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Old 06-06-2009, 05:28 PM   #1
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Questions about building custom canopy

I am looking at the possibility of building a custom canopy for my 3ft tank and need some help please.

1. What is the correct/ideal height that the tubes should be from the water surface? Does it this height depend on how heavily planted the tank is going to be?
2. What material is the best to use to construct the canopy?
3. Relating to question 1, how much should you fill a tank to ie. how much gap should there be between the top of the glass and the top of the water?

TIA
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Old 06-06-2009, 06:53 PM   #2
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What kind of lighting do you intend to use?

Whatever you use for wood, I'd recommend coating the inside with Kilz

I'd recommend not using a glass top.
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Old 06-06-2009, 08:39 PM   #3
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1 the closer to the lights are to the water the more light will get into the tank.
2 wood but not sure what kind is the best but like neilanh said make sure to coat it.
3 i fill my tanks to the top just a cm before over flowing. i dont have glass lids on any of my tanks though.
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Old 06-09-2009, 01:27 AM   #4
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I think solid wood would be the best. Plywood tend to separate if wet, and definitely avoid particle board or MDF!! For ease of working solid pine is a good choice. If you want to match existing decor, use hardwood & build it as you would fine furniture.

Plastic is another possibility, eg. have a solid wood frame & acrylic panels. <My canopy is made with hardwood with hinged access flaps made with 1/4" acrylic.> And you need to seal the canopy in & out with poly or spar finish.

I fill my tank to just above the lower edge of the top trim (so no water line is visible). I have a sump & I need the headroom in the display. With other filters, you can fill higher, up to the rim at the trim (where a glass top rests) - ie 1/2" or so to the brim.

Depends a bit on the light you have as to height of the canopy. You don't have too much difference in light as long as the light source is within a few inches of the water. Certain light (eg MH) gives off lots of heat & you need to have it further away from the water (plus have airspace above the fixture so you can install a circulating fan). The typical PC or T5 can be mounted right on canopy & be a couple inches from the water. However, if you plan to have lots of light (now or possible upgrade later), it is worthwhile to build the canopy taller than needed ... may be 9" or 12" so you have room for fans, fancy light, etc. <Esp. if you ever think you might change the tank to a reef.>
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Old 06-09-2009, 02:57 AM   #5
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I just built a canopy for my 50 gal 3 foot tank taking bits and pieces of advice from forums. I should have taken pictures during the build, but here are some finished ones. Basically I used 1x6 poplar board to make a frame around it and put some cleats on the inside of it that sit on the top edge of the tank, so the 1x6 basically hangs 2 inches over the outside of the tank to cover the trim. I just picked the poplar board because none of the other 1x6's there were as straight as these. Inside that, I made a frame of 1x2's 1/2" down, so the top board can sit on them inside the 1x6 frame. I used 1/2" plywood and hopefully it will be ok. I painted it, and have a glass top over the tank so it should stay dry. For the lights, I just mounted some T8 endcaps to the underside of the top and mounted the ballast on the outside of the back of the canopy so it won't get hot inside the tank. I have 2 bulbs to start with but there is room for 4 if needed. It is a pretty cheap way to get lighting, costing under $20 for the ballast and endcaps. The T8's do not get hot at all under the canopy, and I painted the inside of the canopy white to reflect the light. I used two piano hinges on the top, one to open a small portion of it for feeding, and one to open the entire top if I want to clean it without taking the canopy off. So we'll see how it works out!









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Old 06-09-2009, 10:53 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by darryn View Post
I am looking at the possibility of building a custom canopy for my 3ft tank and need some help please.

1. What is the correct/ideal height that the tubes should be from the water surface? Does it this height depend on how heavily planted the tank is going to be?
2. What material is the best to use to construct the canopy?
3. Relating to question 1, how much should you fill a tank to ie. how much gap should there be between the top of the glass and the top of the water?

TIA
darryn
I built my hood out of ľĒ oak plywood and ĺĒ solid oak
for the ends.
I routed the end pieces and also routed some 3/8Ē solid oak
for trim around the plywood.
I put an A&H 96w cfl retrofit kit in it.
I did not seal the inside but I do have a glass lid.
I also put two low voltage fans in the hood for cooling.
Look here for some pics:
http://gs69.photobucket.com/groups/i60/7NOBMDJJ0N/?sort=ascending

The fifth, tenth and seventeenth pictures show the hood.
Charles
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