How to Paint the Back of an Aquarium

Written by linda mitchell
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How to Paint the Back of an Aquarium
Paint the back of your aquarium to add colour and an artistic touch. (Aquarium fish-Xiphophorus helleri image by SPLAV from

Aquariums are often made of acrylic rather than glass because acrylic can more easily be formed into various shapes. High forming temperatures and moulds make bow-front aquariums possible, for example. You can also paint the back or side walls of an acrylic aquarium to add more depth and colour to your tank. A painted wall can help conceal unsightly aeration devices and filters and adds more visual appeal to your aquarium.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Glass cleaner or vinegar solution
  • Paintbrushes
  • Permanent enamel glass paint
  • Masking or painter's tape
  • Clean rags
  • Stencils (optional)

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  1. 1

    Clean the outer surface of the aquarium with glass cleaner or use water and vinegar. Make sure it is thoroughly clean and set it aside to dry.

  2. 2

    Spread out a towel or blanket in front of the aquarium and slowly lay the front face of the aquarium onto the fabric to prevent scuffs or scrapes from occurring.

  3. 3

    Adhere masking or painter's tape to the areas that you don't want to paint.

  4. 4

    Apply surface conditioner in light, even strokes to the back outer portion of your aquarium. Surface conditioner is normally sold alongside permanent enamel glass paint. It aids in stronger paint adhesion and durability. Let it thoroughly dry.

  5. 5

    Stir the enamel paint well. Brush the paint on in short, even strokes and cover the entire area. Two coats are normally necessary. For artistic touches, apply stencils and add design details with smaller brushes.

  6. 6

    Allow the paint to cure for about 10 days.

  7. 7

    Apply a protective glaze over the cured paint with a soft brush. Glazes often come in matt or glossy finishes. Allow the glaze to dry for 24 hours.

  8. 8

    Remove the tape once the glaze is dry.

Tips and warnings

  • Make sure the glass surface is thoroughly clean and dry before you begin painting.
  • Do not apply paint to the inside walls of any aquarium because paint toxins can leach into the water over time and harm your fish and plant life.

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