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     This is rather longish, but someone else may find the information 
     michael.dunn at thalhimer_com

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Author:  Michael Dunn at mgt
Date:    3/6/98 3:54 PM

     Not a bother at all Danielle...
     I have had mixed results with painting glass directly.  Glass has such 
     a smooth surface, it is hard to find any "tooth" for the paint to 
     adhere to.  Someone once recommended that I lightly sand the glass 
     before painting it.  It worked well at the time, BUT DO NOT TRY THIS.  
     I since learned that the majority of tempered glass's strength comes 
     from the surface -- hence scratches reduce its overall strength!  I 
     had a number of sleepless nights after I learned about that!
     If you read my post, you know I am a real proponent of using foam 
     board, for the added temperature stability and additional shock 
     protection it provides.  That said let me admit that I still have two 
     aquariums with painted backs and if you must do it...  let me at least 
     go through my trials and tribulations.
     Oil based enamels applied with a brush - yuck; very poor coverage and 
     an uneven coating that showed through when stray light came from the 
     rear of the aquarium.
     Latex applied with a brush - slightly better results, but the coverage 
     was still spotty and uneven.
     Latex applied with a roller - this was decent and certainly, the best 
     of the hand applied finishes.  It still left a slightly mottled finish 
     (even with self-leveling paint).  It took two or three coats as I 
     recall, but the effect was neat in a way.
     Spray enamel/lacquer - a.k.a. good 'ole Krylon!  This is my choice for 
     painting aquariums these days.  It takes a little surface preparation 
     and time to mask the frame, but the results are about as good as you 
     are going to get painting glass.
     How to do it...  the name of the game is keep it clean!
     Place the aquarium face down with the back facing up.  Try to keep the 
     tank as level as possible - this will help if you are using a 
     self-leveling paint.  Grab some glass cleaner and some paper towels 
     and give the glass a good cleaning.  Make sure that you remove any 
     fingerprints.  The oils in your hand will prevent the paint from 
     adhering to the glass.  
     Once you think the glass is clean, do it again just to be certain.  
     After I clean the glass a couple of times I usually wipe the back down 
     again with some acetone (finger nail polish remover will work).  BE 
     VERY CAREFUL USING THIS STUFF!  It is toxic, it is flammable and you 
     do not want to glob it on because it will eat silicone seams!!  Apply 
     a little bit to a paper towel and give the glass another good once 
     over with it.  That will ensure that you have cut-up and removed every 
     bit of oil on the back of the  tank.
     If you are spraying the tank, now is the time to mask the frame and 
     the sides of the tank.  Plain old masking tape and newspaper are fine 
     (this is not a science -- it is the back of the tank after all!).  
     Cover up anything you do not want splattered with paint or over spray. 
       Once you feel safe that you have protected the "environment" (and 
     prevented yourself from getting in trouble for unwanted paint in 
     unwanted spots  -- experience speaking here: just don't ask my wife 
     where the green haze in the dining room carpet came from.)  Paint 
     away!  It probably will take several coats.  Be sure and follow the 
     paint manufactures instructions for drying time between coats.
     After your final coat and well before the top layer has cured, peel 
     back your masking tape and clean any unwanted drips and dribbles on 
     the frame and sides up with a single edged razor blade.  Let the paint 
     harden a while and Viola! you are done.
     A couple of hints: 1) Do not worry about drips, sags or runs.  They 
     more than likely will not show through when looking through the 
     aquarium.  2) Get rid of any large air bubbles.  They WILL show 
     through.  3) Be very careful once you are done.  The paint does not 
     have a good hold on the glass and it will easily scratch and peel from 
     the glass.
     Phew!  I am sorry this is taking so long.  One last thing though, 
     color.  All too often, I feel people choose colors that either hide 
     the inhabitants of an aquarium (i.e. black in a marine or reef 
     aquarium) or distract the viewers eyes away from the inhabitants (i.e. 
     bright blue in both freshwater and marine tanks).  For fresh water 
     tanks, I have settled on a very, very dark green.  It is natural 
     looking, shows off plants great and still allows you to see the black 
     coloring in fish (think of looking at a black molly against a black 
     background - not to great huh?).  All of my marine tanks used to be 
     painted (read past tense - I am totally freshwater now) were painted 
     in standard bright blue.  If I had my druthers today, I would more 
     than likely use a really, dark teal or blue.  Something natural that 
     would compliment my fish and invertebrates without washing them out or 
     drawing attention away from them.
     If you are hand painting the back and having a latex paint mixed, why 
     not be different?  Break the standard and shoot for something that 
     will add depth to your tank.  Think of your self as being under water. 
      Do not shoot for infinity, but what color would you be looking at 
     just beyond visible perception.  A fun exercise and one whose effect 
     will be fantastic if you apply the concept correctly.
     You probably did not expect an epistle, but I hope the information 
     helps.  Drop me a note and let me know what color you choose and how 
     it turned out.
     Good Luck!
     michael.dunn at thalhimer_com
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Author:  "Nadeau; Danielle" <NadeaD at parl_gc.ca> at Internet 
Date:    3/6/98 12:56 PM
I hope this e-mail won't be a bother but your answer at FINS is the only one 
I could find related to painting the back of an aquarium.
In it you were talking about painting styrofoam and then taping is to the 
aquarium.  What I was wondering is if you have any experience with painting 
the actual glass of the aquarium.  What kind of paint?  A roll or a brush?
I am purchasing a 65 gallon tall.  It is glass and it will house marine fish 
for now and a reef in a couple years.
Any advice would be appreciated.
Danielle Nadeau