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View Full Version : Question re: back of tank - keep glass clean or not?


newreefer_59
03-30-2010, 03:39 PM
Attached is a pic taken Jan 1. The space between the wall and back of the tank is just enough to squuueeezze an arm back there to clean with my magfloat and Easy Scraper and is doable - though it is a pain. So, is it generally ok just to let coraline algae, etc to just grow on the back pane (or is it personal choice? As per pic, I did paint the back blue initially. I do get some (not alot) of short hair algae that my blennie munches on, but wondering if it is beneficial to just leave the back pane or should it be kept as clean as the front and side glass.

Thanks.

banditpowdercoat
03-30-2010, 03:42 PM
All depends on your preferences. I never scrape the back wall. I used to, but was such a chore, and once it grows in, it will be consistent..

bauder1986
03-30-2010, 04:32 PM
deffinitly clean the back. For many reasons too, first off, all reefs look way hotter when clean like that. second off, I believe that you get a better light value when the light is reflected off of clean glass back into the tank then absorbed by algea. and third off which is the most important one is that if you dont clean the algea off of the back wall, you will end up having algea grow, die, grow, die, grow some more and die some more meanwhile creating unexplainable levels of nitrates.......yeah, I clean the back wall of my tank for those reasons.

globaldesigns
03-30-2010, 04:35 PM
I personally don't clean it, but to each his own. It does look nice when it is clean. But I also think a tank developes character when you just leave it alone.

Canadian
03-31-2010, 12:13 AM
Personal preference: keep it clean - the colors of the corals and fish "pop" more against a clean black background. And ultimately the whole point in having a display tank is to "display" the inhabitants optimally.

Second option: cover the back in reef ceramics of some sort giving the appearance of a reef ledge providing additional places beyond the rock work to attach corals.

Leah
03-31-2010, 12:25 AM
Hi Len,

I leave mine behind the rock... where no one can see it...but keep in mind that if you ever want to change your rock work, it will be harder scraping it off...totally up to you though. :wink:

chris88
03-31-2010, 12:27 AM
This might change your mind. The difference is much more noticeable in person.

http://www.canreef.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=62716

naesco
03-31-2010, 12:34 AM
In my opinion never clean it.
It may look picture perfect if you do clean it but here is the downside.

Many reefers take care to remove detritus from the bottom of their tanks. They also take care to stop any non-macro algae, small outcropping of cyno from growing their tanks.

By leaving the back of your tank alone, tiny crabs, shrimp, pods, bacteria and many many other critters have a place to home and to eat and avoid being eaten and breed.

These critters are food or provide food through their eggs and larvae to the corals and some of the smaller fish in your tank.

StirCrazy
03-31-2010, 02:03 AM
leave it be, remove undesiriable algae, and encourage coraline growth. having clean back glass is horable when your trying to take pictures, give you washed out pictures unless you know how to edit them and gives you a ton of reflections in the pics. the ideal thing would be to get black glass for the back and have it etched to remove any reflective surface, you want to see colors pop.. try a black background.

Steve

PoonTang
03-31-2010, 04:33 AM
I just let mine grow wild.

BlueAbyss
03-31-2010, 04:39 AM
By leaving the back of your tank alone, tiny crabs, shrimp, pods, bacteria and many many other critters have a place to home and to eat and avoid being eaten and breed.

I have to agree with this... the 10 gallon that I just dismantled had a turf of GHA (and the beginnings of some coralline), hundreds of tiny 'pods, worms, and snails living in it. It didn't look bad either, when it was turkey basted daily...

But now that I've moved everything into a shiny clean tank, I must say that I really like the clean glass. It looks great and doesn't trap detritus (the turf would catch small particles and start to look 'dusty' after a day or two). This new tank isn't sitting right against a wall, so I will scrape this one... but if you can see the wall, I wouldn't bother. Wall reflection is uglier than coralline growth, IMO.

As far as using black glass, don't bother... get automotive window tint, it has a similar effect if you use a deep tint and is reasonably durable and easily removed if you get bored of it. EDIT: Oops, missed the 'etched' part about avoiding reflection. Does black glass work that way?

ElGuappo
03-31-2010, 06:43 AM
i clean above my rockscape occasionally. I never do behind the rockscape. i dont do the sides either when they are not viewable.

StirCrazy
03-31-2010, 01:13 PM
. EDIT: Oops, missed the 'etched' part about avoiding reflection. Does black glass work that way?


ya any smooth surface reflects light, although it is not as bad as the color gets darker it will still be there. I just don't know how "etched" will hold up in a marine enviorment and it will be very hard to clean but easy for coraline to get a foothold in.. all in all its not practicle, so painting, layering ect is the simplest way.

