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Best Fish Tank Backgrounds for 2020

Nobody wants a boring aquarium and one of the key ways to bag yourself an attractive, fabulous fish tank is through a realistic and natural background.

Often the ideal finishing touch for bare aquariums, backdrops usually come in the form of structured, 3D terrains or simple posters which can be stuck to the back of the tank.

Whether you’re out to save money or want to create a truly fascinating fish abode, your fish tank background can often have a huge impact on the overall aesthetic of your aquarium, meaning your choice is often a lot more important than you think!

So to help you spot the ideal piece of scenery to spice up your fish tank, we’ve done an extensive deep dive into the most affordable and high-quality aquarium backgrounds on the market…

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    Our Top Picks

    Image Product Details
    Juwel Structured Background
    • Slot together design
    • Cut to size
    • Dark bark texture effect
    Check Price
    Juwel Cliff Aquarium Background
    • Illusion of depth
    • Light, sand-coloured background
    • Wipe clean material
    Check Price
    Amakunft Blue Dragon Aquarium Background
    • Chinese dragon dynasty design
    • Convenient adhesive tape fitting
    • 10 sizes available
    Check Price

    The Top 8 Best Fish Tank Backgrounds Reviewed

    1.
    Juwel Stone Clay Background

    Juwel aquariums are a seriously classy affair and so it’s not really a surprise that their authentic and detailed backgrounds put standard poster fare to shame!

    This stone clay design is cleverly concocted from a highly durable PU and resin combo to create an attractive sand-coloured stone landscape that’s perfect for tropical backgrounds and helping plantlife pop inside your tank!

    Coming in a large 60 x 55 cm size, it can be easily cut into different shapes and sizes to perfectly place inside your tank and can be installed with a simple swab of some silicon adhesive gel.

    Modular in design, it’s pieces can then be slotted together to create your very own unique 3D effect and idyllic spot for your fishies to call home!

    Features

    • 3D depth effect
    • Cut to size
    • Natural stone decor

    Specifications

    • Dimensions: 60 x 55 x 3.5 cm
    • Material: Polyurethane, Resin
    • Attachment: Adhesive

    2.
    Juwel Stone Granite Background

    Get used to seeing Juwel backgrounds in this top ten list, as we aren’t lying when we tell you they’re far and away the best in the biz!

    Another piece of decor from their stone background collection, this Polyurethane piece is moulded with a strong granite aesthetic, giving a dark cliff-like appearance for moodier, atmospheric fish tanks.

    With an epoxy coated resin, it’s durable and simple to wipe clean, with cuttable material that’s designed to slot together for the ultimate immersive background.

    Its colour ensures it’s a great fit for all plants, decor and fish types, while the 1 – 3 cm of varying depth gives a great illusion of a deep and cavernous tank!

    Features

    • Slot together design
    • Silicone adhesive bonding
    • Wipe clean background

    Specifications

    • Dimensions: 60 x 55 x 3.5 cm
    • Material: Polyurethane, Resin
    • Attachment: Adhesive

    3.
    Juwel Structured Background

    Offering something a little different to the more obvious cliff and stone aesthetics, this structured background from Juwel provides a realistic tree bark scene.

    With dark black toning, it offers the ideal contrast for colourful plants and ornaments, helping them stand out while ensuring the empty spaces of your tank are still filled with a rich and illustrative backdrop.

    One of the easiest models to set up, it comes in a series of 60 x 50 cm backboards which can be cut and slotted together to build a textured and exciting mise en scene for your finned friends.

    Effortlessly applied and fixed into place by aquatic adhesive gel, it’s a great backdrop for those just getting started with 3D fare, ensuring a natural habitat without the fuss.

    Features

    • Slot together design
    • Cut to size
    • Dark bark texture effect

    Specifications

    • Dimensions: 60 x 50 cm
    • Material: Polyurethane, Resin
    • Attachment: Adhesive

    4.
    Juwel Cliff Aquarium Background

    Just one more Juwel product and then we’ll stop, we promise!

    If you hadn’t cottoned on already, Juwel hosts the largest range of textures and appearances when it comes to authentic, stunning backdrops and so you really can’t blame us for picking several of their stunning wares on this list!

    For those of you who aren’t quite enamoured with dark and atmospheric aquariums and want something a little more bright, colourful and fantastic, this Cliff Light background is an optimum pick.

    An easy on the eye, sand-coloured rock terrain, the distinctive 3D structure provides a glorious illusion of depth and is simple to trim and shape into whatever design you have in mind.

