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Old 09-18-2010, 05:15 PM   #1
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Automotive protection for the aquarium?

I'm going to be building an acrylic aquarium soon but the last thing I want is something all scratched up. What's the point of having an aquarium if you can barely see the contents? As I'm sure some of you know, 3M and a few other companies make a clear bra for vehicles that prevents scratches and rock chips in the paint. If I'm not mistaken, vehicle paint is basically just acrylic, so the clear bra should bond well to an acrylic aquarium. It's installed like window tint, but on the painted body not the windows. Biggest concern I have is the glue used. I know nothing about it, like if it would be ok to use in an aquarium, or if everything in the aquarium would turn blue and explode. Has anyone used a clear bra, or anything similar, to prevent scratches on the acrylic walls?
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Old 09-18-2010, 05:49 PM   #2
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Are you planning to use this inside the aquarium (this is where most scratches occur)? I wish I could help you, but I think your best bet is to call an acrylics shop and then an acrylic tank manufacturer and ask them. You know, you can buff acrylic scratches out
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Old 09-18-2010, 07:11 PM   #3
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Planning on using it inside and out. There's are often a bunch of kids in my house (4 are mine, others are friends of them) so I'm trying to find stop the scratch before it's scratched, rather than buffing it out after. Then again, I've never had an acrylic aquarium so I don't know how much of a problem scratches are first hand. It may not be worth the extra expense. At this point I'm still in the early stages of planning.
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Old 09-18-2010, 07:19 PM   #4
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The biggest concern I have with it is what will leech back into the aquarium? How does the stuff cure? Too many variables that I can't predict which means I wouldn't use it personally.

Outside the tank is a different story all together.

Acrylic tanks scratch pretty easily but it's not as bad as you may think. You will end up with more scratches inside then out I expect. Using an acrylic mag float, catch a piece of sand and watch out.

Be interested in seeing some info on this when you get it.
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Old 09-18-2010, 07:27 PM   #5
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I emailed 3M to ask them directly of any chemicals that could leech into the water, but haven't heard back from them yet. That's also my biggest concern. I'll definitely post some info if I can find any. My online searches haven't yeilded any results unfortunately.
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Old 09-18-2010, 07:37 PM   #6
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I think it will affect the clarity of the acrylic. Paint will definitely make it harder to view thru. It might make the tank look like foggy.
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Old 09-18-2010, 07:42 PM   #7
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Oh it's not a paint. It's a film like clear window tint. It's even applied in a similar manner. No painting involved.
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Old 09-19-2010, 01:12 AM   #8
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I think the distortion from basically having a sandwich of three separate layers will not be pretty. Might save you some scratches, but if you can't see clearly through it, what's the point.

If you're concerned about scratches, I'd just go with a glass tank.
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Old 09-19-2010, 06:50 AM   #9
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what size tank are you planning to build?
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Old 09-19-2010, 02:51 PM   #10
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60x36x24 is what I'm thinking. ~225 gallons. 24 high because that's half of a 48x96 sheet of acrylic, which is a full sheet IIRC. 96-60=36, so the pieces I cut off of the front and back should fit perfectly as the sides making the sides 24x36, which kinda dictates the 60x36x24 overall dimensions. With the extra material I cut from the bottom sheet, I should have enough to make my two external overflows, so I think that size will work well. 200+ gallons is a bigger than I had originally planned for, but I can probably get a good deal on buying full sheets of acrylic instead of having it all cut to size. More work on my part, but I like idea of building it myself.

I'm also considering 72x24x24 which is about 180 gallons and should work out just as well from the two full sheets of acrylic. I haven't researched the ideal footprint yet, but I think it would be better to have it wider and a little shorter than long and skinny.
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