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Options for a photography tank

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#1 Guest_thekoimaiden_*

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Posted 01 September 2012 - 12:40 AM

Ever since I joined I've been doing a lot of reading. Trip reports and the photography section mostly as I can't see myself keeping any natives for a while. I have a creek in my backyard that I would like to sample when the weather cools down (I already know there are at least seven species there). I can't see myself affording an underwater camera any time in the next year, so I've decided to find a good photography tank. I have seen two tutorials about building them, but I confess, I'm a terrible DIY'er. If you don't make your own photography tanks, what do you use? What quality of photos can you get with them?


#2 Guest_crwnpt_*

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Posted 01 September 2012 - 12:20 PM

A lot of times quality of photos depends on your camera and how familiar you are with it. I can't speak from personal experience, but folks on here are always recommending the specimen containers(like the ones you'd see at your local fish store when they bag your fish). Or even a 2.5 gallon aquarium with some sort of background(I'm sure someone will chime in on what colors are best) since you wouldn't really have to move it around too much.

But, like i said, no personal experience here, just relaying what I've read here.

Good luck though, with what ever you decide on.

#3 Guest_thekoimaiden_*

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Posted 02 September 2012 - 12:03 AM

My camera isn't the greatest anymore. When I bought it six years ago it was good quality. I'm looking into getting a new one. Right now I can shoot pretty good up close shots using sunlight and a little patience. It's a Nikon coolpix S4 with 6 megapixels and 10x optic zoom. It still works great for landscape shots. I'm not shooting for National Geographic quality, but I'd like to get something I'd be proud to show my friends.

The specimen container sounds like a good idea. Easy to transport. Where on earth would I get something like that?

#4 Guest_davidjh2_*

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Posted 02 September 2012 - 11:17 PM

Try Petco. They stock 2.5 gallon tanks at the one by me.

#5 Guest_gunner48_*

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Posted 03 September 2012 - 02:27 PM

One item I use is a small acrlic box I got at the Container Store. If you do not have one in your area you can buy one online. I only found mine when I went to buy something else and have never seen them anywhere else. Mine cost four bucks. They are designed for holding rings and ear rings. It is about four inches long and inch and half wide. It has a clear lid with a hinge so they don't separate. I use it when collecting and releasing fish. It allows me to put the fish in the box with a bit of water,close the lid and look at the fish without risk of losing it. The box can be passed around for others to see the fish and then the fish quickly returned to the steam or into a bucket. This allows the fish to be handled with out net damage or people hurting the fish. I have also used my little box for showing kids various insects and crawdads.

It is very helpful when looking a small fry. The small box limits the fish's movements and allows for a quick snapshot. It can also be used in a more controlled setting if a better shot is needed. You can get set up, try a few back grounds, and then put a fish in the box and go for the shot. The water in the box allows you a bit of time for the fish to flare or get into a good postion. You can also rotate the box. What I really like is that it fits in a pocket and along with a magnifying glass I can look at a lot of small creatures without harm. For more natural shots it is not ideal but it sure is a handy item to carry when out seining.

#6 Guest_thekoimaiden_*

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Posted 04 September 2012 - 08:53 PM

Gunnar, I will try to find a Container Store next time I am in Ohio in a few weeks. A few of those boxes sound perfect. Every once in a while I run "creek crawl" programs for kids. They always ask me to hold the fish, but I won't let them. A few containers like that would be a great idea. Thank you very much!

I also had the idea to use a "Critter Keeper." They are small plexiglass containers typically used to house (probably improperly) reptiles. I have a few left around my house from when I was the kid who wanted to pick up and bring everything home.

#7 Guest_crwnpt_*

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Posted 06 September 2012 - 12:13 PM

Critter keepers should work fine, but the container store idea sounds even better. The specimen containers you can get online from the fish section of Drs. Foster and Smith.

#8 Guest_gzeiger_*

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Posted 06 September 2012 - 01:07 PM

The Container Store thing sounds like it should be relatively common. I bet you could get a clear plastic tacklebox, or a jewelry container from some horrible debris peddler in a mall.

#9 Guest_gerald_*

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Posted 06 September 2012 - 03:49 PM

Critter Keepers and Lee's Aquarium Specimen Containers both have rounded corners, which you will quickly regret. If you can find something with SQUARE corners from Container Store or elsewhere that would be much better.

