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Custom Background Kits For 20G 'High' Aquariums

Realistic DIY custom backgrounds for terrariums & vivariums

Option 1:
Supplies Only
 
Vivarium Background Kit Contents For 20G High Aquarium
 
No Wood Decor
(For those planning to select decor separately)
No Wood Decor
A hard-supplies only kit. Suggested for enthusiasts planning to select their own decor to create a realistic looking custom background.
 
20H Custom Background Kit
Without Wood Decor

$46.93-$53.57
 
Select & Customize Kit
$46.93-$53.57
Sale Price: $44.46-$51.10
 
Select & Customize Kit
$46.93-$53.57
 
Sold Out!
 
Option 2:
Supplies + Cork
 
Vivarium Background Kit Contents For 20G High Aquarium + Cork Assortment Included
 
Cork Info Page Background
 

Cork Example Gallery

 
Vivarium With Custom Background Custom Vivarium For Harvard Museum of Natural History Custom Vivarium For Harvard Museum of Natural History Cork Texture Detail
 
★ Drag or use arrow keys to navigate ★ ★ Swipe or tap to navigate gallery ★
 
Check out this gallery to see what can be built using a Cork based Custom Background Kit. Multiple sizes are included for reference & inspiration.
Vivarium With Custom Background
18x18x18 Custom BG w/Cork
Custom Bioactive Terrarium For Frogs
18x18x24 Custom BG w/Cork
Custom Furniture Mounted Vivarium
55G Custom BG w/Cork
Custom Vivarium For Harvard Museum of Natural History
36x18x36 Custom BG w/Cork
Custom Vivarium For Harvard Museum of Natural History
36x18x36 Custom BG w/Cork
Cork Texture Detail
Grown-In Cork Texture Detail
Cork Info Page Background
Cork Background Info:
 
   Build Difficulty:
Rating Rating Rating Rating Rating
 
Design Flexibility:
Rating Rating Rating Rating Rating
 
     Kit Longevity:
Rating Rating Rating Rating Rating
 
 
20H Custom Background Kit
With Cork Decor

$81.08-$87.72
 
Select & Customize Kit
$81.08-$87.72
Sale Price: $78.61-$85.25
 
Select & Customize Kit
$81.08-$87.72
 
Sold Out!
 
Option 3:
Supplies + Ghostwood
 
Vivarium Background Kit Contents For 20G High Aquarium + Ghostwood Assortment Included
 
Ghostwood Info Page Background
 

Ghostwood Example Gallery

 
Moss Vivarium Acclimated Custom Vivarium Background With Roots Beautiful Custom Vivarium Ghostwood Texture Detail
 
★ Drag or use arrow keys to navigate ★ ★ Swipe or tap to navigate gallery ★
 
Check out this gallery to see what can be built using a Ghostwood based Custom BG Kit. Multiple sizes are included for reference & inspiration.
Moss Vivarium Acclimated
18x18x18 Custom BG w/Ghostwood
Moss Vivarium Acclimated
18x18x18 Custom BG Grown-In
Custom Vivarium For Harvard Museum of Natural History
12x12x18 Custom BG Freshly Planted
Custom Vivarium Background With Roots
18x18x18 Custom BG w/Ghostwood
Beautiful Custom Vivarium
36x18x36 Custom BG w/Ghostwood
Plus Extra Cork Decor
Ghostwood Texture Detail
Grown-In Ghostwood Texture Detail
Ghostwood Texture Detail
Ghostwood Background Info:
 
   Build Difficulty:
Rating Rating Rating Rating Rating
 
Design Flexibility:
Rating Rating Rating Rating Rating
 
     Kit Longevity:
Rating Rating Rating Rating Rating
 
 
20H Custom Background Kit
With Ghostwood Decor

$98.68-$105.32
 
Select & Customize Kit
$98.68-$105.32
Sale Price: $96.21-$102.85
 
Select & Customize Kit
$98.68-$105.32
 
Sold Out!
 
