Monthly Archives

January 2010

Other Types of Projects Suitable for Coatings

By General Tips

You know, ponds are not the only types of projects that water proofing coatings can be used on.  There are a lot of other things that are perfectly suited for apply a coating like Pond Shield epoxy.

Remember that just because this coating was designed with ponds and housing aquatic life in mind, that does not mean that this is its only use.  Pond Shield epoxy is in comparison to other epoxies a very high performance type of epoxy.

It can be used in a whole lot of other situations and you’d reap the benefits of the coating in doing so.  So let me stop this paid advertisement type of speech right now.  I got carried away.  Instead let me just run down a list of things that you may never have thought of using the product for.  These are in no particular order.

  • Garage Floors – Garage floors need a coating that is chemical resistant and that can take a lot of physical punishment.
  • Hydroponics Tanks – Yes, growing your own vegetables these days seems to be a keen way of saving money.
  • Below Grade Waterproofing – Places with high water tables are susceptible to water seeping through concrete walls and into basement areas.  A coating with a high hydrostatic barrier rating can stop this.
  • Man Holes/Storm Drains – For you city engineers out there, most of these units are made of concrete so the bond of the epoxy to the concrete would be just like that in a pond.
  • Baptisteries – You’d need something tough enough to constantly walk on with some baptismal units.
  • Industrial Kitchen Walls – In any kitchen, especially industrial kitchens, the areas need to be easily cleaned.  Having an ultra smooth surface means less time getting the cleaning job down.
  • Public Showers/Restrooms – A very inexpensive alternative to stone tiling.
  • Rot Damaged Wood – In cases where a portion of a wood structure has rotted, Pond Shield can be used to repair those areas and put them back into service.
  • Broken Tile/Ceramic – The high elongation break strength will allow you to successfully bond broken pieces of tile or ceramic back together.
  • Abrasion Proof Decks – Use in conjunction with woven fiberglass to create an abrasion proof exterior deck.
  • Repairing Wood Trim – Some wood trim will have knots or other flaws that can be repaired with Pond Shield.
  • Sealing Plaster/Drywall – Especially useful when trying to keep a tub or shower area sealed against water damage.
  • Wooden Post – posts like those use on porches or for fencing would benefit from being sealed off from the environment.
  • Anchor Bolts – Used where extra holding strength is needed for anchor bolts in concrete.
  • Post and Beam Splicing – Any time you need to splice a new section of post or beam into and existing section.
  • Sagging Beams – Beams that have begun to sag over time can be reinforced and straightened out.

These are just a handful of ideas that you may be able to use around the house right now.  Yes, Pond Shield epoxy was created with ponds in mind, but it will definitely work better than any other epoxy you’ll find in your local hardware store.

Pond Painting – Get Artistic!

By General Tips

This is just a brief article to get your creative thinking going.  I am the type of person that likes to construct things that are unique, things that people just do not see everyday, things that people take a look at and think, “Well there’s something you do not see everyday”.

This is not done for praise, but rather I like people to appreciate the finished effect and hopefully get ideas from what I have done to go and build something that is unique for them and that they can enjoy.  So with that said, I would like to talk about using paint in your pond.

If I have said it once, I have said it a million times.  You cannot just put paint on your concrete pond and expect it to stick.  Yep, but here I am talking to you about painting your pond.  Well there is a way to do it.

First consider what you plan to do with the paint.  Are you going to put some sort of mural down in the pond?  Are you going to paint it in a fashion that makes the bottom of the pond blend in with the natural surroundings?  I have seen golf courses put logos and such in the bottoms of their ponds.

So, if paint does not stick to concrete very well, how are you going to paint the pond and get any sort of life expectancy out of it?  That’s pretty simple.  You will end up sandwiching it between two coats of Pond Shield epoxy.

You prepare the surface for the first coat of Pond Shield epoxy and then let it cure for at least 24 hours.  If you plan to paint the entire surface, you can almost use any color of Pond Shield epoxy that you want.  If you want to maintain any natural rock for example you may want to use clear as your first coat.

