simple question

PADogman

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I think the opaque background, which they said came with the tank (sunlight blasted I think they said?) gives it a nice clean look.
And no reflection.

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PADogman

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I couldn't quite make out what he said. Some kind of etching.
 

Byron

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Black does seem the best, in a non-glossy/shiny finish. It expands the visual space, and it makes the back "invisible" as much as anything can. Black construction paper works fine, and is very inexpensive. But it is like so much, in the eye of the beholder.

Non-substrate is not healthy for fish. There is a bacterial issue with no substrate that has to be understood and then dealt with. And the fish reaction as @Colin_T explained is significant. The fact that people on YouTube do this does not mean they know what they are doing, because they clearly do not.
 

Sunnyspots

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I have a tank with very little substrate so there are blank holes where it has moved aside when I've added water. The baby fish in there seem to avoid swimming over the holes as if they dislike them - fitting Colin's and Byron's assessments.
 

jimwg

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Black does seem the best, in a non-glossy/shiny finish. It expands the visual space, and it makes the back "invisible" as much as anything can. Black construction paper works fine, and is very inexpensive. But it is like so much, in the eye of the beholder.

Non-substrate is not healthy for fish. There is a bacterial issue with no substrate that has to be understood and then dealt with. And the fish reaction as @Colin_T explained is significant. The fact that people on YouTube do this does not mean they know what they are doing, because they clearly do not.
If Colin were correct about fish getting "disoriented" from a bare bottom :/ painting the underside with non glossy paint would remedy that but they'd be no more confused with the glass bottom than they would be by the surrounding glass sides. The only issue I can see with a bare bottom is if your filter containing your bio media dies you only have your décor for surface area and thus not much back up until you can get the water flowing through your bio media again. Of course you can always dump your media into the tank until you can run for a new filter.

Sand is beneficial to some fish like Kribensis. Gravel can be dangerous for some fish like bichirs and gravel can collect dangerous rotting detritus. The idea that deep gravel substrate somehow encourages nitrate consuming anaerobic organisms is ludicrous as is the idea one should stir detritus into sand substrate for that reason. One of the benefits sand and bare share is the ability to spot and vacuum solid wastes up easily as they just sit on the surface.
 

Sunnyspots

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If Colin were correct about fish getting "disoriented" from a bare bottom :/ painting the underside with non glossy paint would remedy that but they'd be no more confused with the glass bottom than they would be by the surrounding glass sides. The only issue I can see with a bare bottom is if your filter containing your bio media dies you only have your décor for surface area and thus not much back up until you can get the water flowing through your bio media again. Of course you can always dump your media into the tank until you can run for a new filter.

Sand is beneficial to some fish like Kribensis. Gravel can be dangerous for some fish like bichirs and gravel can collect dangerous rotting detritus. The idea that deep gravel substrate somehow encourages nitrate consuming anaerobic organisms is ludicrous as is the idea one should stir detritus into sand substrate for that reason. One of the benefits sand and bare share is the ability to spot and vacuum solid wastes up easily as they just sit on the surface.
I wouldn't opt for a bare bottomed tank just because I both grow plants and also prefer the aesthetic. However, I think I would find it more disorientating floating over a mirror bottomed pool than in a mirror walled pool. It certainly carries face validity that fish should do so as seeing fronts and sides of fishes is more normal than looking down at their underneaths. None of us can know for sure of course.
 

WhistlingBadger

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Another vote for black, here.

Some tanks look really good with no backdrop at all. I personally use them on all my tanks because I hate trying to keep the back wall clean in a heavily planted/scaped tank, and a black backdrop (along with lots of tall plants) covers a multitude of sins. :)
 

jimwg

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I wouldn't opt for a bare bottomed tank just because I both grow plants and also prefer the aesthetic. However, I think I would find it more disorientating floating over a mirror bottomed pool than in a mirror walled pool. It certainly carries face validity that fish should do so as seeing fronts and sides of fishes is more normal than looking down at their underneaths. None of us can know for sure of course.
Well, I'm not sure what a "disoriented" fish looks like but I don't believe I've ever seen one.
 

Slaphppy7

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Simple answer for a simple question...get 2 pieces of posterboard, black and blue, (they're very inexpensive), hold them up to the back of the tank, and use the one that YOU like.

Back when I first started out in the hobby, I was too skittish to try painting the back glass on my tanks...wish I would have painted them all now, painted looks much better than posterboard.

For what it's worth, I prefer black.
 

Colin_T

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In quarantine rooms the tanks must be bare and contain nothing that can't be bleached. So no sand or gravel on the bottom. Plastic plants and plastic filter boxes if that's what is being used.

If you paint the outside base of the tank, the glass acts like a mirror and fish have trouble working out which way is up and down.

I have seen all sorts of catfish swimming upside down on the base of the tank. Tetras, barbs and rasboras swim on their sides or upside down too. Cichlids get totally messed up and stress out because they can't swim through the glass but can see through it. Rainbowfish will swim on their sides as well when kept in bare bottom glass tanks.

Schooling fishes like tetras, barbs, rasboras and rainbowfish will deliberately hang out by the bottom because they see their reflection and think it is more of their kind. So they try to group up with them.

Territorial species of cichlid will regularly try to kill their reflection on the bottom of the tank and so do big gouramis and Bettas.

If the fish are put into tanks with a thin layer of sand or gravel on the base, they can't see their reflection and don't suffer from any of these issues.
 

Byron

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If Colin were correct about fish getting "disoriented" from a bare bottom :/ painting the underside with non glossy paint would remedy that but they'd be no more confused with the glass bottom than they would be by the surrounding glass sides.

Colin countered this correctly, I don't need to repeat it.

The only issue I can see with a bare bottom is if your filter containing your bio media dies you only have your décor for surface area and thus not much back up until you can get the water flowing through your bio media again.

With respect, you do not seem to understand biological systems in an aquarium. The greatest population of bacteria in a healthy balanced aquarium occurs in the substrate, not the filter. The floc or humic compost that collects in the substrate is the host for the biofilms; this is why the substrate in planted tanks should never be disturbed, and many aquarists apply this to non-planted tanks as well. You should be able to dispense with the filter and cause no harm to the fish or the system (aside from the water flow which is a separate issue).
 

seannx

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Paper can get easily get wet. I use a very thin sheet of HDPE black plastic from Tap Plastics, cut to fit the back of my 5 gallon nano tank that's stocked with cherry shrimp, a pair of otos, and two nerrite snails. It's a thin tank, and the otos were freaking out whenever the light was turned on. Plus it was too easy to see everything behind the tank.
I use small self stick velcro squares to attach the plastic to the tanks, so it's easy to take off. It looks so much better, and the otos are now fine.

My other tank is the Fluval 32.5 spec, and most of the back is already black plastic that hides the foam filter media and pump. The rest of it has a black grid overly on the glass that serves the same purpose.

https://www.tapplastics.com/product/plastics/plastic_sheets_rolls/hdpe_m_m_opaque/258
 

Bruce Leyland-Jones

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Perhaps you want to look at the moulded backgrounds, like the one in my tank. They come in a wide range of colours and styles and, besides adding a nice background, they provide another good surface for bacteria and algae.
 

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