Best Paint for Aquarium

Best Paint For Aquarium Glass: Make Your Background Look Better

The aquarium looks damn fascinating, but unfortunately, the maintenance ain’t that interesting. Everything requires a reasonable amount of time and effort, from cleaning to painting. 

Take painting the aquarium glass, for instance, coloring is fun. But what about the choosing process? To be honest, that’s the hardest part. Choosing safe, suitable, and the best paint for aquarium glass is tough. 

To get your hands on the best products in the market, we did some research. After extensive research, here we have added our top picks. Obviously, they are not the only good available products. 

But certainly, they are some of the decent ones for your purpose. We tried adding an out-and-out comparison between them so that you can pick easily. So, stick till the end to gather all the necessary information. 

Types of Aquarium Glass Paint

As for the types of paint, we divided them into two. You either need paint to paint the outside glass of the aquarium or the inside. So we’re going to divide the paints into the two said types.

Here’s a short guide on both types of paints:

Aquarium Paint for InsideAquarium Paint for Outside
When to UseWhen you want to paint the inside glass wall of your reef tank or aquarium.When you want to paint the outer glass of your aquarium.
Which Type Is RecommendedNon-toxic paint is recommended so that the aquatic lives are unharmed.Any paint for glass is useable. It doesn’t need to be non-toxic, but you can still use it.
Our RecommendedKrylon K02732007 Fusion Spray PaintRust-Oleum 1976502 Painter’s Touch Latex Paint

Is It a Good Idea to Paint the Aquarium Glass?

It’s quite a common question to ask that is painting the aquarium glass worth it or not. To be honest, we always find it to be a good idea. Another thing you may want to know is, which one between aqueon and marineland is better suitable to paint?

It’s natural for you to consequently ask for the reasons.

So, first of all, we find it helpful at increasing the light level. Putting a vibrant color on your aquarium glass allows the light to reflect even more brightly. As a result, the aquarium looks catchy and the overall outlook becomes much better. 

Non-plant persons just love the idea of painting aquarium glass. Because plants are hard to maintain for some people. So for decorating the aquarium, they prefer using color paint. And to be honest, this hack works just perfectly. 

Some people are concerned about the safety of the fishes when the painting discussion comes in. But using non-toxic paint will solve these issues, and you can always go for painting the aquarium glass. 

Best Paint for Aquarium Glass (Inside)

Enough talk. It’s time to head into the reviews. We’ve picked out the top paints to paint the inside of your aquarium here. So let’s start with a short comparison-

This was a short comparison among five different paints. The following chart might help you give a better idea in case you don’t have time to read all the reviews-

Krylon K02732007 Fusion Spray Paint: More About The Product

On top of the list for the best paint for aquarium glass, we have the K02732007 Fusion from Krylon.

You might have expected one from Krylon to make it into the top. Well, this one did just enough to clinch the top spot. 

So what makes this better than the next two? Well, if we talk about the form factor, I’d say it’s subjective.

Some of you might prefer the spray paint form, while others might like the big cans. 

Well, we picked both form factors for the top picks here. So that should help you out in deciding. 

A good thing about this is that it gives you options. Not only does it give you a choice of colors, but there are also different textures. I think the matte texture goes well with the inside of the aquarium, though.

Since we’ll be applying this inside, fish will come in contact with the paint, right? Yes, they will. 

And for that to happen without any problem, the paint must be non-toxic. And that’s what they claim this bottle to be.

We’ve taken the risk, so you don’t have to perform experiments. And the paint did not cause any harm to our aquatic environment inside our reef tank. So we can conclude that it’s non-toxic. 

As far as removal is concerned, well, this isn’t the easiest to remove. You might need a little scraper to remove the paint from the glass. Removing paint is much easier for the second product on the list.

But you will still need a scraper for the last one. So you can say that it isn’t a problem exclusive to this spray paint only. 

Another thing that you need to keep in mind is that this requires multiple layers. I mean, that’s normal for spray paint. But I still think this one needed extra layers to get an even coating.

Things That Need Improvement:

  • This requires multiple layers to get an even finish. If this bothers you, you can pick the next option on the list.
  • It’s not the easiest to remove. If you’re thinking about removing the paint after a few months, check out an easier-to-remove paint

Performix 11203 Plasti Dip: More About The Product

First on the list is the Plasti Dip from Performix. And this one has been tried and tested to work out inside the aquarium.

During our three months of extended testing, we did not see any fish clawing off the paint from the walls. We only applied this on the back wall of our reef tank.

If it isn’t apparent, you can choose from three different colors. You can get the red or clear coat versions other than the black one.

We used the black one since it made the lighting look even inside the tank. Also, using black complimented our setup a bit more than the others.