 
Vivarium Background Kit Contents For 20G High Aquarium
20H Background Kit Contents:
256oz Custom Background Texture Mix
6pr. Protective Latex Gloves
2qty Silicone Spreader Tools (1.5in & 3in)
1qty Dow Great Stuff Poly. Foam
3qty Aquarium Hi-Tensile Silicone
1qty Silicone Gun Applicator (Optional)
 
Select Kit Style:
Specify Inhabitant Species:
$46.93-$53.57
Sale Price: $44.46-$51.10
Select Kit Style:
Specify Inhabitant Species:
▴ Back ▴
Stock Notification!
Our records show that one or more of the ingredients in this kit have little or no stock left at the moment, but we're expecting a shipment imminently. If ordered today, we'd expect it to ship within 5 business days.
 
Vivarium Background Kit Contents For 20G High Aquarium + Cork Assortment Included
 
 
Representation only. Your larger 4.5lb assortment will vary greatly.
20H Background Kit Contents:
256oz Custom Background Texture Mix
6pr. Protective Latex Gloves
2qty Silicone Spreader Tools (1.5in & 3in)
1qty Dow Great Stuff Poly. Foam
3qty Aquarium Hi-Tensile Silicone
1qty Silicone Gun Applicator (Optional)
4.5lb Specially Selected Natural Cork Bark
 
Select Kit Style:
Specify Inhabitant Species:
$81.08-$87.72
Sale Price: $78.61-$85.25
Select Kit Style:
Specify Inhabitant Species:
▴ Back ▴
Stock Notification!
Our records show that one or more of the ingredients in this kit have little or no stock left at the moment, but we're expecting a shipment imminently. If ordered today, we'd expect it to ship within 5 business days.
 
Vivarium Background Kit Contents For 20G High Aquarium + Ghostwood Assortment Included
 
 
Representation only. Your Ghostwood assortment will vary greatly.
20H Background Kit Contents:
256oz Custom Background Texture Mix
6pr. Protective Latex Gloves
2qty Silicone Spreader Tools (1.5in & 3in)
1qty Dow Great Stuff Poly. Foam
3qty Aquarium Hi-Tensile Silicone
1qty Silicone Gun Applicator (Optional)
5qty Small Ghostwood Accent Decor Pieces
1qty Specially Selected 10-16in Ghostwood
1qty Specially Selected 16-22in Ghostwood
 
Select Kit Style:
Specify Inhabitant Species:
$98.68-$105.32
Sale Price: $96.21-$102.85
Select Kit Style:
Specify Inhabitant Species:
▴ Back ▴
Stock Notification!
Our records show that one or more of the ingredients in this kit have little or no stock left at the moment, but we're expecting a shipment imminently. If ordered today, we'd expect it to ship within 5 business days.
 
About Our Custom Background Kits:
Transform your 20G High Aquarium from a glass case into a truly convincing slice of nature. Our custom background kits & supplies are trusted by museums, zoos, nature centers, and by countless private collections across the United States. We're confident that you'll be satisfied with the quality of each ingredient, and the final possible outcomes which can be created for your display. With our kit's specifically selected contents, you'll have everything necessary in order to bring a custom 3D background hardscape from concept to reality. Backgrounds made from our kits are stunningly realistic, long-lasting, and straightforward to put together. Considering the flexibility & variability in each desired build, these are suitable for clients ranging from novice builders designing their own vivarium, up to pro vivarium designers building for their own clients. Our Custom Background Texture Mix creates a convincing & 3D surface texture which helps to encourage natural plant & moss growth on it's surface. High tensile strength aquarium-safe silicone holds much of the kit together, forming an extremely strong waterproof bond. Your choice of specially selected Cork or Ghostwood decor can be added to create the ideal home for your specific animal species. In short, you can rest assured that the custom background will look great, last long-term, and satisfy the environmental requirements of your specified species.
 
 
Our Lowest Prices On Custom Vivarium Backgrounds
Each Custom Background Kit is discounted about 5% off our usual low prices to provide you with the best deal we offer on just about every component. The Cork option is priced by weight (not by piece), and discounted 5% off our wholesale/bulk cork pricing. Ghostwood branches are 5% off too, and the smaller pieces are priced below the already discounted Ghostwood Accent packs. This is our best deal on background related supplies.
 