After the first coat has cured for 24 hours, it can be sanded to give the surface some tooth for the paint to stick to.  What you use to paint the surface now will be a very important choice.  The first kind of paint that probably pops into your head would be latex paint.

Latex paint would probably be the worst choice in my opinion.  The problem is not how well it would stick to Pond Shield epoxy, but how well Pond Shield epoxy would stick to it.  This is because in attempting to prepare a latex surface for the purpose of sticking epoxy to it, you may inadvertently destroy the latex finish you have created.

Think about what the latex might look like if you accidentally sanded through it, especially if you have just finished a nice faux look to the paint job.  Trying to touch that up and make it blend properly can be very difficult to say the least.

You might even consider an exterior oil based paint.  While these pains are pretty good and can be prepared easier than latex, the real problem comes from how they cure.  Oil based pains have quite a bit of solvent material in them and it is the evaporation of this solvent that acts as the drying method for the paint.

When oil based paints dry, they tend to shrink.  This shrinking, not to mention solvent release can cause issues later when the project is complete.

So if this is something you really want to consider, I would recommend that you use an automotive type of paint; either an acrylic, enamel or a polyurethane.  Any of these types of paints are made to stick to other plastic surfaces too.

The trick will be this.  You will need to apply the paint to the prepared Pond Shield epoxy and if the painted surface is small enough apply Pond Shield clear over the top just after the paint has flashed.  By flashed, I mean when the paint has just cured enough to be hard but still susceptible to having a coating applied over top of it without sanding.  This flash time will be described in the instructions for the paint you purchased.

Now, if you surface area is large and you are forced to sand, sanding an automotive paint is pretty easy.  It’s harder than a latex type of paint so the likelihood of you sanding through is a lot less, especially if you’re careful.  Just sand it and then wipe it clean and the surface will be ready for the top coat of Pond Shield clear epoxy.

So that’s basically all there is to it.  If you do not know where to get automotive paint, just call a local auto body shop and ask them.  Usually there are one or two automotive paint stores in any given town or at least in a town close to you.

Remember to think out of the box here.  There’s a lot you can do with paint as long as you do it correctly.  You need a base coat of Pond Shield epoxy, then the paint and finally a top coat of Pond Shield epoxy clear.

Using Pond Shield in a Bath Tub

By How To
Bath Tub Pond

Bath Tub Pond

You would be surprised how many people ask me if Pond Shield epoxy can be used in a bath tub.  Do you know which tubs I am referring to?  Yes, those old enamel coated iron tubs.  Sometimes people like to sink them into the ground and use them as small ponds; and why not?  They are perfect for it.

If this is an idea you have been kicking around for a while but really did not know where to start, hopefully this article will serve you.  Usually, you will find these old bath tubs in one of two states, with the enamel still intact and pretty much bare.

If the bath tub is bare, this probably means that there is going to be a little rust on the iron.  You are going to have to clean all of that up prior to putting any Pond Shield on it.  Once all of the rust is cleaned away, it is also recommend that you prime the bare metal with a self etching primer.

The difference between a self etching primer and a rattle can of primer you pick up at the local hardware store is that those rattle can primers do not stick to bare metal properly.  You need a self etching primer that will essentially burn into the metal and stick.  This is how you will get a better finish coat to stick as well.

You can purchase a self etching primer form just about any automotive paint and body supply store.  If you are not sure where to find one, call one of the local auto body shops and ask them where they purchase paints locally.  Those are the suppliers that will have the proper primer.

If the bath tub still has an existing enamel coating on it, you will need to abrade that surface to rough it up.  The coating is going to need some tooth to grab hold of after it is applied.

Once you have applied the primer and it has had time to set up, you can apply Pond Shield epoxy over the top.  After the epoxy has fully cured, you can put the new bath tub/pond into service.

Building a Disappearing Waterfall

By How To
Disappearing Waterfall

Disappearing Waterfall

A disappearing waterfall is one of those perfect water features for someone who does not have a lot of back yard space, but still enjoys this hobby.

