I was tired of stick-on tank backings, so I decided to paint the back of my 37g
tall aquarium. It was easy and it came out looking better than I expected. I chose
a high-temperature ceramic paint for auto engine blocks. It sounds like a strange
choice, but I read a mailing list post by someone who said that engine block paints
tend to be thicker and he found that made them easier to use for painting aquariums.
I found a $4 can of "Dupli-Color" in an auto parts store. The color
code, in case you like the color shown here, was DH1612.
I chose blue because I'm used to it. Since I did the tank pictured below, I
have used black and I like it better—it also makes it easier to photograph
my fish. (Dark green might look nice too.)
Use newspaper and masking tape to cover all the other sides of the aquarium.
Clean the back thoroughly with 409, ammonia, or anything else you have to to
get it clean. I laid the tank down on its front to avoid drips. In retrospect
I wish I had set it upright, because the spray can didn't like being held at
a funny angle, especially when it got low. If the tank was upright, the can
would have been perpendicular to the ground, and it would have worked better.
Make sure you apply the paint in coats. Don't try to finish the job all at
once. It took 3 coats to finish this size of tank. Let the paint dry for 10-15 minutes in between coats.
One warning: cover the top of the aquarium before you paint it!. If you don't,
the inside of your tank will end up covered in a fine dust of dried paint particles,
the dried up overspray. It's easy to clean out, but you don't want more weird
chemicals in your tank than necessary.
When you are done, the paint may look a little blotchy. You may think you screwed
it up. If you look through the painted glass towards a light source, it will
look terrible. Never fear! When the front of the painted glass is illuminated,
it will look fine. It only looks bad if you look through the glass at a light
source behind it.
Once the painted tank is filled with water, it looks great. The color is very
uniform, and it looks much more tidy than any of the hanging or stick-on tank
backings I tried in the past.
Lastly, I have recently read that roll-on latex paint looks good too, and has the advantage that it is easy to strip off if you change your mind about the color... but I have not tried it myself.
Last Updated Friday, November 25 2005 @ 01:46 AM PST