My DIY Tank Background


Hello fellow Fishlorians! Time for a DIY!

I've always liked those super cool 3D rock backgrounds that people have, I'm sure you've all seen them before. Finally, I decided to try it out! But having a smaller sized tank, 10 gallons, really limited my options. Most rock walls took up a LOT of valuable real estate in the back of the tank, and I couldn't find any similar tank backgrounds that I liked. After a lot of thought, I settled on a simpler, custom tank background.

Making this took a long time, a lot of frustration, and a pinch of artistic talent. I wouldn't recommend trying this for a tank larger than maybe 20 gallons just to save you a lot of time. Simply making a 12"x20" background took me several hours over the course of two days. That being said, here's what I did:

Supplies: construction paper, pencil, ruler, black & brown or gray fine-tip permanent markers, colored pencils, tape

1. Pick out a color of construction paper. Choose a natural shade. I chose light brown, but gray, dark brown, or white will work as well.
2. Measure the length and width of the tank.
3. Tape the construction paper together to make the correct size, cut if needed. Make sure to tape on the back, where it will not be seen.
4. Lightly sketch out the outline of the stones with a pencil. The shapes should be mostly soft and asymmetrical, with a few sharp edges. Make some larger than the others for variety. Leave loose gaps between them. You can look at a picture of a rock wall for reference.
5. Once you're satisfied, trace the gaps in black marker and color them in.
6. Use brown or gray marker, whichever corresponds to your construction paper color, to trace the inside of the stones along the gaps.
7. Using the same marker, draw cracks in the stones. If you want, you can first sketch the lines in pencil. Where the marker line ends, use a colored pencil to gradually soften the ending.
8. This is where the artistic talent will help. Imagine how it would look if a light were to shine down from the top. A real stone would not be completely flat. Use a black colored pencil to shade beneath the cracks, and in contours of the stone where a shadow would fall.
9. Then, use a white or light colored pencil to shade in the parts of the stone where the light would strike, above the cracks and along the top of the rocks.
10. Once this is done, lightly color in the rest of the stone. Use a variety of colors. I used gray, tan, light brown, dark brown, and orange-brown.
11. Repeat for the rest of the rocks (it takes longer than you think!)
12. Add finishing touches. You can use your brown or gray marker again to add more texture to the rocks. I used a scattering of dots in some areas as if the rock was grainy.
13. Optional: You can waterproof your masterpiece by laminating it.
14. Tape the background to the tank. I used tape along the top of the background and left the bottom hanging. You can tape the bottom as well.
15. Ta-da!


Share your pictures if anyone tries it!

Tiny goatfish

Wow, that looks nice. Its a good idea to make your own background, I just might have to try it!


Wow, that looks nice. Its a good idea to make your own background, I just might have to try it!

Thanks! Haha, good luck if you do try it!


Turned out great! And it goes really well with your decor!


Turned out great! And it goes really well with your decor!

Thank you! Yeah, that's one of the main reasons why I wanted to custom-make my tank background. Surprisingly, I literally could not find any matching backgrounds

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