    A tough and colourfast surface it’s made from highly condensed polyurethane and goes perfectly with decorative stones and terraces.

    Features

    • Illusion of depth
    • Light, sand-coloured background
    • Wipe clean material

    Specifications

    • Dimensions: 61 x 56 x 4.5 cm
    • Material: Polyurethane, Resin
    • Attachment: Adhesive

    5.
    POPETPOP Beautiful Root Background Board

    Who says a beautiful fish tank background has to be a rocky cliff face?

    One of our favourite additions on the market, this high-quality PU decoration from Popetpop provides some truly unique scenery thanks to its unusual tree root design.

    A fantastic backboard for your tank, it comes in a 60 x 45 cm size that’s ideal for many aquarium sizes and can be easily cut down to size if your house hosts something a little smaller.

    Durable and non-fading, we guarantee that this bizarre background will make your fish tank the talk of the town!

    Features

    • Tree root design
    • Durable & non-fading
    • Dense board material

    Specifications

    • Dimensions: 60 x 45 x 6 cm
    • Material: Polyurethane
    • Attachment: Adhesive

    6.
    Amakunft Blue Dragon Aquarium Background

    Undoubtedly the most impressive and elegant option out there, this Chinese dragon decoration is a stunning alternative for fish owners whose interests are not peaked by naturalistic cliff-face terrains.

    Coming in an astonishing 10 available sizes, there’s no chance of missing out here, as the various dimensions of this fire-breathing wonder mean it can fit almost any tank, but can also be trimmed to ensure the optimum placement.

    Pasted outside the aquarium, it’s by far the quickest to set-up on the list, fitting outside of the aquarium by a simple application of adhesive tape!

    It’s detailed image, sculpting and vibrant colour are a sure-fire way to provide a wealth of atmosphere and intrigue to your tank and it’s the perfect setting for a group of fish from the Far East!

    Features

    • Chinese dragon dynasty design
    • Convenient adhesive tape fitting
    • 10 sizes available

    Specifications

    • Dimensions: 20 x 12” - 48 x 20”
    • Material: Synthetic
    • Attachment: Tape

    7.
    Aqua Maniac 3D Aquarium Background

    The most annoying thing about kitting up your aquarium with an attractive background is the application process, especially if it involves adhesive gels or static clings, which are fiddly and exact fitting procedures.

    That’s why this beige rock terrain from AquaManiac is one of our favourites, as it’s set-up is as simple as slotting it into place, meaning you don’t even have to empty the tank!

    Featuring vivid, rough profiles and an enhanced texture, it’s ideal for African set-ups and can be modified and trimmed at your pleasure through a dremmel or sander tool.

    A 4-inch width ensures it’s weighty enough to sit up against the back of the tank without floating and a mesh prevents fish from swimming behind it and getting trapped.

    You won’t find a simpler set-up anywhere!

    Features

    • Modifiable beige rock decor
    • Easy 10 minute installation
    • No adhesive required!

    Specifications

    • Dimensions: 57 x 27 cm - 117 x 54 cm
    • Material: Polyresin
    • Attachment: None!

    8.
    Pistachio Pet Double Sided Aquarium Poster Background

    We’re well aware that setting up an aquarium is not kind to the contents of your wallet and after spending a bomb on your fish, their tank, filters, heaters, pumps and more, you’ll often find your budget for decoration is left a little slim!

    But fear not, as there are still plenty of fantastic backdrops for your tank available on a budget and poster designs are a great way to get an authentic scene without adding to your spending spree!

    Made of durable PVC, poster designs like this one simply attach to the outside of your tank and can be put in place just by taping them to the back of your aquarium.

    This double-sided affair from Pistachio Pet displays a pretty coral picture on both sides and can be effortlessly cut to size to allow for perfect placement!

    Features

    • Double sided background poster
    • Outside tank attachment
    • Durable & can be cut to size

    Specifications

    • Dimensions: 45 x 100 cm
    • Material: PVC
    • Attachment: Tape

    Buying Guide

    Choosing a Background

    While choosing the correct interior for your aquarium should be a fun activity that unlocks your inner interior designer, you still need to consider a few things before going on a decor spending spree!

    Naturalism vs Aesthetics

    The main aim of everyone decorating a fish tank is to make it look nice, which often means installing a realistic background piece that makes the aquarium the spit of the deep blue sea!

    But before picking your favourite, you should probably also consider your fishes’ feelings and their natural environment. For example, if your scaly pals are freshwater fish, it doesn’t really make sense to have a classic coral reef scene.

