Reef nutrition

NSA aquascaping using superglue and rock dust!

TurboReef

Supporting Member
Is anyone use the NSA aquascsping technique? For those not familiar have a look at this video…


I researched what super glue is the proper viscosity and available in the USA. I found this company a lot of aquarist are using



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I have a couple hundred lbs of white coral rock to build with.
 

H2OPlayar

Supporting Member
My $.02? 100 gallon tanks are big enough you can make a nice looking scape without spending dozens of hours breaking and gluing rocks together. Maybe spend a little time focusing on the top of the scape, but the base can be made with large rocks to both stabilize and create swimming areas. Everyone I have talked to who has done the NSA style has said it took 1-2 weeks, and I was simply not willing to spend that much time for something when I could make something close enough to what I wanted with the rocks I had. My strategy was separate the rocks into sizes, with the large ones making my base, medium in the middle, and small rocks at the top. This has make for a naturally strong scape which has (mostly) lasted the two plus years since I put it together.

Also, this trend of NSA leave lots of rock missing from the system, which I believe is still important for bacterial filtration.


Edit: added a source for information
 
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TurboReef

Supporting Member
My $.02? 100 gallon tanks are big enough you can make a nice looking scape without spending dozens of hours breaking and gluing rocks together. Maybe spend a little time focusing on the top of the scape, but the base can be made with large rocks to both stabilize and create swimming areas. Everyone I have talked to who has done the NSA style has said it took 1-2 weeks, and I was simply not that patient for when I could make something close enough to what I wanted with the rocks I had. My strategy was separate the rocks into sizes, with the large ones making my base, medium in the middle, and small rocks at the top. This has make for a naturally strong scape which has (mostly) lasted the two plus years since I put it together.

Also, this trend of NSA leave lots of rock missing from the system, which I believe is still important for bacterial filtration.

I don’t mind spending 1-2 weeks putting together a rock scape . It’s something I am going to have to live with for a very long time in the tank.

How is it missing rocks from the system? 150 lbs of rock is 150 lbs rock in the tank. That’s 150 lbs of rock NOT including the “rock dust”.

didn’t you once say “nothing in this hobby happens fast “, I am surprised that you didn’t have the patience after all the effort into your 168 gallon tank to make a great rock scape.

Rock scape are artwork and what really makes a tank pop.

Randy
 
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H2OPlayar

Supporting Member
I don’t mind spending 1-2 weeks putting together a rock scape . It’s something I am going to have to live with for a very long time in the tank.
Good, that is the level of patience that will lead to success and something rarely seen in the hobby except among a few successful people. I had a party with a few friends, took 3 or so hours and was really happy with how it ended up. Also, many of these videos came out over the last 2 years before my tank was made.

How is it missing rocks from the system? 150 lbs of rock is 150 lbs rock in the tank. That’s 150 lbs of rock NOT including the “rock dust”.
Packing factor. If you have negative space, then by definition, you don't have rock.

didn’t you once say “nothing in this hobby happens fast “, I am surprised that you didn’t have the patience after all the effort into your 168 gallon tank to make a great rock scape.
Everyone good says this. Re-read my tank journal and think about if I rushed things, or if I took my time, did research, and stepped into the game slowly. Note that I had been running a 13.5 nano for a year plus before I started my welding to learn things. Also, who says my rock scape is not great?
 
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TurboReef

Supporting Member
Good, that is the level of patience that will lead to success and something rarely seen in the hobby except among a few successful people. I had a party with a few friends, took 3 or so hours and was really happy with how it ended up. Also, many of these videos came out over the last 2 years before my tank was made.


Packing factor. If you have negative space, then by definition, you don't have rock.


Everyone good says this. Re-read my tank journal and think about if I rushed things, or if I took my time, did research, and stepped into the game slowly. Note that I had been running a 13.5 nano for a year plus before I started my welding to learn things. Also, who says my rock scape is not great?

Your rock scapes cool I just want something that is more intricate and unique. Something when someone sees it can identify it’s my tank.

