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Guide on Using Aquarium Backgrounds - FAQ and Forum

Aquarium background, resized image 1 Aquarium background, resized image 2 Aquarium background, resized image 3

Brief description

This page is devoted to aquarium backgrounds - types and use. If you'd like to purchase backgrounds for your fish tank, simply click this link (will open in new window/tab). You're welcome to visit the following pages too (links will open in new window/tab): DIY Aquarium Backgrounds, Aquarium backgrounds. We'd love to hear your experiences with backgrounds and your opinions too - use a form at the bottom of this page to share your story!


Aquarium owners have the luxury of having a piece of the underwater kingdom available for their viewing pleasure twenty four hours a day. Since a well maintained and presented aquarium can represent quite an investment, the die hard fish lover wants to perfectly display and enhance the appearance of his fish. One way to do this is through the use of aquarium backgrounds. These backgrounds can be made of various fish-safe materials and can be placed inside or outside the aquarium. Aquarium backgrounds come in an almost endless array of sizes shapes and colors, so it’s quite certain that there’s a background suitable for even the pickiest fish lover.

The choices in which type of aquarium background to use can depend on several factors. First the actual size of the tank must be considered. Smaller sized tanks require aquarium backgrounds which will not take up too much of the tank space. Space within these tanks is at a premium from the get go so placing items in the tank will use up space which is needed for your fish. After all, the background may serve as a type of eye dressing, but the fish are supposed to remain the main attraction.

The background in your aquarium will basically serve two main purposes, the most obvious one being to make it a more decorative addition to your home, and to also hide any bulky equipment or lines from view. Aquarium backgrounds also help make your fish feel more at ease, and help to prevent algae buildup by limiting the amount of sunlight that gets into the tank. Aquarium backgrounds can be purchased starting at around $15 all the way up to $200 or more.

On the low end of the cost spectrum, you can purchase aquarium background stickers that you can simply apply to the back of your aquarium tank. These stickers are made of vinyl and are available in a very wide assortment of colorful scenes depicting rocks as well as floral life. This is a quick and easy fix, especially for those who don’t have the inclination to invest much time on installing a background.

These stickers are made to adhere both inside the tank and outside, so you can choose whichever placement you prefer. Make certain the aquarium background uses an adhesive that is safe for your fish. It should tell you on the label or package. Be sure to read and follow the instructions closely, especially when installing any items on the inside of the tank Whether it be a sticker, or a plastic decorative figure, make sure that the materials, including any paints, used in the making of the item is safe for fish. It’s too late to read the label after you’ve killed all your fish. Aquariums are a fragile environment and are easily contaminated.

The next step up is the molded three dimensional aquarium backgrounds. These are usually made of Styrofoam, plastic or fiberglass. Backgrounds made for smaller tanks fall within the Styrofoam and plastic category, while the larger saltwater aquariums may use fiberglass backgrounds. Both the Styrofoam and plastic aquarium backgrounds are easily cut and shaped by the fish owner to fit to several sized aquariums.

Fiberglass backgrounds are used in zoological exhibits and specialty aquariums. Fish owners who have very large saltwater tanks can purchase custom made fiberglass aquarium backgrounds which will add realism to the underwater fantasy. Fiberglass aquarium backgrounds are attached to the back of the fish tank by the use of aquarium silicone. This is a fish safe type of silicone made especially for aquarium use.

For those fish aficionados who are on the artistic side, there is also the option to create an aquarium background completely from scratch using easily available materials. If you are one of those who choose to create their own background, then the best course of action is to do a simple web search on the term “aquarium backgrounds”.

One particularly good do-it-yourself tutorial that I liked can be found here:

If you want to build your own aquarium background, this tutorial will walk you thru the process step by step, from what supplies you will need, to how to assemble it correctly. I especially like this tutorial because it uses easily obtained materials that can be acquired by making one stop at the local hardware store. As an added bonus, the instructions are fairly goof proof, so almost anyone can create their own aquarium background which looks highly realistic.

Makes no difference which route you choose to take in adding an aquarium background, you can be sure that it is money and time well spent. Your fish will definitely appreciate the view, and so will you!


Here below we provide paper backgrounds images. We do not advertise any product!

Aquarium background, img 1 Aquarium background, img 2 Aquarium background, img 3

Questions and answers

You're welcome to submit your own unique and not yet answered questions here, use a form at the bottom of this page, please! On March 24th 2011 we added the following questions and answers here due to mering with related pages at

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