Aquarium Backgrounds

A Stone Aquarium Background.

Aquarium Backgrounds are a very important factor in making your aquarium look beautiful. Especially when done right, they can make all the difference between a plain, amateur looking aquarium that just looks like a glass box, and a beautiful aquarium reminiscent of the fish’s natural habitat.

Below is some helpful information which will help you choose or create awesome aquarium backgrounds for your tanks.


Types of Aquarium Backgrounds

Laminated – By far the most popular type of background, laminated backgrounds can be easily applied to and removed from your aquarium without much hassle using adhesive tape. They are usually quite inexpensive and are sold in rolls or ordered at a specific size.

They can easily be trimmed to fit other aquariums and are often 2-sided so that you can change the scenery whenever you want to. The drawback is that it’s just a picture, so unlike 3d backgrounds, your fish cannot interact with it.

A 3D Background.

A Professional 3D Background.

3D Backgrounds – Without a doubt, 3d backgrounds are the most beautiful backgrounds you can add to your aquarium, when done properly they make the walls of your fish tank look absolutely stunning while also providing something interesting for your fish or other animals to explore.

3D aquarium backgrounds are generally made from industrial grade foam and silicon which are non-toxic and safe for your fish. Making your own is also harder and more expensive than other types of backgrounds, and should be avoided unless you know what you’re doing as toxic materials could easily harm or kill your fish. A wide tank is also recommended as these backgrounds are normally 1-2 inches thick themselves.

You can read our 3D background reviews here.

Self-Adhesive – Similar to their laminated cousins, these backgrounds are both inexpensive and very easy to apply. They come in all kinds of designs such as photos of the coral reef, aquatic plants and of course – plain colors.

Usually available in rolls, they can be trimmed and applied to any kind of fish tank without much effort as they are self-adhesive like a sticker. Unfortunately this also means that they can only be used once, but if you don’t plan on changing how your tank looks very often, they’re a solid choice.

Painted Aquarium Background

A Painted Aquarium Background.

Painted – The cheapest and one of the simplest ways to create aquarium backgrounds is to paint them yourself. This option is very popular with people who like plain backgrounds for their fish tanks as it’s inexpensive and quite easy to do. The most commonly used colors are darker colors such as black, dark blue and dark green, however this depends on the types of decorations and the colors of the fish in your tank, so experiment with different colors and choose one that you think will look best.

Never paint the inside of the tank as this will harm your fish even if the paint has dried. Remember that painting your tank is most likely permanent since removing the paint is near-impossible, so if you plan on changing your aquarium backgrounds in the future – don’t paint them. Get laminated or self-adhesive ones instead.


Which type of background should I choose?

The type of background you choose depends on a lot of factors such as the size of your tank, your budget, the type aquarium decorations in your fish tank, and if you’re planning on creating your own – your artistic skill.

If you don’t have much money to spend, laminated or self-adhesive aquarium backgrounds may be your best option. However, if you truly want to create a beautiful, natural-looking fish tank, a 3D background will make your fish tank come to life. Yes, they are more expensive and require more effort to attach, but it’s well worth it.

Should I create my own 3D background?

You need to be extra careful when creating a 3D background since they are attached to the inside of the fish tank, and any toxic substance used can harm or kill your fish. If you think you’re up to the task you can go ahead and create your own from industrial grade foam, quick-drying cement and silicone.