DIY aquarium lid

Naterjm

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So I ordered 2 nerite snails.

then I realized with my franken-tank, I’ve got some (one) opening where the snails can crawl out. I heard that was a thing... I purchased an Aqueon lid that was the best fit for my tank, similar to the one I’ll have a picture below for. Difference is my light has two led bulbs, but it’s the same one essentially, just bigger. The picture below is looking at the bottom. The light canopy is actually separate and only sits on top of the lid.

I love the hinged opening at the front, but the lips that are designed to hold the light canopy are I think reducing the amount of light that gets into the tank. The bulbs I have are great, but they to be focused in the center.

the lid also comes with knock-outs to run your filter and accessories etc. The depth of the knockouts for where I put my filter hoses, are what’s causing concern for the snails to get out.

so I’m thinking of making my own lid.

I sourced some 1/4” acrylic sheets at Home Depot for about $95cad (trying to find cheaper). I can get a set of clear acrylic hinges that can be solvent welded to the sheets in order to create a permanent bond for a hinged lid at the front. I can use off cuts to create a guide for the light canopy to sit perfectly in place as well. I can also be super precise in cutting out holes for hoses and cords for equipment.

in theory, this should give me almost zero clearance for anything to escape the tank via jumping or climbing. The other benefit will be that my light won’t be restricted by the black plastic of my current lid. Width wise, my current lid is not an exact fit either, so I do have about a 1/4” of play front to back, I can correct that as well. Custom is always better, but that’s the contractor in me speaking.

I think that the size and my ideas for reinforcement of the acrylic are good enough that I won’t have to worry about the acrylic dropping over time, my tank has a center brace on the trim. The 30 gallon I have to replace this tank doesn’t, but I can add a support if needed and that’s probably 5-6 months down the road.

I thought about using glass for the lid. But I’m set on the hinged opening at the front. And I also like the idea of using the transparent acrylic hinges. Bonding acrylic to glass seems to be a tedious effort for mediocre results at the best of times and I don’t want a hinge to glass bond break and have glass shatter over the aquarium. Especially with three young boys at home....

So the other option would be to go with a different hinge, One that would need to be bolted. That means drilling glass and finding stainless steel hardware that won’t rust. As well as plastic washers so the metal doesn’t crack the glass (if you have installed showers with glass doors you know what I’m talking about).

Glass does appear to be cheaper, for the sheet and I do have glass cutter, so I could easily cut the the pieces to size. However, I’m having a hard time finding sheet glass in my area, thanks Covid.

I also would need to buy two different sized glass cutting bits to create the knockouts for plumbing hoses, cords and holes for bolting hinges. Hinges would also be more expensive.

Drilling glass is pretty straight forward, but if you make one mistake or stop paying attention for one second, it’s easy to chip out and/or crack it. That could instantly double your sheet good cost.

I’m not sure I’m ready to pull the trigger on this project just yet, but the tiny idea started with 2 snails. I’m not even sure why I’m posting this but maybe getting it all written down and sharing is part of the journey and a glimpse into how my brain works....

$6 in snails is potentially costing me $140 bucks and an experiment with plastic and glue...
 

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Kyle E.

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I got a nerite snail about a month ago. He does like to hang out above the waterline, especially during the daytime. He seems to be somewhat nocturnal. But I have never had him actually climb out of the tank. I know he can but he has never done it. My hood has approximately a 2.5 inch gap the whole length of the back for the HOB, cords, etc. I was worried about it as well but I have never had a problem with it.

Good luck!
 

eatyourpeas

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I just went through making my own lids because I have three escape artists in my tank (a.k.a. mystery snails).

I cut two acrylic sheets the length of the aquarium, with a little bit of overlap. If your tank is 24"x 8" then your acrylic sheets are 24"x 5" (or 6"). Then I bought live hinges for the acrylic sheets and fastened them to the front and back of tank. Light sits on top, and I can slide it to the front or the back depending on which lid I need to open.

I used fluorescent light textured acrylic and cut it to accommodate filter lines, heater, etc. The tool used to cut was a utility knife and then filed the edges to make them smooth. The height is perfect and the mystery snails can't get out. These would work with glass as well.

You could put the hinge in the center as well, and open from front and back like the Aqueon glass lids:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0002AS7ZS/?tag=ff0d01-20

I like that the hinges act as a fastener as well, so the lids don't move unless I take them out.

Here is the link to the hinges:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08KYL74K6/?tag=ff0d01-20

I can post pictures tomorrow as right now I am not near the tank.

Drawback of these hinges: they have a 180 degree limit, so be aware of that if you want the lid to open past that line.
 
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Naterjm

Naterjm

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Of course I would never want any harm to come to the animals I buy.
I think I was just trying to highlight how a small fact sometimes kicks my brain into over drive and I start coming up with ideas...

glad to hear you snail is doing well. I’m letting some algae go nuts right now because I wanted snails, hopefully mine will have their work cut out for them and they’ll also like to stay inside the tank.
 
