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
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
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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do-it-yourself aquarium and semi-aquatic background designs beyond the traditional