Building a disappearing waterfall is quite simple and if you have all of the components, can probably be completed in a weekend’s time.  They can be made from things as simple as a large terracotta urn that has been set in place that water flows from to an actual outcropping of rocks that water flows from.

You will need at least the following to build a disappearing waterfall:

Something that the water flows from – This may be a terracotta urn, several buckets, small concrete boxes, old wine barrel halves and so on.  You can even use stacked rock.  Think outside of the box here.  You can use almost anything that can hold water to create a unique look.

Fountain Basin – Welcome to the world of plastics.  Because of plastics, some of the world’s neatest things have been created.  These fountain basins can be purchased from pond stores and they are used to set your disappearing waterfall up on.  The water will flow out of the items listed above and over top of gravel, for instance, and down into this fountain basin where it is circulated back up to the waterfall exit point.

These fountain basins can also be filtered in order to keep the water as clean as possible.  The filters can be removed and washed on occasion with relative ease.  The top of the basin is grated so that you can pour large gravel over the top which will hide any evidence of the waterfall mechanics.
Pump – You will need a small pump.  Avoid just running out and purchasing any old pump.  You will need to make sure that the head pressure will be enough to at least operate your disappearing waterfall.
Refill Mechanism – One of the downfalls of a disappearing waterfall is that the splashing can cause the water to evaporate more quickly than standing water.  As such, you will have to fill the fountain basin often unless you install an automatic refilling mechanism of some sort.

Really, that is all there is to it.  Once a disappearing waterfall is up and running, the maintenance is pretty minimal.  Just make sure the filters are clean and that your refill mechanism is working properly.

Just a Word about Colored Pond Liners

By General Tips

Most people have gotten used to the color black being their only choice when it comes to pond liners.  While black is not a bad color, Pond Armor for instance, offers a large selection of standard colored pond liner epoxies.  We also offer custom colors as well.

Think of the possibilities of using a different colored pond liner.  Take for example the difference in appearances between limestone and granite or shale and slate.  All of these rocks are very different in color.

Using a gray or a tan colored pond liner will enhance a partner color found in a specific rock.  This in turn can also add to the natural aesthetics of the pond over-all.  Picture in your mind what the pond would look like if the colored pond liner blended into the surrounding stone.

If you have a more formal type of pond, you may need to use very bold colored pond liner epoxy.  Colors like white or competition blue might make a statement.  By the way, competition blue is a perfect color for fresh and salt water aquariums too.

So what it all boils down to is that you might consider thinking outside of the box when trying to decide which colored pond liner to choose.  The two or three design possibilities you have in your head right now may turn into a couple dozen new ideas just by adding a little color to them.

Pond Liner Glue – Does it Really Work?

By Rubber and Plastic Liners

I am always asked if Pond Shield epoxy can be used as a pond liner glue.  The short answer is no.  I hate to disappoint, but while there are times Pond Shield epoxy can be used in the same manner as a glue, it can not be used as a pond liner glue.

The real issue here is not that Pond Shield is not sticky enough.  It really is.  The issue is that the epoxy and the liner are from two very different families of materials, in the case of a rubber liner.

While Pond Shield sticks to PVC and ABS pipes, this does not mean that it will stick to PVC liners either.  The problem here is the difference in material flexibility.  All flexible liners are going to be on the furthest edges of the scale with is comes to flexibility.

So in essence, it amounts to two major issues, the family of materials and the flexibility.  If you want to use a pond liner glue that will have any success of working, the pond liner glue needs to cover both of those issues, being of the same family of materials and at least as flexible.

The down side of pond liner glue is that they can be tricky to get to work properly.  If you read my article Patching a Pond Liner,  you will get a better understanding of how this process works.

You should be aware that pond liner glue and patches do have their issues even if you follow the rules with repairs, so you will want to take care of them and treat them with extra care so that the patch lasts as long as possible.

