Red Sea DIY Screen Tank cover - Large tank - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old 01-28-2019, 05:03 PM Thread Starter
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Red Sea DIY Screen Tank cover - Large tank

When I purchased my Waterbox tank I also purchased a Red Sea Customizable DIY Aquarium Net Cover. I bought the 60" x 31" kit to fit the inside of my tank (60" x 26" outside footprint) and to accommodate the center rectangular overflow.

First let me say that knowing what I know now about the fragility of the screen material I would probably search for a more robust solution but since it is in place and is performing well I guess serious complaints now are a bit academic. What I don't like now, however, is the inconvenience of the cover in terms of removal and replacement on a large tank. In addition to the overflow I needed to build in cutouts for two Ehiem automatic feeders that are on the end walls. Of course I have a large light that is supported on brackets that also rest on the ends.

Removal of the screen cover without removing the light and the auto feeders is precarious at best and, although I have done it, I do tend to hold my breath a little during the process. Usually during water changes I remove the lights and the feeders and then the screen and this has resulted, in more than one occasion, in one of my Giant Danios jumping to the floor. It each occasion the event was brought to my attention by one of my cats. Luckily I was able to retrieve the fish each time before his interest evolved beyond curiosity. This needs to change and I have purchased another kit (the smallest) with the intent to rebuild the cover in 3 sections.

The intent is to break down the existing screen; cut the long front frame piece to make two pieces that match the length of the two rear frame pieces that extend from the rear corners to the outer edges of the overflow; and build end sections that will cover the the top from the end walls to the outside edges of the overflow. I will then build a center section that will use the inner frame section of the end covers for support.

20190112_190116 by pat w1, on Flickr

This isn't a good pic of the current cover and I plan to take a better one tonight when I get home.

EDIT: Here ya go. A little distorted. I had to go to wide angle on the phone to get it all in.

20190128_174254_HDR[1] by pat w1, on Flickr
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Last edited by Cichlid-140; 01-29-2019 at 02:29 AM. Reason: content
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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old 01-29-2019, 03:40 PM Thread Starter
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The new kit is on order. It's due in Wednesday. I'll wait till Saturday and make the changes while the water is low during a water change. I should be able to get the cuts made and re-assemble in short order. The time consuming part is setting the screen in place and running the spline. The screen is so fragile if you go too fast with the spline you just break the screen along a long stretch and leave a big open gap along the frame.

Planted S. Am. Waterbox 190 (141G dispaly w/sump & stand)
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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 02-05-2019, 03:03 AM Thread Starter
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All done. I didn't have time to take many shots during the construction as it was at low tide during a water change. I wanted to get done and refill ASAP. I run a power head with air so the stock was OK. I just don't like to leave the biofilter idle for too long.

I removed the cover as usual and started the water change. As soon as enough of the water was out I pulled the existing spline and disassembled enough to remove the long front and two back pieces. I then monitored the tank till it was time to stop draining.

I used the back pieces to use as templates for the cuts on the long front piece. Once those were done I checked the two front to back spreaders from the original build and they were the right length (I thought they might be a little long). I then reassembled the outer frame and took it to the tank to check the fit. After I confirmed that, I used two of the extrusion pieces from the new kit to make new spreaders for the feeder cutouts. I mounted the spreader attachment anchor to the inside of the feeder frame section and carried the whole thing to the tank. I pressed the feeder cut out toward the side of the tank and use the spreader anchor I had attached to the other side to mark the spreader for length. After cutting and attaching the spreader I laid out the screen cut it to size plus extra for margin and rolled in spline.

Tips on the spline.
  1. Try to keep the screen material as straight as you can.
  2. Turn up the edges of the screen like the instructions call for. It makes it easier and results in less screen fiber breakage.
  3. Roll in the spline on opposite long straight sides first. It will stabilize the screen and help make for a smooth flat screen. Then tackle any remaining straight side, keeping a side with a cutout for last.
  4. Leave some slack in the screen. It will be taken up when you press it into the channel.
  5. Take your time as much as you can. Going slowly pays off.

The center section was simple compared to the ends, especially since I had the luxury of time. just measure a side, cut a little long. Then check the fit with the two corners attached; hit it a couple of times on the bench disc sander; recheck rinse and repeat.

The function of the new three section cover is head and sholders better that the original single piece. I have enough access to do a water change by removing the center section, so far less danger of escapees winding up on the floor. I have access now to one whole end by removing the center and an end and they can rest on the other end while I'm cleaning the glass, vacuuming, or whatever. Meanwhile the other end stays covered. And at no time during all this is there a need to remove the lights or the feeders.


20190202_174050 by pat w1, on Flickr

20190202_174104 by pat w1, on Flickr

20190204_063942 by pat w1, on Flickr

20190204_064009 by pat w1, on Flickr

Planted S. Am. Waterbox 190 (141G dispaly w/sump & stand)
{new - in progress }
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