How to Use Styrofoam in a Vivarium

Written by david johnson
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How to Use Styrofoam in a Vivarium
Vivariums simulate natural habitats for animals and plants. (Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images)

Many people pay a lot of money to buy expensive backdrops for their vivariums. If you are on a tight budget, you can make a natural-looking backdrop out of styrofoam and a few items from hardware and pet stores. That eliminates a majority of the backdrop's cost and still provides a safe home to raise your pets. They can enjoy a realistic-looking home that will last for years.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Tape measure
  • Utility knife
  • Cardboard
  • 1-inch thick styrofoam sheet
  • Aquarium-safe silicone sealant, clear and bronze
  • Coconut fibres
  • Cork bark

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  1. 1

    Measure the dimensions of the back of your vivarium using a tape measure. Vivariums are usually made of glass or acrylic.

  2. 2

    Cut one piece of cardboard with the same dimensions using a utility knife. The cardboard is used to estimate the size of the backdrop.

  3. 3

    Cut differently sized pieces of 1-inch thick styrofoam with the utility knife. One side of the styrofoam should be flat. Form the other sides of the styrofoam pieces into different shapes. The styrofoam pieces should look like rocks.

  4. 4

    Place the flat side of the styrofoam pieces together. Attach the pieces using aquarium-safe silicone sealant. Let the pieces dry for three hours.

  5. 5

    Place the attached styrofoam pieces over the cardboard. Compare their sizes. Add or remove styrofoam pieces until they match the dimensions of the cardboard.

  6. 6

    Cover the entire styrofoam backdrop with a bronze aquarium-safe silicone sealant. That waterproofs the backdrop and adds colour.

  7. 7

    Attach coconut fibres and pieces of cork bark to different areas of the styrofoam backdrop using silicone sealant. The fibres and bark add to the backdrop's texture. Let the silicone sealant dry for three hours.

  8. 8

    Apply a thin layer of silicone sealant to the flat side of the backdrop. Attach the backdrop's flat side to the back of your vivarium.

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