When to Spray Epoxy

By Spray in Liner Ponds

This will not be an article that is too in depth but probably helpful none the less.  In the How to Spray Epoxy article, I mentioned one “when” you should spray.  That was determined by how much epoxy it will take to spray your pond.  If you do not have enough area to cover, the rental of the equipment, the set up and clean up time and the bit of Pond Shield epoxy you will loose in the system will cost you in the end.

However, there are times when spraying even a smaller area than 8 quart and a half kits (3-gallon kit) will cover is essential or at least food for thought.  Those are areas in which the ponds surface is so rough that trying to squeegee or roll the epoxy onto them will cost you a lot more in the long run than the set up or clean up time or the loss of a little bit of epoxy.

I have seen ponds that people have told me are pretty smooth that really ended up looking like a broom finish.  These are the worst areas to try and squeegee or roll.  The reason is that surfaces like this have very accentuated peaks and valleys.  So as you squeegee 10 mils over the peaks of a surface like this that has 30 mil deep valleys, you are essentially applying 40 mils over the valley areas.  That is a serious waste of material!

So spraying an area like this would be ideal.  Also, you might consider spraying a waterfall area.  Waterfalls are sometimes difficult because of all of the uneven surfaces they have so trying to brush epoxy on before it cures in the container you’re carrying around can be a problem.  Spraying the clear Pond Shield epoxy on the majority of the surface and then touching up the nook and crannies later is a quick and effective way to accomplish the task.

How to Spray Epoxy

By How To

There are some great reasons why you would want to spray Pond Shield epoxy rather than squeegee or roll it on.  Learning how to spray epoxy is not difficult to do either.  It takes some patience, the correct tools and an assistant.

Since you are actually building a pond, let’s assume you have the patience.  You will also have to decide if you have an area large enough to spray.  This is important because Pond Shield is not sprayed with a normal, hand held paint sprayer.  The epoxy is just too thick, even if you thin it some.

So the type of spray machine you will need is an airless rig that can most likely be rented from a local tool rental store.  Now because you will be using one of these, this is where the total area to be sprayed comes into play.  The set up and cleaning of these types of machines take some time, not to mention the machine and the hose will cause you to loose some of the Pond Shield you have purchased.

I would recommend that if you consider spraying the epoxy, that you have enough area for at least 8 quart and a half kits and then purchase a minimum of a 3-gallon kit (which equates to 8 quart and a half kits).  Any less material for a spray job and you will be wasting your time and material.

So let’s assume you have enough area to spray.  Which airless spray machine do you rent or purchase (in the case of a professional installer)?  Bigger is always better, but there are some minimum requirements for a spray machine that you have to abide by.

Operating Pressure – 3000 – 3500 working psi minimum.  This means that the machine should operate in this range.  If the machine is rated for 3000 psi maximum, you may find that the operating pis is somewhere in the 1500 psi area.  That pressure will never do.

Spray Tip – This is the part of the spray gun where the epoxy exits the machine.  If the spray tip is too small, the psi that the machine operates at will be impeded and not enough coating will exit the gun to do the job properly.  The spray tip should be a minimum of .023 to .027.  I personally try and find the bigger tips work better.  The more volume you can move, the easier it is to cover your project.

Fluid Hose – Typically there are tow types of hose, both measured in inside diameter, 3/8” and 1/2.  Again, the need is for volume, then try and get the large inside diameter hose.

Gas or Electric – Either type will work fine.  I do find that gas machines tend to be larger in terms of the operating pressure and such but you should check the machine specifications before you rent.

So now we know there is enough area to be sprayed and we have picked out the proper machine.  What is the assistant for?  Well when it comes to spraying epoxy and you are going to be the trigger man, you will want to continuously spray without stopping.  Being an exothermic material the epoxy will want to heat up as it cures and airless spray machines have a tendency to further this heating process as the fluid lines are charged.  So with that said, you will probably not have enough time to stop spraying and mix additional material yourself, nor will you have the time to change from epoxy to solvent to clean the machine when you are finished.

