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Last update: April 7, 2021

Best aquarium safe paint for inside and outside your tank

So, you want to paint a background on your aquarium?

Or maybe you want to paint something inside your tank.

Well, the first thing you need to do is buy some paint.

But not just any old paint…

You need aquarium-safe paint!

Today, I’m going to teach why you can’t use any paint, as well as share my favorite paint brands – they are all safe for aquarium use.

The danger of using the wrong paint on your aquarium

Krylon Fusion aquarium spray paint

Krylon K02758007 Fusion All-In-One Spray Paint

5/5
  • Offers rust protection
  • Bonds to difficult surfaces even without priming
  • Matte finish
Plasti dip spray paint for aquarium

Performix 11203 Plasti Dip Black Multi-Purpose Rubber Coating Aerosol

5/5
  • Dries into a firm rubber
  • Can also be used to seal decorations
  • Fish-safe
Drylok aquarium safe masonry waterproofer

Drylok 27512 Latex Water Proofer

5/5
  • Commonly used for 3D aquarium backgrounds
  • Plain white color
  • Waterproofer that can act as paint

Your aquarium might look calm and soothing, but it’s actually an extremely harsh environment. Well, for paint, anyway.

Most paint does not do well when exposed to water. The bad news? Your tank is full of it.

Many paints absorb water and soon begin to bubble or peel, breaking off in tiny flakes. To your dumb fish, those flakes of paint look near identical to fish flakes – nom, nom, nom!

I don’t have to tell you that paint isn’t something that should be included in your fish’s diet.

Even paint that appears to hold up just fine can be leaching deadly chemicals into your tank – chemicals that you cannot see!

Not even the best aquarium test kit can detect these harsh chemicals. You won’t know there is a problem until it’s too late and all your fish are dead.

Toxic paint used on aquarium killing fish

To put it simply:

You are trusting the lives of your fish with this paint. So, make sure you choose the right one!

Which brings me to my next point…

There isn’t really such a thing as aquarium-safe paint. At least not officially.

At the time of writing this, almost none of the big paint manufacturers have tested how their product works in aquariums. And between you and me, I don’t think they ever will. Not enough demand exists for an aquarium-safe paint to justify this expensive research.

As a result, no company is going to declare that their paint is safe for aquariums.

But that doesn’t mean the paint is unsafe…

It just means that these companies don’t want to make these claims and leave themselves open to lawsuits.

Don’t get me wrong, industrial-purpose, non-toxic epoxy paints designed for aquaculture or beer brewing are out there. But these cost hundreds of dollars and likely more than your entire aquarium setup.[1]

Fortunately, the need to paint something inside an aquarium is a fairly common problem. For those of us who can’t afford these premium-priced paints, there are budget options available.

And after years of testing through trial and error, hobbyists now have a good understanding of which paints are considered safe for your aquarium and which should be avoided – and they are affordable.

Let’s take a closer look at the different paint you can use with your aquarium…

Best aquarium-safe paint for inside your aquarium

This section covers paints that will be submerged in your tank, such as on decorations and pipes. These paints won’t peel, flake or leach chemicals when placed under water, keeping your fish safe.

Unless otherwise stated, all paints need to be applied outside of the aquarium and left to dry before being placed inside your aquarium.

The following recommendations are suitable for both freshwater and saltwater aquariums.

1. Best aquarium-safe spray paint

I love spray paint. No brushes, nothing to clean up, just spray and you’re done.

It’s pretty much my go-to weapon when using those horrible white PVC pipes in my aquariums. A quick coat of black paint and they basically disappear into the background.

The trick to applying spray paint is thin, even coats so that it doesn’t drip. You can always add more layers once the previous one dries.


A can of Krylon Fusion Spray Paint commonly used in aquariums

Krylon Fusion is the most commonly recommended aquarium spray paint and is particularly popular for those with reef tanks.

It clings to plastic, PVC and resin and has a clean finish. But the main reason for its popularity is the wide range of colors that it is available in – no other paint used by hobbyists comes in such a selection.

