3D Aquarium Background - Quetzalcoatl




Introduction: 3D Aquarium Background - Quetzalcoatl

About: Will be sharing Tips and tricks for freshwater aquariums.

Consumable Materials:

· Waterproofing cement

· Styrofoam boards

· Disposable paintbrushes

· Choroplastic sheet or plexi-glass

· Clear transfer sheets

· 100% Silicone Caulk – Be sure it’s not “Mold or Mildew” resistant

· Optional:

§ Airline tubing

§ Concrete Pigment

§ PVC Piping if building plumbing onto/into background.


· Felt Tipped Marker

· Hacksaw blade

· Computer

· Caulk gun

· Scanner

· Clamps

· Overhead projector

· Dremal tool

· Printer

· Heat Gun

· Small bucket

· router

Step 1:

1A) Find a good profile image online of statue you
wish to build

2B) Print large profile of photo. You want it large enough to capture small details

Step 2:

2A) Tape clear transfer sheet to profile image.

2B) Using felt tipped marker, trace profile including all details you want carved into the image, onto clear transfer sheet.

2C) Place clear transfer sheet on computer scanner,
and scan image back to computer.

2D) Print scanned image on another clear transfer sheet in wallet size.

Step 3:

3A) Place clear transfer sheet with wallet sized printed image on overhead projector, and point it at Styrofoam.

3B) Adjust projector and image till clearly depicted on Styrofoam, adjust for size and focus.

3C) Using felt tipped marker, trace projected image on Styrofoam, turn image upside down on overhead projector and repeat the process for profile on opposite side.

Step 4:

4A) Using hacksaw blade, cut outer profile shape out of foam. Repeat for both sides. Depending on the thickness of Styrofoam, a third profile cutout may be necessary.

4B) Glue profiles together with 100% silicone caulk. You may need a light clamp to hold the pieces together. Allow to dry for 24 hours.

4C) Following steps 1 – 10, perform the same method
for creating the plaque that the head will sit on

Step 5:

5A) Using dermal with small stone bit, begin carving statue. Be carful not to remove too much material at once. Slowly continue carving and sanding until desired shape is attained.

5B) Carve pedestal to desired shape, and glue head to pedestal. Allow 24 hours to cure.

Step 6:

6A) Place head (and pedestal) on foam piece that will make up entire background. (special note: I did a coat of concrete on the head prior to this step. This was unnecessary).

6B) With felt tipped marker, trace outline of head pedestal on Styrofoam.

6C) Using felt tipped marker, trace out desired design on rest of foam. (bricks, rocks, or whatever you may desire)

Step 7:

Optional: If desired, use router on back of foam board to embed airline tubing in.

Step 8:

Begin cutting rocks/bricks out of foam board
with hacksaw blade. Continue to shape rocks/bricks with irregularities for desired effect

Step 9:

Smooth rocks/bricks by gently running heat gun over its surface.

Step 10:

8A) Cut Chloroplast/Plexi glass to exact shape of the back of aquarium.

8B) Begin gluing bricks/rocks from bottom corner
working upwards and outward towards opposite corner. If brick/rock contains groove for airline tubing, be sure airlines are properly placed. You may need a light clamp to hold these specific bricks in place. Allow to cure for 24 hours

Step 11:

11A) Using small bucket, mix concrete. For first
coat, mix with extra water in concrete keeping mixture runny. Concrete will set in roughly 3-4 minutes. To avoid waist, try not to mix more than can be used at a time.

11B) Using disposable brush, brush the concrete onto
the entire background. Be sure to let concrete sink into all cracks and crevices. Continue until entire background is coated with cement.

11C) Repeat steps 11A and 11B three time, allowing 24 hours curing time between coats. If desired, concrete pigment can be added to mixture for final coat to add different colors to background.

Step 12:

12A) Make sure aquarium is clean. Distilled white vinegar works well for cleaning the inside of the aquarium. Be sure aquarium is dry.

12B) Using silicone, coat the back wall of the aquarium. (sorry, no pictures)

12C) Carefully place background in aquarium, applying even pressure so silicone can spread and attach to both background and aquarium. You can use pieces of foam to add pressure to background while silicone cures. Allow background to cure for at least 48 hours.

Step 13:

NOTE: Concrete may affect water PH at first.

13A) Fill aquarium, then remove water at least 10 times. Continue to cycle tank doing 100% water changes at least once a day every day for a week. Monitor the PH until it stabilizes.

13B) Aqua scape the aquarium as normal, prepare for fish.

13C) Enjoy

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    Question 2 years ago on Step 13

    I noticed it says for freshwater only. Can I use this for brackish water? Or what materials would make it better to use in brackish water?


    5 years ago

    Spectacular!! Very well worked, very authentic, very good.

    Thank you very much for sharing.


    5 years ago

    this is amazing