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Stand and Canopy finish

>I would recommend that you use a finish
of this
>type for the interior of the hood. Make
sure that you get one which has a
>high resistance to UV.
>High levels of UV light can and will
break down any
>finsish, given enough time, and in a
high humidity environment (like the
>interior of an aquarium hood) this
process is accellerated.
>A "spar" varnish would be O.K. on the
outside of the
>hood and on the stand, and you can use
stains underneath spar varnish
>providing it is a type which uses a
similar chemistry.

I think spar varnish is too soft for a
furniture type finish that you would
want on the outside of an aquarium hood.
The main use of this stuff is in
exterior applications where it is very
U.V. resistant and very flexable and
water resistant but these things are not
really required on the exterior of the

>Polyurethane is NOT something I'd
recommend - sure it looks great
>and it is easy to use and you can even
get water based ones today but they
>are not designed for the rigours of a
finish used around water

Although I think you are correct  that
epoxy would be a good thing to use I
believe all these marine grade epoxies
are not U.V resistant. Even epoxy
clearcoats containing U.V. inhibiters
are sacrificial and must be renewed on a
regular basis. Two part water based
polyurethane is the finish of choice for
use over top of epoxy. It is highly U.V.
resistant and bonds very well to epoxy.
Unfortunately, it is pretty pricy in the
small quantities required for the
interior of a hood.

>Latex based (or anything which cleans
up with water) finishes are not going to
>suitable - oil based finishes, while
trickier to use for a beginner, are
>much more resistant to moisture.

While oil base finishes are certainly
more waterproof than latex it may not
stick well at all to epoxy. Latex on the
other hand adheres very well and does
not peel as readily probably because it
breathes better. Many boatbuilders on a
budget use 100% acrylic paint to paint
their boat hulls with good results
although you cannot get a good finish
with it. It does not matter on the
inside of a hood so I say why not use
it. Oil base
finishes contain drying oils such as
alkyd which will produce fumes for
months. I do not know if this is harmful
to the fish but I think that it could
be. One thing that can be done to
minimize though is to run the lights 24
hours per day for a couple of weeks
befoere you install the hood and a lot
of the smell will disipate.

Wayne Jones

Wayne's DIY Aquarium Setup at