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Old 06-18-2010, 05:03 PM   #1
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DIY Hood for 12 gallon with moving moonlights, sunrise/sunsets, and cooling

Well, it's about time I made a build thread. It's not done, but it will be in the next couple days. Here is that I have done so far. I used poplar wood from lowes, with "Ebony" stain and "Semi-Gloss" polyurathane. It fits together very well I think. It's not perfect, but it's better than most things I make.

Here are some pics so far.

Closed, with my feet holding the sides (they bow out a TINY bit, but the rim of the tank will hold it in place. It's build to sit down in the rim of the tank obviously.


Open, I used cabinet hinges. Notice the fans.


Holes in side for fans. This was a pain to do without a drill press...


Notches for the fans. They were a bit tall. This would have been easy with a router, if I had one. I dremeled the thing out, so it's less than perfect.


This was my first attempt at making dovetail joints (Ever). I did them by hand, and I think they turned out alright. They sure as heck hold the wood in there, although I should have made them the other way, so the wood couldn't be pulled forward. Oh well, they look cool. I HATE butt joints, I always manage to screw them up.


The thing still needs to be sanded once, and some other little things need to be done. You can't see it on the tank cause the filter is in the way (one of the things that needs to get done) Also, the electronics are being built right now, so they'll be in in a couple days. I'll keep ya updated.
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Old 06-18-2010, 05:12 PM   #2
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pretty sweet. what kinda lights are you putting in there?
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Old 06-18-2010, 06:00 PM   #3
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That's really cool! I wish I could build stuff like that.

You mentioned that the canopy is made to sit down in the frame of your tank. Are you worried at all about having the fans so close to the water?
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Old 06-18-2010, 07:10 PM   #4
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That's really cool! I wish I could build stuff like that.

You mentioned that the canopy is made to sit down in the frame of your tank. Are you worried at all about having the fans so close to the water?
Thanks! I'm not really worried. If you're thinking that the fish are going to jump up and make sushi slices, well I'll probably put a screen over the intake so that won't be possible. If they get wet? Well, they're only 2 bucks online so I'm not that worried about it. Also, I was debating making a slot for a piece of acrylic to slip in to, but I haven't decided yet.

As for the lighting. I'm basically cannibalizing two aquarium lights that I have now, as they are both incomplete hoods. Ones a normal 18 inch fluorescent aquarium lamp, and the other is a light fixture that holds incandescent bulbs, but I've put two CFL bulbs in it (daytime ones). Actually I just bought the CFLs today. The main reason I installed the fans is because the old bulbs raised the temp of the tank by 5 degrees!

Anyway, really the lighting is open ended. I'll screw the mounts in, but it's not like I can't change it in the future. I'll probably end up just puttin a few 18 inch fluorescent bulbs in there. (The 18 inch bulbs are TIGHT) There's about 2 mm of clearance on both sides of it.)

EDIT: For the moonlights it'll be blue LEDs, and for the sunrise/sunset, I'll just use white LEDs with maybe an orange and red thrown in there for effect. The moonlight will be dark enough that it won't bug the fishies (The LEDs will be dimmed) and the light will actually move across the top of the tank, so there will always be dark spots in the tank.

Oh and for the record. I LOVE the ebony stain. It's absolutely gorgeous. I was going to try to make the outside ebony and the inside a lighter stain, but on my first stroke of the ebony, the stain soaked across the table I was staining on, and got on the inside. I they said "Screw it, it's all gunna be black". And that's that. I'll need to make a reflector for the fluorescent bulb, that that'll be easy.
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Old 06-18-2010, 10:08 PM   #5
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Love the ebony too. Cool build, I'll have to show my Dad cause he'll be doing the lighting and cabinets for my build
Can't wait to see the rest.

Oh, and groovy dovetails
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Old 06-19-2010, 06:20 PM   #6
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is this for a marine setup? if so the hinges you have will rust and condensation may drip down into the tank from the hinges,rusty water and fish don't mix.I would probably open up the sides for the fans rather than holes and just fit some black grilles as I don't think there is enough holes for the airflow.But it looks good so far.
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Old 06-19-2010, 08:52 PM   #7
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the holes will be enough for air flow, and i think this is for his FW tank. and there is rust in alot of water. plus they wont rust that quick unless he has insane amounts of evap..
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Old 06-19-2010, 08:56 PM   #8
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Looks awesome! I'll be following
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Old 06-19-2010, 11:37 PM   #9
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the holes will be enough for air flow, and i think this is for his FW tank. and there is rust in alot of water. plus they wont rust that quick unless he has insane amounts of evap..
You are correct. I also know that the hinges ARE the weak point in the design, as they are the only thing that will rust. If I use this hood long enough, I'll simply have to replace them every once in a while. (Or take them apart and paint them with some non rusting outdoor paint).

EDIT: I just remembered, the "reflector" for the fluorescent bulb is right below the hinges, so any water dripping from them will land on the plastic reflector, which then can easily be directed to someplace outside of the tank.

On another note, I test fitted the lights today, I can't believe how well they fit. It's amazing how everything is coming together. I'm still workin on the electronics, as I can't find some of my parts (I just moved, and I still have stuff in boxes). I think I'm just going to place an order for some new stuff anyway, I really just want to get the actual lights workin so that I can use the hood day to day. The electronics are just icing on the cake, so they can be done at a later time.

Anyway, I'm off to do my last coat of polyurathane.
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Old 06-20-2010, 12:45 AM   #10
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+1 to just dremel out the wood and set the fan inside the frame of the wood. those holes will burnout the fan. and well. less maintenance in the future. Id do it for both intake and out. any computer fan will burn out if its being heavily restricted. let alone the air movement would suck
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