Posted by Dabney B. on Thursday, May 10th, 2012
Ah, you’ve finally placed the final frilly plant in your aquarium and, after a bit of aquascaping, you’ve got everything right where you want it. Your aquarium looks like an underwater version of a zen garden — but wait! An ugly cord stretches along the back of your aquarium, ruining the view. What can you do?
It’s quite simple: paint it. By painting the back layer of your aquarium with a dark color, you can hide the unwanted sight of whatever is behind your tank and keep the attention focused on the beautiful scenery of your aquarium. The obvious colors are black and blue, but there’s nothing saying you have to pick one of those colors. You also don’t have to be a professional artist to pull it off, but by following a few basic tricks you’ll have a cheap and customized alternative to those plastic backgrounds.
Before we get started, I should point out that you should do this with an empty tank. You definitely don’t want to get paint particles in the water, and you should only paint the outside of the tank, never the inside.
First off, pick a spray paint of the appropriate color. I recommend something dark. After all, the attention is supposed to be on the fish, not on the brightly-colored glass. Then, tape the bottom and top trim of your paint, pretty much the same way that you would tape the door frames if you were painting your house.
Clean the glass with a cleaner like rubbing alcohol or Windex, and then wipe down the glass thoroughly until it’s nice and dry. Start by covering the back of your tank in a light coat and then let it dry for about a minute. Rinse and repeat for a few more coats until it’s dark enough to block out light from the other side. And by “rinse and repeat,” I mean that in the colloquial sense. Actually rinsing the paint with anything while it’s trying to dry is a terrible, terrible idea.
Alternatively, if you’re feeling a bit more artistically inclined, there’s nothing saying that you couldn’t get a few paintbrushes, some paint, and try to paint a scene on the back of your aquarium. Just remember that when you look at the painting from the other side the image will be reversed! Truly talented artists can create a beautiful, stylish scene that will make your fish feel like they’re swimming down the red carpet. Acrylic paints will get the job done, or you could go with Pebeo Vitrea 160 paint if you want to maintain the glass-like translucent effect.
Though, if you’re like me and wouldn’t trust yourself to paint well anymore than you’d trust an octopus with a handgun, you can always just go with a plastic laminated background cover. These designs are all great for small, cheap, do-it-yourself projects at home. Once you’re ready to take the plunge and get an aquarium that is true artwork, there’s better option than Okeanos Aquascaping.