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Hey guys,

I recently set up a 15g with a single betta.
Plants are jumping back after melting, and everything is coming along nicely.

What I've been noticing is that he has been swimming back and forth taunting the sides of the tank. He doesn't flare, but i know he can see himself. I have some left over Black Acrylic paint that i used to paint the background and was wondering if i should paint the sides too.

Will it look funky? Should I wait and see if it goes away? He is new to the tank, I got him last Sunday night. Will painting the sides even help?

Any opinions will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks!
 

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Painting the outside of the glass won't help, fish can still see their reflection in the glass.

I would wait, he's still getting used to the new tank.
 

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The fish should not be able to see himself in the sides of the tank unless you put a mirror against the tank wall.

When a fish looks at the glass head-on it is clear and they see out into the surrounding room.

The only time you can see a reflection in glass-water boundaries is when you are viewing them at a very steep angle. Such as when you look through the front of the tank at the sides, they look like a mirror. Looking through the sides, the front and back do the same. The far side is crystal clear.

If you're looking at a steep enough angle to see a reflection, you can't see your own reflection. The view is of things past you, not back in your direction. This is why you see the back wall of your tank reflected in the sides, not your own face.

Painting the sides, or applying a plastic film won't change the reflections, because they are occurring on the inside of the tank. It is the difference in refractive index between glass and water causing the reflection. A paint or film will prevent the fish from seeing outside the tank, but won't stop the high-angle mirror effect.
 

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The fish should not be able to see himself in the sides of the tank unless you put a mirror against the tank wall.

When a fish looks at the glass head-on it is clear and they see out into the surrounding room.

The only time you can see a reflection in glass-water boundaries is when you are viewing them at a very steep angle. Such as when you look through the front of the tank at the sides, they look like a mirror. Looking through the sides, the front and back do the same. The far side is crystal clear.

If you're looking at a steep enough angle to see a reflection, you can't see your own reflection. The view is of things past you, not back in your direction. This is why you see the back wall of your tank reflected in the sides, not your own face.

Painting the sides, or applying a plastic film won't change the reflections, because they are occurring on the inside of the tank. It is the difference in refractive index between glass and water causing the reflection. A paint or film will prevent the fish from seeing outside the tank, but won't stop the high-angle mirror effect.
dreaded flashbacks of college physics class lol
 

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I think it might actually make it worse.

You are less likely to see a reflection in the glass when you can see through it - if more light is coming from outside then in (think looking inside a dark house when it's bright outside - if the lights are off, you won't see anything, just your reflection. If the lights are on, it's easier to see in).

Once you paint it, there will be no way for it to see through the glass, and while it may not always see a reflection, it will probably see one more often then if the glass was bare.
 

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It will make it worse. Given the very polished surface of glass, no matter what type of paint you use it will conform to the flat surface of glass and hence will look shiny from the other side. This will effectively enhance the mirror effect.

Try it on a small piece of glass or a small area of your fish tank and you'll see. You can easily scrape it off using a flat blade.
 
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