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DIY Live Rock for cheap

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Materials you will need:

1. Bright White Tile Grout from Lowes (just because I hate Home Depot ;), if you go the Home Depot route look for the Brand Polyblend, same thing with different name.

 

http://www.lowes.com/pd_361330-70680-3300973021_0__?productId=3478059&Ntt=bright+white+grout&pl=1&currentURL=%3FNtt%3Dbright%2Bwhite%2Bgrout&facetInfo=

 

2. Crushed Coral Sand or Oyster Shell from your local feed store.

3. Water.

4. Coarse Salt

http://www.lowes.com/pd_25656-113-7304_0__?productId=3133467&Ntt=salt&pl=1&currentURL=%3FNtt%3Dsalt&facetInfo=

5. Any Bucket

6. Any type of molding like play sand. try to get a natural sand so you don't get silica on your rocks ;)

 

 

Recipe:

1. ONE Cup of Crushed Coral Sand or Oyster Shells (I used Crushed Coral sand because I live near the city so no cows over here = no feed stores nearby.

2. FOUR cups of Snow White or Bright White Tile Grout

3. ONE cup of Water

4. HALF-Cup of Coarse Salt

 

 

Preparation:

 

1. Mix the 4 cups of Grout with the 1 cup of Crushed Coral Sand or the oyster shell(whichever you decided to use) in the bucket before adding water.

2. Add the water to the bucket and mix the two ingredients from step 1

3. After you finish, add the salt to the mix and mix them real good if your arms are not hurting so far.

4. Get creative making forms with the mixed solution and let it dry for 24 hr

5. After 24H, pressure wash them.

6. Put them in a bucket with water for 6 days changing the water everyday until the PH go down to normal range. If your PH is not at the normal range the rock needs more time to fully cure.

 

Note: You could put a water pump inside the container you will be curing your new rocks, this way you could speed things up. Remember to test for the PH, you dont want to mess with that.

 

 

After you are done you can use the savings per pound to get a manicure.....cuz you'll need one....believe me :P

 

Some pictures ;)

---in the picture the salt is not dissolved yet, they will leave a more porous surface to the rocks. I like them with or without the salt effect, as long as they don't cost me over $4 per pound its all good.

 

http://s109.photobucket.com/user/alexcajigas/media/DSCN0453_zps8b52bfff.jpg.html'>DSCN0453_zps8b52bfff.jpg

 

http://s109.photobucket.com/user/alexcajigas/media/IMAG0521_zps8cf96e8a.jpg.html'>IMAG0521_zps8cf96e8a.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

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Thanks. The cost per pound with this method is like .30-.40 cents per pound. In a few months they will be pink/purple :D

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put 3 pieces in the temporary tank to see how they look under lightning, I think they look gorgeous lol.

 

 

 

DSCN0460_zps7d2ae143.jpg

DSCN0461_zpsf99bb971.jpg

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They look just like fresh dry rock. Good work.

 

Once they color up a bit I think that they will be almost indistinguishable from real rock.

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Thank you, once they get some coraline they will look very nice. Im still working on the scape for the 90g im building right now

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thank you, next project will be making the magnet rocks like the ones aqua-mags sells on their website.

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Did you cast the mix in sand to get the texture? BTW Daphne Blue looks marvelious under your lights.

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how many pounds would you say those 5 big rocks are? So you use the sand to sit the rocks in to let them cure for the 24hrs? How many mixtures did you mix to get the 5 rocks? I may have to try this, you could make some cool stuff like this! Thanks!

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There's 8 pieces in the cooler, they weight like 75 pounds in total and cover a lot of area which is even better. The good thing is that you can make long shapes to cover big area without adding to much weight.

 

 

Each rock weight more than 15 pounds, they are very heavy, maybe because I used crushed coral instead of oyster shell, cant tell because I never found oyster shells. Going to get some bags in two weeks while on vacation in PR.

 

 

 

I used sand to let them sit and build up, you can use the sand to make the shapes and just fill the holes with the mixture, since the mix is so thick I decided to build up. You can use wet potting soil too and is even easier to wash that off the rocks.

 

 

Each 25lb Grout bag makes like 6-8 big pieces.you could make more or less depending on the shapes you decide to make.

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Huh, I would've thought that you'd need more salt in the mix to get the porous quality that we tend to seek in base/dry rock. Nonetheless, looks great!

 

As for your magnet rock project, I'd have used these http://www.kjmagnetics.com/blog.asp?p=aquarium along with a tapered-head nylon machine "screw" to set the mount in place easily in your "rock". I used suction cups on mine as the kids are too young to trust not to pull them off the side of the tank at this point in their lives.

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thank you for the link, Ill have to give those a try after I finish setting this 90g Bit.. up, im tired of it and is not even running yet lol :wacko:

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+1 to more salt. More salt the lighter it will be. Just be careful there is not too much or it may crumble. But awesome looking rock

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How long did it take for the grout to cure and pH stabilize?

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Thanks. The cost per pound with this method is like .30-.40 cents per pound. In a few months they will be pink/purple :D

How much did you spend on the crushed coral? I'm trying to add this up in my head and with everything I'd have to buy I'd be better off just buying the rock straight out.

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I paid $13 for 20lb of crushed coral at Petsmart. You can buy cheaper alternatives, I think the florida crushed coral brand is even cheaper. With one bag I made over a 100 pounds of rocks.

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How much did you spend on the crushed coral? I'm trying to add this up in my head and with everything I'd have to buy I'd be better off just buying the rock straight out.

How much rock do you need?

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How much rock do you need?

I could do with another 20lbs in my tank. I'd actually like to replace a lot of the rock I have.

 

I've looked up guides on this before because I was interested in making the shapes I'd like in my tank. Buying that much crushed coral would jack the price waaaay up there if I were to buy it local. But, I do live in a farming area so I could look around for the oyster shell. I might do that tomorrow if the heat isn't crazy like it's been.

 

Are there any pro's in using the grout over the portland cement method?

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I could do with another 20lbs in my tank. I'd actually like to replace a lot of the rock I have.

 

I've looked up guides on this before because I was interested in making the shapes I'd like in my tank. Buying that much crushed coral would jack the price waaaay up there if I were to buy it local. But, I do live in a farming area so I could look around for the oyster shell. I might do that tomorrow if the heat isn't crazy like it's been.

 

Are there any pro's in using the grout over the portland cement method?

I found that White Portland cement is not available everywhere and the Grout tends to fully cure faster than the cement. The PH spikes are less too. Not sure if there's anything special on grout mixes but I really like how you can select from different color mixes. Also the smallest White Portland cement bag I found was like 93 pounds, way too much unless you are planning on making a huge amount or rocks.

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I think I'll keep an eye on this thread to see if there are any negative effects from the grout. Sounds like something I'd like to try though. If the stuff really is that cheap to make overall I could actually make money off of this by selling the rock off. Nobody would know the difference around here.

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How long did it take for the grout to cure and pH stabilize?

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