One of the easiest ways to add detail and depth to an aquarium is to use an aquarium background.
There are a lot of different options available: coral reefs, ocean floors, rocky surfaces, and even mangroves. Installation is easy and the impact is substantial.
By using the best aquarium background available, you can create a long-lasting look that you and your fish will love.
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Benefits of Having a Fish Tank Background
There are a few benefits to using an aquarium background.
The most obvious one is that they add visual interest to your tank and provide a gorgeous background for your pets, plants, and decorations.
Another great reason to use an aquarium background is that it will cover up any unsightly cords or filters that run behind your tank.
This creates a much more polished look and keeps your fish tank looking as natural as possible.
The 10 Best Backgrounds for Aquariums, Plants & Colors
When choosing an aquarium background, the most important thing is to choose one that you like the look of. There are so many options out there, here are the best ones we found.
|ELEBOX Fish Tank Background 2 Sided River Aquarium New||Wide: 48"|
|Vepotek Aquarium Background Ocean Seabed /Coral Reef Double sides||Wide: 24", 36", 48", 60" and 72"|
|Fish Tank Background 2 Sided Driftwood Floral Aquarium||Wide: 48"|
|SPORN Aquarium Background, Static Cling, Ocean Floor||Wide: 36"|
|SPORN Aquarium Background, Static Cling, Tropical||Wide: 36"|
|Vepotek Aquarium Background Double sides (Deep Seabed/Coral Rock)||Wide: 24", 36", 48", 60", 72" and 84"|
|Silver Medley Rock / HD Stone Aquarium Background||Wide: 48"|
|Universal Rocks Rocky Flexible Aquarium Background||Wide: 48"|
|Aquarium Background Coral And Freshwater Plants Jungle Decorations||Wide: 24", 30", 36", 48", 60", 72", 84", 96"|
|Mangrove Sunlight Aquarium Background||12"x20", 16"x34", 16"x36", 18"x30", 18"x36", 18"x48", 21"x48", 21"x60", 21"x72", 24"x36", 24"x45", 24"x96", 25"x75", 36"x36"|
Aquarium Background Reviews
1. ELEBOX Fish Tank Background 2 Sided River Aquarium New
This 2-sided background features a riverbed on one side and a lake background on the other. Both have bright, vibrant colors and are sure to make your fish and other aquarium inhabitants feel right at home.
If you’re looking for something that adds a lot of detail and works well in a tank with minimal plants and decor, this is a good option.
It’s dense and has a lot of interest that can that add the illusion of depth to your tank.
2. Vepotek Aquarium Background Ocean Seabed /Coral Reef Double sides
The double-sided background from Vepotek features a coral reef on one side and an ocean seabed on the other. Each photo is printed using special printing techniques for the bright, bold colors to enhance the look of your aquarium.
What’s great about this background is you get one that’s bright, busy, and colorful and another that’s gorgeous but a little more subdued. You’re able to achieve 2 very different looks with one background. All you have to do is flip it over.
Because this product is made using a 3-layer waterproof film, it’s really durable and doesn’t wrinkly while still being really easy to cut to size. Although you can get background adhesive from Veptek, there isn’t any included with this background so you will need to use tape.
3. Fish Tank Background 2 Sided Driftwood Floral Aquarium
This 2-sided driftwood and floral background is a great choice if you want something bright and beautiful that primarily uses deep greens and browns for a really natural look. It looks amazing without overshadowing any plants you may have inside your tank.
The bright green and driftwood image is a bit more subtle and would look great behind real aquarium plants. On the other side, the image sticks with the same green and brown tones but adds a lot of texture for depth and visual interest.
The material itself is extremely durable and easy to install. All you have to do is cut it to size and tape it in place using clear tape. When you want to reverse it, simply remove it, flip, and retape.
4. SPORN Aquarium Background, Static Cling, Ocean Floor
This background from SPORN features a single image of the sun reflecting through the waves and onto the sandy ocean floor.