Your assistant should be well versed in the timing for mixing new epoxy and having it ready at the same time you need it.  You, as the person spraying the epoxy should not be waiting for your assistant to finish mixing materials and likewise your assistant should not be waiting for you to finish spraying the epoxy.  This timing is essential for sake of the machine.  You do not want the epoxy hardening up in the machine while you wait, nor do you want to epoxy starting to cure in a bucket while the assistant waits for you.

Now that all of the logistics are handled, let’s talk about the actual spraying process.  Spraying is not that difficult and you can quickly get used to the manner in which you should do it.  The first thing you want to do is wear a respirator.  Yes, Pond Shield epoxy is non toxic, but the small coating particulates that will be floating in the air are not something you will want in your lungs, so protect yourself.  Any good painter will tell you this too.

You may also consider safety glasses as well because of the same reason.  There is bound to be some bounce back of epoxy from the surface being sprayed and you do not want that in your eyes either.

The first thing you should do is purge or pre-clean the spray machine of contaminants.  This is done by spraying denatured alcohol through the machine for a few minutes.  This denatured alcohol can be sprayed into a separate bucket and used later for cleaning the machine. Acetone will work as well, but it is always best to check with the owner’s manual of the machine for proper cleaning methods.

Now that the system has been purged, your assistant will load a fresh batch of Pond Shield epoxy.  Thinning the epoxy is crucial to the operation of the machine, so you may wish to speak to a support technician at Pond Armor who will be happy to help you with a proper recipe before starting.  Be sure to have all of your spray machine specifications handy before the call.

Initially the material that you spray will be mostly denatured alcohol, so purge this off with the properly mixed Pond Shield epoxy into a different bucket than the one you just pre-cleaned the machine with.  As soon as you see good epoxy coming from the machine you can move to the work area and begin.

The spray tip on the gun will either have a flat fan pattern or a round funnel pattern.  This will not make much of a difference for the type of spray job you are doing but will tend to designate how close you hold the spray gun to the surface of the pond.

Hold the spray gun somewhere between 12 and 18 inches to start.  This distance will vary depending on the type of pattern the gun sprays.  Typically, the funnel type of pattern feels like a lot more epoxy is being delivered at one time, so you will probably end up holding the spray gun further away and you perform a stroke.

The other thing that will affect this distance is the volume of epoxy being released from the machine.  If you have a machine that delivers 4000 psi and pretty large spray tip, then you’ll have a lot more material being released, so the distance again, will be a bit further away from the surface.

The trick to spraying is moving your hand across the surface in one even stroke, keeping the gun the same distance away from the surface.  The speed at which you move through this stroke will also be dictated by the volume of epoxy being released.  Pond Shield epoxy can be sprayed down at 10 mils thickness in one stroke, so try and run a stroke and then stop for a moment to measure the thickness of the epoxy with the gauge.  If the coating is at 10 mils, then your distance away from the surface and your stroke speed are perfect.  If not, then adjust accordingly.  If the coating was thinner than 10 mils, you may have to move closer as well as slow your stroke speed down.

A caution should be mentioned here.  If you lay the coating down thicker than 10 mils, you may experience sagging.  The same can be said, if the epoxy is thinned too much. The main problem here is that you may not initially experience this sagging right away.  This may happen after you have moved on to another location to spray.  Sagging is an aesthetic issue and if it bothers you, you will have to clean that up later and possibly touch up those areas.

Immediately after you have sprayed all areas satisfactorily, you can begin the cleaning process.  This means that your assistance will switch from epoxy to a solvent like denatured alcohol, acetone or methyl ethyl keytone (MEK).  The acetone or MEK should only be used for cleaning afterwards and not in the pre-cleaning stage.  Spray the solvent through the lines thoroughly to ensure no epoxy residue remains.  Uses brushes and such to clean all of the machines moving parts, pick up tube and spray gun.  Afterwards, drain the hose of excess fluid before returning it.

The next day you will be ready to inspect and touch up the coating.  Keep in mind that even if the job was perfect today, it is not likely to be perfect tomorrow.  Concrete has a way of letting coatings settle in and there may be places to touch up before you fill the pond with water.  Always inspect your surface and tough up as needed.