I attest to its effectiveness. I used Krylon Fusion on a tank I owned waaaay back in 2006. I took the tank down four years later, and my PVC pipes showed no signs of flaking.

While Krylon Fusion may dry in as little as 15 minutes, it takes an entire week for it to properly cure and become chip-resistant. Once the week is finished, rinse it in dechlorinated water to remove any leftover residue and dust that accumulated on the surface.

Ignore the fact that Krylon Fusion claims to need no prep-work. If you skip the prep, you are much more likely to experience chipping or flaking. Sand and clean any surface before coating it with Krylon Fusion.

FishLab Tip: Krylon makes a variety of different spray paints. Only Krylon Fusion is considered aquarium-safe once cured.

Krylon Fusion is only to be used for painting plastics. If you want a spray paint that is suitable for other materials, including glass, then check out my next recommendation:

Black Plasti Dip Spray Paint is safe for aquarium use

While it may look and apply like regular spray paint, this unique product dries into a firm rubber.

It’s this unique property that means Plasti Dip won’t flake or crack, even after years of being submerged in your aquarium. You can even use it to seal decorations that would otherwise be unsafe in your aquarium.

It truly is fish-safe. Let’s say you have a pleco that enjoys rasping algae off any surface in your aquarium. You can remain confident that he won’t remove any rubber while gnawing on the algae coating it – same goes for any other algae eaters like snails, shrimp and crabs.

Once you finish the final coat, wait 24 hours to ensure that the coating has cured properly. If it’s going in your aquarium, rinse it in a bucket with dechlorinated water first.

2. Best aquarium-safe paint for everything else

Spray paint is pretty much my go-to for anything I need to paint inside my aquarium. But what happens if you need to paint something unusual, say Styrofoam, concrete, brick or even a terracotta pot?

Well, that’s where my next recommendation comes in.

Drylok aquarium-safe masonry water proofer

Drylok is typically used in larger applications, like ponds. But because it is fish-safe, you can also use Drylok inside your aquarium.

In fact, Drylok is commonly used in 3D aquarium backgrounds – you know, the ones that look like real rockwork.[2]

Now, it’s worth mentioning that Drylok isn’t really paint. It’s a water proofer. It seals whatever you coat it in, protecting it from water.

Because of this, Drylok is plain white in color. While Drylok comes in various colors, they likely are not aquarium-safe.

However, you can create your own colored waterproof paint by mixing Drylok with Quikrete Liquid Concrete paint, which is also aquarium-safe.

Quickrete Liquid Concrete Paint is available in:

  • Charcoal
  • Brown
  • Buff (Dark Orange/Brown)
  • Terracotta
  • Red

The more Quikrete paint you add to Drylok, the more vibrant the color. By using more or less, you create different shades of color. With careful application, use these shades to create shadows and highlights.

Important: Buy the Latex-Base Drylok Masonry Waterproofer, which is linked to in this guide. Drylock makes other waterproofers, such as Drylok Pro and Drylok Extreme, that contain fungicides. These can kill not only the beneficial bacteria in your aquarium but also your fish.

Now that I have covered paint that is suitable for inside your aquarium, let’s take a closer look at what you can use on the outside.

Aquarium-safe paint for outside your aquarium

Painting the background of a glass aquarium in blue paint

This section covers paint that is not going to be submerged under water, such as the glass, trim or even the stand that your aquarium rests on.

But by far the most commonly painted part of an aquarium is the rear glass panel.

FishLab Tip: Want to paint a background on the rear of your aquarium? Make sure you do it before you set up your aquarium and add your fish.

Is your aquarium is already set up? Use a vinyl background like this one instead – it can be easily applied with fish inside your tank.

Painting the rear and sides of your aquarium makes your fish and plants much easier to see. It blocks any distractions that might be present on the other side of your tank.

Black and blue are the most commonly used colors for painting aquarium backgrounds.

