There has been talk around the internet; amazon reviews, YouTube comments, and emails I get every day, about these “clips” that we provide with certain backgrounds and how to use them or why we provide them to you at all. If you are reading this then you are probably just as confused as about 75% of the people I talk to, I hope to clear the air a little bit.

clipsWhat are clips?

Well they are a small black plastic ring that has a slit cut in them and when pulled apart want to try and close again, think of them as a tiny plastic bulldog clip. They are designed to slide over the top of your tank and help hold the top of the background in place against the back glass, along with the gravel on the bottom to hold the base of the background in place. This is more important on our foam backgrounds, as the foam tries to float.

Why clips?

Why not magnets or something similar? For about a year universal rocks, supplied magnets with every background and that worked pretty well. Why did we stop I hear you ask? It’s all about the Benjamin’s baby… they became very expensive very quickly. As of the end of 2010 they were putting the cost of some products up as much as $40 each. In an effort to conserve costs we switched to “clips” and as a result can pass the savings onto you. There was a whole bunch of other issues like how to seal them completely so they don’t rust and such as well.

clips on aquarium tank

There is an exception to the rule and that is our Exo-terra backgrounds and Zoo-med backgrounds that ship with Velcro. The Velcro works fantastically, the only down side is it can’t be submerged because the glue will dissolve and separate from the glass or the background. Because these tanks stay dry for the most part we are able to use Velcro in place of clips.

Hopefully I have cleared that up a little bit, I know it can be hard to wrap your head around something you have never seen before, I know it is for me, but once you get your hands on them it should be one of those “Ohh now I get it…” type moments, which brings me to my next point…

Does the background you’re interested in come with clips? Clips are not suitable for every background we make, as they can’t stretch out indefinitely, some backgrounds are too thick and others are simply too large and heavy the clips wouldn’t hold it up. So as a convenience we have marked each background on the site, as to whether clips are supplied or not, with “Ships With Clips!” and “Clips Not included” so you know what to expect.  

If the background you desire does not have clips included, you may silicon it in place. Make sure you use aquarium safe silicon and to always read the directions on the back. I’ll get into the nitty-gritty at a later date but for now let’s stay focused.

clipHow do you use Clips?

As I mentioned above, once you get your hands on them it should click. Grip the clip on either side of the slit. Now pull it away from itself. Take the now opened clip and place it open side down over the top of the tank and background and release. It should now be holding one side of the background in place. Do this until the background is secure or you have used up all of your clips. As a rule we supply 1 clip for about every 12” horizontally. E.g. a 24”x12” would get 2 clips and a 72”x24” would get 6 clips.

I hope this has quenched your thirst for knowledge on this particular subject. However should you still be thirsty and have any questions/comments/ideas feel free to leave them in the comment section below or you can always email me at and I’ll be happy to answer anything you like.