A three-dimensional (3D) aquarium background is a decorative addition to an aquarium designed to add depth and interest to the aquarium. Such backgrounds come in a variety of sizes to fit most standard aquariums. They also come in many different designs so that the 3D aquarium background can be matched to the owner’s taste and the contents of the fish tank.
Often, a simple 3D aquarium background is made of molded plastic or Styrofoam. Instead of a flat sheet that fits on the back of the aquarium, this type of background may be several inches deep. Some parts are recessed. Other areas are at the front of the design and will touch the glass when it is installed.
The side that faces the inside of the aquarium does not have any parts that protrude beyond a certain point. This allows the 3D aquarium background to be taped or glued to the back of an aquarium where it will fit smoothly against the glass. The recessed parts of this type of a background sit back and do not touch the glass, to provide a realistic 3D effect.
Another type of 3D aquarium background is a flat sheet that is printed with a design that appears to be three-dimensional. These backgrounds may be sized for specific aquariums, but more often they come on rolls of different heights and are cut to the correct length at the time of purchase. Such backgrounds tend to be the least expensive type of background, and the easiest to fit to virtually any size aquarium. They are not truly 3D, but when put in place they give the appearance of three dimensions.
Less common is the 3D aquarium background that actually goes inside the tank. This is a type of lightweight sculpture designed to provide an appropriate setting for the fish living there. Such backgrounds are most often used by saltwater aquarium enthusiasts. They depict corals and other marine life that can be hard to keep alive in a home setting. These backgrounds allow aquarium owners to add a high level of interest to a tank without having to add more creatures to care for.
In most cases the 3D aquarium background is added not only to provide interest to the tank, but also to add depth. The use of these backgrounds can make a tank look significantly larger, since it gives the illusion that it extends beyond its actual limits. A 3D aquarium background can also be a good way to hide a bare wall or a clutter of wires behind a tank.