Do you really need a background on a tank?
Just curious - is there some beneficial reason or is it just cosmetic?
I did google the question and got a lot of answers on how to put one up or what to use, but never why you need one....
Thats a cool question.
I'm certainly no expert but I would suggest that having a background would help make the fish feel like they were in a more natural environment and would help prevent Stress on the fish. Which could lead to tons of disease and such.
I know backgrounds can usually seem really tacky though and would probably suggest the same "Natural" environment could be achieved with the proper decor eliminating the need to use a background at all.
I personally use a background because the wall behind the tank is ugly.
I think its more cosmetic :p
Some have noted that it has a calming effect, but I think it's mostly cosmetic.
If you find the pre-printed backgrounds to be cheesy (which, let's face it, many of them are) you can get solid color backgrounds like dark blue or black. You can also paint the background, use stuff like car window tint, construction paper, etc. You'd be surprised how much a dark background makes your fish and decor "pop" and it's a great way to hide the filters and cords and stuff from view.
I personally spray paint the back of all my tanks. I just tape it off really well and go to town!!
never have to worry about it peeling off or getting air bubbles.....
Pure cosmetic. Like if you have very colorful fish like Tetra, Betta that kinda fish and/ or live plants and you add a dark background such as window tint it just makes the color's stick out more. Another neat effect is all the cables you have going to your tank for filter, heat etc they're hidden that way. And last but not least some homes have some VERY creative wall papering and seeing that in the tank sometimes just doesn't look natural at all.
my black background is awesome with my bloodfinned tetras
I really miss the two 29g mirror-backed aquariums I had. Some of the fish would hang out with the fish in the mirror; much the same way dogs and cats do when they're little. It also gave the tank a lot of depth.
I need to get a background for my tank, but my lfs is out of the size I need. It's all too short!:-? There's maybe 6 inches of the size I need. But to answer your question, a background is only for you. Your fish couldn't care less; in my 10 gallon, when it had fish in it, I used a saltwater background (I was a complete beginner) and it had no effect on the fish. But now I'm getting a freshwater background, because I think on a tank as big as mine, people will notice it more when they walk through the room. It's also nice if the decor in your tank matches your background.
BTW, I don't do my own backgrounds (guess that was kind of obvious) and I don't find the ones in my lfs cheesy. I think of something like a Finding Nemo background as cheesy.
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