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Old 08-22-2007, 10:24 AM   #1
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Thoughts on open top vs. glass top

So I'm in a quandry right now. I would love to have the open top look, but have concerns about 3 main things:

1. temp issues straining the heater. My house in the winter stays at night around 55-65 and I have concerns that with an open top the greatly increased evaporation would cause the temp to drop or at least strain the heater enough to be problematic.

2. CO2 outgassing. The added evaporation and uncovered top I would assume would allow for much more CO2 to be lost. I have pressurized so it would seem to be just a cost issue (bottle running out sooner).

3. Potential electrocution hazard. I know everyone is supposed to turn off the hood light when doing maintainence but I never do (and probably most of us don't). I need to see in there! At least with the glass top you would have to seriously do something bad to have the light fall in, but with an open top it would seem to be much easier (just a couple small legs).

OK, sway me!
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Old 08-22-2007, 10:55 AM   #2
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This is a question I was about to post also 7Enigma! Here is what I have concluded so far. I currently am running an open-top 75 gallon and have noticed some large issues with #1. It's the hottest part of the year (110+ here in Kansas) so we have our air conditioner running. The tank sits approximately 3 feet from an air vent. We have the house cooled to about 68 degrees. I have my heater turned on at 80 degrees and my tank still won't surpass 75 degrees temp. It's really irritating me and is causing me to think about buying the All Glass versa-top for my tank. I love the looks of the open top but am beginning to feel that for this sole reason it may be more hassle than it's worth. If anyone feels I should not see this much of a deficiency in the temp please let me know as the heater appears to be working appropriately but it is kicking on about every 10 minutes and still not keeping the temperature in check.

I don't currently have co2 injection yet so unsure on #2.

Also on #3 I am with you...I never turn off the light when doing maintenance. Oops!
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Old 08-22-2007, 11:16 AM   #3
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Along with the three issues you point out, which I agree with wholeheartedly, here are a couple more:

1 - Livestock jumping, crawling or falling out of the tank.
2 - Covers give you extra space to lay equipment/tools. I personally hate holding onto scissors while pruning.

I seriously doubt a tank can be maintained with the lights off.
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Old 08-22-2007, 11:57 AM   #4
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benefits:

More light gets into the tank.

Better gas exchange.

Some plants like to grow up and outside of the tank.
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Old 08-22-2007, 12:06 PM   #5
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All of my tanks are topless except for the aquatech hex. I did have to put eggcrate on one for a few months to deter the cat from "fishing" in my 20, but the top is back off now. I think it is a much cleaner look, easier to work in and the plants look cool when they grow out of the top. I also can see the lilypads and red root floaters easier.
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Old 08-22-2007, 12:12 PM   #6
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I do not use tops. I think the tanks look much better without them. I do agree more light gets in the tank that way. I have never had a jumper and my cat doesn't care about the tanks.

I always leave the light on when do I tank maintenance.
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Old 08-22-2007, 12:23 PM   #7
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I now run all my tanks open top. I agree with all the concerns mentioned. I have lost a few jumpers, not many though. Havn't been zapped yet! Legs on my light are pretty solid. No noticeable C02 loss. I also have smalll kids to think about, I am fortunate enough to have a room dedicated to tanks, no one goes in there without me present. That alone solidified my decision to go all open top. Quite frankly, in this house nobody is really interested in my tanks! Along with the benefits rkilling1 mentions, I do it for ease of maintenance. I am always putting my hands in my tanks for one reason or another, just so much easier without the tops. For me it's worth it.
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Old 08-22-2007, 01:11 PM   #8
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Does anyone have any idea what the difference is in the available light when a tank is uncovered vs covered. How much light are you losing with a cover?
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Old 08-22-2007, 01:17 PM   #9
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A lot of that would depend on how clean you keep your glass. Mine got dirty fast and the water stains were tough to remove.
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Old 08-22-2007, 01:38 PM   #10
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I should have put in my original post that the ONLY real reason why I was asking and would go with the open top was due to the lost light from the glass top (I've got pressurized CO2 and so don't want the increased gas transfer). I forget and neglect to clean the top of the glass (ceiling of the tank) for weeks or months at a time and am always shocked at how much junk has built up. My barbs will really go after floating food (tubifex worms, bloodworms, flake that doesn't sink, etc.) and normally will fly to the surface take a bite and immediately kick back down (causing a spray of water to hit the glass top which then dries). This buildup on top of my moderately hard water makes me wonder just how much light is actually getting down to the plants after a week or so.

Thanks everyone for your imput so far.
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