Best Aquarium Backgrounds

Aquarium backgrounds are an easy way to light up your fish tank and add color, texture, and depth to your home aquarium. 

But that’s not all they’re good for; fish actually get anxious when they catch sight of their reflections, so a fish tank is a great way to keep your fish stimulated and comfortable in their aquarium. Oh yeah - the bonus is it looks amazing, too. 

Aquarium backgrounds are also great for concealing any unattractive wires. They’re an affordable option for decorating your tank without splashing out on plants, coral, and ornaments, plus they’re super easy to install and require minimal hassle

Whether you’re looking for a realistic backdrop with coral and exotic creatures or a more fantastical alternative, there’s an aquarium background out there to suit your needs, tank, and budget. 

To save you time and effort, we’ve dug out the best aquarium backgrounds available and have put together a handy buyer’s guide so you‘ll have all the information you need to purchase and install an aquarium background. 

In a hurry? Find our top pick below… 

OUR TOP PICK

This aquarium background from SPORN offers a beautiful, high-definition image that creates a life-like effect to enhance the environment for your fish but also to brighten up your entire room with this calming ocean floor image. 

This background is designed to be hassle-free for an easy application and uses grid paper backing to make cutting it to size effortless.

You won’t need any tape, glue, or gel - simply spray the glass with water and apply the background before squeezing out any air bubbles.

For an even more realistic look, you could even apply this background to two or three sides of the tank. 

Due to the static-cling application, this background won’t leave any residue on your tank and won’t damage or scratch the glass, either. 

 Pros

  • Static-cling for a hassle-free application and removal 
  • Residue-free removal (no glue or tape) 
  • High-definition, realistic image with a calming effect 
  • Grid paper backing for easy sizing

Cons

  • Not double sided

EDITORS CHOICE

This double-sided aquarium background is made of heavy-duty plastic which is easy to trim down to fit your tank's dimensions.

Made from thickened PVC, it’s non-glare and waterproof, so you needn’t worry about the image fading over time. 

The vibrant colors and sharp, HD image of this backdrop create a realistic effect and it will also easily disguise hoses, filters, and any stains or wear and tear.

The 3D image provides your tank with added depth and fills any room with color.

It comes in two sizes, but can be trimmed to perfectly fit your aquarium for a tailored fit. 

This is great for tanks that have minimal plants and features. 

Pros

  • Double-sided 
  • HD, 3D image with non-glare 
  • Made from waterproof PVC which is also non-glare 
  • Comes in two sizes, but is trimmed to size

Cons

  • Some people had issues with sizing. Measure your tank first and select the most suitable size. 

BEST VALUE

If you’re the type of person who gets bored quickly, then this aquarium background set from Hitop could be the one for you.

It features three different double-sided images, with a total of six options so you can mix and match to your taste. 

There are a variety of images included, from an exotic seashore to a grassy woodland and deep blue ocean.  

The images are clear, vivid, and high-definition, and they’re made from a high-quality film for maximum durability and fade-resistance.

These backgrounds are easily applied without the need for glue and can be applied using gummed paper so no residue is left when you remove it. 

Without a doubt, this product comes out top in terms of its value for money and versatility. 

 Pros

  • Multiple images available - six in total 
  • Double, clear, vivid images 
  • Fade-resistant film 
  • Can be applied without glue 
  • Great value for money - more bang for your buck.

Cons

  • These prints are a little thin, but for the price, you can’t complain too much. 

RUNNER UP

If you’re looking for something a little different from your average coral reef or sea bed, this two-sided driftwood and floral background provides a beautiful splash of green for a natural, earthy look. 

This background is perfect for providing texture and depth and either side looks great accompanied by plants or standing alone.

This background also promises easy application and removal, and won’t leave a sticky residue on your tank when you remove it.

It also has a measuring guide on the bottom to help you accurately cut it to your tank size, and all you need to do then is simply secure it with scotch tape and you’re good to go. 

Pros

  • A little different from your average aquarium backdrop 
  • Great depth and texture 
  • Easy application and removal 
  • No sticky residue 
  • Measure guide 
  • Durable

Cons

  • Can be a little difficult to stick down 

RUNNER UP

If you’re looking for something a little different from your average coral reef or sea bed, this two-sided driftwood and floral background provides a beautiful splash of green for a natural, earthy look. 