Anyways we are getting away from the actual
Topic as to if anyone has actual experience with this.
 

fishy408

Supporting Member
I used the Glue Masters medium viscosity with sugar sized sand. Used one 8oz bottle and 5lbs of sand to glue approximately 30-40lbs of rock. Overall, I prefer the glue/sand method over the glue/mortar because of the quick bonding.
 

rygh

Treasurer
BOD
First: As I understand, water and superglue is not a good match.
Long immersion in warm water supposedly weakens the bond significantly.
Fine for mounting coral, but not for something strong.
I would suggest researching that in more detail before using that method.

Also: These fancy structures built without internal supports can collapse. Live rock is not really that strong.

Opinion: "Aragopoxy" is the best. I have used it a lot.
I mix quality epoxy with aragonite sand to a peanut butter consistency to connect rocks.

Epoxy has no issue with long term water exposure.
It gets in the crevices better than concrete, and has none of the PH problems.
It bonds well with fiberglass rods for support. You can even use fiberglass cloth.
You can buy whatever bond time you want. Although longer set times are usually stronger.
Use longer set for the main supports and sections.
Use fast 5 minute epoxy for the fiddly decorative bits.
 

TurboReef

Supporting Member
I used the Glue Masters medium viscosity with sugar sized sand. Used one 8oz bottle and 5lbs of sand to glue approximately 30-40lbs of rock. Overall, I prefer the glue/sand method over the glue/mortar because of the quick bonding.

excellent feedback. Thank you. I originally bought e-Marco 4000. It’s nothing more than expensive hydraulic cement and at 40.00 for a small container it would be very expensive to do my rock scape.
 

Srt4eric

Facilities Coordinator
BOD
I didn't make a nsa aquascape for my 40 gallon but I did break up a bunch of big rocks into small rocks then glued back together to make my rock.

I used superglue and accelerator to make the initial bond. When I was happy with it I went back and reinforced with two part epoxy.
 

Baykes

Supporting Member
I would say my scape somewhat follows the Negative Space concept with overhangs and such. I used e-marco 400 which I definitely think it is stronger than glue. Jestersix also uses that in his scapes and I’ve seen him make.

Ive used quikrete in the past but it seemed to weaken over time. Hoping the polymer additive and fibers make e-Marco a bit stronger
 

TurboReef

Supporting Member
I didn't make a nsa aquascape for my 40 gallon but I did break up a bunch of big rocks into small rocks then glued back together to make my rock.
I used superglue and accelerator to make the initial bond. When I was happy with it I went back and reinforced with two part epoxy.

I kind of did this during my first attempt at a rock scape. I used instant ocean epoxy. That white a d green stuff you kneed together like clay. Once that set I used the emarco-4000 to make it structural.
 

TurboReef

Supporting Member
Is a single layer of egg crate enough? I want to put this under my substrate before I pour that into the new tank.

i also plan to epoxy flat plastic to the bottoms
Of the rock scape so it stands flat and sturdy.
 

iani

Supporting Member
Take a look at my build.

The pink/purple emarco is really nice. The emarco is really strong, but yes it is repackaged N427 BASF MasterEmaco N 427 and acryl60, The problem is shipping and the amount you need to purchase would likely not make it worth it. I would trust the emarco over the bond strength of super glue. Like mentioned above you could use the super glue for instant set than reinforce with the emarco.

Look into the flat cut foundation pieces that Marco rocks sells. They make really good bases. It makes the egg crate unnecessary.
 

BAYMAC

Guest
Take a look at my build.

The pink/purple emarco is really nice. The emarco is really strong, but yes it is repackaged N427 BASF MasterEmaco N 427 and acryl60, The problem is shipping and the amount you need to purchase would likely not make it worth it. I would trust the emarco over the bond strength of super glue. Like mentioned above you could use the super glue for instant set than reinforce with the emarco.

Look into the flat cut foundation pieces that Marco rocks sells. They make really good bases. It makes the egg crate unnecessary.
I had MR rock both superglued in spots, and Emarco. Over a couple years the super glue pretty much failed at every location, accept the spots where I drilled the rock and put acrylic rod in it. I had arches last 4 years that were Emarco only, no acrylic. I say for year as that is when the system was taken down.

Large volumes of SG can be obtained from the same company BAR used to sell... https://bsi-inc.com/ and it's in California
 
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