led background lighting

  • #1
I have a pretty cool (at least I think so) idea for lighting a tank and I'm just wondering if it would realistically work...

If I did this it would be with a 20 gallon long tank. I was thinking of painting the outside of the back wall with the "frosted glass" spray paint, and then taking led rope lights and coiling it against the outside of the glass, securing it with silicone.

I'm hoping this would provide enough light to not have to have the traditional canopy lights. Don't know if this would be a planted tank or not as I'm just in the dreaming stage right now lol. Also, would the aquarium silicone be able to secure the rope? If not, what kind of glue would?

  • #2
Not sure and doesn't hurt to try but I think it would be like taking a picture of someone who has the sun behind them. Even with frosted glass, since the illumination is coming from bedind, it would not be easy to see the details since your eyes would be drawn to the silouettes more.
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  • #3
Hmm, that does make sense. I was hoping to cut the cost of a new setup. A hood and light combo is more expensive than the tank and glass top combined. I may have to test it out anyways since rope leds are so cheap, I wouldn't be out much if it didn't work.
  • #4
I'm not really clear what you are trying to accomplish. But they have led strips, for people making DIY fixtures, or retrofitting. I think at least some of them are submersible and could be placed under the rI'm of the front glass pointing toward the back. You would have light and no fixture, and this setup should show the inhabitants of the tank very well. This isn't something I've researched in depth, so I'm not sure whether it can work or not. My research was limited to plans to strip out the CFL lighting in my hood and replacing it with these led strips.
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  • #5
Sorry my description isn't that clear. I can see it in my head better than I can articulate it. I do like the idea of led strips under the tank rI'm a lot, I'll have to look into that!
  • #6
There is a Marineland Hidden LED fixture (submersible) that has clips to mount exactly where I said, under the rim. I bought it because the back of my tank is dI'm there is a built in trickle filter creates a shadow. I was able to attach it with the included suction cups to the bottom of that same filter. I did mount it on the front rI'm to see how it looked (it comes with clips for that) but decided it was just a little too big for my tastes (but not huge). It only puts out a modest amount of light, but is cheap and easy to find at least around here, at PetCo among other places.

Probably cheaper elsewhere,
  • #7
I have one of those on my 20 long but it doesn't put out enough light for plants. I have a t5 light on top for the plants. It hooks to the rI'm and for the most part its hidden. It does have moon lights that are super cool.
  • #8
I don't think you would get an even spread across the back of the glass. I think you would end up with the coil outline and deadspots.

If you were to try silicone, you would prob have to lay that side up and silicone both sides of the rope and hope it holds.

I don't know how the silicone would react to the paint either. It may not hold at all.

Suction cups would probably work, but you couldn't paint it.

With the hidden leds under the rI'm or the frosted glass/rope light, I don't think it will be enough light for most plants, you may get away with some really hardy low lights, but that is a long shot. If you get some sunlight to the tank, you may have a better chance (watch out for algae though).

Here's a reach if you have enough room behind the tank;
What if you frost the glass
Use a standard light fixture
Somehow attach to rear rI'm of the tank and hang it behind the tank to shine through frosted part. (I still wouldn't expect much on the plant side though).

If you can attach something like this to the back of the tank (without the cover). You would likely have to make a shroud/hood to keep the excess light where you want it though. -


Something like this at the top shining down the back. You would likely have to make a shroud/hood to keep the excess light where you want it though.

Because its not a big tank, I don't think you will need a ton of light to get an even spread, but I do think you will have to move it away from the glass to do it.

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