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tithra

How to Paint your Aquarium Background

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Hi All! Here is a quick tutorial on painting your tank background.

Why Paint?

Painting your background is a nice alternative to those stick on tank background. It allows you to get a very smooth even background (no bubbles!) and allows you color choices you might not otherwise have. It is a semi-permanent option for those who do not do lots of background changing.

Supplies:

1. Paint

You do not need a large amount of paint for this project. A small 8oz can was enough for my 40 gallon tank.

In researching this topic I have found that people have successfully used just about any type of paint out there. Here is a list of the most commonly suggested paints:

- Latex interior paint

- Oil based interior paint

- Acrylic paint for crafting

- Spray paint - Krylon Fusion comes highly recommended for this project

Acrylic paint found in craft stores is going to be the cheapest paint.

black+paint.JPG

Oil based paints seem to be popular with the saltwater community - they may hold up a little better than latex to salt creep

632b9e1b-a13c-49fe-a070-5b604dc00ca6_300

Spray paint is a really nice option, particularly if your tank can be emptied and taken outside. This would be my first choice of paint if your situation allows.

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Latex interior paint would be my second choice to spray paint. Because I had to paint inside with my fish in the same room, I chose a low VOC latex paint - it really didn't smell at all!

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Color/Finish:

Black or blue paint is generally going to be the best for goldfish. These two colors will make your fish 'pop' (unless you have black fish and paint the background black! :P). You will have choices of glossy, matte, or satin. Matte will give you more of a dark slate grey look, while glossy will be a darker black. Satin will probably fall somewhere in between. In trying both glossy and matte I will say that the matte was much easier to work with (less dripping) and I liked the finished look of it better.

2. Foam Roller, Paint Tray, and Small Paint Brush
You will need a small foam roller - these are generally sold for painting cabinets or other small household items. You should be able to find a foam roller set that comes with a paint tray for under 10.00. You will also need a cheap small paint brush - don't spend a lot of money on this, I got mine for about 1.50
3703_Flocked_Foam_Roller_And_Tray.jpg
3. Tape
This can be masking tape, duct tape, painters tape - whatever you have around that can provide a barrier for areas of your tank you don't want painted such as the rim.
img_4_blue_tapes.jpg
4. Rubbing alcohol or Vinegar
You will need something to clean the surface of your tank with before you paint. If this is a tank that is currently in use I would suggest alcohol or vinegar diluted with water. If it is an empty tank (no water, plants, gravel, fish etc.) you could use something like windex.
alcohol.jpg
Let's Paint!
1. Prepare your surface
Wipe down the surface of your tank that you will be painting with you water/vinegar/alcohol solution using a paper towel. Make sure to wipe down the surface well - any oils or debris will make it difficult to paint.
2. Tape your tank
Tape areas of your tank you do not want to paint, such as the top and bottom rim, along with the sides of the aquarium close to the back.
3. Apply your first coat
Use your foam roller to apply the first coat. Work in even lines across the tank. This first layer should be thin! Do not try to make the paint thick in this first layer, it will be very thin and see through. Excess paint will just leave you will a drippy mess (talking from experience here). Your first layer is going to serve as just a nice thin base and surface for subsequent layers to build on. Use your small paint brush to get in corners and close to the rim.
4. Allow paint to dry fully
It is best to allow your first layer to dry completely before adding a second. Read the instructions on your paint to give you an idea of drying time. Mine suggested 4 hrs. Feel the paint before applying a second layer - it should not be tacky to the touch. You can use a hair dryer to speed up the drying process a bit if you are impatient :P
5. Keep coating
Once your first layer is dry, continue to apply coats until you get the desired thickness. On your second layer, run the brush in the opposite direction as you did in the first - repeat this for each subsequent layer. Allow adequate drying time between layers. If you begin to paint too soon you can risk tearing up some of the old paint layers that aren't completely dry.
6. Remove Tape
Once you have painted your tank and the paint has dried, begin removing the tape. Be very careful when removing tape - it can pull up your paint if there is any paint on the tape. If you pull up any paint, just retouch when you have removed the tape.
7. Put up a barrier to protect your paint
Paint will peel off if scratched by equipment. You will want to put up a barrier between your paint and equipment to protect your paint. You can use an old tank background (or any plastic-y material) or you can use painters tape to cover the back of the tank to make a barrier.
Removing Paint
Paint can easily be removed using a razor blade. Begin scraping paint carefully - it should begin to peel up at which point you can pull it off. Oil based paints may be a little more difficult to remove than latex or acrylic.
Here is the video how-to for anyone who wants a visual of this process :)


