Aquarium Background - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-25-2011, 03:34 AM Thread Starter
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Aquarium Background

I have a 55gal aquarium that I plan to use for rainbowfish, but I don't know what to do with the background. I want to do something that will make the colors in the fish look great so I was thinking of painting the back of it black. I fear that doing this will make the tank look too dark though. Any opinions? I have a double strip T5HO so maybe that will provide enough light to keep the tank bright?
My other option I have been contemplating is making a DIY background... but they look so complicated. Has anyone had experience with these?

Thank you
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-25-2011, 04:08 AM
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I like black backgrounds, it makes the plants and the fish pop. It does not look dark at all.


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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-25-2011, 04:32 AM
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My black substrate doesn't seem to look dark under my dual t5ho, without reflectors, yet.

That's in a 40 tall (12x18x24 inches).
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-25-2011, 05:33 AM
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I prefer tinted window film myself. Looks like a dark mirror from the front/sides, but you can still look from the back to see things through the back glass.

Steve


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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-25-2011, 03:21 PM
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DIY backgrounds are not that hard, and in my opinion really pay off to make the tank more natural looking.
I like the foam and concrete method. It will take a week, and up to a week of soaking, but is worth it.
1. Either use Great Stuff, or silicone on foam to the back. Using foam that you silicone is probably easier, because you need to trim the Great Stuff, plus it is easier to use very thin pieces, so you don't lose much depth.
2. Paint on "concrete floor patch." It can dry to a "feather edge," and is polymer modified so it holds up to water better.
3. Repeat #2 one or 2 more times. Add black and/or brown acrylic paint to the last coat to make it dark gray. Wait several days before applying the last coat so it can fill in any cracks.
3. Paint it: Spray with water, wash on diluted black acrylic paint, wipe off with a towel. Let dry.
4. Lightly sand the edges with 220 grit or finer sand paper to add highlights.
5. Neutralize it by filling the tank, adding some vinigar, letting it soak for a few days.

Just my 2 cents.


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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-25-2011, 03:32 PM
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I just finished a DIY background for a 10g (tried with my 55g but it was hideous -lol).

The cementing was a huge PITA and it looked far worse after cementing than before. I tossed it and started smaller with the 10g. I simply used drylock paint directly on the styrofoam - looks tons better and is SO much faster (3 days total. a day for carving, silicone and paint)

That being said.....I'm going to pull it out and cover the back with black construction paper. Maybe silicone some rocks together and cover with moss, make a moss wall, etc. My DIY looks good, but it doesnt look natural - i'm sure it'd look nicer with moss on it however.....hmmmm.....
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