Help me build a hood for our fish tank

Discussion in 'Shop Talk' started by farmergirl, Aug 22, 2006.

  1. farmergirl

    farmergirl Well-Known Member Supporter

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    We have a 100 gallon tank that needs a lid and light fixture. Any ideas on construction materials? I'm thinking I could tear down the flourescent light box in our bathroom (was planning to replace it anyway) and somehow re-use it for the fish tank. Anyone out there who has experience with fish tanks?
     
  2. PyroDon

    PyroDon Well-Known Member

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    Ok first question
    fresh or marine tank?

    length of the tank?
    Is the plastic lip around the top still in tact?
     

  3. oldnndway

    oldnndway Member

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    Not knowing anymore than I do about what you are trying to do I will say, take a piece of cardboard and make all the cuts and bends on it first.
    Use tape to hold the bends in place and get it like you want it, then transfer it to the metal (?) you are going to use.
    Measure twice and cut once.
     
  4. PyroDon

    PyroDon Well-Known Member

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    Sorry but metal water and eleticity do not mix . if steel is used its going to rust in a matter of days . Aluminum will start pitting in a couple months.
    Stainless is an option provided its not a salt water (stainless will leach nickle in a marine tank) Copper and Brass are definate no no's both will release copper into the water .
    If the tank has a devider for the hood its pretty easy if not its gonna be a pain.
    As oldnndway said start by making a card bord templet .
    if possible have 1/4-3/8 Glass cut to length roughly 12" wide . this will go down the center of the hood and provide stength enough to support your lights .
    Now for access Cut plexaglass to fill the remaining width . the plexiglass can be drilled or shaped to allow for pumps hoses or hanging filters. you can attach this to the glass using RCplane invisable hinges ( they are made of a flexable plastice) ormake a silicone hinge from siclicone aulking.
    IIRC the tank should be 72" long if that is the case two 30" double tube 40 watt florecent lightes can be used just be sure the fixture keeps the tubes at least 3/4" above the glass . You can make the fixture using under cabinet lights and wood if need be .
    If using an under gravel filter reverse flow power heads help keep fish goo out of the rocks . Personally a fluidized sand filter really does a good job of keeping nitrates down.
    If its fresh water remeber changing 10-25% of the water each moth will save a lot of stress on the fish plus give you some enriched wter for your favorite plants.
    Be sure to use ground fault protection on all eletric used on the tank .
     
  5. farmergirl

    farmergirl Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Fresh water tank

    Approx 6ft long, 18" deep (I'll get exact measurements and post them tomorrow)

    Yes, plastic lip is still there, tank is in brand new condition, had it in storage for years and this will be the first time we've ever had a chance to use it :)
     
  6. farmergirl

    farmergirl Well-Known Member Supporter

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    are 18" deep by 19" high by 72" long. I'm now thinking of building a frame around some wire netting, leaving holes for the various tubes to fit through. Is it a bad idea to have a mesh top, since that will let in some dust, or will the filter take care of that problem?
     
  7. Jeslik

    Jeslik Well-Known Member

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    take a trip to the local fish store, and check out the hood assemblies that cost a freakin fortune... you know you can do better, and still incorporate all the features... I did when I was 16. I had 10 aquariums running at one point - my dad liked to died over the power bills. Hee Hee.

    Anyway, frame the hood up, without a back, with the hinged access for the front... then, build a box for the lighting inside the hood. Put a piece of plexiglass on the bottom, and silicone it to the lighting box, so you basically have a waterproof surface there. You'll have to make sure that you leave a method to remove the bulbs when they die.

    If you are into plants, you are really going to want hanging lights - like a pool table light - plants need lots of light, and that much light can raise the temp dramatically.

    I worked at several pet shops while a teen, (feeding my aquarium addiction) and was often shocked by the cheap lights they used. Ground? We don't need no stinkin ground! ZZZap!

    This is totally something you can do. I'd start with heavy grade plywood, and the top would be maybe 8" above the surface to make sure I had enough room for the hoses out the back, the filters, the light and its airflow...
     
  8. Jeslik

    Jeslik Well-Known Member

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    Are you raising kamakazi fish? Only time I've covered a tank like that is when my silver arrowana kept jumping to the carpet. Its what they do... and he still succeeded in shriveling to a rock-hard state. Some fish are natural suicides... mostly the ones that look like minnows - long sleek critters who's stress response is up up and awaaaay...

    Only problem with mesh is that metal will corrode. Trust me... fish do not require a HEPA filter, unless you have noxious chemicals in the air you are breathing... dust, pet hair, and tennis balls will not harm your fish... If you paint, or strip paint, or glue PVC you may some issues (and so may your fish!)
     
  9. posifour11

    posifour11 Well-Known Member

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    my buddy used expanded metal to shape a cover. then placed a normal tank light over it.