Is Acrylic Paint Safe for Aquariums?

Randy Charles
Randy Charles
Professional Painter

Hi, I’m Randy Charles, the creator and chief editor of this site Paintcentric. I’m a businessman now by profession, but I used to work as...Read more

With its unrivaled beauty and extensive marine life, the aquarium remains one of the most significant sources of entertainment for most people. It is why you see it in homes, offices, and even everywhere. While painting an aquarium might be an option for some, is acrylic paint safe for aquariums?

Yes, it is safe for the aquarium if only you are painting the outside of the aquarium. On the other way round, it is never safe for you to paint the interior part of the aquarium with acrylic paint. It is not healthy for your fish because of the chemicals in the paint.

Although it might appear non-toxic, when some of the acrylic paint breaks off, the fishes can see the tiny pieces as flakey fish, which is harmful to them. The fishes will feed on anything they see in the aquarium, and you should keep the interior safe for the good health of the fishes.

Is Paint Toxic to Fish?

If you do not have any experience with aquariums or the lifestyle of fishes, you might end up making the mistake of choking the life out of the fishes in the aquarium. What do I mean by this? It means one can easily do things that will cut short the life of the fishes the aquarium.

Is Paint Toxic to Fish

Not all paint is toxic for fish, unlike some resources that claim all paints are toxic for fish. If all paints are toxic, you won’t find some painted aquariums in the market today. Any paints that will peel off in the tank or aquarium are never safe for your fish.

If you want to paint your aquarium, you can choose any type of paint for the exterior while carefully selecting the interior. Some paints have inscriptions to show you can use them on the aquarium. Check out for labels such as food safe.

Importantly, you should always give time for the paint to cure after painting. Once the paint finally cures, it will become inert as the solvents are expected to evaporate and ensure the aquarium is safe for the fish.

Is Acrylic Paint Safe for Aquariums?

There is no doubt that acrylic paints are water-based and non-toxic, but that doesn’t mean the paint is safe in the aquarium. It is safe for humans to some extent and the same for fish that you will put in the aquarium.

Some pigments in the acrylic paint are not safe for fish because some part of it might peel off, and then the fish will feast on it as food. Acrylic paint is water-soluble, and even small amounts of water will dilute the substrate and poison aquarium inhabitants.

Is Acrylic Paint Safe for Aquariums

They are based on volatile organic compounds and thus can cause “intoxication” of fish, algae, and other organisms through the water film covering the paint. On all grounds, they are not safe for your fish and should not be considered for painting it.

Although some claim it is safe for fish, I can tell you that losing your fish is the hard way to learn that acrylic paint is not safe for aquariums.

How to Paint an Aquarium?

To paint an aquarium is not as easy as it looks. Aquarium painting can be a tedious task. You have to think about the time you spend painting, the tools and the colors to use. You also should consider if you will paint the inside or outside of the tank.

How to Paint an Aquarium

Also, there are many things to consider before starting this project. The best way to make your painting last longer is by using the right paint that will stay on the aquarium and be safe for the fish.

If you want to paint the aquarium, you need to get the essential tools for the task.

Important tools you need:

  • Aquarium tank
  • Spray paint

Not all paints can work effectively on an aquarium, and that is why you need to carefully choose one that is perfect for the aquarium. For painting aquariums, the Krylon fusion is a perfect choice for aquarium. It is best for painting plastic, resin and PVC as it gives a smooth finish.

However, for painting glass, you need spray paint that will stay permanently on the glass, and the best to consider is the Performix 11203 Plasti Dip Black Multi-Purpose Rubber Coating Aerosol. All it takes is to spray the paint on the glass and some other parts of the aquarium and then leave it to cure.

To paint the aquarium, you should ensure that it is free of water and clear of dust to make the painting stay on the aquarium. You should spray the outside, and with the inside, which is the home for the fish, you should spray with water-resistant paint and one that is safe for the fish.

Related ReadingHow To Paint Ombre Walls?


With lots of opinions and debate on the use of acrylic paint for aquariums, one is likely to get confused on the right decision to make. However, on this page on Is acrylic paint safe for aquariums? We have the perfect solution to all your questions.

Painting an aquarium with acrylic requires lots of techniques. You should consider it for the exterior part of the aquarium and not the interior for the safety of your fish.

Randy Charles
Randy CharlesProfessional Painter

Hi, I’m Randy Charles, the creator and chief editor of this site Paintcentric. I’m a businessman now by profession, but I used to work as a painter earlier in my professional career. There is simply nothing about painting that I didn’t do as a painter. From painting a fridge to a multi-storied building, I left nothing. I retired from my painting job in the mid of 2018 due to back arthritis problems.

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