Black Background?

tom855

Member
Looking for opinions on backgrounds....

It's always driven me nuts to aquascape a tank and then be able to see through the tank to the wires and other junk that's sitting behind the tank. I've always taken the time to either put a backing on the tank, or to spray paint the outside glass black so that I can focus on what's in the tank. Am I the only one that does that? I've seen a gazillion pictures with no background, and not a ton with. Does anybody else do that, or is it just me? IF anybody else does that, have you found a way that's easier than spray painting the outside back glass? Thanks for the input!
 

Betta'sAnonymous

Member
I have yet to actually use paint, but i always have to put a background on the tank for the same reasons you mentioned. In the past, i find a background that kind of goes with the look of the tank. Lately i have been going all black background. Usually get them at walmart at least for my 10s. I have used stuff like colored construction paper for a background though, too.
 

V1K

Member
tom855 said:
IF anybody else does that, have you found a way that's easier than spray painting the outside back glass? Thanks for the input!
There are these thin plastic backgrounds that you stick to the tank with vegetable oil. You'll get one that is a bit too big and then cut it to size when it's stuck to the tank using paper knife. Really easy.
 

A201

Member
Black foam board, sold at most arts & crafts stores, makes for a good background. Cut to size & tape to the back. Very inexpensive.
 

Mouska

Member
I also just use black construction paper which comes on a roll and a ton comes with it, and then I just use some tape on all the sides and it works really well.
 

FishSupreme

Member
Cool Tank! I have painted my back grounds with Acrylic paints. You can also use a window tint.
 

mattgirl

Member
I put a back cover on all tanks to not only hide the filters, wires and such but I also think it helps keep the fish calmer. It is one less place for them to see movement coming toward them. I just use the vinyl static cling.
 

LouPey

Member
I got the usual plastic poster backgrounds that they sell at fish stores... it is black on one side (what I'm using) and blue on the other. 3 small pieces of sellotape on voilà!
 
  • Thread Starter

tom855

Member
I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one. I will say though, the ideas that you all have are a heck of a lot easier than painting the tank! I definitely need to adopt one of those instead of paint.
 

JettsPapa

Member
A201 said:
Black foam board, sold at most arts & crafts stores, makes for a good background. Cut to size & tape to the back. Very inexpensive.
I can top that for inexpensive. I have plain brown kraft paper on the back of my tanks. I know it doesn't sound like it, but it looks pretty good when looking through the tank. It has a kind of dull metallic copper look. I have nothing against black, but to me the brown looks a little more natural.
 

StarGirl

Member
I have my 55g with black pet store film and my 5g I painted with acrylic paint in case I want to scrape it off at some point.. Probably won't though. I like the black backgrounds.
 

YellowGuppy

Member
I used ⅔ of a $1 sheet of poster board from the dollar store for my 20 tall!
 

StarGirl

Member
YellowGuppy said:
I used ⅔ of a $1 sheet of poster board from the dollar store for my 20 tall!
I actually had poster board on my 5g until I painted it...lol
 

AggressiveAquatics

Member
I use paint. It’s cheap to get the little things of whatever color you want from Home Depot and then just paint the back of it
 

Tsutey

Member
It depends
tom855 said:
Looking for opinions on backgrounds....

It's always driven me nuts to aquascape a tank and then be able to see through the tank to the wires and other junk that's sitting behind the tank. I've always taken the time to either put a backing on the tank, or to spray paint the outside glass black so that I can focus on what's in the tank. Am I the only one that does that? I've seen a gazillion pictures with no background, and not a ton with. Does anybody else do that, or is it just me? IF anybody else does that, have you found a way that's easier than spray painting the outside back glass? Thanks for the input!
It depends on where and what aesthetics I'm going for, but I painted some just with acrylic black, and on some I actually found the slight marbling effect after a second coat allowing a small bit of light through looked better than the ones I did 'right' with a third, the plants in front blend into more of a grotto look- the added visual depth pleases my eye.
 

86 ssinit

Member
I like the blue background better. My tanks are acrylic 2 black 1 blue and for glass I use the plastic blue on one side black on the other.
 

V1K

Member
86 ssinit said:
I like the blue background better. My tanks are acrylic 2 black 1 blue and for glass I use the plastic blue on one side black on the other.
To me, blue as bright as this is asking for a reef tank. Looks out of place in freshwater. But whatever floats your boat .
 

JollyOtter

Member
I am going with a coating of Plasti-dip on the outside back of the tank. About $8 for the can and a cheap paint brush. You can also get it in a spray can if you have the space and weather to spray it outside.
 

goldface

Member
I spray paint the back of all my tanks if I can. I've also used acrylic with a paint roller as well as measuring, cutting, and taping aquarium backgrounds. Spray paint is the best and fastest method of the three.
 

Bunkerchunk

Member
Another vote for black background. I think it looks more natural & hides the filter & electrical cords (also helps blend the equipment inside the tank too). I used the rattle can method;

Only drawback is it's best to do outside in nice weather. I have a 10 gallon tank I picked up at a recent dollar per gallon sale that I may try brushing on plasti dip in my basement (kinda cold outside by me).
 
  • Thread Starter

tom855

Member
Well, after all the great suggestions I decided to go with the can of spray plasti dip that I had in the garage. I don't know yet exactly what it's going to look like, as I'll keep it laying flat for the next several hours, but it certainly went on easy. And it seemed to have much less overspray than black spray paint which I've used in the past. I'm eager to see if a single coat provided enough light blockage to look black. I suspect yes!
 