    However, it really is up to you and you’ll see differing arguments about whether natural background environments have any effect on the health and happiness of your fish.

    Aesthetic Clashing

    If you already have a couple of plants, rocks and ornaments you want to install in your tank, you’re going to want to make sure they match up rather than create an odd clash of cultures and geographical regions.

    If you have lots of open space, rocky 3-D terrains can help fill in the blanks, but if you plan on filling your aquarium full of bits and pieces, a plainer background will probably do just fine.

    Types of Background

    There are essentially only two types of background, 3-D natural terrains and 2-D poster backgrounds.

    3-D models are usually designed to look like rocks and natural sea backgrounds and are attached inside the tank, requiring more fiddly and exact attachment. 2-D posters are much more simple to fix to your tank and are usually just high-quality photographic paper placed outside of the tank.

    Important Features To Consider

    Sizing & Cutting

    It seems obvious, but the most important thing to consider for your aquarium background is the size, as it has to fit to look the part!

    To avoid disappointments, the majority of backgrounds come in really large sizes which can then be trimmed down to fit your tank. Some feature handy grid panels on the back to help you get exact measurements, others you’ll have to measure yourself!

    It’s always important to try and find a background which is modifiable and can be cut easily with DIY tools or are a sharp pen knife, otherwise you risk being unable to get an exact fit!

    Placement

    The standard position of a background is unsurprisingly the back of your tank at the rear wall. However, some fishy followers choose to opt for slightly larger backgrounds and wrap the background around the sides of the tank to to create a more immersive effect.

    Attachment Type

    Fish tank backgrounds need to be fixed to your aquarium, otherwise, they’ll usually end up falling down on your fish or floating up to the surface! Generally, there are three main types of attachment.

    Taped

    Taped backgrounds usually provide fish tank owners with a small piece of adhesive tape which allows them to secure the board or poster to the tank at all four corners. These are less secure than adhesive glue models, but a lot less time consuming and fiddly to set up

    Adhesive

    Much like applying glue to something, special aquatic adhesive gels are available to fix things to your aquarium and many large scale intricate models require a good glueing down to ensure they stay stable within the tank! Some models are even fully adhesive, meaning they already feature a thin layer of glue that sticks to the back of the tank. These are obviously more difficult to attach though as you’ll need to fit them essentially perfectly!

    Static Cling

    These are attached without the use of adhesives and simply attach to the tank using water pressure and static to cling to the surface.

    Materials

    You always want any fish background to be durable and stand the test of time when purchasing and a lot of this has to do with the materials it’s made from. If shopping for 3D terrain try and look for items which are PU (polyurethane) and resin mixes, as these ensure they are easy to cut and shape, but that the design won’t wear out or become damaged too easily thanks to a resin cover.

    For 2D poster designs, make sure the material is a high-quality paper, or better yet something like PVC!

    Other Buyers Ask...

    How do you attach a fish tank background?

    How you attach a fish tank background depends on the type of model you have bought for your aquarium.

    First, see the instructions of your model and check what the manufacturer suggests for attachment. More often than not, this will usually be either through an adhesive tape, aquatic adhesive gel or static cling. If you’re lucky, your background may not even require any attachment at all if it is heavy and stable enough on its own!

    Before using any of the three main methods, you should clean the glass to ensure no residue can affect the image after application. Once clean, here’s how to attach depending on your type of background:

    Tape

    The quickest and most simple method, this is often used for poster backgrounds. All that’s required is to line up your background and then attach the tape to the four corners of the model to secure. If a double-sided tape has been provided you can better secure the entire surface.

    Static Cling

    An odd form of attachment, these require no adhesive and simply stick to the surface of the glass using static. All that’s needed is for you to mist some water at the back of a dry tank and then slowly place on the background and smooth onto the surface, removing any bubbles/wrinkles.

    Silicone Adhesive

    If a 3-D rocky terrain landscape, installing a background is often going to take something a little more secure.

    These types of model need adhesive gel to keep them in place and may also require cutting and shaping to help them better fit your tank.

    Although this can be very fiddly, it guarantees the best-looking background if done correctly and is no different to glueing something in place!

    For any adhesive attachment, you should always wait 48 hours before adding water to the tank!

    Do I need an aquarium background?

    No, fish tank backgrounds are not mandatory and won’t give your fish many benefits in terms of health and happiness.

    But from an aesthetic point of view, a bare aquarium obviously isn’t the most eye-catching. As well as looking great, fish tank backgrounds can also help hide all the cables and wires that come with owning a fish tank, ensuring things seem a little neater and organised too!