Safe paint for use inside the aquarium? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-21-2017, 08:08 AM Thread Starter
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Safe paint for use inside the aquarium?

I found a large piece of styrofoam today and decided to play around a little bit.

I ended up with some floating avatar style rocks. Each rock has the core hollowed out with a hole at the top so I can insert plants in them. This is a 5 gal fluval spec aquarium for scale.

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This is a sloppy and temporary setup, but you get the idea. The styrofoam rocks are tied to random small rocks with fishing wire. The "weight"rocks are showing and the fishing line is to thick and untrimmed. I just wanted to get them in the tank to see if i even wanted to add this look.

If I keep them, I will use thinner fishing line and either bury the rocks or tie them all to 1 larger sheet of plastic canvas and place entire sheet under the substrate.

What can I use to paint these black with? I've read about a krylon spray paint that is supposedly safe, but the post is old so I thought I would ask again.

This will be a shrimp tank once it's cycled so I really don't want to add anything that will hurt them.

Thanks in advance for any help you can offer me!

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Last edited by lahornby; 04-21-2017 at 08:20 AM. Reason: Picture is upside down, not sure why.
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-21-2017, 08:27 AM Thread Starter
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Try that front view picture again...

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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-21-2017, 08:28 AM
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I used the Krylon plastic bonding paint inside of my aquarium to cover the acrylic and prevent my aggressive betta from constant glass surfing. Personally, I am not super paranoid about paint in tanks so long as it has a thorough drying and curing time. At least 48 hours, preferably 72+.

Since this is on styrofoam however, I can't recommend anything that will bond to the styrofoam without flaking.
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-22-2017, 07:15 PM
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If you watch the King of DIY's youtube video on custom decorations or backgrounds he paints them with cement. It will affect your gh and kh but cement is hard to beat when it comes to durability and natural appearance
Edit: you could use crushed up graphite as a black dye in the cement. Watch out for powdered dyes that may contain iron or copper.

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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-24-2017, 02:28 AM
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Uaru Joey (Mullen - King of DIY) also says that Krylon is safe for aquariums.

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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-24-2017, 06:05 PM
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My spray bars for my returns inside my tank are pvc pipe that I painted with Krylon Fusion. This is the only spray paint that I know of that can be used inside an aquarium. I have had a good experience with it so far being used with pvc. If you try it I would recommend spraying it on a scrap piece of the styrofoam to see if it melts it or not.


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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-24-2017, 07:35 PM
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I'm pretty sure spraypaint will eat away the Styrofoam, which is the big reason all of the DIY Styrofoam backgrounds are covered with a layer of cement prior to painting. Then again, if you cement your floating islands, they won't float anymore so you would have to hang them from the top.


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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-25-2017, 02:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by d33pVI View Post
I'm pretty sure spraypaint will eat away the Styrofoam, which is the big reason all of the DIY Styrofoam backgrounds are covered with a layer of cement prior to painting. Then again, if you cement your floating islands, they won't float anymore so you would have to hang them from the top.

They will still float, the thin coat of cement is not near enough weight for them to sink. You are right about the paint most solvents used in paint will cause a chemical reaction breaking down the Styrofoam. I know using acrylic paint (like from a hobby store) is safe and will hold up under water for some time but if you use acrylic paint and then a non toxic sealer (I used clear Drylok) it will last an very long time.

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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-25-2017, 02:43 PM
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Krylon Fusion is safe to use in an aquarium, but as mentioned before, may melt the styrofoam. One possible way to use it directly on the styrofoam without melting it might be to use extremely light coats of paint, just dusting the surface so that there is not much solvent to eat large holes in the foam. Just be sure to read the Fusion label for drying time between coats, as I remember it needs a week's wait if new coats are not applied within a certain timeframe. (This would also indicate a week's time to fully cure.) It does dry fairly quickly, though, so building up repeated light coats shouldn't be difficult, especially considering that any plastic-disolving solvent will disapate quickly. If you have a spare piece of styrofoam, it might be worthwhile to try the light, dusting coats until you get a good layer of paint to see if that method will work for you. Once you get a decent coat covering the styrofoam, you shouldn't have a problem with it melting, since the paint will then be bonding to itself.

Looks like a cool setup; let us know how your project proceeds?!

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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-25-2017, 02:50 PM
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You need to seal Styrofoam or the paint will eat it. Most PVA glues seal Styrofoam without causing it to melt. But the thin layer of cement or drylok is a good idea as well. I have used krylon and rustoleum inside my tanks for the past couple years without issue.
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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-18-2018, 04:14 PM
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Coat them with epoxy resin with a tint added. It is neutral and will not melt the styrofoam.
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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-18-2018, 04:39 PM
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My background is painted with tinted Drylok. It has been in the tank over 4 years now with no problems.


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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-20-2018, 02:51 AM
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I think there is a fair amount of missing thinking on the Krylon. It is not so much that it is safer but that it is designed to stick to plastic somewhat better than most of the "rattle-can" paints. I have never used the Krylon but do use the cheap stuff. I feel it's not the paint itself but the volatile portions of the spray. When I paint things for the tank, I let it dry really well and then some more. It is somewhat like the cement for PVC and can take some time before the smell is ALL gone and then just as a kicker, I do a light bleach soak to fully ease my mind. The cheap stuff probably knocks off plastic quicker but then I'm not really happy with the durable part of any spray paint. For foam, I might try giving acrylic hobby paints a try. The water clean-up types are reasonably safe and certainly less prone to eating the foam.
I like the Avatar thinking!!
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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-31-2018, 10:33 PM
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Hi I know this is an old thread but I have an external canister filter that comes with hideous green internal pipe work, it stands out like a soar thumb so I was thinking of painting them and thanks to this thread I think I have found the paint I need but wanted to ask if this is the paint to use or is this the wrong thing altogether ? Thanks in advance...
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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-31-2018, 11:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LordMay View Post
Hi I know this is an old thread but I have an external canister filter that comes with hideous green internal pipe work, it stands out like a soar thumb so I was thinking of painting them and thanks to this thread I think I have found the paint I need but wanted to ask if this is the paint to use or is this the wrong thing altogether ? Thanks in advance...
This is the same paint that I have used in my freshwater aquariums for over a year without any issues. Although not that camouflage green color, I have only used the flat black but same paint just different color.

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