Painting the back of the tank - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-03-2007, 02:49 PM Thread Starter
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Painting the back of the tank

I did not search this first (started to), because I was not sure HOW to search this topic...

I have read threads/posts about people painting the back of the tank black. It was suggested through PM and email that I am loosing a lot of light out the back of my 10g tank (which I am having a lot of problems keeping cabombia and hornwart alive) and covering the back of the tank should help...ok...I have RCS, 4 GS, and Red ramshorn snails only in this tank (well a pond or two also), so I thought a Black background would really show the RCS and the "orange" Red snails off great. It was also suggested that I use white instead of black as white reflects the light back into the tank, and black absorbs it (true...why do you think school buses roofs are usually white...to reflect the heat away from the bus)...great suggestion!

Now to the question...those of you who do have the back of your tank painted black. How do you keep your plants alive? If you loose a lot of light to the background, do you just increase you watts (WPG)? I would love to go black in my tank, but right now until I know how to get around "loosing" light, I will have to go with the white background...is there a special paint that "reflects the light even though it is black?

Tank: 10g
Plants: Java Moss, Pennywart (floating), Naja, Cabombia, 2 very poor condition Hornwart, and Lace fern (doing better)
DIY CO2 (lace started doing better after adding this)
Substrate: ECO-complete
Filter: Sponge on one side...corner filter on other
Heater: Pre-set at 78*
Lights: Med based (reg screw in) plant lights (6400?K-15w)
Inhabitants: 14 baby/juvie/young adult RCS, 4 Ghostie juvies, 3 adult Ramshorn snails and lots of baby snails.
I don't dose ferts on a reg base, because I just found one at Petco that was safe for shrimp (0-0-3). I know that may not be enough, but it was all they had. I know I can get the 1lb ferts from Greg?, but I don't need that much yet.

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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-03-2007, 02:52 PM
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i'm very interested in this too as i thought about painting the back of the tank black... painting it white sounds like a better idea from the lighting aspect. hadn't even thought of that. but black would look SO much better...
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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-03-2007, 03:46 PM
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Painting is not the only solution here. I have used the mirroized plastic film that you put on windows for places like dentists offices and such to reflect the light back outside onto the outside of the tank with the mirror side facing into the tank so that it looks like a deeper tank and reflects the light back into the tank for the plants.


You can buy the stuff at places like "True Value", "Home Depot", or other home remodeling places for some(spendy) 16-30 US dollars plus gear.
Just use a small squirt bottle and squeegee with water to apply the film per the instructions on the packaging. You will need a good razorblade also so be careful!

The tank will appear deeper(front x back) than it really is, and placement of the tank heater and gear will need to be blocked in with wood or bushy plants.

Hope this helps.
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-03-2007, 03:50 PM
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Her's one thread. Just search for "tank background"
https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/eq...ank+background
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-03-2007, 04:28 PM Thread Starter
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My question was not "what kind to use" it was how to keep light in the tank...(that statement is not to be rude, so please do not take it that way...just wanted to make sure I was clear/not mis-understood)

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Originally Posted by Galactic Doug View Post
Painting is not the only solution here. I have used the mirroized plastic film that you put on windows for places like dentists offices and such to reflect the light back outside onto the outside of the tank with the mirror side facing into the tank so that it looks like a deeper tank and reflects the light back into the tank for the plants.


You can buy the stuff at places like "True Value", "Home Depot", or other home remodeling places for some(spendy) 16-30 US dollars plus gear.
Just use a small squirt bottle and squeegee with water to apply the film per the instructions on the packaging. You will need a good razorblade also so be careful!

The tank will appear deeper(front x back) than it really is, and placement of the tank heater and gear will need to be blocked in with wood or bushy plants.

Hope this helps.
I have used that tint for my home window (may have some left over). Isn't one side treated to stick to the glass, and is activated by the "water" to stick. I think the one we have is to keep cold and heat in the house (according to the time of yr), so what we used just may work...ours was the highest grade Home Depot carried.
Thanks

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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-03-2007, 04:36 PM
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It should be the same stuff if it is "Mirrored" on one side. Just place the side against the tank that you normally would place against the window. I believe it goes on the inside of the window anyways. Put it on the outside of the tank. and I remember having to cut it to size first then applying it since the squeegee process can make it pull away if you haven't cut it to fit first.

The mirror will definitely keep ALL light from escaping, but remember that any room light or back lighting against the back of the tank will show the film as almost invisible but darker instead of mirror.

I bought the Gila brand with the words "Privacy film" and "Mirror" across the packaging. Purple box with 6' amount inside. did two 3 foot tanks with it.
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-03-2007, 04:37 PM
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Black backgrounds won't help reflect light back into the tank. They're black because they absorb all the colors and don't reflect anything back.

