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Tips for cleaning inside skinny photo tanks?


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#1 olaf

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Posted 01 August 2016 - 05:26 PM

I'm experimenting with a few ideas for homemade photo tanks and I'm happy with them so far. The only concern I have (having not yet used them in the field, where the real concerns will crop up) is keeping the inside of the glass clean/streak free on the skinnier one. It's about 1.25 inches from glass to glass, so if anything gets on the glass that requires more than just a wipe down, I'm going to have trouble getting my hand and a cloth in there. Anybody have some miraculous fabric to recommend or other tips?

It's not critical, since this is the prototype and I used lexan because it was handy. I'm sure it'll get scratched up before it ever gets too dirty. If I like the way this works, I'll make one with glass. Then I'll be concerned with cleaning.

I think I probably made it too deep (I just made it 10 wide x 8 tall since I had 2 pieces of 8x10 lexan. If it were perhaps 6" tall, I could reach the bottom more easily when cleaning.

 

I do plan to keep it in a padded/protected container of some kind to minimize scratches.


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#2 Squeaky McMurdo

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Posted 01 August 2016 - 08:21 PM

A toothbrush perhaps?

Or even better, a brush for cleaning baby bottles. That would do the trick.

Edited by Squeaky McMurdo, 01 August 2016 - 08:23 PM.


#3 Josh Blaylock

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Posted 02 August 2016 - 07:07 AM

I would attach/wrap a micro fiber towel around a ruler, or something of that nature.  Microfiber would be the best as it wouldn't scratch.  


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#4 zooxanthellae

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Posted 02 August 2016 - 07:56 AM

Bottle brushes and water will do the trick without scratching the glass. If you build up water stains like I do, soak it in vinegar for 20 minutes, then bottle brush it with water and rinse. On occasion a fish scale may stick to the glass deeper than your fingers can reach, and with the holding power of a weld job, at which point you'd be better off throwing the damned thing away! 

 

I use glass from cheap dollar store picture frames, this way if it breaks or gets too dirty I can replace it with little cost and effort. In the last few years I've only broken 2 of them. 



#5 gerald

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Posted 02 August 2016 - 09:03 AM

Does the tank need to be narrower than you can fit your hand into?  I'd build it a little wider and use a loose piece of glass to narrow it for shooting smaller fish.


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#6 zooxanthellae

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Posted 02 August 2016 - 10:11 AM

Does the tank need to be narrower than you can fit your hand into?  I'd build it a little wider and use a loose piece of glass to narrow it for shooting smaller fish.

 

Gerald makes a good point, but I would add one caveat. If you are using a DSLR with external strobes, wider tanks can be a problem unless you can wash the tank out thoroughly after every 3 fish or so. Particulate can build up in the water, and when it does, you can get some pretty nasty back scattering effects. The narrower the tank, the less back scatter is possible. We often run into this problem on some of those middle of nowhere collection locations where we have no access to clean water, and end up reusing the same water over many photographs.

 

 If you are using a point and shoot camera, make the tank as wide as you wish!



#7 gerald

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Posted 02 August 2016 - 02:22 PM

Yeah, my crappy camera solves a lot of potential problems!  Guess I'll never encounter that back-scatter problem.


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#8 kirby007

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Posted 02 August 2016 - 07:10 PM

Two small fridge magnets with a cleaning cloth in between each magnet, can't remember what I had to clean with this but it does the trick

#9 olaf

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Posted 12 August 2016 - 11:30 AM

I didn't need to make this one so narrow--it's just the size of parts I used. I did use a plate to push the fish against the front glass, but the narrow tank actually made that more difficult than I expected. Next one will be wider. The magnet idea is a good one--will try it for sure.

Cheap frames: that's what I was thinking too, though sometimes they come with insanely thin glass.

So far my problem hasn't been cleaning inside, but drying in the field. Somehow, I didn't think to bring a clean dry cloth to the water with me. Expected air to do the trick, but the long narrow tank doesn't get much airflow so it stayed wet much longer than I expected, even when sitting in the sun and a breeze. I could imagine mold/mildew issues, especially since I don't plan to keep it exposed to the scratchy world in transport. Next time, a soft cloth goes in the bag.

Will post some photos once I have time to go through and edit the duds and clean up the keepers.


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#10 Doug_Dame

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Posted 12 August 2016 - 06:43 PM

Treat the glass with Rain-X or the equivalent ?


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#11 Matt DeLaVega

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Posted 12 August 2016 - 07:29 PM

Treat the glass with Rain-X or the equivalent ?

Might be a good idea, but would the chemicals in it hurt the fish? I have been told that rubbing a potato slice on a windshield does the same thing. Now trying to get a potato in there is the problem.


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#12 olaf

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Posted 12 August 2016 - 07:37 PM

I wonder about using Rain-X or similar on the outside to help shed drops since I always forget to wipe it off and ruin my best shot with a drop in exactly the wrong place.
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#13 gzeiger

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Posted 14 August 2016 - 02:30 PM

Maybe more work, but I can think of several ways to make the front glass removable with a gasket.



#14 olaf

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Posted 16 August 2016 - 09:08 AM

I have some gasket ideas in the works, actually. Just have to find the time to put them into action.


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