Alright, let’s get one thing straight. You need several thin coats whether you’re going with spray paint or not.

It’s far better than just applying two thick coats altogether. And it’s the same with this one. 

What sets this one apart is the ease of removal. The whole thing can even come off in one piece if you try. So that’s something positive about this one. 

Things That Need Improvement:

  • This might seem like little paint. If the quantity bothers you, try out the next paint on the list.
  • Although it has color choices, you don’t get texture choices. If you want more textured finished, try out the first product on the list.

Drylok Original Latex Water Proofer: More About The Product

Lastly, we have Drylok’s Water Proofer. The whole can is on the cheaper side. So you might doubt this at first. Trust me, we doubted this too. But after testing all the others out, this proved the point.

I’m not saying this is as good as the one on top. But they are comparable. They fall in the same bracket since they have the same use cases. 

In terms of the quantity, you get almost thrice paint compared to the Performix one on top. So that’s not a good look for our winner on the list. So what made this one worse?

After asking around, I’ve concluded that people want the convenience of spraying paint onto a surface. They prefer this to using brushes or rollers.

So this might be one of the reasons why this one lost. I mean, you do have to purchase rollers or brushes with this one. You can’t just apply the can of paint with your hands.

But if you ask me, I’m more of a can guy. Using the precision of different brush sizes makes it easy for me. And I’m sure that I’m not the only one out there who feels the same way.

A couple of coats with a small roller was enough to get an even coat of black. The black was dark enough to let the other components inside the tank stand out. This black color complements the greens inside the tank a lot more.

Things That Need to Improve:

  • This is super hard to remove. You’ll need a decent scraper to remove the paint. 
  • It doesn’t have many options. If you want more texture choices from a paint, try out paint with more options

Best Paint for Aquarium Glass (Outside)

Now that we’re done with the paints for inside the aquarium let’s head on outside. This segment is a bit simpler. That’s because you don’t need waterproof paint for the outside.

You also don’t need non-toxic paint for this segment since your fish won’t come in contact with this. Honestly, any glass paint will do if the tank glass has a super clean surface. 

Let’s start with a short comparison-

That was the short comparison. So here’s a more graphical view that might give you a more comparative analysis-

Rust-Oleum 1976502 Painter’s Touch Latex Paint: More About The Product

First up, we have the famous one from Rust-Oleum. I know you guys had this one in mind while choosing paint too. And this time, the can took the win over the spraypaint bottle. Why? Let’s talk about it.

I’d say that this one takes the cake when it comes to removing paint. You can get your hands underneath the layer while removing the paint. So that’s a convenience factor nonetheless.

Credit where it’s due, this one comes with different finishes. So you might want to switch things up with matte or glossy finishes. We went with the matte black for our reef tank wall. It gave a subtle tone to the entire setup.

But I have to cut points here since this doesn’t have nearly as many options as the next one on the list. Don’t get me wrong, though. This still beats the third one on the list. 

We painted the back of our 75Ga tank, and it came out pretty neat. Since this is not spray paint, we could complete the task indoors. I guess that’s a perk of not being in a spray paint bottle.

Among other things, this has the largest quantity among the top picks for the best paint for aquarium glass. But you can pick a smaller version of the can if you prefer. 

Things That Need to Improve:

  • The application might not seem as easy compared to the other two. If you want a quicker application, pick one of the other two.

Krylon K05160107 ColorMaster Paint + Primer: More About The Product

Krylon’s K05160107 from the ColorMaster series secured the second spot easily. While it’s not as popular as the Plasti Dip series up next, it’s a better performer overall. And we’ll tell you why.

Since it comes in a spray can form factor, it automatically gains extra points. That’s because these systems are considered easier to use. You will need a few layers to get that even finish, though.

So, things might not look that easy after all.

Anyways, the Krylon paint isn’t as smooth as the Rust-Oleum one on top. But it’s a tad better than the Performix Plasti Dip that comes after this one. So if you want that specific quality, this might be a good choice. 

Things That Need to Improve:

  • It’s not the easiest to remove. If this bothers you, you can pick out the first one from Krylon.
  • The paint doesn’t feel too smooth. If this seems concerning, then pick a paint that’s easier to remove

Performix 11219 Plasti Dip: More About The Product

Well, the third on the list for the outside paints is this one from Performix. We had a similar choice in the inside part too. So don’t mix the two up by any chance.

Now listen, this was by no means made for painting aquarium glass. But it works on glass. And since we’re just painting the outside of the aquarium glass for this part, there’s nothing to it.

Where this one takes the lead is in the options department. You get a ton of color choices as well as styles. Whether you want the glossy, textured, or matte finish, they have it. So props to them for including all the options. 

