The inspiration for this project was to be able to bring a piece of my aquatic hobby to my place of work, so "small" was key.

Not willing to settle for a "Betta in a bowl" solution, I began work on this 2.5 gallon with the intent to accommodate not only a custom background, but all things standard to a functional aquarium. Those being regulated temperature, good lighting and filtration.
DIY Aquarium Background
Betta Paradise
This project posed a particular challenge due to the small size. The aquarium is a 2.5 gallon, so to conceal the filter and heater behind the background without giving up too much of the water column took a bit of careful planning.

A DIY filter was placed behind the left side and a 10w submersible heater and airstone on the right.

Small openings were created in what will be the artificial rock surface to allow water circulation and small fish to navigate.
With the background work completed, the aquarium has been papered and the back and sides spray painted with a flat black enamel paint.
Plain copy/printer paper was cut to follow the contour if the edge of the background inside the aquarium then attached to the sides.

I light was temporary placed inside the aquarium to help with the tracing.

Masking tape was used to hold the paper in place during painting since this kind of tape is easy to remove from glass without leaving a sticky residue.
Removing the newspaper and tape reveals the outline of the painted surface that covers everywhere styrofoam and cement meet glass.

The contoured painted edge is a little more effort than a straight edge, but visually supports the theme of the background.
We let our freshly painted aquarium with background sit for a bit to allow the paint to dry.

For a few extra dollars, quick drying paint can help move the project along for anyone with limited time for these DIY aquarium projects.
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welcome to
do-it-yourself aquarium and semi-aquatic background designs beyond the traditional
Dramatic AquaScapes