This 20 gallon long background illustrates many of the same techniques used
to create more ambitious designs. Not including cure time, this project
collectively took about 6 hours to complete. This was a fun weekend project.
Click here for step-by-step instructions on how this background was built.
DIY Aquarium Background
This 20 gallon long background design is
almost completely attached directly to the
glass with the exception of a small cave on
the left and a larger hidden hardware
compartment behind the rock on the right.
The hardware compartment on the right
will hide a hang-on-back style filter,
airstone and submersible heater.
This top view shows the depth of the
aquarium hardware compartment on the
right and subtle entry points in the false
rock for water movement.
During the build process, the aquarium
was laid on its back which made it easier
to apply the cement.
The cement was first poured between the
rock formations then spread with an
inexpensive disposable paint brush.
The first coat of cement has been applied
and allowed 24 hours to become firm.
A small section of pink polystyrene on the
left is exposed where a cave entrance was
added as an afterthought.
One of the luxuries of working with these
materials is the option to change the
design even after the project is well
This photo shows the finished background
with three coats of cement with some
brown accents added. The addition of the
brown liquid color to the cement was done
to create a more natural rock appearance.
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do-it-yourself aquarium and semi-aquatic background designs beyond the traditional