Painting a tank

Discussion in 'DIY - Do It Yourself' started by David C, Dec 24, 2009.

  1. David CWell Known MemberMember

    I'm going to be painting the backside of my new tank black and was wondering what kind of finish to use. I figure I'll use a black latex paint but not sure what finish (i.e. flat, gloss, or whatever) I should use.

    If anyone has any idea what effect the different kinds would have I would love to know, like does a high gloss finish reflect too much light or does the flat just look bad. Thanks.


  2. Gouramiguy17Well Known MemberMember

    May I suggest getting a black background, the paint is so much harder to remove than a background. My tank came with a painted black background and I really dislike it because I can't see any dark fish and if I want to remove it I would have to pull out a razor and cut it

  3. NutterFishlore VIPMember

    I've painted many tanks black & you will find that the paint finish will have very little impact on the visual effect. Because it is on the outside of the glass, you will discover that the inside of the rear glass is what will give off reflections. I have used high gloss, satin & flat black paint on several tanks & they all look identical. My advice would be just to use whatever is going to be cheapest for you. Personally I just use $3 spray cans in whatever finish I happen to grab. Make sure if you use spray cans that you seal up the top of the tank really well to prevent any paint getting inside. I use plastic painters drop sheets sealed up with masking tape & then duct tape to stop paint getting inside or onto the sides where I don't want it.

  4. MeenuFishlore VIPMember

    Something that people have been suggesting recently is using wrapping paper - you can tape it to the outside of the tank, it's VERY easy, temporary, inexpensive, and you can change it as often as you want.

    I know that at places like Walmart, you can get solid colored papers, I assume they have black.
  5. NutterFishlore VIPMember

    Gouramiguy - The paint will come off very easily if you empty the tank, place it on it's front glass on a blanket or piece of polystyrene. Very carefully apply paint stripper to the area you want the paint removed from. Leave half an inch or so all the way around the edge of the paint so that the stripper does not come in contact with any of the silicone or get inside the tank. After 15 mins you will be able to get it all off with a paint scrapper no problems. Any left over paint can be removed with a scourer. Paint stripper residue can be washed off with plain water once the tank is back in the upright position. Done it plenty of times & still have the tanks I've done it to in use. Just be carefull not to get the stripper on the silicone or in the tank when you are scrapping it off. The stripper will damage the silicone & the paint residue will remain inside the tank. The stripper itself will wash completly away with just water leaving no residue behind at all. If your wary of, or not confident using paint stripper, you can use rags soaked in mineral turpentine to help remove the paint. Just let the soaked rag sit for a few minutes on the painted area & then scrape of the paint as the turps soaks into it.

    If you don't want to actually paint the back of a tank I would suggest using contact to stick to the back to achieve the desired effect. Contact is the sticky stuff that comes in rolls like wrapping paper & is used to cover kids school books. Easy to use, no air bubbles between the background & the glass when properly applied, easy to remove & easy to cut to shape so that you can combine colors to achive different effects.
  6. SlugWell Known MemberMember

    Paint is very easy to remove. Just takes a razor blade. I'll never use a paper background again straight on the back of the tank. I always paint.

    I use plain Krylon paint from Wal-Mart, the indoor/outdoor stuff.  
  7. David CWell Known MemberMember

    Thanks for all the input, exactly what I wanted to know. I don't like the paper backgrounds because eventually you will get water in between it and the glass and I hate how it looks, and I hate going through the trouble of changing it. I plan on using a paint roller to roll it on, but I'm glad the sheen will have no effect. Kinda figured it wouldnt but didn't wanna find out the hard way I made the wrong guess.

