DIY | Building epoxy aquarium and terrarium back walls

As an aquarium or terrarium fan, you will probably want to make your own back wall. The advantages are that a homemade back wall always fits exactly and looks exactly the way you want. In this article, we share some hints and tips on how to use epoxy to make your own back wall.

Supplies:

  • Styrofoam boards
  • Aquarium sealant
  • Tile adhesive
  • Epoxy resin
  • Sharp knife
  • Gas burner
  • Brushes, stirrers, etc.

Tips:

  • Don't work too fast, allow all steps to dry thoroughly.
  • Fit the back wall into your aquarium regularly to see if any adjustments are needed.
  • Only use an aquarium safe sealant.
  • Try to use white tile adhesive for the first 2 layers and grey tile adhesive for the last layer.

Styrofoam for an aquarium back wall

Make a large Styrofoam wall the size of the back wall of your aquarium. If necessary, attach several plates together. Leave about 0.5 cm at the sides. If you have used sealant to glue parts together, this should dry for about 24 hours. Provide space in your back wall for pipework and a pump, if you want to install one.

A 3D aquarium back wall

Draw a pattern on your styrofoam and cut out natural shapes. You can express your creativity. Don't be afraid if it looks a bit rough, this only makes for a natural end result.

You can make detailed shapes with, for example, sandpaper, a hot knife (there are even special knives for sale for this purpose) or a soldering iron.

Applying tile adhesive to the back wall

Now apply a generous layer of tile adhesive to the back wall. Make sure the tile adhesive is not too thin, otherwise it is very difficult to apply this in a thick layer. Then let the tile adhesive dry for 24 hours. Repeat this a total of 3 times.

Applying epoxy to the back wall

Fit the back wall into your aquarium. If it doesn't fit, adjust it and touch it up with tile glue. Then wait another 24 hours for it to dry.

Now apply the epoxy. First, mix the epoxy with the hardener. Make sure you stick to the ratio on the bottle and do not add more or less hardener. Mix this for 2 minutes and scrape along the sides and bottom with a mixing spatula. Pour into another cup and mix again for 2 minutes in the same way.

Then generously spread the epoxy over the back wall. Make sure everything is well covered with epoxy, you want it to be watertight. Then let this dry for 24 hours. After this, apply another coat. After 24 hours, run a torch along the back wall. Everything should shine, otherwise the wall is not waterproof. In doubt? Then it's better to apply one coat too much than too little.

You can now fix your back wall in your aquarium. Make sure you secure the back wall so it can't move or float.

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Do it yourself jobs with epoxy (DIY), polyester and PU foam!

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