Back in the fall of 2008, this DIY aquarium background project marked the beginning of a new hobby interest for this website author. The new background breathed new life into what was previously little more than an average, uninspired, 55 gallon aquarium.

It was the first of what would become many DIY backgrounds over the next few years and a key motivation behind the creation of Dramatic AquaScapes.
DIY Aquarium Background
Submersed Tree
and Rocks
The background fully submerged looks better than it has throughout the entire build process.

Chalky accents that were visible when the cement was dry are seamingly erased and replaced by a richer brown and charcoal grey.

We're looking forward to a more complete look with the addition of sand substrate, a plant or two and a colorful variety of young Mbuna Cichlids.
The white silica sand was purchased from a swimming pool supply store for about $10.00 for a 50 lb bag. This was a few years ago so the price may be higher now, but compare the cost to a traditional bag of aquarium gravel and you can't beat the price.

The young cichlids loved playing and staking their teritorry in the white sand and I loved how it looked in the aquarium.
The hidden compartment on the right end of the background has several large openings as well to the main water column and plenty of room for
fish to navigate safetly around the filter equipment. This compartment also has a large airstone to encourage water circulation.

The substrate is white silica sand purchased at a swimming pool supply store. The white sand is often used for pool filters. The second aquarium equipment compartment is behind the far end of the background.

In this short video of the 55 gallon do-it-yourself aquairum background, refracted light passes thru the floating Hornwort and creates dancing shadows throughout the aquarium.

This effect was created by stratigically placing a
CFL lamp directly over the return from the hang-on-back filter where the water surface movement is greatest.
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welcome to
do-it-yourself aquarium and semi-aquatic background designs beyond the traditional
Dramatic AquaScapes