 
Customized For Your 20H Enclosure & Inhabitant
This background kit's hard supplies are custom-tailored to your 20H enclosure, and we'll be glad to keep your inhabitant species in mind while mind while we select your wood decor. Don't forget to write-in what species you are caring for in the box below! All of us at NEHERP are vivarium nerds, herp enthusiasts, and each one of us is happy to envision your enclosure as we pull unique decor for your custom background kit.
 
Background Kit Advice
Building an awesome background can be a straightforward process when three pieces of advice are followed.
1) Read & follow our step by step DIY Background Article
2) Take your time shaping the background on every step
3) Don't hesitate to contact us for background kit support!
 
Hide BG Kit Instructions
 
 
Comparing Cork & Ghostwood
The decision of wood type isn't really a question of "which type is better", so much as it is "which is right for me". Both can be used as starting points to create backgrounds ranging from beginner backgrounds to museum quality displays, and both have a bunch of benefits in common compared to other types of wood sometimes used in the hobby. Either type will last long term without breaking down, can be used with many different species, and will support epiphytic plant growth with ease. Both are lighter than Malaysian Driftwood & Mopani, and both will drastically outperform lower-end options like Grape Vine in the long run. Below, we'll describe some differences which we hope will help you decide on what's best for your setup.
 
Cork Assortment Included Example Only
Assortments Vary
Cork Assortment Included Example Only
Assortments Vary
Cork
   Build Difficulty: Rating Rating Rating Rating Rating
Design Flexibility: Rating Rating Rating Rating Rating
     Kit Longevity: Rating Rating Rating Rating Rating
Cork based backgrounds are easy enough for a first time builder to create, and versatile enough to fit the needs of even museum quality display work. Because cork is fairly soft, larger pieces can be broken & shaped by hand, and it's easily customized even further using basic hand tools if extra precision is necessary. Cork is available in rounds and flats, which helps create a 3D look appropriate for different species with little effort. Planting a cork background is a cinch if rounds or half-rounds are utilized for planting spots, and it's soft enough to poke holes for mounting epiphytic plants. It's also far lighter (per cubic inch) than just about any vivarium appropriate wood on the market, which makes it extremely easy to mount to the enclosure. For larger species, cork can be tightly tiled onto a background in a mosaic pattern for significantly increased durability; even for some species with claws. Cork based backgrounds are our best selling choice, due to the ease of creation, design flexibility, and awesome finished product.
 
Ghostwood Assortment Included Example Only
Assortments Vary
Ghostwood
   Build Difficulty: Rating Rating Rating Rating Rating
Design Flexibility: Rating Rating Rating Rating Rating
     Kit Longevity: Rating Rating Rating Rating Rating
Ghostwood can create dramatic hardscape structures which are hard to replicate with other wood types. For example, it's great for creating the look of exposed root structures, tree buttresses, elevated vines, and similar designs. Ghostwood is heavier than cork and more difficult to cut & shape, but it can still be done with patience & hand tools. The branch(es) included in the kit will make creating an aggressive looking 3D background easy, with the trade-off of increased labor for foam work to fill space around the branches & accents. Adding some Cork Gallon Bags (for smaller enclosures) or a small assortment of Bulk Cork (for larger ones) to a Ghostwood based background kit will make the build far easier, at a slightly elevated expense. Lightweight Volcanic Rock is another great way to fill background spaces, if you are comfortable working with a slightly more challenging product. We'd consider Ghostwood a slightly more advanced choice for building backgrounds.
 
Considering a different type of wood?
A note about other wood decor...
We only include Cork & Ghostwood assortments in our kits since they are the easiest, least expensive, and often best looking options which perform to our standards. Still, they aren't the only options! If you are comfortable piecing together your own wood selection for use with a "supplies only" background kit, we wanted to mention a couple important points.
 
Grape wood (also called Grapevine) isn't recommended for custom vivarium backgrounds since it's prone to rotting in humid environments. It might not be bad for enclosures averaging below 50% R/H, but that's a pretty uncommon statistic for a live vivarium.
 
Malaysian Driftwood is extremely dense, difficult to cut, and heavy. This creates many mounting & design challenges for using it on a custom background, and we wouldn't recommend it unless you are comfortable working with your hands, and have previous custom background experience.
 