But really, it's quite easy to have a glass shop cut you some pieces (and sand the edges) and silicone them together yourself.
Or do it Michael Wolfe style with "plastic lumber" for the sides and back and glass just on the front. Silicone wont stick very long on plastic, but "Shoe Goo" or "Sportsman's Goop" does well on both plastic and glass.

#10 Michael Wolfe

Michael Wolfe
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Posted 06 September 2012 - 03:51 PM

Silicone sticks very well to PVC and glass... one of my tanks has been in operation over three years with no leaks...
Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing. - Benjamin Franklin

#11 Guest_gunner48_*

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Posted 06 September 2012 - 08:19 PM

I measured my little acrlic Container store box. It is One and half inches wide and three and half inches long. Square Sides. The lid is attached and swings completely open. It is clear on all sides. It's most valuable asset is that it fits in the pocket. I guess if you needed to be scientific wilth it you could mark the box in inches or centimeters on one side and maybe the width, so fish could be ID, measured quickly, maybe photographed all while still in enough water to not stress them too badly before releasing them. No hand contact, no damaged scales from nets. Very helpful when deciding what might be worth keeping and making sure that fish is what you thought it was, when checking the field guides.

Most of the darters, and minnows in Southwest Ohio fit in it and it is about the only way I can actually view any fry or little fishes anymore and even then I need the help of A magnifying glass. When something interesting comes up in the net, just fill with water, scoop it under the fish, flip the lid closed. They may have a larger size available but that fit in the pocket size is a real asset. I plan to join the fish colllectors at the Convention and I will pack it. Excellent equipment for four bucks.

#12 Guest_thekoimaiden_*

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Posted 10 September 2012 - 11:34 PM

I looked at the Container Store website and there isn't one within reasonable driving distance. But there is one near my cousin's house in Ohio. I'll pop over there when I'm in Ohio later this year. Until then I'll have to make do with a Critter Keeper. I'm on a tight budget right now. Thanks again for the suggestions.

It's getting cooler here! I'm going to head into my backyard stream in a while to try to get some pictures.

#13 Guest_BenCantrell_*

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Posted 11 September 2012 - 09:12 AM

Hey gunner48, that box sounds like a great size. I looked through the Container Store website but couldn't find anything quite like it. If you find a link to that particular item could you post it here? Thanks!

#14 Guest_haruspicator_*

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Posted 12 September 2012 - 10:44 AM

Just a thought, I'm terrible at building things like this, but someone could make a few bucks by making some nice and field sturdy glass ones and selling them on the trading dock or aquabid? I'd buy a few. I use those plastic containers they use at pet shops to bag fish, but they scratch easily in the field and I tend to break them after a few days

#15 Guest_gunner48_*

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 02:49 PM

Stopped by the Container store. The item number for the little acrylic box with hinged lid is 388490. Typing in that item number at the online Catalog will produce the item. I never knew what they were used for but it turns out the Container store thinks they are perfect for storing ear cleaners like Q-tips, so they are under bath stuff if you go into a container store. I never would have guessed that one. Cost 3.99. I copied a pictured of it to this message, will see if turns out. Mine has been durable enough that I lose it before breaking it.
Posted Image

#16 Guest_BSPhotography_*

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Posted 20 October 2014 - 10:06 PM

Carolina Scientific used to have a small fish photography/observation tank, but unfortunately stopped selling it before I could purchase any additional ones. But using a small tank will get you something, I have a 5 gal, 10 gal, 29 gal tall , the CS Photo tank, and a custom plexi one in my studio, as well as a ton of the "Beanie baby" storage containers, that work for onsite sorting/viewing when doing collections as well as showing off the fish riverside.

As far as getting better pictures, a better lens is the way to go, along with a better body, but the costs of those add up. Also having a good tripod will help get better pics. If you ever make it up to MD I can show you some of my equipment and give you some tips on using your current camera too to get better shots.

#17 Guest_Uland_*

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Posted 21 October 2014 - 09:48 AM

I've been making these for years and made a run for sale in the trading dock. I'm afraid the topic was deleted. They are expensive.

#18 Guest_jetajockey_*

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Posted 23 October 2014 - 05:37 PM

I suggest spending the money on an entry level DSLR camera. They aren't crazy expensive anymore and used ones are all over the place. Even with a kit lens you can get some nice photos and it allows so much more control than a point and shoot.

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