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> On Monday, June 1, 1998, "Kudzu" wrote:
> Looking for ideas for a background for my 60 gallon tank. Does anyone use
> anything that really looks great with a planted tank? I have almost bought
> one of the typical mylar (?) planted backgrounds or rock backgrounds several
> times and back out before they cut it. I have looked at the blue that fades
> from light to dark. Even considered a black one. Just can't decide on one.


My personal preference is for a solid black background.  I achieve this by painting the outside of the back glass of the tank with a satin/semi gloss spray paint such as Krylon or Rust-Oleum.  I then cover the back of the tank with a piece of plain cardboard cut to size to protect the painted surface from scratching.  This gives a very nice and even finish with no gaps.  It also has
the advantage of being inexpensive.  I used one full can of paint for my 75G, and the cost is about $3.00 to $4.00 for the can of paint.  The cardboard is free if cut from an old box.  (I had several large ones left over from our last move.)

Do take care to mask the inside of the tank and anything else you don't want paint overspray on, as it tends to go everywhere.  Because of this tendency, this technique is only suitable for use when setting up a new tank.  You would never want to try this on a tank that is currently running for fear of poisoning your plants and fish.  Ditto on doing the painting in the fish room.
Also clean the glass thoroughly with a solvent such a acrylic lacquer thinner before applying the paint to remove any grease or fingerprints which can cause "fish eyes" in the finish.  (In this case, "fish eyes" are not a good thing.)

I have used this technique on the last 3 tanks I have set up and have been very pleased with the results.  I even painted the side of one of the tanks that was set up in a corner of the room so I didn't have to look at the wall. The paint can even be removed in the future if so desired by scraping off with a razor blade.  However, use a new blade and make sure the blade is sharp
with  no nicks in the edge as they can scratch the glass.


Jay Bickford
Savage, Minnesota