Review: Seashell 3D background from Maidenhead Aquatics

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Maidenhead sells a lot of tanks, including its own customised lines, so it stood to reason that it should introduce a range of solid backgrounds to compliment them, says Nathan Hill.

Available in a range of sizes, my own test sample of this background is for a Fluval Roma 240 and it looks fabulous, frankly. 

If you’re looking at the picture, you might be thinking 'what’s that line down the middle?' That there is the inspired part of the design — it is cleaved perfectly in two.

Why? Ever tried getting a single 120cm/48in long background into a tank with a central bracer bar? I have, and it tortured me to madness. With this background, you put it in in two parts, and depending how you want to play it, either wedge or seal it into place. For my twopenneth worth, I’d silicone it and then cover the join with moss or plants, or just some clever hardscape placement. 

The edges are sharper than the sound of a cat wailing, so handle with gloves for peace of mind.

The ends are padded with foam, as is the middle, so expect the occasional fish to get behind there. When that happens, it is ‘annoying’ though some fish (think certain loaches) seem to prefer a life in the narrow bracket over life in the open water. There’s a vent in one corner, allowing a passage of water — one problem of fixed backgrounds is that without this they can eventually turn stagnant. 

Even better, you can use the background to hide pieces of hardware. Position it with enough space behind and you can shimmy a heater down behind there. Get the inlet for a filter to pull water out (helping keep it aerobic) and jet the water back out in front of the background and you have a constant turnover through it.

As for looks, it’s great. I’ve reviewed a similar line going back to 2011, which appeared a bit more garish, and perhaps it’s just a change in lighting I’m using, but this background has a pleasing subtlety about it. 

I still think that one of these on the base of a tank, with water rushing over it from a couple of (massive) flow pumps would make an extraordinary Loricariid display, but I think that’s a project I’ll have to do myself sometime.  

There are a fair few sizes to choose from, especially in the Fluval range of tanks, as well as the Maidenhead Aqua Oak tank sizes. They even do a couple of sizes for the smaller Superfish tanks. 

Verdict

A realistic rock background that actually looks realistic. That’s a definite bonus. It’s not exactly a steal at the price, but I think it’s more than fair, given that it’s intended as a long term (well, permanent) piece of aquarium furniture. 

Ease of use:

4/5

Features:

4/5

Value for money:

4/5

Overall score:

4/5

Price:

£109.99.

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