[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: Tank Backgrounds

Toan Tran is asking about tank backgrounds. It would appear that the high
light level in his tank are reflecting off of the interior glass pane at the
back of the tank. Several suggestions come to mind:

1. Allow algae to grow over the back glass (and don't clean it off). This
will stop the reflections but also prevent you from seeing any background
material which you apply to the outside of the back glass.

2. Place a background inside of the tank. You say that cork was suggested
and you mention messing with epoxy paint. Thin cork sheets are widely
available and quite cheap - you can obtain them from most home building
supply type stores. I have seen them in a light tank color and a dark coffee
brown color, both of which would appear quite "natural" underwater. Thicker
sheets and slabs of cork are available in some large plant nurseries as well
as the herp section of your local pet store. these can give the impression
of bark. If you don't wish to actually glue this material to the back glass
of your aquarium, you can glue it to a 1/8" sheet of plexiglass which is cut
to the exact interior dimensions of your tank. Leave the lower section
(which will be covered by your substrate material) bare and cover the rest
of the sheet with the thin cork sheeting. You can then layer thicker
sections of cork and/or bark over this, and even encorporate driftwood if
you wish (it could either be siliconed in place or you could cut the
driftwood so that it has one flat side and then use small stainless steel
screws through the plexiglass and into the wood to hold it in place. The sky
really is the limit here, the only constraint is your imagination. If this
"arranging" is done ourside of the aquarium, you will find that it is quite
easy to do. Cork is quite resistant to deterioration underwater - you will
probably tire of the background long before it falls apart. The
cork/driftwood covered plexiglass sheet will be held in place by the
substrate at the bottom of the tank and you can hold it in place at the top
either by clips (you may have to search around for some stainless steel
clips made of spring steel or alternatively you could drill the plexiglass
for the insertion of suction cups which will hold the sheet close to the

There is really no need to mess with two part epoxy paint when using this
method - unless of course you want to change the color of the cork
background. The native color of the cork is attractive and natural. I
wouldn't think that there is any necessity of "sealing" the cork against
moisture - it is not going to be any more toxic than driftwood. You may have
to perform larger water changes for a while in case tannins seep from the
cork and discolor your water, but this will lessen over time.

3. This technique could also be used with rigid styrofoam. You can use rasps
and files to shape the styrofoam into any sort of "fantasy" background that
you wish. In this case however it would be wise to coat the back of the
styrofoam with several coats of epoxy first, before you silicone it in
place, and then paint the whole thing once you have it shaped to your
liking. Styrofoam can release chemicals which may be toxic to your fish if
it is not sealed with a two part marine grade epoxy.

James Purchase