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Old 09-20-2012, 06:57 PM   #1
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HELP....I made my acrylic aquarium worse!

Hello everyone,
I am new to this forum but not that new to fish keeping. I have a 55 Gallon American cichlid tank and just recently acquired a 70 gallon acrylic tank for a really good trade on craigslist. I decided bc it is so unique, it is a stretched octagon shape with an oak stand and canopy I wanted it to be kind of like a show tank for my living room. I sanded down the stand a re-stained it to match my living room furnisher and it looks great. The tank was in good condition but not great. It had some minor scratches but nothing that bad. It was clear no cloudiness. Well I filled it up to test it and realized you could still see some scratches so I researched everything I could about sanding a buffing. I ordered the Novus and tried that first, with no success. So I decided I wanted to sand it, looking back I want to kick myself! I read a lot from everywhere, watched YouTube videos and saw how beautiful some peoples tanks turned out, so my thought was, mine is nowhere near that bad I can get it to look like that. Well I started with wet/dry sandpaper 600,1000,1500,2000. That was all they sold besides a 3000 at our local auto store. Well I did everything that the people on YouTube did and after using the Novus 3 and then the 2(I used the 2 three times) using a palm buffer/polisher, it has streaks of haziness. I am sorry for this being so long I just wanted to be descriptive. What do I do????? Do I need to start the sanding process over, if so at what grit? I just wished I had never messed with it, the scratches were nothing compared to this cloudiness. Thanks for any help.

Lindsay

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Old 09-21-2012, 11:45 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lindsay1718
Hello everyone,
I am new to this forum but not that new to fish keeping. I have a 55 Gallon American cichlid tank and just recently acquired a 70 gallon acrylic tank for a really good trade on craigslist. I decided bc it is so unique, it is a stretched octagon shape with an oak stand and canopy I wanted it to be kind of like a show tank for my living room. I sanded down the stand a re-stained it to match my living room furnisher and it looks great. The tank was in good condition but not great. It had some minor scratches but nothing that bad. It was clear no cloudiness. Well I filled it up to test it and realized you could still see some scratches so I researched everything I could about sanding a buffing. I ordered the Novus and tried that first, with no success. So I decided I wanted to sand it, looking back I want to kick myself! I read a lot from everywhere, watched YouTube videos and saw how beautiful some peoples tanks turned out, so my thought was, mine is nowhere near that bad I can get it to look like that. Well I started with wet/dry sandpaper 600,1000,1500,2000. That was all they sold besides a 3000 at our local auto store. Well I did everything that the people on YouTube did and after using the Novus 3 and then the 2(I used the 2 three times) using a palm buffer/polisher, it has streaks of haziness. I am sorry for this being so long I just wanted to be descriptive. What do I do????? Do I need to start the sanding process over, if so at what grit? I just wished I had never messed with it, the scratches were nothing compared to this cloudiness. Thanks for any help.

Lindsay
Please can't anyone help, I don't know what to do next. PLEASE HELP! Thanks.

Lindsay
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Old 09-21-2012, 12:22 PM   #3
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I used to detail cars so I am familliar with your problem. The issuesis not the scratches but the optics. Almost any light will be magnified in the scratches. There are "scratch remover" kits on the market but most are a gimmick. In short your problem is a hard one but not impossible. To repair scratches in acrylic you need to do the following:

1. Get some sheets of 1000 grit sand paper and an orbital sander. You CAN NOT use this sandpaper by hand.
2. get a spray bottle and fill it with distilled water.
3. Spray the scratched area and use the orbital sander and sand paper. Use the lightest pressure that you can, and try not to let te sander sit still for too long on any one area.
4. Spray the area often (every 10-15 seconds) and you will see the scratches start to diminish. (don't panic if you start to see a fine white powder).
5. Once you can no longer see the scratches...wipe /dry the area with with a soft cloth and apply the Novus.

I had a similar problem with fine scratches on a motorcycle wind screen (Lexan Acrylic) and this was the method used to correct.

Take your time...patience is the key.

Good luck!
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Old 09-21-2012, 01:11 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dwayne.aycock
I used to detail cars so I am familliar with your problem. The issuesis not the scratches but the optics. Almost any light will be magnified in the scratches. There are "scratch remover" kits on the market but most are a gimmick. In short your problem is a hard one but not impossible. To repair scratches in acrylic you need to do the following:

1. Get some sheets of 1000 grit sand paper and an orbital sander. You CAN NOT use this sandpaper by hand.
2. get a spray bottle and fill it with distilled water.
3. Spray the scratched area and use the orbital sander and sand paper. Use the lightest pressure that you can, and try not to let te sander sit still for too long on any one area.
4. Spray the area often (every 10-15 seconds) and you will see the scratches start to diminish. (don't panic if you start to see a fine white powder).
5. Once you can no longer see the scratches...wipe /dry the area with with a soft cloth and apply the Novus.

I had a similar problem with fine scratches on a motorcycle wind screen (Lexan Acrylic) and this was the method used to correct.

Take your time...patience is the key.