Steve

wickedfrags
03-31-2010, 02:25 PM
I keep all sides of the tank clean and free of coraline. IMO, looks much nicer and reflects more light. If you do it regularly it is not a big job. On the non-viewable side, I always paint the back of the glass black, some prefer blue.

Skimmer King
03-31-2010, 02:57 PM
Coraline Algae is a huge CAL/ALK sucker. SO alot of people will keep it clean. so that they dont have to replace it.

PROS.
the corals will get more light from the back depending on the color u use like light blue.
it looks cleaner.
it keeps your Coraline in check.

CONS
A small village for pods and creatures to live as stated.
hair algae is grow to remove extra nutrients.
it will look more natural in the tank like the Ocean.
It will consume more ALK/CAL if its Coraline Algae.
It will start to shade that portion of the tank so that some corals may not get the reflective of light to grow IE SPS.
Snails can harvest off the Coraline on the back to eat


At the end of the day its going to be up to you in what you want to have tin your tank.

I like the clean look my self

mike31154
03-31-2010, 03:16 PM
I let it grow pretty wild, it can get ugly, but parts are pretty cool as well. Now that it's quite grown over with coralline, I feel better about leaving it be. I have two Mandarin Dragonets in the system and as mentioned in previous posts, a well matured glass pane supplies plenty of extra food for these guys. I also have an extra little acrylic fuge just below the surface, hanging off the rim of the tank to protect & encourage the pod population. I don't even mind some hair algae on the back glass, I figure if it's there, it's less likely to establish on my rockwork, plus it takes up nitrates and I export it from time to time.

StirCrazy
03-31-2010, 08:45 PM
A lot of people seam to think that you will get a benifit of reflected light, the actual usable light that is reflected is not a significant amount. take into concideration on a smooth reflective surface the light is reflected at the incident angle of what it is recived, so 90% of refleced light will hit the bottom a few inches from the glass and closer. also glass is not a 100% reflective surface by any means its transmittance can be between 85 to 95% for common glass so that means 85 to 95% of the light passes right through the glass to start with, the remaining 5 to 15% is reflected. plus the light that is reflected travels a greator distance through the water so its intensity is dropped also.

so don't clean your glass just because you think you are going to get more light.

now if you made the back of the tank out of a highly reflective material with a very low transmittance it might be a differant story, but I don't know anyone making tank backs out of spectral aluminum :mrgreen:

Steve

fkshiu
03-31-2010, 08:50 PM
I keep the back sparkling clean. Looks much better giving a far greater sense of depth to the tank.

Coralline is fugly. I hate the look and the fact that it sucks Ca/Alk.

Skimmer King
03-31-2010, 09:13 PM
A lot of people seam to think that you will get a benifit of reflected light, the actual usable light that is reflected is not a significant amount. take into concideration on a smooth reflective surface the light is reflected at the incident angle of what it is recived, so 90% of refleced light will hit the bottom a few inches from the glass and closer. also glass is not a 100% reflective surface by any means its transmittance can be between 85 to 95% for common glass so that means 85 to 95% of the light passes right through the glass to start with, the remaining 5 to 15% is reflected. plus the light that is reflected travels a greator distance through the water so its intensity is dropped also.

so don't clean your glass just because you think you are going to get more light.

now if you made the back of the tank out of a highly reflective material with a very low transmittance it might be a differant story, but I don't know anyone making tank backs out of spectral aluminum :mrgreen:

Steve

Ok Steve let me rephrase that the tank is alot brighter from the dull coraline to the bright light blue color that the tank is painted..

StirCrazy
04-01-2010, 01:37 PM
Ok Steve let me rephrase that the tank is alot brighter from the dull coraline to the bright light blue color that the tank is painted..

after having both a tank that was viewable from 3 sides and one that was against the wall at the same time to compare, I would never have the back clear/clean again. I actualy fine the pinks, reds and purples of the coraline catch the light better and light up, where the glass just stays looking dim. now having said that I would lightly clean the back to allow the coaline to take hold, so in other words to remove the film algae but not hard enough to remove the coraline.

It does take a while to get the look this way so you would want to paint the back of the tank also. I did blue befor but I would go black if I did it again.

now a painted back does look nice and as you said looks bright also, but it doesn't look that natural to me. both my tanks had one end or back painted and I use a medium blue. it was like a wall of blue no depth, no variation ect.. how many things in the ocean are like that. when the coraline grew over the back of the one tank it was amazing instead of nice, the rockwork blended into the back and added a dimention to the tank the other didn't have.

Steve

Norstar
04-03-2010, 02:52 AM
I keep the front and sides clean. I like the natural look.

tang204
04-07-2010, 02:21 AM
i also like the natural look of the coraline, gives a tank character

BCOrchidGuy
04-07-2010, 06:45 PM
The clean back looks sterile to me, as Naesco said the growth provides shelter for a number of critters. I think the coraline algae looks wonderful on the back.

Doug