Best Tank Background Product?

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Pinkey

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Nov 16, 2004
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Denver
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Nate
It's been a few years since I've been here but I always come back. I've recently acquired a glass 180g. The front and back are 72" x 25". I'd like to put a background on it that I'll never have to change, mess with or fix. It needs to not fade after years of exposure to light. I don't plan on moving a 1 ton piece of permanent furniture in a home I own. I would like something that sticks on the outside back of the aquarium between the aquarium and the wall. It will be a heavily planted community tank so I'd like a natural-ish background. Single-color backgrounds tend to show every little bit of algae and crud so I'd like to go with something inspired by freshwater plants or jungle.

I have visions of building my own 3D background but know myself well enough that there is only a 5% chance of me taking up that obsession in the near future.

Other than the basic rolls of LFS and big box pet stores (those tend to fade and yellow after a few years), does anyone have a brand they like?
 

dougall

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Mar 29, 2005
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Generic paint or plastidip if you just want to hide the cords and hoses at the back.

I'm personally a fan of window privacy sheets but not sure if it's what you are looking for

Car window tint can be used too.

Also 8m really not a fan of a '3d' background inside the tank unless it specifically meets my needs, but that depends on your case.
 
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dougall

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Mar 29, 2005
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I have also used Oceanvision aquarium backgrounds.. they worked really well, just don't fit any of my needs now.
 

fishorama

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Jun 28, 2006
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SF Bay area, CA
I've never been brave enough to paint a black tank background...but...were I you I'd just do that. Since I have NO experience I'm not sure what brand or form of paint to choose. I think it may matter whether you want to roll it on or spray it...I might go with rolling.

On smaller tanks I've done fabric, plastic (including a shower curtain!). I like a black or very dark blue or brown background mostly. In my current house I have darkish terra cotta walls behind 2 tanks. I just let plants, moss & algae go crazy back there & I almost don't see it...I thnk it's amazing the things I can ignore in my tanks, lol.
 
Apr 2, 2002
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New York
PAINT. Years back (2002) I found a 1 part epoxy paint. I got a small can. I painted the back of a 50 gal. I still have the tank today and not a chip. I could never find that paint again and have used flat black acrylic paint. I usually need 2 coats and touch up to get it well coverd. it can chip or scrape if you have hang on equipment.

Sooner or later everything in or connected to a tank can break, wear out of get damaged. There is almost nothing on can set and forget for a lifetime....

I always used black for FW as that is how things get if you are in a lake and looking out under water. You see black. In SW when I was still diving decades ago I saw blue. But I do not keep SW fish.

The problem with most tank backgrounds is they if the get wet they discolor or stains or something else not wanted.

Before you make a final decision do a google for "3D Aquarium Backgrounds"
 

fishorama

AC Members
Jun 28, 2006
12,737
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SF Bay area, CA
Hmm, I like the look of some 3D backgrounds but have read of issues with some of them. As I recall fish can get "stuck" behind them & it can be hard to place filtration & heaters so they work well...Maybe with a sump? Just my thoughts...
 

Pinkey

AC Members
Nov 16, 2004
242
39
31
Denver
Real Name
Nate
Generic paint or plastidip if you just want to hide the cords and hoses at the back.

I'm personally a fan of window privacy sheets but not sure if it's what you are looking for

Car window tint can be used too.

Also 8m really not a fan of a '3d' background inside the tank unless it specifically meets my needs, but that depends on your case.
There are some good window privacy clings. Those are a great idea because they are designed to withstand direct UV for years on end. I like that a lot. It will get mostly hidden by plants after a period, too so it doesn't need to be perfectly fishy.
 

Pinkey

AC Members
Nov 16, 2004
242
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31
Denver
Real Name
Nate
I have also used Oceanvision aquarium backgrounds.. they worked really well, just don't fit any of my needs now.
Those seem like the ones the big box petstores have. The solid colors have been OK but the colorful ones I've used have faded and don't look anything like they did when they were new. What do you use now?
 

Pinkey

AC Members
Nov 16, 2004
242
39
31
Denver
Real Name
Nate
I've never been brave enough to paint a black tank background...but...were I you I'd just do that. Since I have NO experience I'm not sure what brand or form of paint to choose. I think it may matter whether you want to roll it on or spray it...I might go with rolling.

On smaller tanks I've done fabric, plastic (including a shower curtain!). I like a black or very dark blue or brown background mostly. In my current house I have darkish terra cotta walls behind 2 tanks. I just let plants, moss & algae go crazy back there & I almost don't see it...I thnk it's amazing the things I can ignore in my tanks, lol.
Your terra cotta got me thinking. I've avoided expanses of single color because it shows every bit of growth but if I painted the wall behind the tank it solves everything! I could paint it however I want, matte and natural colors and textures or whatever and it all gets hidden behind plants anyway but it is permanent and looks amazing! Thanks for the idea.

I've painted tanks in the past. Just go for it. If you hate it you can always scrape it with a razor down the road. I used latex because it would be easy to scrape. I ended up selling it with the paint and the buyer loved it. Give it a couple coats and all the brush strokes go away.
 

Pinkey

AC Members
Nov 16, 2004
242
39
31
Denver
Real Name
Nate
PAINT. Years back (2002) I found a 1 part epoxy paint. I got a small can. I painted the back of a 50 gal. I still have the tank today and not a chip. I could never find that paint again and have used flat black acrylic paint. I usually need 2 coats and touch up to get it well coverd. it can chip or scrape if you have hang on equipment.

Sooner or later everything in or connected to a tank can break, wear out of get damaged. There is almost nothing on can set and forget for a lifetime....

I always used black for FW as that is how things get if you are in a lake and looking out under water. You see black. In SW when I was still diving decades ago I saw blue. But I do not keep SW fish.

The problem with most tank backgrounds is they if the get wet they discolor or stains or something else not wanted.

Before you make a final decision do a google for "3D Aquarium Backgrounds"
The 3D are very amazing. Impractical at the moment but every time I go down that rabbit hole I resolve to make my own. I haven't yet. Expanses of real underwater don't get splotches of algae. I love the idea and I really appreciate the explanation from someone who has dived. I would not have figured a quick product question post would have turned so interesting and inspiring.
 
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