Best Aquarium Background (Types, Choice, Gluing Guide)

The background for an aquarium is an important element of an artificial reservoir, which is given special attention when arranging a tank. Even if you buy the most expensive and elite fish or plant colorful plants, an artificial reservoir will not look beautiful. For the decoration of the aquarium, various decorative solutions, and finishing materials, pictures are provided.

best aquarium background

What is function of Aquarium Background?

Before gluing the background to the back of the aquarium, you should clarify its main functions. A similar layer is used for:

  1. Wall masking, which impairs the perception of underwater life, disrupting the harmony of the composition.
  2. Hiding electrical communications, sockets and items of equipment installed behind the tank.
  3. Visually expanding the space by creating perspectives inside the aquarium.
  4. Absorption of light glare, which is necessary to ensure comfortable living conditions for underwater inhabitants.
  5. Completing the marine composition without compromising the interior space in the tank.

With the help of decorations, you can solve many related problems.

Similar goals will be fulfilled in cases where the background is harmoniously combined with the aquatic environment and is made taking into account the style of the aquarium. It is recommended to stick to the marine theme, where corals, fish, and aquatic vegetation are present. In case of an overabundance of algae and other decorative elements, it is better to choose a plain background.

Best Aquarium background

There are 2 modifications of aquarium coverings:

  1. Internal. They create the maximum imitation of natural sea conditions, but require complex installation. Also, inside the tank, you can use exclusively non-toxic materials that do not pose a threat to the health and life of fish. The background is set in the aquarium even before the liquid is poured and living creatures are placed. An important requirement is that the decorative layer must be firmly fixed on the glass so that it does not fall off when interacting with water and underwater inhabitants.
  2. External. They differ in low cost and availability in all pet stores. In addition, such materials are not subject to destruction by aquatic vegetation.


You can apply aquarium film at home without outside help, since this process is simplified. Such a surface is inexpensive and is offered in a variety of decoration options. The layer can be glued to the outside of the tank and can be easily removed and refurbished if desired. Self-adhesive backgrounds are suitable for small aquariums, since when decorating large structures it is difficult to complete the gluing without bubbles and folds.


If you want to decorate the aquarium from behind without buying a film, you can paint it using indelible paint and special stencils. Using blanks, the drawing is easily applied and painted in the desired color palette. If it is not possible to do this, it is enough to create a solid background using an aerosol can.

The drawn version looks three-dimensional and gives the tank additional authenticity.


A voluminous background implies the use of elastic and safe materials based on polymer components, which can be given any geometric shape and configuration. The embossed version has a 3D effect, which has a positive effect on the harmony of the marine composition.

Among the disadvantages of the solution are:

  • Lack of use in aquariums with a non-standard shape.
  • Regular cleaning required due to algae growth and sediment build-up.
  • High cost.
  • Reducing free space inside.


With the help of living plants, you can create the maximum imitation of natural conditions for marine life. Aquarium seaweed can be supplemented with stones, models of sunken ships and other decorative items.


The glowing backdrop for the aquarium is an interesting solution. You can make such a background yourself using ice lamps or purchase a ready-made ADA Light Screen solution .


Alternatively, you can use a matte background. At the same time, you can save money and buy a matte film for glass, windows or a bathroom.

benefits of different types of aquarium backgrounds

The background that is fixed inside the tank has several limitations. It must remain neutral to water and not take up space from underwater inhabitants. External modifications are safe for the aquatic environment and fish, since they do not come into contact with liquid. In addition, they have the following advantages:

  • Availability.
  • A variety of textures and designs.
  • Simple installation.
  • Saves space in small aquariums.
  • Ease of updating.

In addition, film materials are durable, because they are outside the aquatic environment and are not subject to its destructive effects.

Self-adhesive is easy to attach and compatible with different types of aquarium tanks.

If a living background of plants is chosen, then it will complement the composition of the marine environment and saturate the water with oxygen.

Choose Best Aquarium Background for your fish tank

To select an aquarium background, it is worth choosing a range of colors, types of performance and style. The decorative coating should merge with and complement the aquatic environment.


It is advisable to choose the used paints close to natural colors.

Among the popular colors in the aquarium, the following shades are distinguished:

  1. Black. Differs in brevity and versatility. It does not distract the viewers’ attention from fish, underwater landscape and algae. In addition, black tones are able to visually expand the space and give it a natural look.
  2. Light blue, green, light green. These shades create a subconscious association with the abyss of the sea. Due to the low contrast, such a background will be a good addition to an aquarium in which bright fish live.
  3. Sandy, ocher, yellow and brown. These tones mimic the topography of a lake or river and are therefore common in freshwater aquariums.

If you want to make an aquarium on a white background, then it is better to settle bright species of fish in it.


There are different types of aquarium backgrounds on sale, which differ in the installation method. The outer film is reliable and durable. In addition, such material will not come into contact with living things and the aquatic environment. However, if you want to replace it, you will have some difficulties.

The film, which is fixed inside the tank, gives the structure a laconic and complete look. At the same time, it should not disrupt the natural life cycle of fish and pollute the water.


