My DIY Cement plugs

Discussion in 'Fragging Corals' started by Adee, 15 Nov 2010.

  1. Adee

    Adee

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    I've been asked how I do mines....so here is the recipe.

    You will need 500g of white cement (as per pic) add to that another 500g of oolite or fine aragonite.
    [​IMG]

    Mix the dry contents well together
    [​IMG]

    Add water until you get a thick paste.

    To add some color I use just under a teaspoon of red oxide...makes a light pink color.
    [​IMG]

    Spoon should be able to stand up in the centre on its own....so not too much water!
    [​IMG]

    Most important at this stage...DO NOT add any eggs.

    I use those re-usable silicone small muffin cups (the single bite size one's)

    Add a dollop in each cup, when done just tap the tray until the mixture settles evenly.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Now if you in a bit of a hurry and want to use some...pop the lot in the oven and bake for an hour at 180 degrees.

    Otherwise take the lot and leave it out in the sun and collect it the following day. I prefer this method, a much harder and better looking end result.

    Anyways once done, remove each one and rinse under tap water you may find the ones that you had baked in the oven, will dissolve a little if you rub them too hard under the water....don't fret, just make sure you let these dry out again under the sun they will harden up again. The ones you choose to sun bake don't have this issue at all.

    Either way give a good rinse allow to dry again for another day. To cure and this is not a must, as I have mounted frags with ones straight out of the oven with no issue...the easiest way is to pop the finished product into the bottom of the toilet cistern (the part where the water fills up in the back, not the part where u take a ....) with every flush u get a free water change.

    I find the quickest response in getting a SPS frag to encrust, is when I cut the frag using my trusty Dremel and a cutting blade, to form a nice flat clean cut. Then using normal super glue with just the tiniest drop of glue, hold the frag for 10 seconds or so...base starts encrusting within 2-3 weeks.

    Some pics with frags attached
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Enjoy!
     
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  3. Slagter

    Slagter MASA Contributor

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    That is awesome Adee!! Thanks! The wife just saw this and was like: That's a little extreme! LOL! They'll never understand...

    This is an awesome DIY. Thanks again!
     
  4. xtreme

    xtreme

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    Very nice indeed

    Was waiting for bred or cake :p
     
  5. herkie

    herkie R.I.P.

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    Very nice Adee. Be careful not to advertise too much. You might have some unwanted visitors soon. Im first!
     
  6. Adee

    Adee Thread Starter

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    thanks...all these frags are long gone...

    @Slagter...extreme is when you use the 'family' muffin trays to experiment with.:whistling:
     
  7. Nemos Janitor

    Nemos Janitor

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    When i saw the first few pic's i was going to make a joke about baking. But reading, very interesting.

    IYE does the thickness of the plug have any priority. I see some of yours have different thicknesses.

    Also what have you found to be the better diameter plug. I have seen similar done with ice trays, egg cups, shooter glasses etc etc. I am sure you have tried them all. I hope you would not mind parting with your thoughts and experiences. Thanks Adee.
     
  8. Adee

    Adee Thread Starter

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    Hi NJ....the size and thickness of the plug would have more of a relation to the size of the frag, as the plug should support the weight on its own....at least while you have it lying on the egg crate or bottom of your tank. Should be able to also withstand a little flow so that it does not topple over. The size of these plugs easily take a finger length cutting.

    There are two frames of thought as well in terms of the frag plug size....big enough so that it can take the weight of a big frag...but also should you want to move the coral you can dislodge the plug with a screwdriver. The other one is when the plug is small enough (like these) the coral can encrust onto the rock as well thereby actually hiding the plug totally after a year or so....but then there it no way of moving it off the rock.

    So size does matter when it comes to placing, so rather give lots of room. I'll post some pics later of what I mean in terms of a frag grown from two years ago.

    I cut up some of my big acros over the weekend, I simply took a piece of LR from the sump and cut up chunks using a hack saw and used plastic (the stuff u heat in boiling water to soften up) to mount them as you need something that will harden in seconds.
     
  9. frans

    frans

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    Very nice Adee, does your wife still talk to you?
    I am surprised you dont have curing issues as my Bio rock took 3+ months to cure in a stream of mountain water.
    On the other hand the plugs will nicely raise your calcium levells and maybe will help the coral to grow faster?
     
  10. Adee

    Adee Thread Starter

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    She has her moments....then again I think she has given up a long time ago. :whistling:

    Curing in my definition is what u actually want to take out or lessen in terms of the nasty stuff. In the case of cement plugs/bio rock, you would look for things like phosphates and silicates. The water they standing in should measure zero for these....but then make sure there is something there in the first place so you can bench mark against a reading.

    Another sign for phosphates leaching is when GHA take to the plugs like a magnet....in my case this has yet to happen, all my SPS frags receive only natural sunlight all day.
     
  11. Nemos Janitor

    Nemos Janitor

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    Adee thanks for the reply. Have you thought of adding a bit of string to the plug so that you can fasten it to egg crate etc. I have seen this done on propergation farms in the ocean to stop the waves wash the frags away.
     
  12. Adee

    Adee Thread Starter

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    Nope...and the funny thing is I have a (purchased from a LFS) blue mille frag that had a short length of blue string passing through the frag and its plug. So now I know why.

    You've given me an idea now as I need to really up the flow in the frag tank. Nothing a small drill bit and some fishing line can sort out with the one I've already got there.

    What I also do is cut a a short length (4cm) of a solid plastic dowel (10mm) and simply use hot glue to stick on the underside of the cement plug. This also wedges the plug into the egg crate and stops it from falling over.
     
  13. sweetnsour

    sweetnsour

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    Where can the white cement and red oxide be bought?
     
  14. Adee

    Adee Thread Starter

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    try Builders, Mica, most building places that would sell normal cement should stock both.
     
  15. rakabos

    rakabos

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    sweets - i got mine at mica like Adee said
     
  16. viper357

    viper357 Admin MASA Contributor

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    Hi Adee, any particular reason why you use aragonite? I noticed a lot of people mix aragonite with the cement, could a person not rather use playsand to reduce the cost?
     
  17. rakabos

    rakabos

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    I have used crushed coral to great effect, playsand will be ok, it just helps in binding the mix.

    Also i make my plugs a bit thinner, just less of an eye sore when u mount it, but not too thin as they break when u place to much pressure on it
     
    Last edited: 12 May 2011
  18. viper357

    viper357 Admin MASA Contributor

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    So the aragonite is purely to assist in binding? So any type of sand or crushed coral could be used, seasand? Maybe the playsand is a bit too fine.
     
  19. rakabos

    rakabos

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    Yep binding, same as any concrete mix
     
  20. viper357

    viper357 Admin MASA Contributor

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    Thanks, I'll give it a another try, I used playsand and left the plugs to dry for about 3 days, picked them up and they all crumbled back into sand, all my hard work gone :lol: I'll try again with a coarser sand or some crushed coral, thanks.
     
  21. rakabos

    rakabos

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    I used crushed coral, and they were dry after a few hours, and rock hard
     
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