I personally paint my aquarium background black – it’s the same color as my heaters, filter plumbing and overflow, allowing them to blend into the background. Blue, on the other hand, is much more commonly used in reef tanks.

But which paint should you use?

Truth be told, it doesn’t really matter what paint you use on the outside of your tank – this isn’t going to come into contact with your fish.

I have seen hobbyists use spray paint, rolled-on acrylic paint, Plasti Dip…

While most hobbyists use flat (matte) paint for their background, it doesn’t matter too much if you use gloss or semi-gloss. The glass is going to add glare when you look at the background from the inside of your tank anyway.

If it’s going on the back glass on the outside of your aquarium, it doesn’t matter too much which aquarium paint you use. They all leave a smooth finish that makes the inside of your aquarium pop.

However…

You need to consider your future plans for your aquarium.

Over time, the paint can scratch, and you might accidentally drag your aquarium net or foil fish food packet along the rear and leave a nasty gash.

Even if you are careful not to scratch it, the paint might just not hold up well to the wet environment that is your aquarium.

To get rid of scratches, you basically have to strip off the paint and start again.

If your paint is designed to go on and stay on, then removing it can be a chore – typically involving hours slowly peeling away the paint with the help of a razor blade.

That’s why I use Plasti Dip. It is easy to spray on the rear of your aquarium, dries smooth and looks great. My Plasti Dip background has been going strong for two years now and shows no sign of becoming brittle or cracking.

Black Plasti Dip Spray Paint is safe for aquarium use

But that’s not the best part. When the time comes to remove your background, simply peel it off. Yep, because Plasti Dip is rubber and not paint, it is really easy to remove.

It’s easy to see why Plasti Dip is the go-to background paint of many fish keepers.

As for stands, cabinets and anything your aquarium rests on, use an oil-based paint. Oil-based paints are water-repellent and hold up well to being splashed with water during a water change.

Conclusion

As you see, while there are many different paints available, very few are actually suitable for your aquarium.

Fortunately, you don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars on an epoxy paint. You can make do with these everyday solutions. Best of all, they can be found on the shelf of your local hardware store.

What paint did you use on your aquarium? Let me know in the comments below!

By Ian Sterling

I've been keeping fish for over 30 years and currently have 4 different aquariums – it's an addiction. I'm here to teach you everything there is to know about fishkeeping.

I also use this site as an excuse to spend lots of money on testing and reviewing different aquarium products! You can find my reviews here.

Comments (109)

DOES THE PLASTI DIP PAINT SCRAPE OFF EASILY AS DOES ACRYLIC PAINT WILL WHEN USED ON THE GLASS PANEL OF A FISH AQUARIUM TANK?

Hi Donna,

It depends on your definition of “easy” If you mean accidentally scratching it, Plasti-Dip is more durable than acryllic. If you mean removal, yeah you can peel it off with a little effort.

I found this very helpful, Thank you so much. I had a tank that had been neglected and I did not want to replace all of the faded decorations that I was fond of. Fusion pain should be the perfect solution. Thanks again.????????

Does this mean fusion spray paint can’t be used on concrete? Also I heard pure acrylic paint can be used but idk what is the brand or where to find it.

Hi Melissa,

I wouldn’t use Fusion spray on concrete. I’d also be hesitant to use any other paint without sealing the concrete first.

Hi Timothy,

Given that it’s on the inside of your tank, and likely to be scratched, I’d suggest cutting colored plastic to size and laying it at the base of your tank.

Hi Ian, Im a huge tank nut and have had probably 30 tanks in my life. Im getting ready to start a new 55. Thing is I want to decorate in with ‘unavailable’ colors. Im thinking of doing a large flat rock. However, I want to do it in Muddy Girl camo for my wife. Which would be a Fusion base, then hyro dipped with the black pattern. If I clear coat it…. Do you think the hydrodip would be safe for the fish ? And what clear coat can I use that would be safe ??

