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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey,

So this is not technically DIY as I dont have the tools or practical skill to do this myself. I am therefore having the canopy for a 20 Long made custom for me. (alchemy at etsy.com )

I think my design is probably fine, but would like some comments on it as I am kind of guessing on some of this.

Most importantly, I would like to know what are 'best practices' in terms of materials and treatments to prevent the high moisture in the hood from warping or damaging it.








Thanks, Chaos.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I am sure it would look great, but ...

There is an untrustworthy cat in the picture though and I really cant let him have access to the open tank.

The cat, who never (seriously) drinks standing water, started drinking out of the bowls of dechlorinated water i was cleaning the HC in and got really territorial really quick about it. He has not jumped on the tank yet, just walked around the table its on, but I am now positive he would get up there and drink water or go fishing or similar.

Chaos
 

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I wouldn't even consider putting a canopy on that tank , cat or no cat. I would do what ever was necessary to keep the cat off the table the tank is on, or, much better, I would get a stand that is the same size as the tank bottom, so there is no place for a cat to walk. Rimless tanks just go with hanging lights. If you put a canopy on one, you are much better off getting a cheap Aqueon tank or a PetSmart tank, with a substantial plastic rim to support the canopy. Then save that tank for better times.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Hoppy,

This is better times, I finally have a tank again and I only get the one (which I got allowed in my lease). The floor isn't level enough that I want to use a stand the size of the tank, so I like the wider footprint of the desk.

Maybe I can do a more rimless look at some point but for now I am going to do a canopy.

Thoughts on materials / sealing ?
 

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I have made about 3 different types of canopy, as I recall, and all were made of plywood, small pieces of solid wood, or MDF. I finished all of them with a few coats of acrylic clear coat to make them water resistant. All of them withstood the moisture very well. So, I don't think you need anything more sophisticated than that. When the light is on it dries out the moisture inside the canopy, so moisture doesn't really collect there. And, you almost have to have a cooling fan installed in the canopy to keep the lights from overheating, and to keep the lights from overheating the water. That also helps keep the moisture level way down. If you have any worries about moisture you can run the cooling fan 24 hours a day and that will take care of the moisture.

The best design I have seen for a lighted canopy is one I can't find again, but it had the light fixture suspended with a linkage inside the canopy so when the top was tilted back it pulled the light up and back out of the way, so you could easily do maintenance on the tank with the light still on so you could see what you were doing. When you tilt back half of the canopy you tend to end up either with the light still in the way or with it out of the way but pointed at your face. If someone recognizes this description, post a link to that thread - it was very much worth trying to duplicate.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Coat the wood with West Systems epoxy. That's how wooden boats are built.
Thanks!

Hoppy, good point on the fan, I had not considered it. I am still unsure that my 50 W heater will be enough in the 20 gal given a drafty new England apartment with only OK heating. During the summer though a fan will probably be a must. I will look into adding that to my design.

Also, I think I have a fairly good idea for the light which wont be suspended, but resting on rails so it can be pushed to the back of the canopy when I need to get in the tank.

VCA2004 - Thanks, it is nice to know its not to tough to avoid water damage.
 
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