    Thanks again everyone,

  8. hop2jrValued MemberMember

    Hi Dave
    I didn't like the look of the background on the back of the glass was never clear always dull until I tried Sea View the stuff realy works as long as the background doesn't have any creases or folds. With this stuff my rock background looks real. Check out the video on the site. 
  9. David CWell Known MemberMember

    Thanks for the info hop2jr, but I just finished putting the third coat of paint on my tank. I'm hoping to order my powerheads for the UGJ's and then I can finally get the tank set-up and aquascaped. Almost there :)

  10. NutterFishlore VIPMember

    UGJ's?:confused: Do you mean UGF's? If you do mean under gravel filters I feel I should warn you that they are a bad idea in planted aquariums. The roots will block them up & if you run the reverse flow method the plants won't like it too much.

    Make sure you post some pics of the build so that we can all see your progress & the end result.
  11. David CWell Known MemberMember

    UGJ, under gravel jets. I can link the build if you want to see it, but it's basically a powerhead plumbed through some PVC pipe and it comes out in jets to keep the junk off the substrate and keep the water moving. Pretty basic build but it seems to have some powerful results.

  12. David CWell Known MemberMember

    I pulled the wrappings off my tank and stood it up and guess what I found, a bunch of little pinholes I could see through even after 3 coats. So there I was putting a fourth coat on. What a mess. I guess it could be worse.

  13. NutterFishlore VIPMember

    My sincere apologies. I should have realised to tell you that you need to wash the surface to be painted with soapy water & then wipe it down really well with methylated spirits to remove any residues that may be on the outside rear glass.
    Sometimes I forget that most people don't know as much about painting as I do. Again, my sincere apologies.
  14. ReardenNew MemberMember

    I've used the fine finish foam hotdog rollers to paint a bunch of mine with a variety of latex paints all with decent results. Cleaning is definitely the most important part. Usually 2-3 coats of blue or black are adequate depending on what's behind the tank.

    Tried the wrapping paper...and of course it all ended up getting wet. Not as cheap as paint but easier to live with and remove is vinyl, the kind you see used for store graphics and window designs. Most sign shops can print digitized photographs onto the vinyl, not cheap but unlimited creative options, and you can apply to the back of your tank, or you can just buy a small roll of it in a solid color and cut your own. You can do the same thing with the vinyl cling-on material. For smaller tanks foam presentation board is fast and easy but it still has a paper face and doesn't take getting wet too well.
  15. David CWell Known MemberMember

    Thanks, I've had the tank I started this thread for painted for 2 months and it's gorgeous. I'm actually waiting for the 4th coat of my new tank to dry before I apply the final 5th coat. I like the paint to be really thick, I think it holds up better to scratching.

  16. ReardenNew MemberMember

    To tell ya the truth, the thicker you put it on the easier it is to scrape / peel off if you want to change it later.
  17. Betta WhispererWell Known MemberMember

    I use the large sheets of poster boards on the back of my tanks if I want to change the color. I just slide it up and tip the filters a tiny bit to fit the sheet under it and that will help to hold it in place. Then I just use a little piece of clear tape to hold the sides. With the poster boards the changing colors is very easy to do.
  18. theGrynchNew MemberMember

    I'm actually wondering the same thing this thread mentioned, and although most of the questions were answered, I had another question. I'm also going to apologize in advance to the TC for a mini-hijacking of his threat, but I figured it'd be best to post here rather than start a whole new threat.

    I was just wondering if anyone had any input as to whether or not it's better to spray the paint on, or to use a roller? Thanks for any replies.
  19. NutterFishlore VIPMember

    I prefer to spray but make sure the tank is really well sealed up & masked off before you do. I use plastic painters drop sheets attached with masking tape & then double sealed with duct tape. Most spray paints contain stuff that is highly toxic to fish so any overspray in the tank is really really bad news. Use a roller or brush if your not confident that you can seal the inside of tank off 100%.
  20. ldbrown3138Valued MemberMember

    I prefer a medium blue background. Black creates reflection problems if you want to photograph or video your fish. I use spray paint and vary the coverage, it makes a very nice visual affect. the thicker areas of paint appear darker than the thin areas of paint. The bright blue color also makes your tank appear brighter. I have both black and blue tanks and everyone prefers the blue.

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