What fixture are you using? I wouldn't worry about the light loss from your fixture. IMO, you'd be better off spending money to buy better reflectors rather than spending money to add a background to your tank for the sole purpose of keeping light in the tank.
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-03-2007, 04:41 PM
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A white background may diffuse Some stray light back into the tank, but it is also going to be refracted traveling through the glass both ways and some of it will be lost in the process anyway. Moverover--a White background will show any and all build up on the rear tank glass---its not going to look or stay "Pretty" for very long. Even if its looks Good to You to begin with.

If You have That much light straying out of the tank--You need a better lighting system--or at least better reflector........

Quote:
Lights: Med based (reg screw in) plant lights (6400?K-15w)
You are currently losing a lot of light due to restrike from the bulb design. That's also not including whatever reflectors You have--or no reflectors at all.

If You are going to worry about "Useable" light---best advice is to Up-grade.

HTH


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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-03-2007, 06:05 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by epicfish View Post
What fixture are you using? I wouldn't worry about the light loss from your fixture. IMO, you'd be better off spending money to buy better reflectors rather than spending money to add a background to your tank for the sole purpose of keeping light in the tank.
It is the standard-medium based bulb type from Petsmart (the type that the lightfixture fits IN the hood...in other words, the light can never be used w/o the hood). I did find a fluorscent "replacement" for it at Petco for around $35.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Naja002 View Post
Moverover--a White background will show any and all build up on the rear tank glass---its not going to look or stay "Pretty" for very long. Even if its looks Good to You to begin with.

If You have That much light straying out of the tank--You need a better lighting system--or at least better reflector........



You are currently losing a lot of light due to restrike from the bulb design. That's also not including whatever reflectors You have--or no reflectors at all.

If You are going to worry about "Useable" light---best advice is to Up-grade.

HTH
That is my main concern. I know there is algae on the tank glass that I can not see and the white would show it.

I got this tank from Petsmart, so everything is standard (or should I say "sub-standard")LOL. I got it before I got interested in planted tanks.

So do you guys think I should just upgrade the light fixture and go with the tint on the back of the tank? I like the tint idea.

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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-03-2007, 06:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Suzie Q View Post
So do you guys think I should just upgrade the light fixture and go with the tint on the back of the tank? I like the tint idea.
Maybe some others would have better ideas, but my opinion is to just upgrade the hood with a retro kit from AHSupply.com. For a 10g I don't think You are going to find a better lighting system--or cheaper.

The background is really up to You. Its going to affect the overall appearance/ feel of the tank--so keep that in mind. The AHSupply reflectors are one of the best on the market for CF lighting--so, Personally, I would choose a background based on aesthetics.

HTH


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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-03-2007, 06:18 PM
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Just a thought: Painting a background would mean taking the tank down, but it would give you a color which enhances some fishes colors like reds and blues, if you use black paint. The silver color of the tinted film will not do this, but you would not have to take the tank down to apply it.

Mostly a matter of personal choice on that one.

Deffinitely upgrade the light for some superior plant growth if nothing else. maybe get a mini Aqualight or something of that order. here's a link for that light type:

http://www.aquariumguys.com/miniaqualight1.html

and there are other places to buy I'm sure so search around for the best price.
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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-03-2007, 06:29 PM
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The Coralife Mini Aqualight is ~9-12" long. It won't be sufficient for a 10 gallon tank by any means and will result in unlit areas in the tank.
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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-03-2007, 06:35 PM
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Me Bad I put the wrong link up:

This one is more to the liking of the plants:
http://www.aquariumguys.com/12aqualight.html

36 watts will be more than enough light for almost every plant you'll be able to keep in a ten anyways.
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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-03-2007, 06:42 PM Thread Starter
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On my 5.5g, I have Aqua-Glo lighting, and I don't do anything to the plants...no ferts, no CO2...nothing!, and they are growing like mad! These lights are 18000k-8w fluorscent lights. I do think the lighting is a major factor in the 10g. My family is going on vacation in a month, so all extra funds are going into that for the time being. I will upgrade the fixture as soon as I get back.

Edit:
The links are to hoods right? (repost)How hard are these things to upgrade.

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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-03-2007, 06:49 PM
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Depends on your mechanical abilities and size of the original hood space -vs- the outside dimensions of the reflector. All dimensions must fit or it'll look like a guy whose just got up from an open heart surgery and still has his chest left opened...

Retrofit kits are great for those who like to tinker if you're not that kind of people then go with something that has all tha lighting built already.

Also with the above unit I mentioned earlier there is available some little arms that connect if purchased seperately that allow for the hood to be up off the top of the tank and leaned back when you want to do maintenance on the tank.

More info than you wanted huh but that lets you make a good desicion based on your own needs.
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