Hi Ron,

I’d look into a clear coat, epoxy resin will seal in whatever is underneath and is inert once cured. The focus should be on sealing the object completely, as any gaps in the resin will allow your paint to leach into the aquarium.

I have a piece made out of cement that is supposedly painted with aquarium safe paint. I hate to take the chance of putting it in the tank and having all my fish die. Is there a clear spray item that I can use to protect the concrete item? Thank you!

Hi Karen,

Most 2 part epoxy resins that dry clear are aquarium safe and seal whatever is coated.

I have some rather expensive aquarium decorations that need a new coat of paint. You know, the typical resin type like pots, bridges, etc…These need to be brush painted bc of the detail involved. Is there a way to safely accomplish this or do I have to buy new decorations?

Hi KM,

You can seal anything with a 2-part epoxy resin. However, this will be difficult and time intensive to do (resin doesn’t spread in the same way paint does) depending on how much your decorations cost, it is often cheaper and easier to buy new ones.

my local walmart does not carry krylon fusion, however they do have Rustoleum everything. is there a suitable version of this brand. there are several varieties that claim to bond to plastic. thanks in advance.

Hi Jason,

I have no personal experience with Rustoleum. Everyone in my circle uses Kyrlon Fusion, myself included. Because these paints aren’t *designed* to be used underwater, even the ones I recommended, I stick with what I know to personally work. As a result, I do not feel confident even speculating on Rustoleum. You would need to speak to someone who has successfully used it in an aquarium setting. Remember, even if a type of rustoleum paint turns out to be safe, it doesn’t mean the whole range is. There are plenty of kyrlon paints that shouldn’t be used in an aquarium setting.

thank you for your feedback. i will just trust your findings and look at lowes and home depot for krylon fusion. i am sure i will find there or online if need be. ????

I am making a custom terrarium for our Chinese water dragons, we are using craft styrofoam to shape a lot of our decor, including the waterfall. I was going to use plasti dip. can krylon fusion be used on styrofoam?

Hi Natalie, I can only comment on my experience with aquarium backgrounds, which are often made from styrofoam. Generally you’d coat it either with cement or use drylock first. I have no experience applying Krylon Fusion directly, it’s likely it will melt the styrofoam like many other spray paints.

Hi Aimee,

Many fishkeepers just “paint” over the styrofoam with cement. You can add quickrete dyes to adjust the color. You want the concrete runny, like paint. There are plenty of guides on how to create 3d aquarium backgrounds online, as this is somewhat outside the scope of the article.

Great post! Thank you!

I had a question about the Krylon Fusion. I am buying a new large coral ornament for the tank but I read in reviews that the colors fade, so I was hoping to “seal in” the colors with a clear coat, would the Krylon fusion be best for that? Or epoxy resin? Also where can I buy 2 part epoxy resin? I think spray paint would be easiest so hoping the Krylon Fusion would be okay for that?

Thank you again

Hi joanne,

I do know some people use the clear krylon fusion to seal their decorations but I do not have any experience with it. Based on my experience with other paints in the Krylon Fusion line, I do not know how it would hold to the paint underneath, since it grips plastic best. A 2 part epoxy should be available at your local home depot but it is a pain in the butt to use, it spreads more like treacle than paint. If you are looking for a clear coat spray paint, a clear Plasti-dip would be my recommendation for sealing decorations. Go light, the more layers you add, the “foggier” it will look.

I appreciate this post. I am building an inside 3000 gal pond in my basement. Using a swimming pool liner, which is blue and I wanted to paint the vinyl liner to add some background color because in the front I have a huge 60″ x 24″ window in the front wall.
Knowing I can use krylon fusion as a non toxic paint is a huge deal for me as I was concerned of having all blue for a visual background.
I am excited to add a cool painted background in my line of a kind indoor pond!!!!

Hi Owen,

That sounds like quite a big project! I have no experience with Krylon fusion adhering to vinyl in underwater conditions, so this might need a little more research. I’d test a small piece first and see how it performs? Say, in a bowl of water? Good luck, an indoor pond sounds awesome!