TClare

Member
We use a sheet of polystyrene (styrofoam) At the back, mainly to help insúltate the tank. With the new tank we are building we will paint it probably a dark grey or green colour. a dark greyish green colour, (could also be black). You just have to be careful what kind of paint to use as I believe some will melt the polystyrene.
 

Cory04

Member
Fun Fact: not only does the black background hide the wire, but it also enhances the fish's colors and makes everything in the tank stand out. This is also true with black substrate.
 
  • Thread Starter

tom855

Member
Personally I'm a big fan of black both on the back and the substrate. I thought it was just my obsession with (some) details.
 

Cory04

Member
Same
 

Dennis57

Member
Just over 43 years with tanks and not 1 tank did not have a back cover on the glass.
I've you store bought 3d back in the day now I have used or still do either black or blue poster board, I've used and still do on 1 tank a black plastic garbage bag.
I actually used a heat gun to stretch it and pull it so there was no creases in it. Actually looks like paint.
 

Dunk2

Member
I also used Plasti Dip for a black background. It sprays on like spray paint but dries to a rubber consistency.

It comes in different colors (including glow in the dark if you’re into that) and peels off if you want to change things up.

 

Cory04

Member
Dennis57 said:
Just over 43 years with tanks and not 1 tank did not have a back cover on the glass.
I've you store bought 3d back in the day now I have used or still do either black or blue poster board, I've used and still do on 1 tank a black plastic garbage bag.
I actually used a heat gun to stretch it and pull it so there was no creases in it. Actually looks like paint.
Dunk2 said:
I also used Plasti Dip for a black background. It sprays on like spray paint but dries to a rubber consistency.

It comes in different colors (including glow in the dark if you’re into that) and peels off if you want to change things up.

Tbh that's too complicated, I will just buy black posters with tape and tape the poster to the back of the tank.
 
  • Thread Starter

tom855

Member
I may have gone the simpler route as well, but since I had a can of the stuff on the garage shelf for some unknown reason, I figured I'd give it a shot.
 

Fishfriendof315

Member
StarGirl said:
I have my 55g with black pet store film and my 5g I painted with acrylic paint in case I want to scrape it off at some point.. Probably won't though. I like the black backgrounds.
That's hilarious, mine are same way. I'm actually putting the five into a twenty right now. But probably gonna leave it clear for this scape
 

StarGirl

Member
Fishfriendof315 said:
That's hilarious, mine are same way. I'm actually putting the five into a twenty right now. But probably gonna leave it clear for this scape
That is really funny I have a empty 20 too.... :eek:
 

Fishfriendof315

Member
literally setting up the 20 now.
 

Basil

Member
StarGirl said:
That is really funny I have a empty 20 too.... :eek:
My friend just asked me if I wanted a never used 20 that she purchased and never used. :rolleyes:
And to stay on topic, I use poster board for black background. But I’ve been known to use a black trash bag in a pinch lol!
 

taj13

Member
86 ssinit said:
I like the blue background better. My tanks are acrylic 2 black 1 blue and for glass I use the plastic blue on one side black on the other.
I love the natural look of your tank. That's what I'm going for with mine (including live plants) but mine doesn't look nearly as nice as yours!
 

Isitwindyyet

Member
FishSupreme said:
Cool Tank! I have painted my back grounds with Acrylic paints. You can also use a window tint.
I use window tint. Pulls off in seconds if you are needing to change things up. Otherwise almost as permanent as paint. It is a touch on the expensive side though.
 

Tsutey

Member
TClare said:
We use a sheet of polystyrene (styrofoam) At the back, mainly to help insúltate the tank. With the new tank we are building we will paint it probably a dark grey or green colour. a dark greyish green colour, (could also be black). You just have to be careful what kind of paint to use as I believe some will melt the polystyrene.
What a great idea!
 

Dunk2

Member
Cory04 said:
Tbh that's too complicated, I will just buy black posters with tape and tape the poster to the back of the tank.
I’m about to sound old. :confused:

Maybe it’s a generational thing, but I’ve never considered spray paint to be overly complicated?
 

Cory04

Member
It's not complicated, it's just more work than just taping a black poster
 
  • Thread Starter

tom855

Member
I usually end up putting on several coats so light can't shine through from behind, but you can easily knock out a typical tank with one can of spray paint, and can have it done in an afternoon. Then, on to the rest of the build.
 

Bluebellie

Member
Me! I use black garbage bags to Create a background. I just tape the corners. It looks great. I used to paint them before, but I found that this method is easier and less messy and pretty much looks the same.
 

Fishfriendof315

Member
Basil said:
My friend just asked me if I wanted a never used 20 that she purchased and never used. :rolleyes:
And to stay on topic, I use poster board for black background. But I’ve been known to use a black trash bag in a pinch lol!
Yes I forgot about topic. 50 has a sunken greek goddess film and the 5 has yellow streaks in black craft acrylic
Bluebellie said:
Me! I use black garbage bags to Create a background. I just tape the corners. It looks great. I used to paint them before, but I found that this method is easier and less messy and pretty much looks the same.
Does it create a ripple effect when the light hits it? If so j might try it!
 

doughboy52

Member
tom855 said:
Well, after all the great suggestions I decided to go with the can of spray plasti dip that I had in the garage. I don't know yet exactly what it's going to look like, as I'll keep it laying flat for the next several hours, but it certainly went on easy. And it seemed to have much less overspray than black spray paint which I've used in the past. I'm eager to see if a single coat provided enough light blockage to look black. I suspect yes!
I painted mine and then found that the paint was getting nicked from the HOB filter’s support and when I pulled the tank out once. After touching it up, I covered the paint with contact paper to protect it.
 

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