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Old 02-10-2010, 12:04 PM   #1
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DIY glass hoods for a 55 FW?

I'm thinking about getting a shop light for my 55, likely a two-bulb, T8 fixture. Haven't figured out what to do about the hood, since most of the fixtures are too wide to be able to open a standard aquarium hood (smallest seems to be about 5-6"). I'm thinking about having glass cut so that it fits on the little ledges and that way I can open and slide it shut. Problem is that with the moisture, I think it'll get stuck on the ledges, at least I know that plexi-glass will. Thinking about using those little soft, felt pads but with the humidity, I doubt they'll stay stuck to the glass. So, thoughts on what else I could use?
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Old 02-10-2010, 01:55 PM   #2
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I'm not 100% sure what you're trying to do. For the glass to slide, you'd either have to have two pieces that overlap, which would be complicated to do, or a piece that doesn't completely cover the top of the tank, so you'd probably be best off going open top.

Check out Versa-Tops. They do a good job. If you want to go the DIY route, have a piece of glass cut to fit the opening and cut it in two. Then you can silicone a stone, etc. to the top as a handle. You'd just pick up the panel with the handle and set it down when you want to work in the tank.
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Old 02-10-2010, 03:32 PM   #3
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Sorry, guess I guess I didn't explain that very well. Don't have the exact dimensions with me but I'll estimate that the top opening of the tank, from front to back is about 11.5" (open part only, doesn't include molding or lip). I have HOB filters, which I'll guess extends 1.5" into the tank, leaving about 10" open at the top. Smallest two-strip shop lights I've found are about 6.5" wide (6-7", but most are bigger), so that leaves about 3.5" open space. Total width of the VersaTop for 24" section is 9.5" (excludes the plastic piece), so the front half of the Top that I would actually lift up would be about 4.25", which would be bigger than the open space left by the shop light, so I wouldn't be able to open it all the way. Most other hoods seem to have similar dimensions.

Thus, I'd kinda given up on using the standard, flip-top type hoods. What I'm thinking of doing is having a section of glass cut that will fit across the length of the opening, probably about 23-24", and be about 5-7" wide. This glass will (ideally) be able to slide from the front of the tank to the back when I want to open it. I've found that plexi-glass sticks quite well to the lips around the tank so I'm guessing that glass would likely do the same thing. So, need something that will keep the glass from sticking and allow me to slide it from front to back when I need to access the tank.

A friend suggested using the type of tracking that's used for shower doors (slides open and close, keeps the glass on the track) but seems like that would be much too thick.