Hello
Thanks for this informative article- I am in the process of building a 3D background for a Malawi tank- the cement and the paints you have mentioned are all US based and impossible to source here in the UK.
Is there any alternatives you are aware of which is available in this tiny island?
Thanks once again.

Hi Subhajit,

Unfortunately, since America is my home, I don’t have any experience with UK products. I have visited there a few times now and it amazes me just how different your product range for aquariums is. I would recommend asking on an online forum for UK alternatives. I’m sorry I can’t help more. Good luck!

Is krylon fusion for plastic spray paint the same as krylon fusion all-in-one spray paint? I’ve currently checked their site and it seems like they shifted from fusion for plastic to fusion all-in-one.

Hi Joey,

That’s an excellent question. I was at my local hardware a month ago and it was still “for plastic” it’s possible they are in the transition of a rebrand where old stock is being purged first. Admittedly, this is the first I have heard of it.

Hi Mark,

If you seal your ornaments, you can use any paint, as the protective barrier will prevent the paint from leaching into your aquarium. I have personally never done thins myself, but I know some fishkeepers use clear plasti-dip to seal – just make sure it’s completely covered.

I work in a hospital and we have a 55 gallon aquarium that I upkeep as part of our recreation therapy program. We want to begin a rock painting project, allowing patients that discharge to decorate a small rock with their initials and drop it into the tank. What paint and sealer would you recommend? As for the rock, I am assuming I can just get some small smooth rocks from a hardware store and then sterilize them?

Hi Jen,

You basically want to avoid any rocks that are classified as carbonite rocks. These can shift the water chemistry. Easy test – if you add a few drops of vinegar and it fizzes, the rock is unsuitable. Limestone and dolomite are the most common but there are others.

As for paint, acrylic would be fine since it is sealed anyway. I have no experience with it, but I have discussed with many people who used the clear plasti-dip to seal re-painted aquarium decorations. It’s the same as my recommendation in the article but transparent. Since it dries as a rubber, it won’t affect your auarium.

Years ago…in the late ’60s and early 70’s there used to be paint for aquariums that people actually used for windows/doors in their houses. It came in many different shades and after it dried, and hardened, it had like a swirl or crackle effect. Do you know of this paint and if it is still made?

Thanks.

Hi Susan,

I honestly wish I could help you here. I probably wasn’t old enough, or interested enough in fish, to be able to identify that paint. It sounds fascinating though. Please let me know if you find out what it was!

Old stuff was called Crystal Craze. If you search for crystal glass paint, it looks like some craft stores still carry something similar.

When painting the hood or stand, should a sealant be used in addition to the oil based paint? If so, which?

Is there a latex that can be used instead of an oil based What should I use and what about leaching chemical concerns?

Hi Deja,

It only really matters if you are painting the hood. This is because any condensation is going to drip back into the tank. Any furniture sealant that doesn’t have mold inhibitors will be fine. The stand is less of an issue since water from your tank won’t come into contact with this.

Is there a clear coat option available? I was considering using plastic figurines or toys instead of off the shelf ornaments sold in store

I was looking to repaint a castle. fine touches. spray paint isn’t an option

are there any other choices?

Hi Robert,

The alternative is to use any old paint and make sure it is properly sealed with clear sealant before adding it to your aquarium.

What paint would be good for both a glass piece and a piece of coral that will be constantly in water. Thank you so much. Barb

Hi Barb,

I’d have to say plastidip spray paint. You’ll need to make sure your coral is clean and free of contaminants before coating.

Hi Ken,

Great question, it matters less what paint you use and more what you seal it with – water isn’t in constant contact with the hood, besides some condensation that may fall back into the tank. An inert sealant would allow you to use any paint you desire – however, since these things go inside, I would suggest a low-voc paint.