It uses vibrant colors and detailed HD images that make for a gorgeous background without taking away from what’s going on inside your tank.
The application is a little more involved than simply using tape but is pretty easy and results in a more polished look.
Use the grid on the back to cut to size then mist the outer glass with water and apply the background using a squeegee to smooth out any air bubbles.
5. SPORN Aquarium Background, Static Cling, Tropical
This background from SPORN features a bright, bold image of tropical water and plants and adds a splash of color to any aquarium environment. It fits most aquariums and can be quickly cut to size.
One of the nice things about this background is that it’s colorful enough to take center stage as the main piece of decor but it’s also muted enough that it won’t outshine any plants or decoration you have inside your tank. It’s the best of both worlds.
All you need to do to apply this background is cut it to size, spray some water to the glass, remove the backing, and smooth it into place. It uses static cling to stick and should be smoothed with a squeegee or credit card to get all the bubbles out. Removal is easy, too, and there’s no mess left behind.
6. Vepotek Aquarium Background Double sides (Deep Seabed/Coral Rock)
This double-sided background features a deep blue ocean on one side and sunlit coral rock on the other. It’s a great background for any tank setup, especially if you have a lot of live plants and colorful fish because they’ll really stand out.
The thing that makes this background unique is the coloring. One side is different tones of deep, saturated ocean blues. On the other side is the coral rock that sticks with the blue color theme but adds a lot of texture and fine detail.
Because this background is made using triple-layer, high-quality waterproof film, it’s extra durable and difficult to wrinkle. You don’t need any special supplies for application, either. Just use tape to secure it in place.
7. Silver Medley Rock / HD Stone Aquarium Background
Next up is this gorgeous background that features large silver rocks that would look amazing in an aquarium filled with fish and a perfect addition to a lizard or turtle tank. The HD image looks amazing and it fits most 55-gallon aquariums.
The image is scratch and tear resistant and is more durable than comparable items you can buy in a pet store. All you have to do is cut and position it then tape it in place.
8. Universal Rocks Rocky Flexible Aquarium Background
If you’re looking for a life-like HD background, check out this design from Universal Rocks.
It looks just like a sheer rock face and adds a sense of realism to your tank. This isn’t just a photograph, it has realistic depth and texture that you can touch.
This piece would look great in a fish tank and makes a stunning addition to lizard or turtle tanks, too. Installation is easy but a little different than some of the other products we looked so far so please make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully.
9. Aquarium Background Coral And Freshwater Plants Jungle Decorations
One of the best things about this 2-sided design is that each side is so different. One features bright, colorful coral while the other features lush green jungle plants.
They’re both gorgeous and each brings something completely different to the look of your aquarium.
This background is meant for 24-inch tall aquariums and is made out of durable plastic. All you have to do is unroll it, choose the size you want, and tape in place.
10. Mangrove Sunlight Aquarium Background
Another great choice if you’re looking for something a little different is this background that features mangroves and the sun reflecting off the sandy ocean bottom.
The HD photo has a lot of detail and looks great with your fish swimming in front of it.
This background is made of durable material that is tear and scratch-resistant and fits most 55-gallon tanks. All you have to do is cut to size and tape in place.
How to Choose an Aquarium Background?
There are a few things to consider when choosing an aquarium background. As we said, the most important thing is to pick something that you like. In the end, as long as it looks good, that’s all that matters.
That said, there are some different things to consider when deciding what background is right for you.
How realistic do you want to be?
Obviously, you want the image on the background to look as realistic as possible but there’s another thing to consider. Are you trying to make your tank look nice? Or are you trying to recreate the natural habitat of your fish?
To be as realistic as possible, you need to consider your fish. For example, if you have a freshwater tank, you shouldn’t choose a background with an oceanic coral reef. Or, if you have a fish that lives in a rocky environment, a picture of the open ocean floor doesn’t represent its natural habitat.
