Go Back   Aquarium Advice - Aquarium Forum Community > General Aquarium Forums > General Hardware/Equipment Discussion
Click Here to Login

Join Aquarium Advice Today
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Please support our sponsors and let them know you heard about them on AquariumAdvice.com
 
Old 01-12-2011, 01:04 PM   #1
Aquarium Advice Apprentice
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Baltimore, MD
Posts: 24
glass distortion (am I being too picky?)

Hi sirs and madams of the fishieforum.

Long story short, I'm about a decade removed from any serious aquarium-keeping. I received for Christmas a 56 gallon aquarium with stand (little marineland combo package - link). I was in the process of planning out the whole setup, but after cleaning/scraping wayward bits of silicone off the glass/etc, and filling it (was planning to start cycle), I have become more and more irritated at the distortion that the glass causes.

It isn't as though the glass is uneven- it seems from the three sides I can view from that the distortion is uniform throughout. I understand that glass and water and air all have different spectrum/wavelengths/whatever you call it, and so some distortion is to be expected, but this seems a little much. I imagine it is purely a result of the glass thickness.

My girlfriend saved the receipt, so if worse comes to worst, I can go trade it in and pay the difference towards a better set-up, however I am not particularly inclined to do so. I know I would get better clarity and less distortion from acrylic, but I get very nervous about how easily acrylic scratches, and while yes it can be buffed out, what a pain that is, especially if it is scratched on the inside at some point after its filled and up and running.

I have been looking a lot at aquascaping (found a great site that has an annual aquascaping competition and has pictures of nearly a decade's-worth of submissions) and wonder if filling out the aquarium would have any positive, or negative, impact on the distorting effect. These aquariums I see on this other website (would post link but its on my home computer and I don't recall the name) look as though there's zero distortion, but I notice a lot of them have sealed, angular edges, which leads me to believe that they are glass and not acrylic...so...did I just happen to receive a particularly low-quality aquarium, or is this distortion normal for this sort of tank? Should I "get over it" or is it relatively easy and not much more expensive to upgrade (keeping approximately same volume aquarium)? Are there any tricks to minimizing the distortion? Right now the aquarium is actually a little closer than it should be to the wall, but, once I take water out to plant it, I will move it...but...would a background affixed to the glass have any affect on the distortion? Will lighting affect the distortion effect? I plan to upgrade the stock lighting that came with it.

I'm frustrated and want to be told "yeah this is normal, deal with it," or, "if you wanna spend 50 or 100 extra, go get ___________ ".

For bonus points, if anyone can look at that aquarium/dimensions (linked above) and tell me what the least expensive lighting route would be to grow medium-light plants (I'd like to go high light and put some crazy plants in there, but, I don't want to get into Co2 regimens just yet, and so would like to start slow but with good lighting so I can get at least a little more interesting than anubis/wort/etc)? That is, what type of bulb/how many/etc.

Mostly right now I just want some feedback from people regarding what kind of distortion they experience and whether there are things to help minimize its visual impact. I don't have any experience with an aquarium this large (previous max was a 29 gallon) so I'm not sure if I'm expecting too much or if this is a case of needing to spend just a little more for a significant improvement in depth/clarity.

Thanks ahead of time for all responses!
__________________

__________________
monsterz3ro is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-12-2011, 02:34 PM   #2
Aquarium Advice Addict
 
BigJim's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Oak Forest, IL
Posts: 4,388
The problem with a tall tank like that is you need thicker glass to handle the water pressure, which can lead to more refraction. The index of refraction of glass is a lot closer to that of water than air, so you should see less distortion in a filled tank.

There are tanks made with low-iron Starphire glass, but those are very expensive. They'll show truer colors, but not less refraction.
__________________

__________________
BigJim is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-12-2011, 02:37 PM   #3
Aquarium Advice Apprentice
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Baltimore, MD
Posts: 24
Thanks for the response.

