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Discussion Starter #1
Do you think it is better to have a glass top or an open top?

Open Top Pros:

Some plants can grow up out of the water
I can buy a light with those cool mounting legs
It's easier to clean because no hood is in the way

Open Top Cons:

Water evaporates faster
Dust can get in the water
A fish might decide to jump out

What do you think?
 

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I'm facing the same problem. I want an open top, but I hate the associated fish loss when they go suicidal. There's gotta be a more ingenious approach than just all or nothing, right?

Couldn't we employ some sort of device that would prevent fish loss (at least as much as possible) and also allow full access to the tank itself?

Someone (in an industrious nature) should come up with a device that'd allow all that.

kev.
 

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I really like my open top but the evaporation is crazy and my tank is tall enought that the kids can't get into it.:icon_roll
 

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I'm facing the same problem. I want an open top, but I hate the associated fish loss when they go suicidal. There's gotta be a more ingenious approach than just all or nothing, right?

Couldn't we employ some sort of device that would prevent fish loss (at least as much as possible) and also allow full access to the tank itself?

Someone (in an industrious nature) should come up with a device that'd allow all that.

kev.
On aircraft carriers there is a net that runs around the boat to catch anyone that falls over. You could build a catch net :p
 

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i used to run an open top but the water evaporated too much for my liking.
i would not have minded if the tank was closer to the faucet but in my situation adding water every few days was a pita for me. not worth it imo.
that was the only reason i decided to put the glass tops back on.
 

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light glare with open top

If you like to view your tanks from below the water line you might find the light glare from one of those lights-on-legs to be annoying. I just took the legs off my fixture, now my lights are closer to the surface, so I see the underside of the fixture less. On my old open top setup I would block the light with a long piece of black plastic that I regularly knocked on the floor or into the tank.

But open top is great for working in the tank!
 

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There are Wood covers for tanks that have a liftable front edge so you can easily feed/work in the tank when needed. They keep the bright lights under a full canopy of wood to make it impossible to be blinded while observing the tank. They have the con of being kinda spendy unless your good with wood and hand/power tools. You would have to use light fixtures that mount underneath the canopy and can be turned off when the acces hatch is open. No glass top then required. Unfortunately the water evap problem still exists without tight glass tops so you have to decide which method is best for you.

This is the "Best" method I have seen and use it on any tank that is in reach of the kids...
 

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A huge pro of the open-top was missed (IMO) - being able to look down into the tank from above; giving a whole new perspective. This especially holds true if you suspend your lighting.

Fish fatalities can be reduced by choosing "non-jumpers" and designing your aquascape so that the fish retreat to a dark area, rather than jumping when they become startled. Evaporation is certainly a significant "con". I overcome this problem by using an auto-topoff system. Mine is plumbed into the RO circuit - which also runs to the refrigerator/icemaker. But, you can also use a sump with the same topoff system or an overflow.

As mentioned by Minsc, there are some tanks that do look better enclosed with a top. It all depends on the look you want. Open-top has a fresh and natural look. Closed creates the illusion of a "framed world". Both have dramatic effects on the overall look.
 

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Consider the high top:

The top consists of a suspended billiards type canopy being the reflector and lights directed down into the aquarium; this canopy is a foot above the aquarium and this foot is a wall of clear Plexiglas, all 4 attached by locking hinges to the top canopy, allowing them to be folded away when you need to work on the aquarium.

1. Allows emerged growth.
2. Stops high evaporation.
3. Retains jumping fishes.
4. Allows view from aquarium top.
5. Cuts out light glare.
6. Keeps out dust and interference from pets and kids.
7. Hinged side walls fold away to allow easy access while working on the aquarium.
 

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I have the advantage of no kids and a cat that's scared of water to the point that she will not even come near the fish tanks!

I'm definitely going to try the open top with my 55 as I set it up. The idea of a catch net for the tank is cute . . . I'm just not much of a handy person myself. My DIY projects look like pre-school projects . . .

As someone mentioned in the thread, I'm into the "looking down" part of viewing the aquarium. For me, all of my past open tops have been much more "intimate" in terms of relationship. Even if it's topping off the water each day, it just makes me feel more interactive with my tank and its inhabitants. I suppose that's my primary purpose for the open-top.

As for filling it with "non-jumpers," I can't recall looking back on 21 years of fish keeping, any breed of fish I've not discovered (somewhere along the line) on a floor, dead. Maybe I just end up with anxious fish, who knows?

If anybody's found a pic of one of those handy catch net things, I'd love to see it.

Kev.
 

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The ADA tanks come with a nice glass lid that addresses the trade offs for both and still keeps the good parts of an open top.

You have a nice unobtrusive lid with nice brackets to hold the glass lids on, these are removed for events, photo shoots, maintenance etc.

What's with this "either or" business?
A DIY version can be made if you poke around in the hardware sections and get some nice glass lids made.

Regards,
Tom Barr
 
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