Cichlid Fish Forum banner

Painting tank backs, oil or latex?

195 Views 7 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  dstuer
Why not latex?

I just finished painting the back of another tank, and per usual, as generally recommended, I used an oil-based paint. And like I do every time after I am done using an oil-based paint, I ask myself, Why? Oil-based paint is smelly, sticky, messy, awkward, inconvenient slow to dry stuff compared to latex.

I used oil-based paint because all the searches I did on tank painting said, "Use an oil-based paint". Why? Doesn't latex stick to glass? (it does when I am painting window frames and I see it still there the next time I paint the frames).

Is the oil-based recommendation based on past recommendations that may no longer apply or is there a good reason to avoid using latex when painting the (outside) back of a tank?
1 - 8 of 8 Posts
I have always seen recommendations for fish tanks to use latex and I have done so to avoid the toxic fumes of oil.

Latex does not stick to glass very well, but good enough for a fish tank background that will never see wear. Definitely use a roller.

If you decide you don't like it, it DOES peel off in sheets, LOL.
Except for the sorta 'Mehhh...' experiment I attempted with an air-brushed/layering effect for a spray painted background on an aquarium, I have ALWAYS used latex paint (dark blue or usually, black) to paint out the back glass of a tank.
And yes, as spoken to by @DJRansome , the Paint Roller is King. And with latex, be prepared to roll on a few coats, before you'll be happy. with it. :cool:
Every tank I own, for the last 5 or so years, I have painted black. Of those, only ONE did I do using a roller - and that was the 8ft long tank which weighs a freaking TON; it's the only tank I had to enlist the help of some friends to bring off the truck into my house and so once it was in place, IT WAS NOT MOVING. Seriously. If I ever sell this house, the tank comes with it :p So THAT one, I made sure was away from the wall so I could reach behind it with a roller without moving it.

Everything else, I have used spray paint on. Bring it outside, tape off the edges, and 2-3 coats of this one. And the one tank I did roll on, I used the canned version of the same.

See less See more
Oh sure, now I google and I get all kinds of hits saying latex is just fine. Last year when I first decided to paint, I got several articles recommending oil, and I thought one of them was an archived article here, but of course now I can't find it. Ok, next tank, latex.

One nice thing about the oil-based paint, one coat did the trick. I used a roller on the first tank. It was a bit of a mess. The second two, I used a cheap, throwaway brush and just dipped out of the can. It went really quick and I threw the brush away when done. One coat, five minutes of painting, no clean up (tossed the brush, sealed the can).

(I'm feeling a little more kindly towards the oil paint now that it is finally dry to the touch and the smell is gone ((windows open, fans cranked))).
And yeah.....
Oh sure, now I google and I get all kinds of hits saying latex is just fine.
It is.
Oh, and @Sinister-Kisses ?
Our resident, Red Devil/Midas Cichlid, Cichlid Forum Queen?
That one does, what she does.
She is, what she is. :cool:
  • Haha
Reactions: 1
I have used both. I use a brush usually. I prefer blue backs too.
Sprayed the back on this one

Brushed this 55g with blue and white latex

Brushed the back of the 220g with dark and medium blue and white latex.
See less See more
Instead of painting the glass, I like to paint a piece of styrofoam panel flat black, and tape it to the back of the tank.
In that way the tank can be turned around, and the back later be used as the front, if the front happens to get scratched up.
And.... when I lived in Wi those styro-panel provides an extra layer of insulation in case of a power outage.
I used them on 3 sides of almost all tanks.

See less See more
  • Like
Reactions: 1
1 - 8 of 8 Posts