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PVC Aquascaping Structure


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Allright folks. Been talking about it and with the gracious help of my girlfriend I now have an aquascape skeleton that I can be proud of.


Hammer - (Breaking live rock)

Power Drill

1/4" Standard Bit

1/4" Masonary bit

PVC Pipe Cutter

Needle Nose Plyers - (Cutting Zip Ties and routing them through holes)

Measuring Tape


1/2" PVC

PVC Connectors (Get 1 bag of 45 angle, 1 bag of 90 elbows and 2 bags of T connectors.)

Pond Foam (Lowes has it in stock)

A few cups of dry sand

Lots of Dry Rock

Dry Rock rubble (Or take a piece of dry rock and hit it a lot with the hammer)

Big pack of big zip ties



To start out Measure out and diagram your tank. I built a full closed loop as I will be putting a current through the pipe to avoid dead spots. I did not seal this loop but in retrospect I wish that I had. It would have made zip tieing the rock a lot easier. Also, leave a minimum of 4" and preferably more like 6" between your loop and the glass. I only did 4 and really wish I had had that other 2. I also wish I had put in more "support" structures thought that would not have been needed with using sealent.

Closed Loop:


Then I added in T connectors everywhere that I thought I would want them and put together the skeleton of the overall structure. Put your structure in your tank to make sure that it fits right. Then take it out and using the 1/4" standard drill put holes in the thing about once every 3-4" and strategically wherever you think you will need them. 1/4" is perfect for zip ties. Then reassemble the entire animal back in your tank with all the holes. This is where I think it would be a good idea to use either silicon sealent or purple pvc cement and put the whole thing in nice and tight.






Don't be afraid to change things. The second strip in the front really did not work out so I just tore it out. I put endcaps on the "t"s there and was done with it.

Once you have the structure in put down some styrofoam to protect your glass. I used the shipping box for a previous fish order and just broke the top in half. Even with a helper we ended up dropping a few pieces that I am sure would have broken even the tempered glass on the bottom.

Then you just zip tie the rock to the holes in the PVC. This is much easier said than done and took me the entire evening and well into midnight with a helper. I could not have done it without a helper. for 75% of the pieces I was able to find a good place to zip tie through a hole in the rock using profs fantastic dry rock. The rest of the time I yanked out the masonary bit and drilled a hole. You cannot even tell that this was done in most cases even if you are looking for it.


After all the pieces are in place go through and cut the tails off the zip ties. Then use the pond foam to hide the leftover PVC. Sprinkle it with the sand and put some rock rubble on it and it creates a great illusion of live rock there. The sand is also needed to protect the foram from the UV of your lights. BTW this stuff is a pain to work with. You should sprinkle sand all over the bottom of your glass as it will droop off of the rockwork and the sand gives it something to stick to besides your glass. Also, the bottle of acetone is to clean the stuff off of your hands when done. You will need it.

My dry rockwork when done. I'll post more pics after I get the sand and liverock in to cover the remaining PVC. The white stuff on the bottom is paper towels to grab droopings from the foam but I could have just used sand and it woulda worked just fine.


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