Wooden Pond Structure Construction Materials

By Wood Ponds

I think when a person has decided to make a wooden pond structure in this instance, the next logical step is to research they style they are going to build so that they may further educate themselves in any of the idiosyncrasies that may revolve around their project.

I talk to a lot of people about wooden pond structure construction and because of the Internet they seem pretty informed.  They know what shape the pond structure might be, they know where the structure will go and they even have a good list of support equipment necessary to run the wooden pond structure.

What they are usually missing is a good list of construction materials needed to actually build the unit.  Sure they might know they need wood, glass and Pond Shield epoxy but after that anything else is typically of generic nature.  So let’s talk about those briefly.

Wood – What kind of wood?  Well there are two types of wood.  There is hard wood and soft wood.  A typical hard wood might be oak for instance and pine is a soft wood.  What difference does that make, you ask?

Well the actual panels of the wooden pond structure can be made of soft wood like pine or fir plywood where the bracing might be made of a solid hard wood like oak or cherry.  Of course a typical soft wood pine 2×4 is plenty strong if used correctly.  Take a look at the Wooden Pond Structure article.

While we always recommend that sheets of hardy board concrete be used to line the inside of a wooden pond structure, they are not total necessary.  They are more a very big safety measure.  If you’re not going to use the concrete board, then the plywood you use should be of a wood that has a very tight grain.

Usually hard woods are tighter grained, but there are variances in all types of wood.  The tighter the grain, the less swelling or misshapen (as the wood accidentally takes on water) problems you’ll likely experience.  If the wood soaks up water, it can swell and becomes misshapen, which in turn can cause a delaminating of the coating that is applied.

Finally, make sure to use plywood that is an outdoor, marine grade.  These grades of plywood are assembled with water resistant glue which will cause you less headaches later as well.

Concrete Board – This is usually called Hardy Board.  There are two different types, one for shower pans and one for exterior siding.  The Hardy board siding is the only one you should use for a wooden pond structure.  The shower pan style is too rough and will only cause you to use more Pond Shield epoxy than you should have to.

If you do use concrete board in your wooden pond structure, then you’ll benefit mainly from removing the wood from and water barrier duty.  The further the wood is from the water, the less trouble you’ll have with it.  Now Pond Shield does stick to wood, but it sticks to concrete even better.  This is why we recommend using Hardy board.

Adhesive – Adhesive, for what?  Well if you plan to use Hardy board, you’ll need to glue it in place.  I have always used Sika-Flex A1.  It is a very strong construction adhesive that remains very flexible.  This means that even if the wood portion of the structure moves, it will not effect the interior concrete board construction, which could have led to leaks.

Fiberglass – No matter what you build your wooden pond structure out of, you’ll need to run fiberglass matt along the seams.  I recommend that you use 1.5 ounce chopped strand matt.  The thickness of the fiberglass and the chopped strands tend to dissipate stress quite nicely.

Fasteners – Ok, get a big old bag of nails for this.  No!  I’m just kidding.  Avoid using nails whenever possible.  They just do not hold on like a screws will.  Your choices of screws these days are a plenty.  I always use something that is stainless steel first if I have the opportunity.  The less corrosion your fasteners go through, the stronger your finished wooden pond structure will be.

I also use sheet rock style screws because they tend to really grab a lot better than typical wood screws.  This is not to mention that they usually have a higher tensile strength too because of the way they are made.

Silicone – If you plan to have a viewing window in your wooden pond structure, then you’ll need to adhere it to the walls in some way.  Silicone seems to be the best choice for that.  Look for an aquarium safe silicone to use for this.  You can usually find these online or at your local aquarium store.

Bulkhead Fittings – For wooden pond structures, these are the best way to get your plumbing through walls and floors.  They are usually made of a schedule 40 or schedule 80 PVC.  They are made up of three parts, a front have, a back half and a rubber gasket.  The gasket will always be on the inside of the wooden pond structure.