Hi Amani,

No experience with that one, Plasti Dip Does a Clear Rubber Coating that I have personally used and recommend if you want to seal paint in. The number is Plasti Dip 11209

What kind of neon or GloFish paint can I use that will glow under LED Blue/Actinic lighting? I want to paint and make some aquarium ornaments glow, which afterward I will seal with clear Performix Plasti Dip.

Thank you

Hi William,

I don’t know of any aquarium safe paint that glows under Actinic lighting. You could use something you know works and rely on a clear sealer to separate it from the tank water?

Hello William, I’m a professional painter I mainly paint night clubs. I use Krylon neon paint all the time. It works wonderful with black light and really glows. If you decide to paint with it let it dry and cure for a week then I would coat with clear plastic dip and let that dry and cure for a week. I bet this will work! Maybe if you are unsure do a test tank with inexpensive fish and monitoring it to see if any fish become ill. Keep in touch with us if you try this.

Patti,
I’m sorry you consider any living creature disposable and have no problem using “inexpensive” fish as test subjects to see if a type of paint kills them. That is barbaric. Just because a Petco decides that a common goldfish is only with 16 cents doesn’t mean we have to be heartless and consider them disposable. We need to change our approach to how we treat and care for all fish.

Hey William,
You can use non-toxic acrylic paint from the crafts department at Walmart and then seal it with the performix plasti dip. That’s what I used. I like the acrylic paint because it’s safe. There’s nothing harmful to leech out into the tank. Just be sure to seal it because acrylic paint is water based and will wash away if it isn’t sealed properly. I hope that helps.

Hi,
Very useful advice thanks. I looked up plasti dip on amazon and it says harmful to aquatic life. Would you clarify this please.

Thank you

Hi Rob,

Excellent question! Myself and many other fishkeepers have been using this for years. It very likely is harmful if you spray it directly in a tank. But once it dries and cures, it forms an inert rubber, that can be added to your tank. There are many youtube videos and forum posts discussing this that can be found qith a quick google search. I hope this helps!

Hi Manny,

I wouldn’t recommend painting live rock. In a saltwater tank, this is your biological filtration. By painting it and sealing it in, you are going to defeat the purpose of adding live rock to your tank.

Hi Lana,

As long as you use an inert clear sealant, you could use this as it’s going to be a barrier preventing the water from coming into contact with the paint. Make sure you seal it properly though, you don’t want paint leeching into your tank.

Excited to see you are an avid responder to these questions. Cause as much as trial and error is fun, it’s the water babies on the line. So I’d love your input:

I have a 60gallon tank with a couple axolotls in it. Natural plants and some guppies to create a micro ecosystem. Because the axolotls are Mexican origins and hate bright lights (limiting real plant ???? options) I thought having a local artist paint up a couple aquarium safe skulls as sugar skulls, would be a really cool addition. However I’m very nervous on how to best go about painting and sealing these skulls. Any advice would be appreciated, loved the article.

Hi Lance,

I’ll say upfront that I have very little experience with axolotls, so any advice given here is based on my experience with fish. For sealing, a 2-part epoxy will work fine although it’s very glue-like and difficult to spread over surfaces (you’ll need time and patience) otherwise Plasti-dip does make a clear option which is what the fishkeepers at my club use. The focus is on completely sealing the painted skull, since any exposed area will leach into the water and, depending on the paint use, may negatively impact your axolotl.

hey Ian , very good suggestions , my question may seem simple but,,,all these painted decorations what do they use, the same ? thank you.

Hi Frank,

That’s a very good question. And it’s quite complicated!

I have tried to ask aquarium companies such as Penn Plax in the past what they use to coat their decorations and have never gotten a satisfactory response

Some generic decorations use the dangerous paint – many decorations after being in your tank for some time will peel.

I would *assume* that the big aquarium brands use paint that is safe on their decorations, but we will never know for sure unless they reveal the paints they use.