Good luck!
Dwayne
I have a palm sander, would that work? I was worried about using it bc it's hard to handle inside the aquarium. I know your supposed to change direction but it seems most of these micro scratches go horizontal. I've tried to correct it going vertical but it doesn't seem to help.
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Old 09-21-2012, 01:41 PM   #5
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You can use a palm sander but I don't recommend it. The best sander is an orbital sander with about a 6 to 8 inch head. The palm sander has already done damage (horizontal scratches) because it is directional and not orbital. If you can find the highest grit sand paper the better. Wet sanding is the way to go.
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Old 09-21-2012, 03:23 PM   #6
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Here's some pics to give everyone a clearer pic, non pun intended. You can see a big difference on the buffed side but it's still foggy. Does anyone know if that plastx would work better to get the fogginess out ? Thanks.

Lindsay

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Old 09-21-2012, 03:44 PM   #7
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I would google how to buff out acrylic... I just got a ton of hits.
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Old 09-21-2012, 03:50 PM   #8
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I have, I looked at everything I could and it just doesn't get better. It just stays foggy. I am about to breakdown. Everywhere I read how easy it is to buff out scratches and so I tried it, now my tank looks awful and I don't know what to do. I have followed all the normal directions and this is what I got. Thanks though.

Lindsay
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Old 09-21-2012, 03:54 PM   #9
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Have you actually been buffing it or just sanding it? I used to recon cars, and I've had to wet sand before, but it was never just that. You actually have to buff it with a foam pad, and a polishing compound...
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Old 09-21-2012, 04:43 PM   #10
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I sanded it 1st w/ wet dry sandpaper 600, 1000,1500,2000 then I used novus 3, then novus 2(3 times) then novus 1 and it's still hazy. I have been using a 6" buffer w/ a microfiber bonnet. Do I need to get foam is that the problem? I resanded tge
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Old 09-21-2012, 04:45 PM   #11
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[QUOTE="Lindsay1718"]I sanded it 1st w/ wet dry sandpaper 600, 1000,1500,2000 then I used novus 3, then novus 2(3 times) then novus 1 and it's still hazy. I have been using a 6" buffer w/ a microfiber bonnet. Do I need to get foam is that the problem? I responded it w/ 2000 and buffed and it's better but still streaky haze, especially at top and bottom.
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Old 09-21-2012, 04:52 PM   #12
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Yes! You will need a foam buff pad and some sort of compound/ polish... I don't know what to polish acrylic with, you're gonna need to research... Will prolly need to buff it with a compound and then again with a finishing polish...
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Old 09-21-2012, 04:54 PM   #13
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Just think of what even the finest sandpaper would do to your car... It will leave it hazy, but that's when you use wax, to get it shiny again
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Old 09-21-2012, 05:09 PM   #14
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Does the kind of foam matter, can I just get one to fit on my buffer? I'll get a different polisher. Thanks.
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Old 09-21-2012, 05:48 PM   #15
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I really don't know... I was a recon guy, not an acrylic finisher 8-/ but I did used to use a bit of a harder foam for the compound, and a really soft
one for the polish, or even use an orbital buffer with a microfiber sock on it...
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Old 09-21-2012, 05:58 PM   #16
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Buffing wheel/pad sounds like the issue. One of my favorite DIY builds on the net....

Calvin415's DIY 12ft Tank Summary (Pic Intense!!!) - Reef Central Online Community
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Old 09-21-2012, 08:39 PM   #17
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Those guys on the show "tanked" use acrylic all the time and I am sure they get scratches all the time too. Maybe do rome research on contacting them ( as I understand it they like to help people). I am sure there is a polishing compoind for resin that is out there. These guys or someone like them may put you on the right track. If you no longer see scratches, but haze instead...you are DONE sanding, so put the sand paper away. Your next step is polishing and buffing. Maybe a glass company in your area may be a good start for questions as well.
Good Luck!
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Old 09-21-2012, 09:49 PM   #18
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I love that show! Well I went and got som plastix and that seems to work better than novus, but examining closer there are lots of micro scratches. I think that's what is causing tge cloudiness so I am going to resand the whole tank with 2000 then 3000 and see if that does it. If anyone has anymore tips I would love to hear. Thanks. Top pic is after buffing w/ plastix, you can still see cloudiness at bottom. Bottom is before.

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Old 09-22-2012, 03:32 PM   #19
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Well I resanded with 2000 & 3000 and it's pretty clear I'm filling it up now to see, I'm I am having problems with rounded corners not looking right, any suggestions, Anyone?

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Old 09-22-2012, 03:56 PM   #20
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Can i jump in!? Just sand it again and rebuff. Im a painter at a bodyshop and from time to time i have to buff my paint. Even the best of us need to buff every once in a while . when you sand you need to make sure you dont jump up to far. 600 to 1000 seems like a big jump to me. 600, 800, 1000, 1500, 2000, 3000 grit. These are the steps i would take. When sanding you need the make sure the scratches are removed as you move up. Make sure the 800 removes all the 600 scratches. 1000 removes the 800 and so on. All the way up your last grit. And when buffing just make sure you go over ever inch. The sander also make a difference too. If its not a smooth one your scratches will be more aggressive and noticeable. When i buff paint i use 1500 and 3000 grit. If the 1500 scratches aren't removed after i buff i can still see them. this may be your problem. give it a shot. Resand and Rebuff
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