some people love the natural rock cave some like stacking slate and making a 'condo' of sorts but i noticed any time i needed to catch a fish or move something to clean i had to rebuild the whole condo from scratch and it was getting kinda annoying! hubby decided he was going to putty some of the pieces together and make modular pieces to build it together and be able to change up the look but when it got down to doing it and all the work he ended up just building one big piece no heavier then any of the large rocks i have put in already, separate legs but notched out bottom so the stands are in a groove and dont slip and slide and makes lining it up easier. and left the top able to come off so we can algae growth a top and keep swapping it out for a grazing surface for our mbunas.
i didnt take pics all the way through which im sad i cant share the whole build but i can show you some and tell you how to... for what we did.
here are some of the rocks, after a quick trip to a local garden center we had a bag of pond rocks a few slabs of slate and some flagstone slabs.
once all were tested washed up and ready, we used a grinder with a zip cut wheel and zip cut the pieces down to the sizes we wanted and then used a 1 inch belt sander to grind down all the edges and points so they were smooth.
this is very messy work so doing it out in a backyard or a ventilated garage is advised and please make sure to wear protective masks and/or goggles.. safety first!
hub cut notches groved into the flat stones for where the legs/supports for the next level would be sitting and he drilled holes and put dowels in to hold them in place and reinforced and covered them with a bonding putty many of you may have heard of or even used, aquastik.
so once it was puttied and bonded up he held it together with clamps and bungie cords and let it set up for a day and a half to cure...
once it was all cured up we water tested soaked it to be sure nothing was going to crumble test help make sure all was cured etc. then we got to the looks...
here it is pre painting/beautifying
he used an aquarium and pond safe primer in a light grey then proceeded to paint it with a light grey krylon 'fleck' spray paint that is water safe, then coated it with a sealant clear coat to finish up. between layers and work he used a heat gun to help dry and cure before adding the next layer or step.
im not sure exactly what he used will ask him and update this post for exact products used, but here are some pics of the finished product and our fishies love their condo!
look forward to any questions comments etc.