How do I fit full tank length lights under hood?

noobscaper

My tank used to have a Chihiros A-series light with a glass cover, but it shattered nearly a year ago. I didn't like how reflective the cover was, and I'd like for something to go over the light, but it covers the full length of the tank, so wouldn't fit under a standard, shop-bought hood. Can you think of any DIY hood options I could make that would fit over the light?
 

altwitch

I have a wood cabinet style setup with a hood that's hinged to open toward the back. It rests on the sides of the aquarium by means of 1 x 1 runners that go all the way down the side. I'm able to rest the plastic extenders from my finnex lights on top of those runners.

Honestly that's the only one I have any kind of covering on out of all of my tanks, and while I'm constantly reading about "have to have a lid, this species is known to escape", I've not seen it in any of the 25 or so species I keep. Can only think of one rogue snail that paradropped to his death in 2 years time. While I'm sure there are some species out there for which this is very, I've reached the conclusion that too many sites overinflate that effect so you might be able to just remove the covering as an alternative. That said some people keep the coverings on tanks for other reasons which may be your case. What sort of stock is in it?
 
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noobscaper

What sort of stock is in it?
Bristlenose pleco, silver mollies, SAE, angelfish, neon dwarf rainbowfish (huge jumpers during feeding and when surprised), bronze cory

I'm worried about evaporation most. My parents wouldn't let me keep an open-top tank because it would smell and the walls around it would get moldy.

I have a wood cabinet style setup with a hood that's hinged to open toward the back. It rests on the sides of the aquarium by means of 1 x 1 runners that go all the way down the side. I'm able to rest the plastic extenders from my finnex lights on top of those runners.

Could you send me a pic of the cover? I'm finding it hard to visualise it.
 
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John58ford

You can make a canopy for it, and route a flange into the top to hold a glass lid of your choosing. Canopy building is pretty simple, and even if you need to buy some tools to do it, you would only need the smallest of tools as most small canopy designs are 1x1 or 2x2 frame, pin nailed and glued, wrapped or inlayed by 1/4 panel board. You could wrap and paint it black for a modern look, or inlay and stain for an instant classic feel. You can design the canopy to contain the light, the glass top (or access point) is really just for feeding and light maintenance, remove the canopy for real cleaning/scaping.
 
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noobscaper

You can make a canopy for it

How could I avoid water damage for the canopy? Also, would I just drill holes in the side for the light to slide through?
 
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John58ford

How could I avoid water damage for the canopy? Also, would I just drill holes in the side for the light to slide through?
Paint or strain the wood and it shouldn't have too much issue with occasional water splashing. If you are making enough humidity in the hood to matter, cut some small ventilation slots or drill holes in the back of the hood. Personally I would design the hood around your light, and build a lip or notch into it to hold the light up. If it's the common led with the siding legs, the legs slide right out, you could use screws or wood dowel inside the canopy as a mount.
 
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noobscaper

Could you draw me a diagram please? My imagination isn't too good and I don't really understand what you mean with the lip/notch and sliding legs. The light looks like this btw.

1605891671602.png
 
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altwitch

All I have with me here at work is a shot of it closed which doesn't really help you much. I'll take a couple shots when I get home of the hardware inside and post later.
 

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John58ford

That light is the perfect fit for a canopy. The screws come out and it could either sit on the framing without the screws, or if you want it higher up, you could screw it to the panel board.

I don't have time for a good draft right now, doing schoolwork with my boys. But, I drew you a quick 2 layer with their art supplies. I haven't had time to do much drafting lately so this is the best I will have time for. The measurements are up to you. The blue is the panel board skin. For a modern, easy canopy, design the 2x2 frame (green) to sit just past flush on top of the tank, then, the skin actually extends below the frame to cover the rim, and also keeps the whole thing centered. The light (orange) could sit directly on the 2x2, or it could be screwed in.

20201120_092826.jpg
 
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noobscaper

Thanks John58ford altwitch .
I think I understand now.
So the panel board on all sides is keeping the actual main frame from sliding off of the aquarium?
 
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John58ford

Thanks John58ford altwitch .
I think I understand now.
So the panel board on all sides is keeping the actual main frame from sliding off of the aquarium?
In my drawing it is, they are sometimes designed the reverse of that, where the frame is on the outside, and the panel board would be sitting in the groove of the tank. You can also use my basic design then attach battons to give it the look of the older style, but the ease of construction.

You will want the top panel to either have a hinge for a lift up wood top, or a groove for glass lids to fit into. Alternatively, you could put a sliding door on the front.
 
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altwitch

Here's a better graphic of how it's made to work; basically the hood rests outside the dimensions of the aquarium frame except the runners so you have a perfect spacing on top that matches the tank. I was considering crafting one like it for my work tank on a much smaller scale (40g). If you or someone you know has some basic woodworking skills it's possible; I'm hung up trying to get my kreg jig to work properly, but can just run screws into the sides/back and it's much easier.
 

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noobscaper

I'm not really much of a handyman though. How could I get (if at all possible) easy smooth cuts without something expensive like a miter saw?
 
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86 ssinit

How big is the tank? Something easy is just plexiglass from Home Depot. They will cut it for you. Just measure the top of your tank for the cut size. Than your light will sit above that supported by the plastic rim of the tank. This way it’s not touching the plexiglass.
3EE3C468-6996-4999-9569-6D8AC19714FC.jpegalso most pet stores sell glass cover that fit perfectly over the tank
E4F24CC1-9F29-4E7B-BD1D-B0DA6A30ECEE.jpeg
 
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John58ford

I'm not really much of a handyman though. How could I get (if at all possible) easy smooth cuts without something expensive like a miter saw?
If your spans are less than 4 feet you should be able to frame it in 2x2 lumber. You could use a cheap hand miter for those. For the panels though you will need a circular saw and a fairly steady hand. The 1/4" material is pretty cheap(not a big deal to learn with), and will suffice up to 4', but if you are going longer than that, 3/8-1/2 would be better and resist warping.
 
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noobscaper

How big is the tank? Something easy is just plexiglass from Home Depot. They will cut it for you. Just measure the top of your tank for the cut size. Than your light will sit above that supported by the plastic rim of the tank. This way it’s not touching the plexiglass.
3EE3C468-6996-4999-9569-6D8AC19714FC.jpegalso most pet stores sell glass cover that fit perfectly over the tank
E4F24CC1-9F29-4E7B-BD1D-B0DA6A30ECEE.jpeg
My parents don't like the reflection in the glass (which I have bad memories of) and I'm afraid the plexiglass would bow over time.
 
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altwitch

The downside to plexiglass is that it deflects/diffracts light reducing the amount that reaches the bottom of the tank. For smaller tanks may not be that much of an issue; different story if you have to penetrate 2 feet of water and grow some of the more challenging plant species. There's some stuff made for drop down lighting that I've purchased that looks like plastic grid based on a plan to use it if I get some hatchetfish to prevent them jumping. Was told you can basically just knock the squares out with a screwdriver and modify to size/specification. Don't think it would cause reflection problems but it's white, not clear so if not concealed may look ugly depending on your/parents sense of aesthetics. Haven't used a cover so admit I don't fully understand the reflection effect described.
 
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