The Best Fish Background for Your Aquarium

Written by Angie Menjivar
Updated: February 6, 2023
© Andrey_Nikitin/Shutterstock.com

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Key Points:

  • The #1 Best Overall fish background for your aquarium is the Sporn Static Cling Coral Aquarium Background.
  • An aquarium can be an excellent addition to any room, but it requires much more than the sea creatures who live inside it. Along with many other necessities, a fish tank needs a background to help your fish feel safe and secure.
  • Not only will an aquarium background give your fish a sense of security, but it also creates a natural-looking environment that can enhance the overall look of the tank and the room it’s in.
  • There are several factors to consider to be sure you’re purchasing the perfect fish background for your aquarium. Not only should it be aesthetically pleasing, but you’ll also need to consider the size of your tank, as well as the colors, placement, and species.

The best fish background for your aquarium serves two primary purposes. For one, it provides you with an aesthetically pleasing image. Paired with your gorgeous fish and some vibrant plants, you have a dreamy, water wonderland that decorates your space with soft motion and light. The second purpose is more practical. Fish backgrounds keep your fish from getting spooked at every turn when they encounter their reflection. For your fish to feel safe in their aquarium, they need the sense of security that comes with knowing they’re inhabiting the place alone (or with other fish friends), without the threat of a rival sending them into fight or flight.

There are different fish backgrounds you can choose from, some of which are better than others. In this list, we share our top favorites. There is a best overall fish background, of course, but we also highlight fish backgrounds that offer the best value; a splurge option if you’re feeling fancy; and the best fish background for blue light. Each of these backgrounds offers a beautiful appearance, and they’re available in different sizes. Plus, if you’re still feeling unsure about your next purchase, we help you by clarifying the factors to consider before you spend a penny!

  1. Sporn Static Cling Coral Aquarium Background
    • Cling design makes it easy to apply
    • Eye-catching design makes your tank look bigger
    • Keep unsightly gadgets out of sight
    • Reduces background light
    Check Chewy Check Amazon
  2. HITOP Double Sides Aquarium Background Picture
    • High-definition images
    • Three different double-sided pieces
    • Budget-friendly
    • Apply easily with tape
    Check Amazon
  3. Premium Aquarium Background Poster
    • High-resolution and vibrant colors
    • Dual-sided
    • Made from thicker PVC material
    • Non-toxic and waterproof
    Check Amazon

Top Picks: The Best Fish Backgrounds for Your Aquarium Today

#1 Best Overall: Sporn Static Cling Coral Aquarium Background

The best overall fish background is the Static Cling Coral Aquarium Background by Sporn. One look at this beauty and you can see why. Whether you have a saltwater or freshwater aquarium, the design of this fish background offers an immediate upgrade to the overall look of your tank.

It’s extremely easy to apply — straight out of the package! You don’t need any tape or glue. The cling design makes it ultra-convenient and way less frustrating than other designs. Not only do you get an upgrade to the look of your aquarium, but your fish are immediately thrust into an environment that feels familiar and gifts them with that sense of security they need to thrive.

You’ll notice right away that your aquarium is boosted with greater depth and dimension. Plus, this static cling aquarium setting reduces background light and makes your fish the focal point. You take time to decorate your aquarium with accessories that look good and feel good to your fish — so they should stand out! This background keeps any necessary but unsightly gadgets out of sight (think thermometers, electrical cords, and filters). Instead of eyesores taking attention away from the natural beauty of your fish and the environment you’ve created, this fish background keeps your aquarium looking like the fish mansion it is. The size of this background is 36 inches by 18 inches. Too big? No problem. Just adjust the size to fit your tank and you’re good to go!

Some customers did report that it’s not quite as bright in person as in photos but it’s still eye-catching. The bright colors still stand out and you can tell it’s a sturdy material that can stay put.

Pros and Cons of the Sporn Static Cling Coral Aquarium Background

ProsCons
This background has a beautiful and colorful design.Some customers reported that the background was not quite as bright in person as it appeared online.
It measures 36 inches by 18 inches but can be cut down to fit your tank.
You can apply it to your tank immediately out of the package without using any glue or tape.
The background setting reduces background light and makes your fish the focal point.
It helps to hide tank supplies like thermometers, filters, and electrical cords.
Best Overall
Sporn Static Cling Coral Aquarium Background
  • Cling design makes it easy to apply
  • Eye-catching design makes your tank look bigger
  • Keep unsightly gadgets out of sight
  • Reduces background light
Check Chewy Check Amazon

2. Best Value: HITOP Double Sides Aquarium Background Picture

If you’re looking for the greatest value, the HITOP Double Sides Aquarium Background Pictures give you a total of six options that come in three different pieces! They’re each double-sided so you get to choose the design that works best for your aquarium. These are high-definition images that fill your aquarium with natural color and clear, marine pictures that enhance the appearance of your tank with a natural landscape. And there are three different styles you can purchase: colorful-cloud, blue-beach, and green-plants — each of which comes with SIX images to use!