Mopani Wood is the heaviest & most difficult type of wood to use on a custom background in our opinion. It's too dense to easily cut using hand tools, and using power tools like compound miter saws isn't recommended, since it has the tendency to crack and "explode" mid-cut. (Yes, we speak from experience!) Since Mopani is super heavy & rarely has a flat surface for easy mounting, it's an exceptionally difficult choice for backgrounds, and we don't typically recommend it.
 
Hide Wood Comparison
 
 
Frequently Asked Questions:
Question:
Do you have more photo examples?
Answer:
Yep! Visit our Vivarium Gallery W/Custom Backgrounds for some "vivspiration". Not all of the vivariums in that gallery are based on our Custom Background Kits, but most are. When you get to the gallery, select "About The Vivarium ID Numbers" for help identifying what type of background kit was used in each photo.
 
 
 
Question:
Which animal species are these kits appropriate for?
Answer:
These are appropriate for the vast majority of vivarium inhabitant species which are popular today. In broad terms, Dart Frogs, Tree Frogs, Small Reptiles, and even some Arboreal Snakes are perfect candidates for Ghostwood or Cork based Custom Background Kits with minimal effort. Larger species with claws can damage softer foam areas over the course of a few years, so for clawed Geckos & Lizards over 8in we recommend avoiding the Ghostwood option and instead creating a tight cork mosaic. By limiting the amount of exposed foam & covering background mix, the custom background can look & perform great for years even with some larger inhabitants like leachianus Geckos, Giant Day Geckos, and similar species. For a visual example of custom backgrounds designed for larger species, check out the first couple images in our Custom Background Vivarium Image Gallery (Vivarium IDs: CB1 & CB2). For an easier to build, more durable, less detailed custom background, check out our Heavy Duty Custom Background Kits. If you are building for a larger reptile species (over 10in) & would like some advice on how to move forward, don't hesitate to reach out to us. We're happy to help!
 
 
 
Question:
Will the "No Wood" option be enough to create a custom background?
Answer:
Technically yes, but it's not what the kit was designed to do. We included the "no wood" option for those who will be purchasing specific wood decor separately. There are other types of wood out there, but Ghostwood & Cork are the easiest, most popular, and often times best looking options. Still, we've seen our supplies-only background kits used with Modular Cork Planters, Malaysian Driftwood, Tree Fern Panels, and even lightweight Volcanic Rock.. Without some type of natural decor mounted on the background, it won't look nearly as realistic.
 
 
 
Question:
Is this an appropriate project for a child of X age?
Answer:
This kit was designed to be used by adults. If you are a parent or teacher considering this kit, we'd recommend completing the background part of the enclosure yourself, or with their very closely supervised help. Allowing the young'uns to help with the rest of the vivarium project is usually no problem.
 
 
 
Question:
Will these background kits stand up to high humidity?
Answer:
Absolutely. We don't recommend them for aquatic/submerged use, but even the highest levels of humidity won't cause a problem for our background kits, if the instructions are followed. Frequent (multiple times daily) direct misting is also completely acceptable. Cork and Ghostwood break down much, much slower than most other types of wood and should last for years & years even in the most humid conditions.
 
 
 
Question:
Is the background removable or reusable
Answer:
No. You might be able to pull out some of the wood decor if you'd like to tear down your vivarium, but doing so may break the glass due to the silicone's high levels of adhesion holding things together. Our custom backgrounds should be considered permanent.
 
 
 
Question:
What should I expect when the background is finished & the vivarium is built?
Answer:
All the typical healthy vivarium acclimation signs described in Vivarium Construction 102 are to be expected. In short, after a few weeks the plants will begin to acclimate to the background, moss slurry (if applied) should start to take off, and you can expect to see some microfauna activity in the substrate layer.
 
Hide Background Kit FAQ
 
 
Enclosures shown were built using NEHERP Custom Background Kits, and are for reference/inspiration only. Plants, substrate, and & decor are sold separately. No two wood pieces will be alike, and specific wood requests can't be guaranteed.
 
 
 

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