What kind of tank do you have? Glass/acrylic? I'm wondering if I should bite the bullet and go get an acrylic. I really don't want to but the distortion is irritating- this thing is significantly wider from front-to-back than the traditional format (wide front, and narrow front-to-back [sides]) but with the distortion, it looks no wider front-to-back than the traditional.
__________________
monsterz3ro is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-12-2011, 03:19 PM   #4
Aquarium Advice Addict
 
BigJim's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Oak Forest, IL
Posts: 4,388
I've got four glass tanks and one small acrylic. I guess I've just taken the distortion as a fact of life. I can see my fish and that's all that really matters to me.
__________________
BigJim is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-13-2011, 01:10 AM   #5
member
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigJim View Post
The problem with a tall tank like that is you need thicker glass to handle the water pressure, which can lead to more refraction. The index of refraction of glass is a lot closer to that of water than air, so you should see less distortion in a filled tank.

There are tanks made with low-iron Starphire glass, but those are very expensive. They'll show truer colors, but not less refraction.
It should also be noted that low iron high visibility glass allows more UVB to get through. All glass blocks UVB to some extent. Really poor glass blocks it almost compleatly. (you'll learn this in photography class. But a cheap uv filter not a good one, it blocks more uv) So you can end up with great glass, really clear, low IOR, that is constantly covered in algea. Never a free lunch!
__________________
Polyhead is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-13-2011, 01:36 AM   #6
Aquarium Advice Apprentice
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Baltimore, MD
Posts: 24
Sounding more and more like this isn't a question of not being decent-quality glass, but instead just isn't the high-end type?
__________________
monsterz3ro is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-13-2011, 09:16 AM   #7
Aquarium Advice Addict
 
BigJim's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Oak Forest, IL
Posts: 4,388
It depends on what exactly you're calling distortion. If your colors are muted or tinted, then Starphire glass would help. If you're dissatisfied because the place you see your fish isn't exactly the actual location of the fish, that's just a fact of life. The light bounces off the fish, passes through the water, then bends when it hits the glass. It bends again when it passes from the glass to the air.
__________________
BigJim is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-13-2011, 10:02 AM   #8
Aquarium Advice Activist
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Ohio
Posts: 185
My Wife and I noticed something similar on our 65G tank that we purchased used. Standing back and looking at it you would never know but if you get close to the glass to get a close up look of something inside it looks more distorted. It's not so bad you can't see what you're looking at but it does mess with you a bit.
__________________
NickRummy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-16-2011, 06:08 AM   #9
member
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 28
Just a thought
You know, for contrasts sake, You could polarize both sides of the glass, then polarize the lamps and really up the contrast. That said you would then also need twice as much light.
__________________
Polyhead is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-16-2011, 06:27 PM   #10
Aquarium Advice Activist
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Times Square
Posts: 119
This is just a hunch, but I am thinking that the distortion will be less evident once the tank is planted. As it is now you are looking through two sit/glass/water interfaces, one on the front side of the tank and one on the back. Once you get some plants and fish in there the plants will keep you from seeing out the back side of the tank as much and your eye will be focusing on the fish in front of the plants and I suspect the distortion will be less evident.
If you want to talk about distortion go to the local fish store and look at a tank with curved glass corners like a BioCUBE. Things look really weird in the corners or when looking through the side and seeing the room beyond through the corner and the bowed front.
__________________

__________________
Charlie

A seed hidden in the heart of an apple is an orchard invisible.
Welsh Proverb
kc2ped is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
glass, ick

Please support our sponsors and let them know you heard about them on AquariumAdvice.com

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Are Platys Picky Digitalgerl Freshwater & Brackish - Breeding 3 07-31-2007 06:07 PM
Picky Anthias got bait? Saltwater Reef Aquaria 4 12-13-2004 04:30 PM
Picky hermit... MattP725 Saltwater Reef Aquaria 3 10-15-2004 10:26 AM
Picky eaters Spiderman Saltwater Reef Aquaria 2 09-21-2004 04:29 PM
Picky Betta lmw80 Freshwater & Brackish - General Discussion 10 09-09-2003 02:17 PM







» Photo Contest Winners








Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 02:26 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.