How much does a realistic environment matter?
Honestly, it depends on who you ask. A lot of people will say that you should always use a background that matches the natural environment of your fish. That is the most realistic option and if you want to recreate an accurate environment, you should use the right background.
That said, at the end of the day, the only thing that matters is if you’re happy with the way the tank looks. Let’s be honest, your fish aren’t going to know the difference. So, if you want your freshwater fish to swim in front of a coral reef, that is completely your call.
Another thing to think about is the aesthetics of your tank design and how they’ll play against the background. If you have a tank that’s pretty heavily planted, it would look much different against a monotone background than one with a lot of colors.
If you have a lot of open space in your tank and are primarily relying on the background to add interest, large scale designs usually look pretty great. Large scale rock backgrounds or even textured options work well here.
If you have a lot of plants and decor inside your tank, it tends to look more polished with a slightly toned-down background. Rock faces, lush greens, or sandy ocean bottoms are good choices here.
Again, the bottom line is that you like what your tank looks like. Ultimately, what matters most is how much you like looking at the background you choose.
How to Install an Aquarium Background?
How you install your background depends on what kind of background you choose.
No matter what installation method you choose, the first step is always the same: measure an cut. Some of these backgrounds are quite large and need to be trimmed to fit.
Some of these backgrounds come with a sizing grid on the backing which is really convenient and an easy way to make sure you don’t make the wrong cut. For most backgrounds, though, you’ll need to take some measurements yourself.
Measure the back your aquarium or the area where you’ll be applying the background. Some people choose to also put the background on the sides of the aquarium. If you choose to do this, make sure the background you choose provides enough coverage.
Once you measure the aquarium, use a ruler or tape measure and a pen or marker to plan out where you need to cut. If there’s a particular part of the scene that you like, make sure to include it.
After you’ve decided where to cut, use scissors or a sharp utility knife and trim the background to size. After that, you’re ready for installation.
As we mentioned, there are a few different ways you can install your background. The manufacturer usually recommends a method that will work best so it’s best to go with what they suggest.
Before trying any of these methods, the very first thing you should do is clean the glass. This will make sure that no smudges or residue gets in the way of the image. Plus, it will help the background stay in place better.
Once your background is cut and the glass is clean, you’re ready to go. Here are some options for installation:
Tape. This is by far the easiest method. All you have to do is line up the background so that the entire surface is covered then tape it in place. Double-sided tape works well and is a little easier to hide but any clear tape will do.
Static cling. Some of these backgrounds are meant to be adhered to the glass using static. This is a pretty easy process though it can be just a little difficult to get it right.
First, mist some water on the back of the tank. This really does make the process smoother. Next, slowly apply the background using a squeegee or credit card to smooth it onto the glass, making sure to get rid of any bubbles and avoid wrinkles.
Some products can stay in place with static cling along while others may need some tape around the edges to keep them in place. When done correctly, this method creates a very natural look.
Interior installation. Textured, 3D backgrounds are some of the most realistic options out there but installation can get a little tricky. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations carefully.
With this kind of installation, measuring is key. Rather than measuring the back of the tank, you actually need to measure the internal dimensions since that’s where the background is going to go.
Once you’ve measured and cut to size, the next step is to soak the background or give it a high-pressure wash to get rid of any loose particles. Next, place it into your tank against the back wall.
You may need to actually use silicone adhesive to keep it in place or you can make use of your substrate and various decorations to hold it where it needs to be.
Note that installing a background like this is likely to cause some clouding which should go away within 2 weeks. Continue with maintenance and water changes as normal but avoid a major cleaning that will agitate the tank even more.
Since these backgrounds are made to be submerged in your aquarium, they’re designed not to have any effect on the water parameters though you should continue to test and treat as you normally would.
Choosing the best fish tank background for your tank is a great way to add the design detail you’ve been missing. They’re easy to install, require little to no maintenance, and have a big impact.