It's probably just paranoia that makes me feel like I need any kind of hood but it's persistent paranoia.
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Old 02-10-2010, 04:32 PM   #4
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the glass shop's have some ruber strip's that go under glass table top's this may work
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Old 02-10-2010, 08:33 PM   #5
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i have a shop light on my 55g with nothing under it... as long as you dont have massive evap, a bubbler (which aside from looking horrible cause little bubbles to pop on the surface shooting water on everything), or a filter that splashes water up on the lights, you dont need a lid... makes feeding and tank maintenance easier
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Old 02-10-2010, 10:16 PM   #6
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Yeah, water getting onto bulbs & fixture is part of my concern, or fixture somehow falling into the tank (unlikely but still, it's there). Also kinda worried about water splashing during water changes, even though I'm using the ph/pump, it still gets a bit messy. Do you think the output from the HOB filters (AC 30 & 50) would be too much? Right now the water level is down a bit lower than usual to get a little more oxygen circulating & keep the meds stirred up but once I get the light and closer to resurrecting my plants, the water level will be about even with the output. How wide is your fixture?
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Old 02-10-2010, 10:48 PM   #7
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mine is a 48" standard shop light... about 1/2-3/4" sits on the tank on each side... no risk of it falling off... i just take it off when i do a water change... i dont think you'd have to worry about moisture, but if you get alot of splash, you might wana check on getting a lid. I just dont like lids after i had a ph crash with them
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Old 02-11-2010, 11:41 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mfdrookie516 View Post
I just dont like lids after i had a ph crash with them
How did the hood hurt the ph? Is that common or just a fluke? Never heard of any problem like that!
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Old 02-11-2010, 08:30 PM   #9
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If you dont get good oxygen exchange at the surface (because the tank cant get much in to it) the co2 level rises which brings down the ph. My tanks stay stable at 7.8, but after about a month of having glass lids on one, the ph dropped to 6.2 ... didnt kill any fish, but scared me to death. Thats why none of the sw guys recommend glass lids on their tanks, most run mesh, screen, or egg crate. Ive kept mine topless ever since
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Old 02-12-2010, 12:23 AM   #10
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What if you had a piece of glass/plexi that was just big enough to cover the light fixture and left the remaining space open. Depending on your lighting, you might have to create some extra venting for heat dissipation, but I'm thinking with flouros you should be fine with a semi-enclosed setup.
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Old 02-12-2010, 01:32 AM   #11
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i had glass pices cut one was 5 and a half inches other was 1 and a quater inches got some paneling jointing strips and siliconed the small one on top as splash gaurd
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Old 02-12-2010, 03:01 AM   #12
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go to lowes and look for some of the clear plastic/rubber cabinet door pads. about diameter of a dime, and about 1/8" thick. forget the sticky backs to them, instead, use a small blob of silicone to hold them on. that will raise the glass up and it wont stick. also help protect the glass if you accidently drop it while lifting with wet hands (or maybe thats just me) last thing you want is glass shattering into your tank! id also do it in 2 pieces, not one large piece.
again, just incase it gets dropped while lifting.
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Old 02-12-2010, 05:01 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mfdrookie516 View Post
If you dont get good oxygen exchange at the surface (because the tank cant get much in to it) the co2 level rises which brings down the ph.

I'd heard that they're not typically used in SW setups but always thought it was something to do with lighting, didn't know what might happen regarding the pH - yikes!


Quote:
Originally Posted by PrawnShop View Post
What if you had a piece of glass/plexi that was just big enough to cover the light fixture and left the remaining space open.

Thought about doing that, then just leave the glass in place and not have to worry about sliding it but I'd like to get some African Dwarf frogs, once I get the plants growing again, and have heard that they tend to jump out of tanks with open areas.

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go to lowes and look for some of the clear plastic/rubber cabinet door pads. about diameter of a dime, and about 1/8" thick.

Yes, thank you!!! I knew there was a better utility-grade option than those little felt pads but couldn't think of what it would be. But since the little pads will be rubber, would they be able to slide (which is what I'm hoping to do)? Assuming I can figure out how to do a sliding hood, those would probably also work as stoppers to keep the glass from sliding back so far that it hits the filter, just put them on the tracks somehow.
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Old 02-12-2010, 07:59 PM   #14
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i dont think they are actually rubber, more a plastic of some sorts. since the surface area is fairly small, i doubt it would offer much resistance really. if it was Saltwater id be more concerned, due to salt drying on the tracks, but with fresh i dont see it giving much of a problem.
i have a glass lid on my FW but mine hinges in the middle. not had any PH problems from it but the back is open about 2inches and 2 HOB filters offer a fair bit of gas exchange. the balas like to jump so i need a lid of some sorts, even then, scare them good enough, they can move the glass.. stupid things going to hurt themselves one day...
you know, lowes do sell small glass drill bits... many electronic stores, radio shack maybe, or even lowes, sell plastic nuts and bolts. you could hinge the glass using stainless steel hinges or plastic hinges of some sorts
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Old 02-22-2010, 11:52 PM   #15
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Figured out how I'd set up my new lighting & hood. For the actual light, a $10 shop light and decent, cheap 6700 T8 bulbs. For the hoods, get some plastic eggcrate to cover the back 1/3 of the tank, cutting out sections to fit around the filters (this stuff would keep me from pushing the hood in front so far back that it bangs the filter), leave the middle 1/3 of the tank open, and cover the front 1/3 with glass that could be slid back to front.
Got pretty excited about this idea. . .and when my boyfriend saw that I was really serious about replacing the light, agreed to trade lighting setups so that I could have his Coralife T5 fixture & plant bulbs Saved me money at least!
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