And if you’re worried about a budget-friendly purchase, don’t. These are fade-resistant and long-lasting — just because you’re saving doesn’t mean you’re missing out! These aquarium backgrounds measure 31.5 inches long and 15.7 inches high and can be cut, folded, or wrapped to fit your aquarium.

They apply easily with tape, or you can use gummed paper or tractable glue — you won’t have to worry about marks or residue once you decide to remove it. We searched long and hard for a quality product offered at a decent price and we’re happy to say we found it!

A few customers expressed concern about light shining through the background, allowing the reverse image to show through. However, the majority of customers reported that this aquarium background performed beautifully.

Pros and Cons of the HITOP Double Sides Aquarium Background Picture

ProsCons
You get six different scenes for a very low price.A few customers were concerned about light shining through the backgrounds and causing the reverse image to show.
These aquarium backgrounds are double-sided, giving you several options to choose from.You do need some sort of adhesive to apply these backgrounds.
There are three different style packages to choose from.
The images are high-definition and provide natural color and dimension to your aquarium.
They are fade-resistant and long-lasting.
You can cut, fold, or wrap the backgrounds to fit them to your tank.
These are easy to apply using gummed paper, tractable glue, or tape.
Best Value
HITOP Double Sides Aquarium Background Picture
  • High-definition images
  • Three different double-sided pieces
  • Budget-friendly
  • Apply easily with tape
Check Amazon

3. Best Splurge: Premium Aquarium Background Poster

This Premium Aquarium Background Poster offers a luxurious appeal that enhances the appearance not just of your tank, but of the entire room you place it in. If your home is known for all the eye-catching décor, you can’t skimp on your fish tank decorations! This aquarium background is dual-sided and filled with vibrant colors and detailed high-resolution photos to completely transform your aquarium.

This fish background is made of thicker material than other options so expect it to be sturdy and never flimsy, which is great if you ever need to reapply it. It’s made with PVC material that’s non-toxic and waterproof. And it’s super slick and easy to clean — plus, it’s durable and won’t fade over time. Just cut it to the right size and secure it on your tank with tape.

In addition, this aquarium background comes in several different sizes, so you can find the right one that fits your tank — anything from 5 gallons all the way up to 150 gallons!

Pros and Cons of the Premium Aquarium Background Poster

ProsCons
This background is double-sided, so you can choose between two different pictures for your tank.It is not self-adhesive, so you will need tape to secure it to your aquarium.
It is detailed, with high-resolution photos and vibrant colors.This background is more expensive than the other options on this list.
This background is made of thicker PVC material so it is sturdy.
It is non-toxic, waterproof, and easy to clean.
Since it is stronger, you can reapply it without worrying about it tearing.
It is durable and won’t fade over time.
It comes in several different sizes to fit tanks from 5 gallons up to 150 gallons.
Best Splurge
Premium Aquarium Background Poster
  • High-resolution and vibrant colors
  • Dual-sided
  • Made from thicker PVC material
  • Non-toxic and waterproof
Check Amazon

Choosing the Best Fish Background: What to Look For

With so many entrancing fish backgrounds to choose from, you may just want to try them all. If you have more than one aquarium, you could definitely display several designs at once. But installing fish backgrounds isn’t always the easiest and deciding on the final one you’ll use is an important process. There are several factors to consider to be sure you’re purchasing the perfect one — not just based on looks, but also on size, colors, placement, and species.

Size

Read through product descriptions to ensure you’re selecting the best size for your tank. Typically, you can select different sizes online but, in some instances, you may be able to purchase a large version that you can trim to fit your tank. On other occasions, you may find that purchasing two of the same size can fill your tank if it’s larger. Accidentally purchasing a size that’s too small can be a bit frustrating, especially when you discover you can see an uncovered spot at the top of the tank! So, before anything, measure out your tank to make sure you find a compatible size.

Colors

How well the fish background looks depends on your existing decorations. For example, if the sand, decorations, and your fish are all the same colors, adding a fish background that matches those colors will kind of wash everything out. Instead, choose a fish background with colors that contrast with the rest of your decorations. That’s how you’ll get results that pop.

Placement

In cases when you place your aquarium against the wall, you only have to worry about one angle from which your fish background is enjoyed. However, if you intend to place your aquarium in the center of the room, having a one-sided fish background can make your tank look less than stellar. You may opt for a double-sided fish background to ensure all angles offer something beautiful to look at.

Species

The type of fish you have affects the type of background you choose! Some fish prefer a darker environment with little light while others enjoy a bright environment with lots of light. Your fish should be able to enjoy their ambiance while feeling safe. If you’re not sure about your fish, a little research is in order before you decide on the best fish background.

What Does an Aquarium Need?

If this is your first aquarium, it’s important to know that a beautiful fish background and fish aren’t all the tank needs. There are two primary types of aquariums: freshwater and saltwater. Freshwater fish need a good amount of bacteria to help dissolve the harmful ammonia in their waste. For this, you can use a water conditioner that assists with keeping helpful bacteria around, so they can keep the environment clean. Saltwater fish are a little different because they need protein skimmers to help reduce waste. Also, be sure to only use commercial marine salt in saltwater tanks.

