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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I have been lurking for a year or so but now I have some questions. What do you think looks best as a background for a large planted tank with angels? The tank frame and stand are black. Waiting for the BUILDMYLED show tank lights. :) two- 48 inch 75 degree angle lights pick by Nick the owner of the business after a LONG conversion of what I am doing with my tank. They will be hanging from the ceiling a foot off the tank. SO....sorry to be long winded but it will be a techy looking tank but heavily planted. Most of the background is blocked by plants but the stray cord peeking through drives me crazy!
 

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I think a coating of black paint looks great. -it hides the cords/tubes/equipment, it doesn't leave weird spots/gaps since it's painted right on the (outside) glass. Easy to apply, inexpensive, etc.
 

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Dont mean to butt in:redface: but im in the same situation with my tanks now? What type of paint is safe to use and what about the fumes around the water surface?
 

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Try painting the outside of the glass. If you want some kind of picture, you'll have to do it in reverse order. Wish I could make it more understandable. Similar to how they do it in the windows of Fast food chains.
No worries for contaminants that way.
 

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Dont mean to butt in:redface: but im in the same situation with my tanks now? What type of paint is safe to use and what about the fumes around the water surface?

Glass paint on the outside of the glass.

Are you painting the tank while its filled? That would pose some challenges.
 

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If youre tank is already established I would not paint it. Especially since it is probably up against a wall....that could pose a challenge.

Not having a back ground drove me insane. I tore my tank down, took it outside and painted it... Now when I get new tanks I always paint the back before I set them up.
 

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I suggest you use colored paper, to see how various colors look. Your 'best' will depend on your lights, substrate, pants/fish/inverts and room lighting.

Here's a ligt blue painted background I did with left over interior flat wall paint. coats 1-3 were white with the lightest of blue tint. Coats 4-5 were flat white.



I used 5 very thin coats to avoid brush marks.

Lighter colors will reflect light, black will absorb it. So keep that in mind to get the affect you are after.
 

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Painting the glass can be very simple or overly complicated. I prefer very simple goto your local craft type store find some cheap water based acrylic craft paint generally runs 1$ or 2$ for a 4oz bottle. you'll need to thin the paint with a little water then either brush it on or use a foam roller. As stated before this is much easier if the tank is empty . These paints are non toxic and water based so no special masks are required I still wouldn't want to get any in the tank but it works well and if later on down the line you decide you don't like it it's easily removable with a razor blade it peels of in sheets.

Used this on my tank photos of the final result are in my Signature.
 

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Painting the glass can be very simple or overly complicated. I prefer very simple goto your local craft type store find some cheap water based acrylic craft paint generally runs 1$ or 2$ for a 4oz bottle.
So how may 4oz. bottles do you think it will take to paint a 150gl tank?
:icon_mrgr

Sorry couldn't resist
:wink:
 

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I painted a 125gal with one of Home depot 2.99 samples of latex and their 2.96 mini rollers. two coats and done.

But I now use poster board taped to the frame of the tank. for whatever reason having even a small gap between the glass and the background prevents all the little floaty things in the water from being visible. of course this is on my 75gal that has a overflow box slightly off center so there are no seams.
--this is also easy to install, cheap, and easy to change
 

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Drop cloth, fabric, poster board, painted paper. All are fun ideas that you can change very easily.
 

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THe african 55 I had set up for years I used black felt for a backdrop. Just added some velcro to the tank around the perimeter and to the cut to size piece of fabric. I was a bit lazy and didnt make the corners super tight, but you could make it with finished edged and take care of that:)
 

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I just the normal black aquarium background from pet store. Put scotch tap in a couple spots to hold it. Not the best, but works and cheap. I plan on having most of it covered by plants anyways.
 

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So how may 4oz. bottles do you think it will take to paint a 150gl tank?
:icon_mrgr

Sorry couldn't resist
:wink:
I used about 1/2 of a 4 oz bottle to do my 55 with 2 coats of paint so 1 4oz bottle would be enough to get at least 2 coats on a 150. At 1 - 2 $ per bottle it's cheaper and much less toxic then spray paint and even latex paint. And the craft paint is fairly thick so thinning it with a little water will net you a bit more then 4oz probably closer to 6oz.

Honestly it doesn't have to be 100% opaque unless you have a light source behind the tank your trying to block out
 

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I used about 1/2 of a 4 oz bottle to do my 55 with 2 coats of paint so 1 4oz bottle would be enough to get at least 2 coats on a 150....
I couldn't imaging you could get that coverage with 2oz of paint. Of course I've never measured out paint, so 2 oz. must be more than I realize?
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
The planted 150 gallon is in my office and it is about a foot away from the wall so being skinny I can fit in there. LOL! I have seen some wonderful deep blue painted backgrounds. Have black already on the 120 reef tank (came painted). Would the water based latex craft paint run if water splashed on the outside of the tank? Poster board appeals to me also.

Is there a trend you can see? When I first started out 30 years ago we HAD to have the tin foil type background.. OMG!
 

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I've always just used spray paint, not real picky, whatever I could get. clean the glass well, and give it a few light 'dustings', and then a couple thicker coats.

It probably isn't as scratch resistant as some specialty paint, but it's cheap, easy, and once the tank is against the wall, there isn't much to scratch it.

For that situation, DogFish's suggestion of latex would probably work pretty well. It won't be easy, but if you have a bit of time and can work from both ends of the tank, you should be able to do it.

I'm not sure brush marks are a concern for a tank with it's back to the wall - brush marks only really show on the outside surface of the paint, and the inside surface will conform to whatever it's painted on (the glass). Maybe with light showing throw on a lighter colored coating?
 

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Maybe "brush marks" wasn't the best way to describe it. If you have incomplete coverage in an area the light will show through in spots that are the thinnest.

I solved that by alternating horizontal and vertical coats. Latex is nice as clean up is with water. Also less worry about taping as there is no over spay to contend with. Latex will come off very easily from scratches but not from a little splashed/dripped water.
 

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The planted 150 gallon is in my office and it is about a foot away from the wall so being skinny I can fit in there. LOL! I have seen some wonderful deep blue painted backgrounds. Have black already on the 120 reef tank (came painted). Would the water based latex craft paint run if water splashed on the outside of the tank? Poster board appeals to me also.

Is there a trend you can see? When I first started out 30 years ago we HAD to have the tin foil type background.. OMG!

if it's a constant drip it will thin that area of paint enough that it will start to loose adhesion against the glass and start to lift off, but the occasional drip will not affect the paint at all.
 
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