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Old 01/07/2008, 04:50 PM   #1
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Does background color affect fish color?

I was wondering if the color of your background affects the color of your fish?
In FW tanks for example, fish feel safer with dark gravel, backgrounds, etc... but some fish like Discus will actually develop tiny black spots all over their bodies if you house them with black BGs and will get brighter with lighter BGs. I've noticed that bright neon colored fish look best with black or dark blue backgrounds. I personally would like to paint my new SW tank dark blue but I don't want them to loose their color either. Plus I think it will look neat with the shimmering effect from MHs reflecting off the background. Any advice on colors? I would like to see some pics of your tanks' BG to help me pick out the best color for my tank.

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Old 01/08/2008, 12:18 PM   #2
Brandon Cassidy
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I have found that a see thru produces the best color because of all the color the fish see surrounding them in your living room or where ever. I have used black, blue, green, dark purple. Clear is the best so far.

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Old 01/08/2008, 12:44 PM   #3
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Paint the back of your tank black or a dark blue... Looks more natural

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Old 01/08/2008, 12:52 PM   #4
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It' just a matter of personal opinion! I myself like blue better.


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Old 01/08/2008, 02:29 PM   #5
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I agree - it is a matter of personal opinion. But I like black better!

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Old 01/08/2008, 02:34 PM   #6
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same here-but i will stick with the natural clear background.

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Old 01/08/2008, 03:08 PM   #7
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So it doesn't really affect their color then?
One thing I did noticed in my tank is that I have a reef picture as a background and my Royal Gramma likes to sleep near the red/pink colored corals, but it's not affecting their colors though.

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Old 01/08/2008, 03:11 PM   #8
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Your lights have an even more profound influence.
Color may affect the fish: my wall behind my tank is bluegreen, sort of deep-reef-ish. At least none of them object. But what colors saturate your vision may also subtly affect the color you perceive a thing to be. That's why people talk about some adjacent color 'bringing out' a certain color in a painting, say.


Salinity 1.024-6; alkalinity 8.3-9.3 on KH scale; calcium 420; magnesium 1300, temp 78-80, nitrate .2. Ammonia 0. No filters: lps tank. Alk and cal won't rise if mg is low.

Current Tank Info: 105g AquaVim wedge, chromis, royal gramma basslet, tailspot blenny, ocellaris clown, yellow watchman, chestnut turbo snails, bristleworms, couple of hermits.
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Old 01/08/2008, 03:12 PM   #9
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My first tank was a black background... Eh it was ok..

I now have a solid blue.... Boom! I like that much better....

I would think that the darker solid colors will bring out the colors better, JMO.

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Old 01/08/2008, 06:33 PM   #10
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I'm thinking that most people are misunderstanding my point here. I know that fish's colors look different in different colored lights and backgrounds and such but my original question was, do background colors affect the fish's color? Not through our eyes, but their actual colors. I noticed this happens in FW Discus. When you keep Discus in a tank with a dark background they develop tiny black dots all over their bodies, and they brighten up with lighter colors.

Btw, I used to like black at first also but now I think aquariums and fish look alot better with a dark blue background.

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Old 01/08/2008, 09:22 PM   #11
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I think different colours may affect your perception of the fishes' colours, but with marine fish choosing a black or blue background shouldn't make a difference to their actual colours.

I use black on all my tanks because the stands, tank frames, light fixtures and powerheads are all black - with a black bg everything but the corals and fish 'disappears' and I can concentrate on what's important. I tried a bright blue background and it looked a lot like a LFS tank and the equipment stood out like a sore thumb. Very dark blue is nice, and works really well for some tanks. I think it's even nicer if it's graduated from dark to very dark blue. A pale seafoam colour with MH shimmer can really recreate the look of very shallow water if the tank is aquascaped to match (lots of sand, wide, shallow tank, 'mounds' of corals). If blue is done right, it's gorgeous, but I do recommend you avoid bright blues like the plague.

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Current Tank Info: 150g mixed reef, 30g sump/refugium, LED lighting, 100lbs LR, coral beauty, flame angel, blue & yellow tangs, gobies, damsels, 6-line wrasse, lawnmower blenny, dottyback, clown pair, rabbitfish, shrimp, crabs, CUC.
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