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Setting Up Barracks


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Well the last few days I have been putting in the time to start setting up the barracks after work(I get home at 9:30pm mid you). I have made the spray bar and just need to drill holes and add irrigation plumbing. I also finished making a stand the other night. I just had a few questions.

My tank is very similar design to Ness' barracks. I wanted to add a black background but on the inside glass. (Refer to Ness' tank image)


The red being the outer glass and the blue being the glass inside the tank.

So what ever I use to black it out needs to be submerged in water so Any suggestions?


Looking at getting some plants/driftwood

As far as plants Im looking at Java Fern/Anubias Nana Maybe on drift wood. Just wondering if anyone can help out with this purchase as I need to fill all 7 chambers.

What Can I use to act as a lid for the barracks incase of jumping fish?

&& last but not least, Lighting!! I was going to make my own such as using LED light strip (Cool White) on a aluminum channel which I would have added a switch and power source too but I am thinking it may be too bright and not enough lighting for the plants. Just wondering if anyone would recommend anything else? Would it still work the same if I were to add a strip of blue LED's also?

I apologize for all the questions but I have been searching the internet the last few nights and havent been able to find everything I needed.


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Hey Muss,

Nice barracks :lol:

I believe black Krylon Fusion paint is waterproof and safe for aquarium use. So in theory you could paint the interior walls with it and it wouldn't harm the inhabitants. Apparently reefers use it. Not sure though if we have it here?

If you are growing anubias/java fern and any moss like java, very low - low light would be enough. What you need is something in the range of 6500 - 10000K. LEDs do give you that shimmery effect (similar to halides) and are very cost effective compared to fluros. Guess it comes down to really personal choice as none of the plants you are after are going to be particularly demanding. My anubias and java fern do fine in diluted natural light.

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I would assume if Muss went the painted route you'd use a mirror to flare them with instead.

I tried several different methods of carding in my barracks and half the time the things came loose or some stupid betta swam up and got stuck behind it. Plus they looked as ugly as sin.

The painting route was just a suggestion. If anyone has any better ideas I would be interested in hearing them as well for any future barracks I plan.

I just re-read the OP and now I'm not sure whether Muss wants to cover up the interior walls between the cells or just put a background along the inside wall at the back? If so, ignore my suggestion :lol:

Edited by Wild Nut
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Just to clarify, the sides will be carded I'm just asking about the back glass panel so it looks a little neater. I'm using binder dividers to card them in-between eachother

Another option I was thinking about instead of fully carding was painting half the glass dividers so they have a little spot when they move to the back of the barracks they wouldn't see eachother

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Personally I would not paint the inside of any tank. I have painted the outside of my 6ft tank with water based flat black paint and it has come up a treat, if it ever begins to crack or peel all I need to do is slide a scraper along it to remove it with ease. Inside the tank I think you would want to go with enamel based paint which is a pain to clean up with turps.

No paint is designed to go on glass as to apply it properly you really should sand the surface it is going on then undercoat it then apply the finish coat which is not possible on a fish tank so you take the chance the paint will bond on the glass, having it submerged adds to the possibility of it not lasting and starting to crack or peel. (unless there is new paint I do not know about, I have been out of the trade 20 years now)

What about cutting up some perspex to size and use that as cards and painting the outside only? My advice is to steer clear of painting inside tanks, too many potential problems.....is the paint fish safe, is it going to last once submerged etc....

Some things to consider when buying the paint, do you want to spray it or roll it on? I advise against using a paint brush as it is the hardest way to get an even finish. What sort of shine do you want it to have? No shine, flat paint (you will still get shine from the tank lights if you have them, I know that first hand) a little shiney = semi gloss, shiny = high gloss.

Edited by 6ftaquaman
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What if I were to use something like the plastic dividers along the back instead of painting it ? Anything other ideas ?

Hearing feedback about painting and what not just sounds like more of a pain or anything when all i really want is a black background and which ever material I use will be submerged in water

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Hi Hi

No Paint No Paint

Not inside the tank.


Now we have that sorted, you just need to get to eckerseleys or however you spell it at midnight after a night out - (don't ask me)

Anyway - go to art supply shops, or wassamacallit officeworks and find a stiff plastic often used as folder binders.

Use whatever to clamp it at the top (I like the poster edges you can get a Kmart n stuff)

Do you like how descriptive I'm being?

Anyway - cut to size, either leave an area at the front, for flaring or just card the lot (like I do) with a stiff opaque plastic.

I don't bother putting a lid on - i should because theres so much evaporation, but because there's so much evaporation - there's usually a few cms from each barrier for them to jump.

But to be safe, you might want to put a lid on it that u can slide back to feed.

NO Paint inside the waterline.


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I went and spoke to a LFS up here today about having a couple of barracks made similar in design to Ness' as well. There were a few questions, especially about the spraybar/drip bar return, whether the water is level between each section, do the glass dividers go all the way to the top, etc.

Oh and Suss, love your avatar as well. I wonder if you and Ness are kindred sisters.

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Okay I understand paint is No No :D

I think I may just leave it for the time being and get the tank a little more established and see how I like it. If I dont I will most likely just purchase black acrylic cut to size and slide it thru the back ?:S

Currently Im just cutting the dividers to size so I can fit them up. I will be starting my LED light hopefully this weekend too

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