Glass Top - Can It Be Too Thick? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-03-2014, 02:35 AM Thread Starter
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Glass Top - Can It Be Too Thick?

hey guys - heres a little project i undertook recently when i wanted to replace the cover on my tank for an all glass one.
those that might have seen some of my previous posts know that im struggling with inadequate lighting issues that im working on resolving BUT in the meantime i have asked myself this question a few times and figured i finally wanted an answer.
the glass top i went with is two pieces of 1/4 glass. i hacked some window hangers to serve as handles for the piece that i move / lift the most for access and feeding. is 1/4" too thick? could this be working against me in the lighting department?
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-03-2014, 02:50 AM
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I can't give you a scientific answer in terms of PAR, but in my opinion, glass tops impede light penetration when they just get dirty. Film on the bottom and dust on the top. This opinion comes from a guy that just got the last 105G on line this morning in a 900G fish room and each tank has 1/4" glass tops. Certainly not all densely planted, but each has a dish garden. And as a bonus I can put my coffee down on any of 'em, lol!

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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-03-2014, 02:58 AM Thread Starter
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thanks for the feedback Bushkill!
yeah - i do try and keep'em clean but for some reason i just keep wondering about this. and wondering weather i should have just went with the 3/8" you know. the original little glass window (which i broke trying to clean) that was on the lid where the lamp sits on the original cover for the tank was 3/8" im sure, so i just keep 2nd guessing myself.
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-03-2014, 03:04 AM
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i just keep 2nd guessing myself.

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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-03-2014, 03:07 AM
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i wouldnt worry too much about light loss, depending on the light you run it wont matter. i do not run tops on any of my tanks not because of light diffused on them but because im always working on them and the tops would just get in my way.
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-03-2014, 03:12 AM Thread Starter
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i personally think i would keep a top pff too but after seeing the dust accumulation and my dogs hair a few times on there - i think in my case it would be wise to keep it on.
either way thanks for the feedback of course and reassurance.
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-03-2014, 03:15 AM
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i wouldnt worry too much about light loss, depending on the light you run it wont matter. i do not run tops on any of my tanks not because of light diffused on them but because im always working on them and the tops would just get in my way.
I work on mine a lot as well, and was running topless, but the way my new kitten eyeballs the tank I figured it's worth the hassle to keep him out of the tank
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-03-2014, 06:55 PM
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Glass tops will reduce PAR, about 10-25% if memory serves, keeping it clean and hard water stain free will help keep you toward the bottom end of that scale.

I couldn't run glass tops for a different reason, I need air moving across the surface to help prevent heat buildup and keep the tank cool. On the other hand, on my planted 75G Discus tank (Kept at 86 deg) I use glass tops to keep the heat in and just have the light levels a hair higher to compensate.

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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-03-2014, 07:03 PM Thread Starter
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10 - 25% !?!?!?!!!~!
wow!
yeah - i do try to be pretty attentive to water stains and too much moisture. i'd say about every other day or so - im wiping them down clean to avoid any build up.
the little window on the original lid which i broke trying to clean was absolutely filthy and stained beyond repair so i wouldnt want these ending up like that. it makes sense in the world though to try and keep'em as clean as possible so the light can do its job. wishing i would have gone with the 3/8 to maybe cut that 10 - 25% down a little.
thanks for chiming in Whiskey!
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-03-2014, 11:08 PM
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1/4" is good and sturdy.
If you went just a little thinner it would probably hold up just fine.
If you went too thin it would be quite delicate, not safe.

Between the first 2 alternatives I do not think the light is going to be a problem either way.
You might get more light through the thinnest glass, but I would not risk it.

Keeping the glass clean is probably more important than worrying about the glass thickness.
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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-08-2014, 02:29 PM Thread Starter
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absolutely with you on this. i can feel it when handling them to clean them that they're good and sturdy, while when i handled the little piece of 3/8 sample they had on the counter, i could feel a huge difference. i think i would have been okay with the 3/8 too. wishing i would have went that route. even though there was that difference - i think it would have been fine. doing a pretty good job at keeping them clean too though.

im in the process of switching out my light for one that offers more light, kelvin wise, and par wise.... but im wondering if i should look for an alternative cover all-together.
any thoughts or opinions on window screening? i even thought about something like the mesh netting that fish nets are made of.
(should i start a separate thread for this? ie:"Aquarium Lid Alternatives")
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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-08-2014, 02:40 PM
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Window screen cuts out light, too. Not sure how much.
It is used when you want the air flow of an open top, but have fish that jump. It offers no protection at all to the light fixture. Splashes can go right through it and invade the electrical parts of the light (depending on the details of the fixture, of course!)

You can make your own window screen from parts available in most hardware stores, and test it out. Once you have made the frame you can try any of several materials as the fabric part. To find different grades of netting look in fabric stores and garden stores.
In garden stores there is a black mesh sold for protecting fruit trees from birds. The mesh is about 1" x 1". In fabric stores you will probably be looking at material sold as Tulle. Either of these are filmy enough to allow most of the light through. I am very leery about the garden store material. I used it over a pond to keep out raccoons. The raccoons went through it anyway, and the mesh ended up in the pond where it caught several fish. Between the mesh and the raccoons I lost a lot of fish. :-(
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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-08-2014, 03:21 PM Thread Starter
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yeah im sure theres still gonna be some light cut but i just feel like no way can it be close to the amount that the 1/4" glass is cutting. more than anything, what does worry me is dust and hair. the hair concern thanks to a furry long haired jack mix! LOL!
fashioning the frame - im not too worried about. im pretty crafty when it comes to that stuff. its securing the materials that i was having a hard time with as well as, still, the concern about the dust and hair.
too bad about the the incident too. if you were'nt so far away, i'd lend you my little fur ball who would make short work of the racoons.
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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-08-2014, 03:36 PM
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Originally Posted by luky View Post
hey guys - heres a little project i undertook recently when i wanted to replace the cover on my tank for an all glass one.
those that might have seen some of my previous posts know that im struggling with inadequate lighting issues that im working on resolving BUT in the meantime i have asked myself this question a few times and figured i finally wanted an answer.
the glass top i went with is two pieces of 1/4 glass. i hacked some window hangers to serve as handles for the piece that i move / lift the most for access and feeding. is 1/4" too thick? could this be working against me in the lighting department?
Hi luky,

Here are the results I got from a PAR meter; the results were interesting. It was a standard 30 gallon (36" length) with an 2X36 watt (6700K) AH Supply kit over a Aqueon Versa-Top (3/16" clear glass). With new bulbs and no glass top the PAR = 110; with cleaned Versa-Top in place PAR = 101; with "dirty"* Versa-Top in place PAR = 96. All readings were taken with new bulbs @ substrate level about 13 inches below the fixture. If the glass is clear, I don't believe the 1/16" difference in thickness will impact the results substantially.

*dirty = lots of dried water spots on top; some "etching"; condensation; dust

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75 Gallon, 2X55W AH Supply CF 8800K, 1XFluval F&P 2.0; 45 Gallon Tall, 96Watt AH Supply CF 6700K; 30 Gallon Long; Fluval F&P 2.0; 20 Gallon, 1X26W AH Supply LED; all with CO2 and (Calcined) Montmorillonite Clay
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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-08-2014, 03:52 PM Thread Starter
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wow! thats great stuff Seattle_Aquarist, VERY good info to have and keep on hand. im SURE that will be helpful.
on the other hand - the fixture i was working with (which am in the process of replacing) is:

and my tank is 16" to the substrate ...
either way! thank you for posting that of course!!
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