Now that you understand the differences between the two types of aquariums, let’s discuss the similarities. All aquariums need the following:

  • Substrate – This is the ground layer of your aquarium. It is the base for all your other decorations and can be made up of sand, crushed coral, aqua soil, limestone, marble, or gravel. There are several options to select from! You can create a more natural feel or prioritize an eye-catching design from the very first layer. Just make sure that whatever you use is fish-safe.
  • Lighting – Most fish enjoy a lit environment during the day and do well with a dimmer environment at night. LEDs last the longest, but you can also try CFLs, which deliver a more natural glow.
  • Air Pump – Your fish need oxygen in the aquarium to breathe. With an air pump, your tank remains oxygenated. Plus, those oxygen bubbles stimulate the water, which helps to regulate the temperature.
  • Filter – Filters are a must to keep your aquarium’s environment clean. These remove any harmful chemicals, debris, and other biological toxins to keep your fish healthy.
  • Heater and Thermometer – The fish you select for a single tank should always have the same temperature preference. If you purchase fish with different temperature preferences, you’ll require another tank. A thermometer helps you ensure that the tank is never too hot or too cold and a heater keeps the environment pleasant.

Use pH strips to make sure that your aquarium is properly balanced. Over time, aquariums may become more acidic. To ensure you’re keeping a safe environment for healthy fish, you should test the pH balance of your aquarium regularly. Freshwater fish do well in a neutral environment with a pH of 7.0 while saltwater fish prefer a slightly higher pH of 8.0.

Verified Review: User Experience

Sporn Static Cling Coral Aquarium Background, the best overall in this list, is appreciated by this user who shares her delight: “I’m a little surprised at how happy I am with this background. I applied it after the tank was set up with about 6″ of space to work with and it wasn’t too bad. My biggest advice is to REALLY spray both the tank and the vinyl. If it’s hard to move, spray it some more. The color is more natural than the picture here. That didn’t bother me because I have a lot of neon decorations but if you’re looking for a background that really pops you might not be super happy with the color.”

HITOP 31.5” x 15.7” Double Sides Aquarium Background Picture, the best value option in this list, offers users a variety at an affordable price. One user shares his experience: “All scenes are really nice. I searched a lot for something I liked at a decent price. I originally thought this was only 2 scenes until I read through. It is a plastic film – not cling or adhesive film. I attached it to the outside of my 30-gallon tank with clear tape that is removable. Typical office tape. I did not cut the scenes – just wrapped the extra few inches around each side evenly to preserve the whole scene if I get a bigger tank.”

Another user was pleased with the quality that came along with splurging on the Premium Aquarium Background Poster: “The vinyl is thick and sturdy. The print quality is outstanding. I’m glad I ignored the 1 star review. This is an amazing addition to my 75 gallon tank.”

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About the Author

Angie Menjivar is a writer at A-Z-Animals primarily covering pets, wildlife, and the human spirit. She has 14 years of experience, holds a Bachelor's degree in psychology, and continues her studies into human behavior, working as a copywriter in the mental health space. She resides in North Carolina, where she's fallen in love with thunderstorms and uses them as an excuse to get extra cuddles from her three cats.

The Best Fish Background for Your Aquarium FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

What color background is best for a fish tank?

Generally, light blue is the best for a fish tank. You can spot your fish easily with this light-colored background and your fish can swim in an environment reminiscent of their natural habitats. You can also use LED lighting to make your aquarium brighter and lighten any darker blues or other colors included in your fish background. Keep in mind that some fish prefer a darker ambiance, so be sure to select colors based on what’s best for your fish.

Are aquarium backgrounds good for fish?

Yes, fish backgrounds are not solely decorative. They serve an important purpose and that’s to help your fish feel safe in their home environment. Without a background, fish catch their reflection and get spooked. To keep them from scaring themselves at every turn, a fish background helps them settle down and feel at home. If your fish is stressed, his health is impacted. With a fish background, you contribute to keeping your fish healthy.

How do I choose a fish tank background?

Remember the factors to consider: size, colors, placement, and species. Have the measurements of your tank handy when shopping for the perfect background. Consider which colors you’re most interested in so you don’t get drawn into options that wouldn’t work for your tank. Also, be sure to do plenty of research on the type of environment your fish most enjoy. This way, you can set up a home that feels like home to them.

What background do fish like?

You can go for a minimalist approach and stick with blue and black fish backgrounds. These are pretty standard and work great for most fish. However, depending on the type of fish you have, you may want to incorporate more color. If you stick with a dark fish background, you may want to add accent LED lights. Colors like red, blue, and green help to accentuate the other decorations in your tank and can even enhance the appearance of certain types of fish and plants.

Do fish need full dark sleep?

You may prefer zero light when it comes to bedtime, but this isn’t the case for fish. They don’t require complete darkness to snooze. Simply try to mimic the natural darkness they would normally have in a natural environment. If your fish are tired, they may even get some shuteye when the lights are on. However, for their long-term health, a dim environment is best when it’s time for sleep.

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