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Very detailed :). The video isn't working though :(

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Very detailed :). The video isn't working though :(

sorry, it was still uploading when I posted. It is working now :)

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If I could lift my tank I'd definitely do this :rofl

loved the video! It's so cool to see how it's actually done and have all that info :)

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Nice job! Looks great! :clapping:

My only complaint is during the times when Edie and Hashi were shown swimming in the tank, I was so distracted by their beauty, I forgot to listen to you. :teehee.

*replay*. :rofl

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Very detailed :). The video isn't working though :(

sorry, it was still uploading when I posted. It is working now :)

No, maybe it's my computer? When I click play, it goes to a black screen.

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If I could lift my tank I'd definitely do this :rofl

loved the video! It's so cool to see how it's actually done and have all that info :)

Thank you!

I kept my tank filled (took out the water) and just pulled the stand out from against the wall to paint. I put the fish in their QT tank for about a week while I worked on painting (it took me a couple tries to figure it out :P)

Nice job! Looks great! :clapping:

My only complaint is during the times when Edie and Hashi were shown swimming in the tank, I was so distracted by their beauty, I forgot to listen to you. :teehee.

*replay*. :rofl

:rofl

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Very detailed :). The video isn't working though :(

sorry, it was still uploading when I posted. It is working now :)

No, maybe it's my computer? When I click play, it goes to a black screen.

hmmm... when I click play it goes black for a second but then the video starts :idont it's public so there's no reason you shouldn't be able to see it

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this is what I see. Screenshot1_zps05be9a1a.png

Sorry if this is really big

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Maybe I have updates for my laptop. I will check

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If I could lift my tank I'd definitely do this :rofl

loved the video! It's so cool to see how it's actually done and have all that info :)

exactly! ! But I have seen it on solid golds channel on you tube it is quite lovely!

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Oooooh! Very beautiful. And very informative too!

If I weren't so indecisive, I'd definitely paint my tank. But I can't even keep most décor for over two weeks... :teehee

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I think I want to paint my tank a shiny sapphire blue or so. I guess the best time is when I am cleaning out my tank. :rofl

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Great video, Jess. It's a very well put together and well thought out tutorial. :)

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Thanks for the great video. I loved how you showed us how easy it was to scrape and peel the paint off if we didn't want it anymore instead of just telling us. I thought that was so neat and easy looking when you took it off.

Your tank plants look so beautiful. And, of course Edie and Hashi are gorgeous as ever.

Love your Cat also. :)

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I've decided man that like when my far out blue paper goes all like whoa and drag ya dig

I'm going to find a very heavy shade Of black or blue

, and have the most outa sight tank in the neighborhood :rofl :Rofl

Edited by Gustave

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I love your videos, Jess! This is another awesome one! :)

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Thanks for the informative video :)

I used the crafter's paint and sponge brush in an apple green on my fry tank way back when ;) and I loved it...

But I change my tank around way to much to commit to painting again ;)

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Very nice. I think I will try this with the old, small tank. We are thinking of setting it up as a planted small community tank.

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What if i want to bling it up alittle lol, i want to paint stripes flat black and glittery black stripes. Do you think glitter will show thru? Maybe i'll test it out. I am so girlie..lol :)

Edited by PacificaNZ

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What if i want to bling it up alittle lol, i want to paint stripes flat black and glittery black stripes. Do you think glitter will show thru? Maybe i'll test it out. I am so girlie..lol :)

I would do the glittery stripes first and get those as layered and dark as you want them, them paint over the whole background (on top of the stripes) in your other color. The glittery stripes should show when you look from inside the tank ;)

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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When I empty my tank to move house in the next year or so, this is so happening! The effect is so clean and classy, I can't wait!

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When I empty my tank to move house in the next year or so, this is so happening! The effect is so clean and classy, I can't wait!

I have painted two tanks in the house already so you don't necessarily have to wait to empty your tank :P just put the fish in a QT tank, empty out enough water to move the tank enough to get behind it and paint away :D I buy low voc latex paint and I personally can't smell it at all

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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Wonderful tutorial, Jess! Thank you :)

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