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Naterjm

Naterjm

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@eatyourpeas

wow, thanks for the input.

I checked out the hinges you mentioned. Those were exactly what I was looking for when I first had the thought of using glass. Unfortunately for me, they’re not available to me and a comparable product never turned up in my searches.

I’m going to try and link the hinges I was looking at here:Transparent Acrylic Hinges, 10Pcs Acrylic Glue Bonding, Box Piano Acrylic Hinge, Durable Clear Acrylic Plastic Folding Hinges Plexiglass Hinge https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B08CDJM8Z6/?tag=

not sure if that link will work, so if it doesn’t, let me know and I’ll post a screen shot. My idea there was that they can be solvent welded to the acrylic panels and create a permanent bond. I was also thinking of adding some pulls to be able to lift to whole thing off easily. I have to draw it out...

as for acrylic type, I’ve sort of got my mind set on regular, clear acrylic, but it’s good know other options like the one you posted are out there.

and please update me with some photos of your setup when you get around to it, i’d love to see it, if only to store it in the idea bank for the future!
 

eatyourpeas

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@eatyourpeas

wow, thanks for the input.

I checked out the hinges you mentioned. Those were exactly what I was looking for when I first had the thought of using glass. Unfortunately for me, they’re not available to me and a comparable product never turned up in my searches.

I’m going to try and link the hinges I was looking at here:Transparent Acrylic Hinges, 10Pcs Acrylic Glue Bonding, Box Piano Acrylic Hinge, Durable Clear Acrylic Plastic Folding Hinges Plexiglass Hinge https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B08CDJM8Z6/?tag=

not sure if that link will work, so if it doesn’t, let me know and I’ll post a screen shot. My idea there was that they can be solvent welded to the acrylic panels and create a permanent bond. I was also thinking of adding some pulls to be able to lift to whole thing off easily. I have to draw it out...

as for acrylic type, I’ve sort of got my mind set on regular, clear acrylic, but it’s good know other options like the one you posted are out there.

and please update me with some photos of your setup when you get around to it, i’d love to see it, if only to store it in the idea bank for the future!
I looked at those but did not want to commit to glueing anything. Perhaps a builders supply store may have them for panels and sell them in longer units? I will post pictures tomorrow.
 
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Naterjm

Naterjm

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I’m going to check next time I’m there, which is almost every
I looked at those but did not want to commit to glueing anything. Perhaps a builders supply store may have them for panels and sell them in longer units? I will post pictures tomorrow.

I’m going to check next time I’m there, which might be tomorrow, because I’m there almost every day.

Amazon does have them in 12” units, but most of them from my searches are either expensive, shipping from out of country and getting expensive due to importing fees, or not available at all.

It might just be me, but I’m willing to drop the money on materials in hopes that I can get the end result I want. I love testing ideas and making mistakes. I spent a lot of time contemplating not gluing as well, but then again, I couldn’t find the hinges you were talking about. And hey, if my lid doesn’t work out, I’ll post it here and everyone gets a free lesson on what doesn’t work and the opportunity to find a solution that will! So not a total loss!
 

ClownLurch

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Tape mesh to cover any holes on top?
Tape lead strips to the bottom of any mesh that has to hang down the back in order to allow cables/air pips to exit tanks. Will help keep the mesh tight to outside of rear glass to avoid escapes?
 

PheonixKingZ

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I have a Nerite snail in my 29g tank. The black rim prevents her from climbing out.

I don’t have a lid on any of my tanks - they never fit my equipment. :unsure:
 

eatyourpeas

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I’m going to check next time I’m there, which is almost every


I’m going to check next time I’m there, which might be tomorrow, because I’m there almost every day.

Amazon does have them in 12” units, but most of them from my searches are either expensive, shipping from out of country and getting expensive due to importing fees, or not available at all.

It might just be me, but I’m willing to drop the money on materials in hopes that I can get the end result I want. I love testing ideas and making mistakes. I spent a lot of time contemplating not gluing as well, but then again, I couldn’t find the hinges you were talking about. And hey, if my lid doesn’t work out, I’ll post it here and everyone gets a free lesson on what doesn’t work and the opportunity to find a solution that will! So not a total loss!
Here are the pictures. The lid is made of two halves lengthwise, and I slide the light front or back out of the way depending on which side I want to open, otherwise, it sits in the center.

PXL_20201120_174222388.jpg PXL_20201120_174259391.jpg PXL_20201120_174328278.jpg

Enough room for air, not for escapees! ;)
 
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Naterjm

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That’s good to know, I don’t need to rush any projects then.

I have decided though that I will go ahead with the project, just as an experiment.

I also think I’m going to get better lighting from my canopy as well, and I can switch up the lighting in the future if I want a suspended light or something.

@eatyourpeas thanks for posting those pictures, I’m going to add that to my arsenal of ideas for the future, maybe I use that one on my 10gal
 

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