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(aka how to make your own aquarium decorations)

After learning my husband never had 'sea monkeys' as a kid, I got him some as one of his birthday presents. But the aquariums they come in are not only tiny, they need to be manually aerated.. and quickly get nasty. After a few weeks, I decided to give them an upgrade. I bought them a tank designed for Betas, a cheap air pump (u want a very low power one so as not to churn them around all day) and a cheap heater (our house doesn't have central heat/air so the temp varies a lot in the winter). And then decided to see what i could do to make it fancy...

Step 1: Make Sure You Clean Your Materials

After seeing the exorbitant prices on aquarium stuff.. i decided to visit the dollar store instead. I could find no difference noted on the packaging for certain things (like gravel, sand, and glass) , but decided to err on the side of caution, and boiled all these things after rinsing them. Make sure you add your glass before bringing the water to boil, and boil gently. I also invested in a tube of silicone "adhesive sealant" that stated its 'aquarium safe'. *

Before doing anything else, I cut a square of parchment paper in the dimension of my tank (i did this by inverting the tank and tracing around it then cutting inside the line, but you could simply measure too). At this time i also drained my glass and set it on a towel to cool and dry. I found the sand and gravel much easier to work with while wet.

* I looked around at various fish enthusiast forums, and there seems to be some support for GE silicon 1 being aquarium safe even though it doesn't claim to be, I probably would have used that (even though i had nightmares of killing all my sea monkeys trying to improve their quality of life) but my hardware store only sold this in large containers, and since they had the dap "aquarium safe" silicone in a small tube i went with it.

Step 2: Choose and Arrange Your Substrate

Since this isn't the focus of my instructable, I'll keep this step short. I used an expired bank card and a spoon to help me, I started from the center and worked out , I chose to add the sand after the gravel because it seemed like it would be easier to get cleaner looking lines (although I am aware these will fade away)I used the card to straighten my lines, I spooned the sand in after making my gravel design. then used the card again to level it... and now for the fun part!

Step 3: Make Your Foundation

I folded my parchment paper over to allow for the width of the heater on one side, since i haven't decided with certainty what direction i want the heater to go in (horizontal or vertical) then using the hot glue gun i made a single layer of glass (leaving an opening for my largest "doorway"). Allow this to dry and make sure its relatively strong.

Step 4: Let Your Imagination Run the Show

For all subsequent pieces of glass i put a dob of the silicone adhesive about the size shown on each piece , and then tacked it with hot glue (since the silicone takes 24 hrs to cure completely, your glass wont stack well if you don't tack it. From here i just started layering my glass slowly. You'll notice that i covered all the joints with another piece, and i employed this technique throughout the whole build,unless i was making a "tower" for an arch , this was by design to make the structure stronger.. Also one other thing to keep in mind is the height of your tank so you don't build too high. Once you have a structure that you like....

Step 5: Allow It to Cure Completely

The silicone adhesive takes 24 hrs to cure (meaning dry completely) allow your structure to sit and cure even though the hot glue may be giving the illusion of it being stable.

Step 6: Do a Final Clean Up

you should inspect your structure and remove any hot glue "threads" and peel off any drips. you can do this with ur fingers or if needed in tight spaces an exacto knife. Then lift the structure, and turn it over to gently peel off the parchment paper.

Step 7: Place It Carefully Into Your Tank and Do Any Final Adjustments

then fill your tank with water.

* I actually kept vacillating on keeping the plant or not, and in the end removed it because my sea monkeys showed no interest in it and I decided to put the heater horizontally as shown from the side view.

Step 8: (optional) Add Picture of Fred in His Old Habitat

and shamelessly beg for votes in the contests I entered.

If you like this instructable.. please give it a vote!

<p>thanks</p>
<p>I like this.</p><p>I do have one question though.</p><p>What do you feed them?</p><p>Thanks for this :)</p>
<p>when you buy the sea monkey eggs they come with a packet of food, As best i can tell its a powdered algae (the packet lasts a REALLY long time because you actually don't feel them but maybe a 1/16th of a teaspoon every few days). You can order more of the food from the company that makes sea monkeys, but i'll probably start feeding them a home made food once this runs out. there are several sources of information on this that i have found on the web while browsing for their specific needs.</p>
<p>Ok thanks.</p><p>I use to hatch them as food for my other fish so never needed to feed them before lol.</p><p>I bought the eggs in one pound bags and they never had food with them :)</p>
<p>oh interesting.. i wonder if </p><p>they are the same.. or if those are just brine shrimp</p>
<p>Sea monkeys are brine shrimp actually. Most people do not know this however :)</p>
From all the info i could find when doing research to make sure i could keep them in a larger tank, it said that they are a hybrid, bred to live longer than normal brine shrimp. That normal brine shrimp will live less than a month usually. Sea monkeys can live up to 2 yrs. Ill have to look into it further, but I'm quite positive i read this in several places.
<p>I use to hatch them in a ten gallon tank I had. Just enough salt to make a strong brine.</p><p>The sides were covered and a light on one corner.</p><p>As they hatched I scooped them up for my fish.</p><p>So mine did not live long for sure.</p><p>I suspect there are many kinds of brine shrimp.</p><p>Once a lake in Australia dried up for 100 years and then it got a LOT of rain and the brine shrimp in it exploded with life.</p><p>The birds had a field day with them :)</p><p>So they are hardy as well.</p><p>Hope that helps :)</p>
<p>yeah, i suspect so too. all the info i found said that the ones sold as sea monkeys were bred to live longer, because the original brine shrimp only lived a month max, so i guess i wont try to buy any other kinds.</p>
I never had sea monkeys either! I thought they were just brine that died after a couple days. Love the sculpture for ANY aquarium life! Great work!
<p>yeah, could be used in any aquarium, for all manner of fishes. the price that they were charging for aquarium decor was a bit shocking to me lol. Sea Monkeys are actually a hybrid derived from brine shrimp and can easily live 2 yrs in the right conditions. they reproduce rather quickly too.. which is why i wanted to get them something a bit bigger.</p>
I really like the little sculpture. Nice work!
<p>thanks!.. they seem to like it too. and it really made the tank look better imo.</p>
thats kool i hope he likes the sea monkeys,hell im 50 n i still have sea monkeys..thanx for sharing
<p>yeah.. this was his 49th birthday. lol. I had them when i was young.. but i really don't remember them being so darn cute.. with the googly eyes and all . I'm just a bit OCD.. so all the slimey stuff on the bottom was grossing me out. so i wanted to add a substrate that would at least hide it a bit lol.</p><p>this is Fred.</p>

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Bio: Shiny is my favorite color. Blissfully living the American dream i never even believed in.
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