the hardening agent is activated by the addition of h2o maybe lack thereof (h2o) would result in a weak chemical reaction causing it not to have the desired hardening effect? Just guessing.

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  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by greaseballpaul View Post
    Idk. They could have made a batch that's short on one ingredient etc. You may be right about the water. Is guess not enough. The make up of the dry product most likely is added in individual parts and never really gets mixed around. You'll probably find the next batch dries too fast. That's the problem with not making the entire batch at once. If I'm right and say the hardening agent is dropped in the bucket first blah blah blah, you follow I'm sure. What I was saying about not enough water may apply if theory 2 doesn't. If the hardening agent is activated by the addition of h2o maybe lack thereof (h2o) would result in a weak chemical reaction causing it not to have the desired hardening effect? Just guessing.

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    Let it set for 24 to 36 hours. It takes a while. My first batch took 48 hours to cure. Then I left it outside for 24 hours then started soaking in water. Now its hard like it should be. Just be patient and don't rush. Just like everything else in this hobby... it takes time. Lol


    Quote Originally Posted by Levi View Post
    I'm wondering if its the amount t of water or lack there of that I am using in my mix. Also product manufac date is this year and the cement is all powder, nothing has started to harden.

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  7. #27
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    Mines the same mix. 2 cups shell, one cup cement, one cup salt. I mix the stuff very well before I add salt. Once the salt is in it takes about 1-2 minutes to really mix it by hand then its all in the sand cast 15 seconds later. And my rock is like a sponge... water just runs thru it. Solid at the same time tho.

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  8. #28
    Registered User Levi's Avatar

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    OK so I'm using hydraulic cement with a cure time of like 12 hours and it starts setting in 5 min. Only difference

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  9. #29
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    Mine starts to set within 20 minutes but it's still brittle if I mess with it before at least 24 hours. I just took some pictures and I'm about to upload them all.

  10. #30
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    All the pieces I'll be using to build up my rock structure. Making caves, over hangs, platforms for corals at all depth levels and whatever else I can think of.

    This is a smaller version of the one below this. A smaller platform that doesn't sit too high but it's a good platform to build up from.

    This big piece is the bottom part of the whole thing. About 3 feet long, 18 inches wide. And sits off the ground about 4 inches. Allows for a nice hiding place under the whole thing plus a nice platform to build upwards with.


    I made the bottom rocks sit up from the sand because of everything I have read about dead spots and the gases released that can kill an entire tank. Basically doing that to keep the rocks off the sand completely.
    Last edited by Project Tanked; 11-17-2013 at 11:31 PM.

  11. #31
    Registered User Levi's Avatar

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    wow those are huge chunks, cant wait to see how you aquascape

  12. #32
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    Not even sure how yet. lol So many idea's in my head. But all this has only ran me like $60 in total... So even at a worse case scenario, I still havent come close to a 5th of the cost for the live rock. lol And if I dont like the flat look... Crush it up and retry. lol

  13. #33
    Registered User Levi's Avatar

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    Yeah I am making chunks, I tried using chicken wire and a bucket to make a "hollow stump" with holes for fish to swim in and out of and I went too fast with batches too large so it didn't work right. Broke it apart and using that as just rocks. Now I am going to make a cave using a balloon.

  14. #34
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    I like the look of them. The dark color is cool. I had a big platform shaped like the one by the shoe in your pic but mine was real live rock. I kept it up off the sand by using some PVC supports. It seemed to work pretty well because a gobie lived under there, it didn't become a detritus collection spot and I liked the look. After I get through a final exam tomorrow night, I'm going to start experimenting with ceramics and working on my back wall sections using hydraulic cement.

    Levi, it might be that clearance water stop was past it's useful life. I didn't see any of that kind at the HD on North Academy and went with the Quickreete stuff again. Using that, it gets stable enough within an hour that it can be handled without breaking, although I still let it sit and dry out for a couple of days. The last time I used a spray bottle to keep it moist for the first day. I made an overflow cover by taking out the overflows and making the shell right on top of them and then sliding the overflow out and reinstalling it in the tank while the cement cured. Turns out the cement shrunk enough not to fit on the overflow anymore. I had to break it into sections and piece it on there, filling the cracks with more cement.

  15. #35
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    Your rock shrunk because of that stuff? That seems weird. Lol

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  16. #36
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    I can't imagine that being manufac date is in 2013 that it is bad. I couldn't find it on their website so I think they switched brands. Its made by fastset and when looking at the back is lol....Quikrete. I think we can't compare a 2-1-1 mix with oyster shells to one with sand. Sand makes it much more like concrete and stronger. I'm doing another batch tonight and going to leave it untouched at 70 degrees for 48 hours to see how it sets.

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  17. #37
    Registered User Levi's Avatar

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    Also I am going to do my pH testing on this batch

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  18. #38
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    Should set fine with that mich time. Also, if your making your cast in wet sand... how wet your sand is will play a large role in your cure time.

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  19. #39
    Registered User Levi's Avatar

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    not using wet sand, have a chicken wire structure wrapped in plastic and laying the crete over the plastic.

  20. #40
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    Gotcha. Then idk. lol I'm new to this in a way... I've laid cement a lot in years growing up and working with it but never like this. Not making casts or anything. So what I know on this is from what I've read online, saw on youtube, and attempted myself. Your methods are even more of an enigma to me than my own method. lol

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