I'm an engineer and love astronomy. I looked everywhere online for help on how to try to make a space themed aquarium, but I couldn't find much. I decided to try to make one on my own.
I'll start off by saying that I'm extremely amateur. I have never done something like this before, and I'm sure someone reading this will be able to do a better job than I have (I think I could if I were to do it again).
The first thing I decided to do was the background. I could have just had staples print out a professional quality photograph but I wanted to try my hand at doing it myself. I watched a few youtube videos to get an idea. Theirs came out much better than mine did.
Roll of 24" tall paper (bought at Staples)
Buckets to paint around (see images)
Contact Paper (for 'waterproofing')
First I spray painted the base color for each of my three planets
I didn't get a picture of it, but after the base colors dried I splattered Other colors on top. I splattered yellow over the red, orange over the blue, and I made large white dots on the black area to try to simulate crators. I then covered these areas with the buckets:
Once the buckets were in place, I spray painted the rest of the paper black. Once the black dried it was time for the stars and 'halos' around the planets. To do the stars I just took a paint brush and some white paint and splattered white paint around. To create the halo affect, I pointed the spray paint at the buckets themselves, and let the overspray hit the black surrounding the buckets. Once all the paint dried I removed the buckets and this was the end result:
The moon is the only part I'm really disappointed in. Hopefully anyone else who attempts this will have better luck than me, or just omit including a moon. The last thing I did was lay down contact paper on both sides of the painting so that just in case any water from the tank splashes back there, the paper won't get wet. This took away some of the vividness in the colors unfortunately. Maybe spending a little more and having Staples laminate it for me would have been the better way to go.
Bonus picture of the cat wanting to help (and what the tank looked like before)
The next thing I did was a big step. I took all the fish out and removed all the blue stone from the bottom of the tank and replaced it with pool filter sand. I used Mystic White Pool Filter Sand. This is the video I used to guide me through rinsing and adding the sand[/url]. Please remove the fish
before adding the sand as it takes a few hours for all the sand to finish settling. Only put the fish back when the sand is done settling. I put the fish into my largest bucket with all of their decorations, plus the air stone and heater.
Here's what the new substrate and background looked like once the sand finished settling
A couple new decorations to go with the space theme (note the space ship! Took me for ever to find that, but I actually found it at Petco in the reptile section).
I removed the tall coral structure and replaced it with a couple rocky looking ones. I also found a lizard skeleton decoration at my LFS that I half-buried to make it look like a fossil. The mound of sand in front of the space ship is from one of the cichlids digging it out. Man do they love to dig.
The last thing that I've done so far is put a couple lamps behind the background to try to back light it. Here's how it looks in a dark room without the tank lights on
Back light + left light on:
Back light + both lights on:
Dark room with tank lights on but no backlight
The result so far isn't exactly
what I had in mind when I started, but I like how it came out, especially with the back lighting. My plan is to continue getting rocky decor that I can stack to create more hiding places for everyone. I also want to get a smaller air stone and stick it inside maybe the space ship, so that air bubbles are coming out the back and it looks like it recently crash landed.
Let me know what you think, and if you have ideas to improve the look!