Various Brackets – Depending on how you construct your wooden pond structure, you may or may not use metal brackets.  If you do, be sure to use those that are galvanized at least.  This added layer of corrosion protection that coats the steel will make them last a lot longer.

Coating – No matter which method of construction you use, you will have to coat the interior surface in order to waterproof it.  Of course we manufacture the perfect coating for that purpose.

That is about all there is to the materials needed for a wooden pond structure.  If anyone out there has any other material ideas, let me know.

Water Proofing a Salt Water Aquarium or Tank

By Aquariums

I am asked all of the time if Pond Shield will hold up in a salt water environment.  The answer is yes it will.  In regards to water proofing a salt water aquarium or tank, I am not going to talk about the construction of the tank here.

If you would like to know more about the actual constructions, then following this link: How to Build a Wooden Pond or Tank to the article I wrote about that.  If you have not seen this article and are considering building your own tank, I highly recommend that you read it before you start.  You will probably find some things in it that you may have over looked.

With that said, there are a few things you need to remember when coating any aquarium or tank, regardless of it being for salt water use or not.

If you are trying to coat glass, you are going to have to etch or rough up the glass first.  A surface like glass has no surface tension and without roughing that surface up, the coating will soon fall off.

When coating wood, it is best to thin a small amount of Pond Shield and coat the wood surface before coating it with a normally mixed batch.  This thinned down version of Pond Shield will act as a primer and drive little epoxy fingers deep into the wood grain where the bond will be that much better.

If you are going to have a glass viewing window in your salt water aquarium or tank, you will still need to coat the wood that the glass will rest against.  It is best to rough the coating up some after it has cured where the glass will rest so that when you use a fish safe silicone to seal it, the silicone will adhere better to the coating.  If you can etch the part of the glass where the silicone will come into contact, that bond will be much better as well.

Other than those things to remember, the coating process for a salt water aquarium or tank is pretty much the same as any other surface.

How to Rough up Concrete

By How To

So if you want the coating to stick to the concrete it has to be at least a little rough.  If you have not acid etched the concrete yet, then you are in luck.  The chances are that when you do acid etch, the calcium sulphate will be removed from the surface and leave you with a more porous surface, which in essence equates to being more rough.

However, there are times that even after a good etching, the surface is still too smooth.  If this is the case, you will probably be stuck with either sandblasting or grinding the concrete to get it into shape.

If you are going to sandblast, be sure to choose a quality professional to do the job.  Sandblasting can make a mess and the last thing you need to worry about is the guy doing the job and whether or not he does that without making a serious mess or damaging surround items.

If you prefer to grind, then an angle grinder equipped with a flexible sanding disk that is about 36 or slightly finer will do the job as well.  Make sure you wear proper protective clothing as flying debris can damage your eyes.

Once all has been blasted or ground down, you will have to acid etch again, as the newly acquired surface will have fresh calcium sulphate in it that will need to be removed.

Is Epoxy Toxic to Fish?

By General Tips

Is epoxy toxic to fish? That is a very valid question, is it not? There are a couple of things you need to keep in mind when trying to decipher this, especially if you’re building a water feature that is going to house fish.

First remember that generally, epoxies that can be purchased at local hardware stores may indeed be toxic to fish. This is because these types of epoxies have a very specific purpose intended for them and that purpose does not revolve around housing aquatic life.

Epoxy coatings can leach off toxins both before they are cured and after they are cured. For purposes of housing fish, it’s this time afterwards that is most important. You will have applied the epoxy and let it cure before filling you pond back up and if the epoxy leaches toxins off after the cure, then your fish are in danger.

So how do you know if the epoxy is toxic or not? Well the easiest way is to read the epoxy technical data sheet and the MSDS (material safety data sheet) provided by the manufacturer. These two documents, along with a chat from a representative of the company can help clarify that.

The MSDS sheet will contain general information about the epoxy, including handling information. The technical data sheet will have scores of information in it regarding the coating you will find test data that covers anything from strength properties to, yes you guessed it, toxicology testing.

So do not be afraid to ask for these documents. You might be amazed at what you can learn.