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Old 11-30-2008, 11:21 PM   #11
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Here are a couple of snapshots of my tank. It's the 75 gallon in my signature. I haven't quite mastered photographing my tank so neither one really shows what I'm seeing when I loook at it. The darkest one (which I took with my lights off) is to dark and the lighter one (taken with the lights on) is to light. Still, it'll give you an idea.
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75G- (3) Firemouth Cichlids, (10) Tiger Barbs, (3) Dojo Loaches, (3) Yoyo Loaches, and (1) Sailfin Pleco.
46G- (3) Pearl Gouramis, (5) Black Skirt Tetras, (7) Harlequin Rasboras, (3) Dojo Loaches, (1) Clown Pleco
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Old 12-01-2008, 12:36 AM   #12
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Very nice tank ! i know what you mean about taking pics, I do it in a dark room without a flash and hope the fish will sit still as not to blur plus have the camera on its tripod.
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Old 12-05-2008, 10:58 AM   #13
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First, let me say thank-you to the OP for posting this question. It made me realize how "bad" by background was with my new fish tank. This question made me realize that I needed to do the same thing.

I have a thought that I think will work, be safe for everyone, and practically free.

Create a very weak solution of water and baby shampoo (or just about any soap). Surely a tiny amount of soap won't harm acrylic will it? Cut the background so that it is barely smaller than the size of the surface you're applying the background to (you can't have any over-hanging edges). Spray some of the solution on the tank and/or background. Place the background on the surface and use a squeegee to work out all air pockets (work from the center moving out).

The soap should cut the surface tension of the water, and once background is on the tank surface, it should stick there on it's own (because of the seal the soap solution will create) so long as nothing pushs on the background (or edges are not trying to roll up). If need-be, you could tape the edges to keep them from accidently peeling up.
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Old 12-05-2008, 05:53 PM   #14
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How does that look on your tank ? do you think the shampoo will have any chance of drying out and leaving a film ?
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Old 12-05-2008, 07:02 PM   #15
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How does that look on your tank ? do you think the shampoo will have any chance of drying out and leaving a film ?
Well, I didn't specifically use shampoo.

I had recently hung some reflective film on my garage doors. I had some of the spray left over, and thinking that was the adhesive, I used it to mount my background last night. I've since realized that the adhesive is actually on the film, and what I had left over was the wetting agent.

But then I got to realize that it wasn't the 'glue' that would be holding the background to the tank. What is really holding the backdrop is basically a suction cup... but in this case, the entire backdrop is acting like a flat suction cup. That is why the background has to be a little bit smaller than the tank, so the edges are not raised, and therefore there is no way for air to infiltrate between the glass and the backdrop.

Of course all this assumes the backdrop is plastic (impervious to water).

As for the shampoo/soap? Well for one, in theory, what little water is there should never dry unless the backdrop starts to pull away from the tank). And even if I'm wrong, I'm talking about using a very little amount of soap... not even a cap full in a gallon of water. Just enough to help break the water's surface tension. Think of the last time you ever did the trick of having a greesey bowl or sink full of water such that you could see an oil slick on the surface of the water. Now place a single drop of dish washing soap in the center, and watch the oil slick ZOOOOM away from the soap.

Now, I'll admit that this is all just a working theory. I have not seen the long term effects of doing this as I just applied my background yesterday. But when I just realized today that things worked great last night, and I didn't even actually use an adhesive, this is the logical conclusion and my educated guess at what should work fine.

Worst case, I'm wrong and you clean the dried soap off the back of the tank. If you are talking about a glass tank, I don't see how soap (especially baby shampoo) could harm the glass (or acrylic for that mater). If you are worried about the soap on acrylic, surely there is some sort of acrylic cleaner that could be used in the water rather than shampoo.

So I guess all I'm really talking about is an alternative to someone elses idea of using oil. The principle of why it works is basically the same, and the idea of the soap is just to break the surface tension of the water.
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Old 12-05-2008, 07:47 PM   #16
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on my acrylic tank i used the soap water spray and i havent had any issues except if you want to rotate the face of the tank to the back. The spray leaves a scum that is hard to remove
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Old 12-05-2008, 11:11 PM   #17
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thanks !
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Old 12-06-2008, 12:53 AM   #18
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How does that look on your tank ? do you think the shampoo will have any chance of drying out and leaving a film ?
Well, it looks like I'm going to find out what the short term results are. Apparently, my application last night did not entirely wet the back of the tank. Today, I could see dry air pockets. At first it looked black until you realizied it was just a spot where the light was not reflecting.
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Old 12-06-2008, 01:14 AM   #19
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That aquarium seaview stuff they sell doesn't say anything about acrylic i don't think, since i don't have the bottle to read it. With acrylic, it is easy to ruin it fast with applications of the wrong thing.
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Old 12-06-2008, 01:34 PM   #20
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Ok, so there is theory, and then there is reality.

I gave up on trying to make the soap film work. Basically, to make it work, your surfaces have to be PERFECT. Other wise, you get a tiny air bubble that just won't come out.

I finally gave up and used the idea of oil. The oil can easily get into those pockets of imperfection and keep the background smooth.
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