Hi Ian,

My wife and I are finalizing plans to build our aquarium into our wall. So it will be viewed from both sides as the wall it is going into will divide our great room from the den/office. It will be a larger tank 300 gallons +/-. We will have it framed in on the great room side creating a picture-like appearance, the den side will be much more open & serve as the fish room. My question is what would you recommend for sealing the walls/drywall on the inside of the divider wall the aquarium will be in? Should I use backer-board, drylok paint or some kind of dry sheet membrane to prevent the humidity from damaging the drywall that is on the inside of the divider wall?

I’ve been debating over this for some time and I would love to hear your advice!

Hi Ashley,

Good question. I have never used an aquarium as a divider, but one of the members of my local fish club does. I believe he painted the wall with drylock.

I am having a hard time finding plasti-dip in clear where I live. I was wondering if aquarium silicon could be used to seal a foam 3d background. Background was painted with safe acrylic paint but I want to seal the background.

Hi Ric,

My concern with silicone is that over time it can discolor, which will make the background look off.

Hi Jennifer, I am unfamiliar with that packaging but it looks like it could be the same. If it’s latex based and doesn’t contain anti-fungal or mold inhibitors, then it’s likely just a rebranding with new packaging.

Hi Ian

I have human skeleton (not real haha) which is made out of PVC plastic and metal to link the joints together. In your opinion which spray would be best that covers both materials or will I have to remove the metal and glue the joints together?

If I have to glue, which glue would you recommend?

Many thanks

Hi Lee,

That sounds like a fun project! I would avoid placing any metal in your tank, unless you can be confident you can completely seal it, which is a headache in itself. If the joints can be removed, it would be better if you go down that route.

As for the glue, superglue gel is aquarium safe. I’m USA based, so I don’t know what you have available in the UK (judging from your email) but if you are read the ingredients, the only ingredient should be “cyanoacrylate” – it’s aquarium safe.

You are well informed Sir!

It’s great to see someone who knows what they’re talking about!

I’m looking at painting the back of my tank black.

Also, I have plants in my tank but they keep on dying. I only have fine aquatic white sand. I believe that due to no substrate or water flow in the sand that this would be the likely reason for them dying?

Regards

JR

Hi James,

If they are rooted plants, the sand is providing them no nutrients. You can either use aquasoil (capped with sand to keep the same look) or root tabs to get around this.

Hi! I built a custom lid for my 75g aquarium. I need to seal the entire bottom so moisture does not warp the wood. What is the best solution for this?

Thanks in advance!

When you use the plasti dip paint, you sprayed it on the outside of the aquarium rather than inside, yet said it was completely safe for the fish…my question is, is there a reason you chose the outside rather than inside, and if painted on the outside does it still give that mirror like reflection when the water is out in. I’m going to building an indoor pond that can be easily moved should we move again and I want all sides to be blacked out like a pond except the very front so it can be seen from above or from the front.

Hi Mia,

You could paint the inside of the aquarium if you wanted, but it’s much easier to use plastidip on the outside since it’s easier to evenly coat a single panel of glass. This is especially true of smaller tanks.

There is a gloss black option if you want something shiny.

Is there a specific paint to use on the glass inside the tank. I’ve a 200 gallon tank that they have a mirror on the inside along the back but it’s all messed up and was thinking it would be easier to paint than to remove.

Hi Steven,

It’s going to be difficult if you still have fish inside. Everything will need to be removed since paints are not safe until they cure and using a spray paint will be difficult with limited room to maneuver. There is also the problem that if you wipe it down, you’ll likely scratch it. I’d suggest blocking the view of rear with plants, decorations or similar over paint. Otherwise, plasti-dip will work, but it has all the issues mentioned before.

Which of these products would you suggest for painting the inside of a fiberglass tank? We raise endangered and our current tanks are so light in color that the fish appear stressed from the brightness. We also clean the tanks with Ovadine and a 190 F geothermal water in between uses. Will any of these products resist these conditions best? Thank you.