But this comes in the standard spray paint bottle. So you won’t get the large volume you get from paint cans. The quantity of the Rust-Oleum beats this one by miles in the quantity department.

Don’t worry, you still get an ounce of paint more here. 

This can of spray paint is one of the more popular choices. I’ve spoken with a lot of people in the community. And almost all of them knew about the usage of this particular paint for the outer walls of your aquarium.

While you might not fancy the deep blue color for your aquarium walls, I think this added a neat tone to the setup. But I have to admit that the others on the list have more options to choose from.

You don’t get to decide the style of the paint either. There aren’t too many options for this one. But if you plan on giving a dark blue shade to your aquarium, this is it.

Things That Need to Improve:

Why Is It Important to Pick Safe Paints? 

Putting paint on your aquarium glass makes your aquarium look beautiful. But this thing can turn out to be a deadly one if you didn’t pick the paint correctly. So painting aquarium glass can be tempting yet scary. 

However, if you can choose safe paint that doesn’t contain any toxins, then you’re on the safe side. Using paint with harmful particles can harm your fish. So better to be careful and choose safe paint. 

Try to pick paints that are labeled with “for use in potable containers” or as “food safe.” These paints are safe for fish and usually don’t cause any harm. A completely cured paint with fully evaporated solvents is aquarium safe. 

That’s why giving the proper curing time is just as important as picking the right paint. Moreover, you shouldn’t choose water-based colors for this purpose. 

Because it gets submerged into water, and with time, it peels off the glass. But choosing an oil-based color of latex color keeps you safe in this regard. Acrylic or similar type of water-based colors flake off with time. 

These tiny pieces of paint are extremely easy to get confused with fish foods. Hence fishes might swallow them mistakenly. So choosing the right paint is a necessity to keep your aquarium a safe place. 

Paint or Adhesive Backings: Which One Will Be Better?

This is a widespread concern: Can we just put adhesive backing on our aquarium glass? Well, technically, the answer is yes, you can. But it doesn’t mean putting adhesive backing is the best thing you can do. 

We would still prefer painting over adhesive backing for some reason. Firstly, the outlook of your aquarium becomes completely different when you paint the glass. 

Using a background will never give you a better look than painting the glass. That’s why for a better outlook, it’s suggested to paint your aquarium glass with color. By the way, color choice is an important factor here. 

Apart from the outlook, there is another reason why we don’t recommend using the adhesive backing. That is the tendency of backings to peel off over time. There is no guarantee that your adhesive backing will be permanent. 

The durability will vary depending on the adhesive quality. Even a good adhesive will also be affected as it will be submerged in water. Besides, the adhesive will bubble. 

So considering everything, we always prefer painting that is more permanent than the backing. Still, it’s your choice. But we prefer paintings over adhesive bubbles whenever they are put in comparison. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

Is Acrylic Paint Safe for Aquarium?

As a paint acrylics are amazing. But it’s not the best pick for all-purpose use. When you’re submerging it with water, you need to know about its durability. Because with time, the acrylic paint will start flaking off the glass. As a result, it will become poisonous for the fishes even though they are not directly toxic. The worn-off tiny pieces of paintings might confuse the fishes, and they might swallow it. This can be extremely poisonous for fish. 

What Paint Is Permanent On Glass?

The main problem of painting on glass is that it comes off easily due to the smoothness of glass. Moreover, aquarium glasses are even tougher to paint. Nonetheless, acrylic paint for an aquarium background would work best on smooth surfaces, especially glass. They last long, work great on glass surfaces, and provide a very bright and vibrant color. 

Is Latex Paint Aquarium Safe?

Well, you better avoid water-based paints for aquariums because they will eventually wear off. The continuous contact with water will degrade their durability. Using oil-based paints is a pretty good option. Latex-based products will break down water-based ones. So try to choose safe paint for your aquarium. 

What Color Should I Paint The Back Of My Aquarium?

Black and blue are the most common choices as the back color of the aquarium. It’s because these types of colors provide a more home-like look. The overall outlook becomes much pleasant if you can choose the back color wisely. Some darker shades of blues are also very common in this regard. 


Before we pack up, let us remind you of some most important facts for picking the best paint for aquarium glass

Firstly, don’t forget to check the products thoroughly before purchasing. That’s because it’s inevitable that finding a suitable product is the hardest part. 

If you don’t want to waste your bucks, better to choose carefully. We suggest keeping the budget in mind and checking for the availability of your desired product around yourself. Also, don’t forget to keep the safety issue in mind. 

Hope you find the best one for you and have a great time painting your aquarium. Our best wishes to you. 

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