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DIY Aquarium Lids & Lighting with Canopy

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DIY Aquarium Lids & Lighting with Canopy

Post  CalebNmomLuvFish on Mon Feb 03, 2014 3:01 pm

I began investigating lighting options when I acquired an 85gal corner tank with only half a top and no lights. What I discovered was that I was going to pay out the nose for a lid & light set up unless I got creative.... so, I'm passing on the info, at the suggestion of a friend. If anyone can also benefit from this information, it's in large part, thanks to bill. Glass lids are great and can be made without too much of a fuss or expense, so I've heard..I intend to find out.. but in the meanwhile.. I learned that plexiglass works very well. Home Depot sells a sheet approx 3'x5' for under $20. I was fortunate enough to get a sheet from a friend. Thickness is an issue if you don't want to find it floating with the fish rather than covering them! You can get by with the thinner pieces if you line the edges with either a wood trim or weatherstripping material. Personally, I like the thicker pieces. Just measure and cut with a utility knife. Depending upon how you intend to use it, you can create a "door" to feed & care for the fish, using a drill, small hinges and even add trim if you like. You could silicone or screw on a handle. There are many ways to make this lid tank friendly.
I had read numerous diy lighting projects that advised using a shop light. I tried this, don't do it. They are heavy, ugly, awkward and the bulbs & their covers are inadequate. I opted to make a lighted canopy for about the same cost as an ordinary shop light. You may already have some scrap plywood around the house, if not, you can purchase a thin sheet at lowes for about $12. Regardless of the size of your tank, you will have leftover material for another one! I bought a lovely piece of trim for mine for about $6..also have leftover. My husband cut & even stained the wood for me. You can use most any kind of wood you like and stain or paint it to your liking. I discovered that walmart sells a "plant light" which was $7.97, came in two sizes & has a nice long cord. One is 26" long, including the fixture, which is nice and slim & has a 7800k bulb so it's awesome for plants. It can be easily affixed to the top of your canopy as it is designed for under the cabinet use. The other is "20" including fixture and comes with a 4800k bulb...also good for plants. Although I believe 6500k is recommended as the ideal, like most things, that varies. We opted to go with 2 of the 20". Although the color is nice, we prefer a combination of the Petco Reef Sun Actinic light for night use & an awesome 6500k Petco Reef Sun bulb with a beautiful redish blue hue that just compliments the amazing cichlid colors so well. We waited until they were on sale half price and stocked up! We tried one and now my son & I don't like to use anything else! It provides for great plant growth and wow..the angelfish are Stunning beneath it!! We made the lid/light/canopy so cheaply, that we were able to afford a timer to alternate between our day/night light and...of course..always use a surge protector strip. You can cut an area, affix with hinges or the push & lock mechanisms, for tank access or even make the whole front panel detachable by using shelf hangers to affix it to the top. For added light affect and distribution, we simply lined the underside of the canopy top, before screwing in the lights, with reynolds wrap! If you have a piece of aluminum around, you can use that too.
Of course, all of construction, painting, staining, etc..should be done in a well ventilated area, Not near your fish!  Suspect 
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Re: DIY Aquarium Lids & Lighting with Canopy

Post  neogeo20041 on Mon Feb 03, 2014 3:53 pm

I love how you are getting hardcore into diy stuff but if you can post pics for every step that will be great Smile.
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Re: DIY Aquarium Lids & Lighting with Canopy

Post  chiclidlover on Sat Feb 15, 2014 11:10 am

Great post I love the diy. I was looking at some aluminum gutters to make a hood. Thanks
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