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Old 02-23-2007, 10:03 AM   #1
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Acrylic Aquarium Cover

I went to Lowes and bought some .22" acrylic and made an aquarium cover. I was greatly disappointed that it warped. Does anyone know a better material for this?
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Old 02-23-2007, 03:09 PM   #2
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it would be helpful if you put your tank information into your profile. we dont know if you are trying to cover a 10 gallon or a 125 gallon tank.

.22" acrylic is not really designed to span large horizontal distances. it will bow under its own weight. a better material would be thicker.

~mike
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Old 02-23-2007, 03:16 PM   #3
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Thanks. I should do that when I get a little more time. I didn't even realize there was such a thing as posting tank information in my profile. In the mean time, the answer to your question is that I made covers for 10 gallon and 29 gallon tanks and they both bowed miserably. They are almost a quarter of an inch thick and that stuff isn't cheap. There must be a better material or acrylic tanks wouldn't hold their shape. I just don't know where to get it.
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Old 02-23-2007, 05:06 PM   #4
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Acrylic, in general, isn't really a top choice for making a top. Glass is typically the preferred choice. In fact, I don't think I've ever personally seen an acrylic tank top in any size. Hmmm.
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Old 02-23-2007, 06:38 PM   #5
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I've purchased several Marineland hoods that include a combination of opaque and clear plastic materials of some kind and they hold their shape just fine. I was looking for a cheaper and more versatile DIY solution, though.

Glass is hard to cut properly, easy to cut yourself on the sharp edges, and easy to break unintentionally.
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Old 02-23-2007, 07:18 PM   #6
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Are you trying to seal the top of the tank because of jumping fish or just because you want to? Either way have a look at eggcrate...the material used in floresent light fixtures in office buildings.....also seen in tanks at LFS to hold coral frags ect...it's much cheaper then 1/4 acrylic and will not sag like the acrylic will also it will allow the O2 exchange needed....HTH
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Old 02-23-2007, 07:43 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by itafx
I've purchased several Marineland hoods that include a combination of opaque and clear plastic materials of some kind and they hold their shape just fine. I was looking for a cheaper and more versatile DIY solution, though.

Glass is hard to cut properly, easy to cut yourself on the sharp edges, and easy to break unintentionally.
I wonder what that material would be. You could look for cell-cast acrylic, but that's significantly more than the typical extruded acrylic.

Go and look at Lexan. It's like acrylic, but is thicker and stronger, in my experience. I think it will work for you. It's just a tad more expensive than acrylic at Lowes/HomeDepot. And keep in mind the typical "acrylic" is either Plexiglass, Lucite, or Perspex, so when looking for a different option, look for something other than those.
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Old 02-23-2007, 09:12 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ziggy953
Are you trying to seal the top of the tank because of jumping fish or just because you want to? Either way have a look at eggcrate...the material used in floresent light fixtures in office buildings.....also seen in tanks at LFS to hold coral frags ect...it's much cheaper then 1/4 acrylic and will not sag like the acrylic will also it will allow the O2 exchange needed....HTH
Objectives:
1. Keep fish from jumping out
2. Support floresent and LED light fixtures
3. Limit evaporation (extremely dry in winter. Accelerates evaporation)
4. Leave adequate holes for filter and heaters. (Not easy to shape glass)
5. Have a hinged lid portion I can lift for feeding and management (not impossible with glass, but not that easy either. I have one aquarium with a hinged glass top, but I got it from a DIY previous owner and the glass didn't get cut perfectly and doesn't fit the tank that well.
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Old 02-23-2007, 11:06 PM   #9
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I'm guessing then that this is a FW tank? I have a 55g FW with evap problems too. Actually all of my tanks evap like crazy because we use a wood stove to heat our house. My Reef tank has an auto-top-off system on it and the FW tanks I just add water to them as needed.

I'm still not sure how you have everything set up but if you are putting you lights right on top of the acrylic then that will cause it to bow...the heat and the weight from the lighting even if it is NO low light those bulbs still get hot.
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Old 02-23-2007, 11:16 PM   #10
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Yes, it's FW. Wood stove heat is driving our evap up too. I have a thin layer of plastic and air gap between bulbs and the acrylic. I just went out and felt the acrylic. It was warm to the touch, but not hot.

Your tanks look really nice. I did SW when I was younger, but I'm not ready for the cost and care requirements right now.
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