When choosing a background for an aquarium, you should take into account its other characteristics, for example, the material of manufacture. In most cases, BOPP film is used, which is notable for its low cost and ease of installation. It is customary to do it in the style of the underwater world or freshwater landscape with the inclusion of pictures of vegetation, fish, or other marine organisms.

The subject of background printing is varied, the materials are harmless to use.

Screens made of polyresin or ceramic components create an imitation of masonry, woody texture, and roots. It is quite easy to take care of such a coating because it is easy to clean with water. However, the material reduces the usable tank space.

necessary tools for gluing the aquarium background

To stick the film on the wall of the aquarium, you need to prepare several tools:

  • Glycerin solution
  • Decorative film
  • Several napkins
  • Stationery knife
  • Metal ruler
  • Silicone spatula

As an alternative to a spatula, you can consider an old bank or discount card. If you have a hard piece of cardboard in your home workshop, you can take that too.

glue aquarium background Step by step Guide

To properly glue the aquarium background, you need to follow the step-by-step guide. This will allow you to arrange the structure in an even layer without bubbles and folds.

glue the aquarium background step by step guide


Before cutting the film, the dimensions of the glass should be assessed and the desired piece should be cut off. It is important to be especially careful at this stage, as an uneven cut will worsen the subsequent gluing. Cutting should be done using a utility knife and a ruler. In the absence of experience in performing such actions, you should practice on a small piece of film.


The surface of the aquarium needs to be thoroughly cleaned before applying the film. If there is even the smallest dirt on the glass, you will not be able to remove it after the layer has been applied.

It is better to clean the glass with a special liquid and wipe it with microfiber.


To apply the material, pre-wet the surface of the aquarium glass with a simple solution of water and detergent (eg Fairy).

This impregnation will facilitate the correct selection of a suitable position for the film and will quickly displace any air bubbles present.


The next step is to flatten the film to remove wrinkles and air bubbles. For these tasks, use a plastic card or ruler. It is better to move bubbles from the central part of the film to the edges.


At the finishing stage, you should check for traces of air or other defects on the decorative coating. The remnants of the film must be cut off with a clerical knife.

other ways to apply the aquarium background

In addition to the classical method of mounting the film, it is also fixed in the following ways:


This option practically does not differ from the classical one, since the preparatory actions and principles of surface treatment look identical. In this case, you do not have to cut the film into strips and adjust to the size of the tank. It can be pasted with a pass, and the remains can be cut off with a utility knife.


You can attach the film to the aquarium with tape. To do this, you need to attach the background to the surface and fix it with adhesive tape.


Before distributing the glue mixture, clean the surface from air bubbles with a plastic card or a triangle ruler. It is important to glue it as quickly as possible, since the composition dries quickly and loses its properties.

diy aquarium backgrounds

In case of spare changing backgrounds, materials must be selected with a long service life.

You can also make a stylish background for an aquarium tank with your own hands. To do this, you need to prepare available tools and materials, as well as follow some instructions.


If you like to experiment with aquarium backdrop designs, it is best to form a removable decor with a hard base. Thin plywood or flat cardboard can be used as a backing. It is necessary to give it the shape of the back wall of an artificial reservoir.

The backing is thoroughly wiped with a soft cloth and peeled off of the protective layer. To remove air bubbles, the picture is smoothed with a rubber spatula. Then 2 cm of the protective layer is peeled off and the background is gradually glued. After fixing the film, flatten it with a soft cloth. The procedure should be carried out as quickly as possible so that the applied glue does not dry out.


Decorating the inside of the back wall of an aquarium is a painstaking and time-consuming process. It will take a lot of time and effort to make fish feel comfortable and live in beautiful conditions. If you want to change the interior design of the aquarium, you need to remove all the contents. This will simplify the work ahead and protect the underwater inhabitants from negative influences.


Living vegetation is the best decoration for any aquarium and is also an irreplaceable part of the aquatic ecosystem. Algae absorb nutrients from soil and water, reduce carbon dioxide and promote oxygen production.

As vegetation, you can use Javanese moss, which floats freely in the water, is fixed to the roots or stones. In addition, he does not need special care and is able to develop normally when there is a lack of lighting.

In aquarium conditions, you can grow Wendt’s Cryptocoryne, which grows up to 30 cm in height and develops normally with a lack of light.


To make a background based on foam, you should adhere to the following algorithm of actions:

  1. You should not pick up even and smooth foam – the more irregularities and corners there are on its surface, the better it will fit into the composition of the aquarium. The material will need to be broken into uneven pieces and connected with glue.
  2. The panel should be covered with 2-3 layers of tile glue, and when it dries up, you can start painting.
  3. To distribute paintwork materials, you should use a sponge.
  4. After drying, it should be immersed in water for 2 days and renewed every 24 hours.


The polyurethane foam background in the aquarium resembles the previous modification. At the same time, its assembly takes longer due to the prolonged drying of the foam.

It is better to combine the paint with epoxy. All actions must be performed with extreme caution, but promptly, since the drying process of the resin is quite short.

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