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Discussion Starter #1
Why do the pictures I have seen on the forum have no backgrounds? I have been in this hobby going on 40 years, and I have always seen tanks with some sort of background. It may be as simple as a coat of paint on the outside of the back of the tank or a commercial background. I have competed in many shows with decorated tanks and wouldn't think of not having some sort of background, painted or other. The background hides those unsightly cords, air lines, and water hoses from view. Sure does increase the asthetic value. Even my lfs's have them. The backgrounds, if done tastefully, enhance the color of the of the overall aquascape, both fish and plants. So, help an oldtimer understand, is this a new concept or just a matter of just not having enough money in the pocketbook?

My breeder, rearing, and hospital tanks are spartan and do not have backgrounds, but these are not used for show and many are sans gravel except when a part of the needs of the fish.
 

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I would say here are the following factors:
1. Tight budget although there are cheaper alternatives.
2. Personal taste..Depends on some members on how they think background looks.:mrgreen:

I agree with you that it hides unsightly objects like electrical cords and they do add a pleasing appearance to the tank.:thumbsup: :wink2:

I used black background. I prefer black when it comes to following Amazon biotopes but plastic rolls with plants?:dunno:
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the reply. I do not think that the monetary end of this tale has a lot to do with the reason. For one of my 300g tanks for example, the tank is 8 feet long, a printed background costs less than $16, or $1.99 per lineal foot. Cost? I'm sorry, I cannot buy that as a reason. It would cost a mere $8 for the background for a 55g tank, $5 for a 29g tank, ect. We will spend $20 dollars for a fish before we spend the pittance for a background. In fact, there are a few tanks in the competion for "tank of the month" that would awesome if they just had some sort of background. I've even used a mirror. Talk about an effective illusion. The tank looked twice as big and twice as full! Did you paint the back of your tank or use some other means?
 

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A black background makes the tank look a tiny bit smaller than what it is. This is a reason why not many people use it, also they might not find a background that looks or suits the real decor.
 
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It's simple really, some people just dont like having a background. I have 5 tanks all but one has a background of some sort. Why does one have no background? Because I felt it did not need one :) Everyone is different :)
 

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I think there are a couple reasons.

The first one is most of us don't do show tanks. The idea is to see through the tanks and give them a "spacious" look. A backgrouynd makes the tanks look confined and almost cramped, to me anyway.

I do recomment that when taking pictures for contests it is a good idea to have a background bedcause it enhances the photo and give the look of a natural environment. Even with a background though, it can take away from the fish if there are any dark colored fish that need to be enhanced for the picture.

As far as the "commercial" backgrounds, I have one in a box and have never used it. I think, IMHO, that they look tacky and I have never seen a show tank picture that looked good with a tropical scheme behind the tank that is supposed to "be" the tropical scheme.

I have a background that I want to put behind my tanks but have never seen the pattern in a scape and have not been able to find it printed. I think this might actually be the biggest reason why poeple don't use backgrounds because they want their tanks to be originals and there just isn't the variety out there to get enough people intersted in the backgrounds for a majority to use them.
 

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I just don't feel one is needed on most of my tanks. My big tank i payed a little more to have black acrylic on the back but other than that its not to important to me.
 

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herefishy said:
I've even used a mirror. Talk about an effective illusion. The tank looked twice as big and twice as full!
now thats an idear! ima have to try that one day. i painted the back of my 2.5 nano and have a cheesy commercial background on my 10 gal. i personally hate tanks with nothing. at least put a solid color on it!
 

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Discussion Starter #10
f4a - believe it or not every time someone comes to our humble abodes, we are showing our tanks. I have a few LARGE tanks and if it were not for the backgrounds on each tank, all of the power cords, power filters, and plumbing for the canisters in the cabinet below would show. Truly an eye sore. Thanks for the compliment weasel. I tried that trick at an OCA (Ohio Cichlid Association) show. I won the class.
 

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herefishy said:
f4a - believe it or not every time someone comes to our humble abodes, we are showing our tanks.
The odd thing about that statement for me is any time someone comes to see the tanks, they are asking what I use and how I have it set up. They are less interested in the fish after the first 5 minutes than the equipment. Then it might be different if I had "Show" calibur tanks or a place to show them.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
May I put it another way. Let us say one has a car that one has built into a hotrod. One of our inquiring friends come over to look at this hotrod. I am sure he is going to ask technical questions about the engine, transmission, tires, wheels, ect. Do you think that the hotrod would make a greater impression on him if the chrome was glittering, had a slick candy apple red paint job and a finished interior?

So let me say this again, every time our tanks are seen by someone other than ourselves, the tank is on display. Maybe saying that they are "show tanks" may be a little presumptuous. I must also concede that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I also have one tank, a 39g, that has no background. But with all of the wood, rock, and plants, you couldn't see through even if you were snorkling in the tank.

I just think that some kind of background adds so much to the asthetic presentation of a well decorated tank. It also provides a terrific first impression to someone who may be considering entering the hobby. Afterall, some aquariums are, in fact, piece of furniture and add to the home with an ever changing diorama.
 

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I think that you put it better than I ever could.

The one who soups up the car and makes it all that want people to see the car and all of it's glory. Those that aren't into the showy cars, drive it because it gets them from point A to point B.

I use a background now because it is the only way I can get a descent picture because I have white walls and I have no clue how to operate the camera like I should. Maybe if I find a background that I actually treuely think makes a difference in the looks of my tank, to me of course, I will use one and will probably never go without one again.

Of course, the best solution, plumb your tank from the side in a cabinet where everything is hidden and you can see both fropnt and back then you don't need a background. :BIGwinky: Then you have to aquascape from both sides, oh the agony. :shock:

You know the biggest reason I don't have them as semi perm on my tanks, I can't figure out how to secure them without turning the tanks around and soaking myself! :lol:
 

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Discussion Starter #14
f_4_a - have you tried moistening the background with a wash rag before you apply it to the back? You could then remove it when you've finished photographing. A tried and true method. It even works most of the time. lol
 

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Sorry to hijak this thread a bit, but I just got a standard background that you get from your lfs and I'm not sure if I applied it the correct way. I used soapy water on the tank and then soapy water on the background and then used a credit card to "squeegee" all of it to the sides. It looks great for 1-2 days and then starts to bubble up. Is there something I did wrong? Thanks.
 

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I can't say how to make it stay longer but i do know you do NOT want to get soap anyhwere near your tanks. If even a drop gets in the tank you run the really chance of killing all your bacteria and causing an ammonia spike.

Hot water on flat surface will help any plastic lay flatter so you can secure it to the back of the tank easier. Lay the background on the flat surface and run really hot over it then try to press it flat with another board or something. Let it cool and it should stick longer.
 

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The way I think of it is, I love watching my fish. I love the colors they display. People enjoy watching my fish.

Without a solid colored background...
1. People have a hard time seeing the fish, since there eyes can be distracted.
2. I want my fish to be the main attraction, not the colorful background, bright colored substrate, or funky decor, like having a little treasure chest open/close due to the bubbles coming out of it.
3. I remember reading in a thread on a photagraphy forum where a solid, non glossy, black (preferrably painted) background was best when photographing fish.
4. As mentioned, hides the wires, filters, pumps, etc.
5. A solid background gives depth.
 

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Can anyone point me to a thread that deals with painting the background of my fish tank black? It is already stocked and I would really prefer to leave the fish in while doing it. Is that a bad idea? Thanks.
 
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