Hi JDO,

I do not have any experience with fiberglass, only glass or acrylic. Unfortunately, I’m unsure how these paints would go when applied to fiberglass.

curious question if I may, if doing a background using foam then drylok, do you need to seal the drylok paint also? like using the krylon in a clear? of does the drylok need a sealer at all?

thanks

Hi Brian,

In this case drylock is the sealer. If you are making a foam background, I recommend following the steps online, to ensure that everything is sealed correctly.

Terrific site, very informative and very well done. Re Krylon Fusion All-In-One, as of 1/31/2020 Fusion All-In-One Paint+Primer is labeled and advertised as applicable to glass as well as plastic, etc. In looking at the Krylon site, it appears that Krylon Fusion for Plastic may have been discontinued.

I had ordered Fusion All-In-One to do a back (outside) panel on a new tank – but now I’m intrigued by and will try Plasti-Dip. Not that I ever overspray …

Thanks again!

Hi Mike,

Thanks for clarifying this. I have looked over the MSDS of a couple of these re-branded sprays and it appears that the ingredients are identical. I plan on doing a re-scape in the next 6 months in which I will need Krylon All-in-one, in which I will explore whether it is suitable for glass.

Thanks so much for sharing this information and good luck on your background!

Hi Ian
I have a 200 gallon tank but the bottom of the tank was cracked & repaired I just wanted your advice on what to use to reseal it again

Thanks jeff

Hi Jeff,

I don’t advise sealing cracked tanks, since there is forever a risk of the tank leaking.

Hi Matthew,

Judging from the MSDS I have read, it appears to be a change in brand name rather than formulation. I am currently testing the blue color and performance appears to be the same.

I used black krylon fusion on some PVC thats going in my salt tank. Im thinking I should coat it with clear plastidip in case my trigger decided to peck at it. Do I have to wait 7 days before doing the plastidip coat?

Thank you so much for all this information

Hi Bree,

Absolutely. Just in case the plastidip chips or scratches – a rock or decoration might fall, you might slice it with your gravel vac etc. etc.

Hello sir, I have painted some stones with Acrylic Fabric Paint. Is it safe for aquarium which had live plants and live plants fishes like Neon, Shrimp and Snails.

Hi Karthikeyan,

You would need to seal the paint. Epoxy resin or clear plasti-dip would do it (but use lots of layers).

Hi, I currently have a 4 foot tank which is divided and I painted the glass divider with a water based white paint. Is this safe ?
Thanks

Hi John,

A water based paint that isn’t sealed is going to leach into your water.

How do I seal it. To be completely honest I purchased a very expensive pair of discus which died in a day and didn’t know what the reasoning was. So do you think it could be the paint. And if I seal it can it completely fix the issue and stop it from leaching or do I need to paint from scratch
Kind regards john.

Hi John,

You would need to use something like a clear plasti-dip or epoxy resin. Note that if the clear coats scratches or chips, you will have the same problems with paint leeching.

To confirm, did you cycle your tank before you added your fish?

Yes the tank was completely cycled. What would you recommend to re paint it or just put layers on the white paint already there. I want to be extra careful to not make the same mistake
Thanks

Hi John,

As long as you completely seal it, it doesn’t matter what the condition is underneath – only the sealant is coming into contact with your water. Be careful that the sealant doesn’t chip, scratch or crack otherwise the paint underneath will once again be exposed to your water. However, my advice would be to use a more appropriate divider that is water safe or keep the glass clear and use plants as a visual divider. otherwise, It might take years, but you may accidental scratch the sealant when cleaning or similar.

Hi Ian I want to change the outside of my fish tank cabinet which is teak to black to match the colour scheme in my lounge but because it is laminate I.was advised the paint will not stick. I also.have some pebbles I got with mt electric fire place and a money box skull can I put these in the fish tank as ornaments. Thank you.

Hi Susan,

I cannot comment on painting your cabinet, the scope of this article is around the aquarium itself. I would advise against adding anything that is not designed to go in your aquarium, unless you are entirely sure what it is made of, as it may leech chemicals and kill your fish.

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