3 caves for under $20

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smithrc
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Post by smithrc »

the tiles in the picture are not real slate.

the edges are rounded and the patturn moulded...

not that it matters, ceramics are inert anyway ;)
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rhino
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Post by rhino »

Thanks now that I'm done putting them together! :lol:
This feels like slate, but as thin as it is it makes sense that it would be porcelain. Does it make a difference as far as breeding goes. If it does these suckers are going in the trash. I'll just consider that practice for the others. :roll:
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Post by crazie.eddie »

I stopped by Home Depot and looked at the tile, which looks very much like yours. It believe you have a ceramic tile, but I'm not sure how they glazed for the color on the top. Since it's a floor tile, it's not intended for aquarium use with fish, so I'm assuming that the glaze would be toxic.

I did find some slate tiles for about $2.99 (6"x6"). I guestimated on how I wanted to get the tiles cut, which was wrong. I can't use them for breeding caves, but I can use them in piles forming different levels. The only problem with them was, being slate, they split easy. The next time I come in, I'll have a sheet outline of how to cut them, so I can make some breeder caves out of them.

When my zebs get to be adults, I may spend the extra money and use the granite tiles for breeder caves.
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Post by TomSharland »

If using an electric tile cutter, each cut will take 2.2mm of the overall length, so you couldn't cut a 6" tile in to 2 2" pieces and 2 1" pieces, you'd be able to have 2 1" sides and the leftover cut in to 2 equal pieces of about 1.9".

I know this isn't a lot, but believe me it makes a difference when you are planning to make a few from a set ammount of tile, and if your cuts are all wrong then they are a bugger to glue and look nice.

What I do is set the cutting blade to the width of my tops (1.5" or 3.8cm + 1cm + 1cm (my tiles are 1cm thick), then I cut a load of tops and bottoms.

I then set the cutting blade to 1" or 2.5cm and cut up a load of sides. at the same time I cut a few spare strip of 1" and these get cut to fit snugly in the back and block it off.

This gives a cave of dimension l x w x h = 6.0" x 1.5" x 1.0".

Hope that helps

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Post by rhino »

[quote="crazie.eddie"]
I did find some slate tiles for about $2.99 (6"x6"). I guestimated on how I wanted to get the tiles cut, which was wrong. I can't use them for breeding caves, but I can use them in piles forming different levels. The only problem with them was, being slate, they split easy.

quote]

This is my concern with the slate. How do you cut it without it splitting to pieces? Do you make the slate thicker than 1/4", more like a 1/2"?
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Post by crazie.eddie »

Thanks for the info Tom, but the only powertool I have in my house is a drill. Glad they their own cutter, as Rhino mentioned. The guy cutting them was hesitant at first, becuase he said they might ruin the blades, due to the thickness of the slate (varied from about 1/2" to 3/4"). I'm assuming that never really cut anything that thick. I didn't mind them splitting, becuase I now have extra 2"x3" pieces for my juveniles.

I actually like the slate tiles and I might buy me a couple more. They even have bigger slate tiles, I think about 12"x12". I was thinking of just breaking them in pieces and using it for decor.
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Post by McEve »

crazie.eddie wrote: Since it's a floor tile, it's not intended for aquarium use with fish, so I'm assuming that the glaze would be toxic.
I certainly hope not, as I have ceramic tiles very similar to the ones rhino showed in my tanks, and have for about a year now. They breed and look good.. Mine are Italian.

Mind you, I did have the internal bacterial infection that I believe came from contaminated food.

No trouble in the one tank I didn't feed with the food in question.

I wouldn't use anything that has a "glitter" look to it when looked at under light though
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Post by rhino »

McEve wrote:
crazie.eddie wrote: Since it's a floor tile, it's not intended for aquarium use with fish, so I'm assuming that the glaze would be toxic.
I certainly hope not, as I have ceramic tiles very similar to the ones rhino showed in my tanks, and have for about a year now. They breed and look good.. Mine are Italian.
Glad to hear that McEve cause I put my caves in my tank an so far the gobbies seem to love them.(Waiting for the comment "You should'nt have gobbies in your tank.") :roll:
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Post by crazie.eddie »

The info I got was from another post I read, who deals with ceramics and glazing. If I find it, I'll post the URL here. It's just I'm cautious about non-aquatic items with some kind of paint in a tank with grazing plecos. Short term exposure may not show anything, but overtime, it may.
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Post by crazie.eddie »

I'm probably going to abort the slates. The pieces that split, are falling apart, with sharp edges. Even if I try to sand it, it splits even more. I may just go with their plain ceramic tiles. Even though it's kind of ugly looking, typical color as a flower pot, I know it's a little safer to use. When my zebs get bigger, then I'll eventually make caves using the granite tiles.

I'll check out Menards (another DIY store in the US), which is across the street from Home Depot, to see what tiles they have available.
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Post by rhino »

I just put my ceramic caves in my tank 2 days ago. The gobies were the first to move in, but tonight one of my plecos barged in. So far they seem to be sharing. The little gobie goes in right over the placos back.
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Post by crazie.eddie »

Cool. Post some pics so we can check them out.

I couldn't go with the plain ceramic ones. According to the guy, they were too thick. I tried regular cheap ones, which I won't use for my tanks, but just needed a guage the measurements. I used what Tom noted previoius. They're good measurements, but the guy who cut them didn't know how to cut them correctly, becuase they were not even. Good thing these were for pleco caves and not someone's tiled floor or else someone would get really mad. I have to go to another Home Depot now, since I can trust his cuts.
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Post by rhino »

I would suggest taking your own square and doing the measurements yourself. Just take a pencil, pick out your tiles and draw the lines. If you don’t your cave will be taller on one side than the other. /__\ Or your cave looks like this. As far as the splintered edges go, couldn’t you use the sealant on them to cover it up?
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Post by crazie.eddie »

I finally decided to buy my own tile cutter, which I found at Menards (DIY superstore) and I found 6"x6" slate tiles (1cm thick) at Lowes (another DIY superstore) for only about $0.89 a tile and experimented a bit. I made 2 caves, one large one for my L-333 and another one, using some scraps, as a template for the zebra caves. I also tried using the black silicone vs. the clear silicone. I kind of like the clear silicone better.

Here's a pic of the caves...
Image

Using TomSharland's information he posted previously, I found that cutting several 5.5 cm pieces for the tops/bottoms and 2.5 cm pieces for the sides. After gluing with silicone, this would give the inner dimensions with the width of 3.5 cm and the height of 2.5 cm.

Here's a pic of the backside...
Image

I used a razor blade to cut off the excess silicone, which makes it look a little better. Unfortunately, I didn't take a pic of it.
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Post by TomSharland »

Bingo Eddie

They are looking good.

Use much less silicone though, you only need a very thin line along the top and bottom where the sides will be. The whole structure will hold very well.

On thing that will help is the use of support pieces. I glue the top and bottom of the cave at the same time. Then I put the sides in place, then the top. I put a big bit of slate either side of the ends of the cave to align the length. I then place these on the sides to make sure they are level.

I know that doesn't make much sence so I'll post some pics as a stpe by step when I make some more caves.

Tom
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