This background is perfect for providing texture and depth and either side looks great accompanied by plants or standing alone.

This background also promises easy application and removal, and won’t leave a sticky residue on your tank when you remove it.

It also has a measuring guide on the bottom to help you accurately cut it to your tank size, and all you need to do then is simply secure it with scotch tape and you’re good to go. 

Pros

  • A little different from your average aquarium backdrop 
  • Great depth and texture 
  • Easy application and removal 
  • No sticky residue 
  • Measure guide 
  • Durable

Cons

  • Can be a little difficult to stick down 

Best Aquarium Backgrounds Buying Guide

Aesthetics 

Aesthetic value is the whole point of an aquarium background, right? You want something that’s going to be vibrant, eye-catching, and awe-inspiring - for fish and humans alike! 

However, when it comes to selecting an image, it’s all down to personal preference. There are hundreds of designs to choose from, from green woodlands to a vivid coral reef. One thing that can help narrow down your choice is thinking about how “busy” your tank is or will be. 

So, if you’ve already got a myriad of plants, rocks, gravel, and the likes, a simpler image, such as a calming sea bed, might look better as opposed to a print that has a lot going on. 

Similarly, if you don’t have many props in your aquarium then a background can help provide texture and depth, particularly if you go for a realistic backdrop. 

Sizing 

While some prints will come in a choice of sizes, you’re likely to have to cut it down to fit your tank size regardless.

You’re going to need to measure the back of your aquarium, and, if you want the image to cover the sides, too, then you’ll need to ensure you have enough material to cover these as well. 

Once you’ve measured your tank you can then mark out where you need to cut, including any particular images you want to be included in the backdrop.

You can then cut the background accordingly. Some backgrounds come with a sizing grid on the back for extra ease when cutting, and this will allow you to achieve a more precise fit. 

Installation 

It’s worth considering how your background will be installed. The manufacturer of your chosen design will usually provide recommendations for the most effective means of application, so it’s best to stick with whichever method they suggest.

However, there is a range of options available and there are some types of backgrounds that are easier to install and/or remove, as well as ones that stay in place better…

Tape

This is probably the most common method of installation, and, thankfully, it’s one of the easiest too.

Once you’ve cut your background to size and lined it up, you can simply tape it to the back of your tank so the entire surface is covered.

Double-sided tape can be especially effective but overall, any clear tape will work. 

Static cling

Static cling backgrounds use static so that the image adheres to the tank by itself. They’re pretty easy to install, but you’ll need to be able to smooth out any air bubbles or bumps afterward, which can be a little tricky to figure out. 

With this type of background, simply mist some water onto the back of the tank before applying the background and using a squeegee or credit card to smooth it onto the glass.

This will smooth out any bumps or wrinkles for a more realistic effect.

Depending on the quality of the product, you may need to apply a little extra tape around the edges to ensure the image doesn’t budge or unpeel at the corners. 

Interior installation

Backgrounds applied to the interior of the tank can be highly realistic and eye-catching but are also the most complicated and difficult to get right.

Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations carefully.

Pay particular attention to measurement with this type of background, and rather than measuring the back of the tank, measure the internal dimensions instead.

Once the background is cut to size you can soak the background or give it a high-pressure wash before placing it into the tank against the back wall. 

Depending on the manufacturer’s instructions, you may have to use a silicone adhesive to keep it in place or you can get creative and use decorations to ensure it holds.

You may notice some clouding with this type of background, though this should go away within a couple of weeks.

While you should avoid a major clean during this period, you can continue with normal maintenance and water changes. 

Because these backgrounds are submerged into the actual water of your tank, they’re designed to be safe and not influence the water at all, however, it’s a good idea to test and monitor it, as you usually would. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Do fish tanks need a background?

Fish can become agitated and anxious if they catch sight of their reflection, so an aquarium background can help fish settle into the tank.

Not only this, but aquarium backgrounds of course have an aesthetic appeal because they can add depth, texture, and color to your tank.

The bottom line is that an aquarium background is in no way an essential item, but it certainly helps enhance the appearance of your tank and can be beneficial for your fish, too. 

Which is the best background for an aquarium?

This largely depends on what kind of background you want for your aquarium.

For example, fish owners with lots of plants and accessories may prefer a less busy background like this one from SPORN, while a tank that has minimal accessories can enhance its depth and appearance with a more vibrant background such as this one from ELEBOX