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Rimless Tank Lid Questions

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I'm putting together a rimless tank (39" x 12" x 12") and will probably add a lid to it. Being such an odd size, I know I need to do a DIY lid. Nearly everyone I've seen online makes lids from either glass, polycarbonate or acrylic and then hang them inside the aquarium with clips, so the lid sits down and inside the inner edges of the tank. My question is, why does no one sit the lid directly on top of the top edge of the aquarium? Seems to me it would be more secure sitting on the top edge rather than clips and would square up the look with the edges of the tank nicely (obviously would have cutouts for filter, tubing etc.). But is there a reason why I shouldn't just sit the lid directly on the aquarium edges rather than using clips? Will evaporation seep under it and run down the sides of the glass?

Also, I see online some people drill a few large holes or dozens of small ones for air circulation under the lid (usually in acrylic), and others don't. Assuming the lid has a few cutouts for filter, tubing, heater cord, etc. and is not completely air tight, would you still recommend adding a few large holes or several smaller ones for air circulation? Seems like that might defeat the purpose of trying to eliminate evaporation by giving water more holes to escape from?
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IME water beads up on the underside of the lid and can seep over the sides of the tank. I've tried this with rimmed tanks so would assume it would be the same with rimless tanks.
 

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I did what you are saying for my rimless, and used silicone picture frame bumper pads on each corner, which leaves a nice 1-2 mm air gap. Also cut it short in the front to back direction to have a 1 inch gap in back, or 1/2 gap in front and back. I think I found the idea here:

It worked for me, no water dripping off the sides.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I did what you are saying for my rimless, and used silicone picture frame bumper pads on each corner, which leaves a nice 1-2 mm air gap. Also cut it short in the front to back direction to have a 1 inch gap in back, or 1/2 gap in front and back. I think I found the idea here:

It worked for me, no water dripping off the sides.
Thanks, the bumpers are a good idea. Glad to hear you don't have any issues with water dripping down the sides. Home Depot sells a 3/32" thick glass for around $9 that is the exact width I need and almost the exact length (it would leave a 3" gap along the right side but I need about 2" anyway for my hang on back filter. I may give that a try and if it works I can always upgrade to a thicker glass down the road.
 

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If you make a lid from a sheet of plastic it will warp and become useless in short order. Plastic can be used in lids if its not in a sheet but rather in closed cells like greenhouse panels. BUT it gets extra ugly that way. One of the main reasons to have a rimless tank is for the aesthetics. Glass is a better choice because it won't warp and can be used as a sheet.

If using glass you might want to put a hole in it somewhere so you can grab it easily. If you don't have a means of grabbing it, it will be very difficult to pick it up for feedings, and cleanings and eventually you will probably break it.

There are other options technically. I made a partial lid out of wood to keep my newts from climbing out.



Making a wooden lid is not super easy though so I can't exactly recommend it, but its technically an option.

Another thing to consider is why you are putting a lid on to begin with. You mention concern about evaporation. While full lids will slow down evaporation, partial lids will not do much/anything. Honestly the only reason to have a lid is to keep fish that jump from coming into the tank or to keep out curious cats. In either scenaio a screen or net lid can work very well. There are plenty of diy screen making lids/supplies around online and in stores.

Since you will almost certainly be doing big water changes every week, evaporation is probably not going to be much of an issue for you. Just some thoughts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
If you make a lid from a sheet of plastic it will warp and become useless in short order. Plastic can be used in lids if its not in a sheet but rather in closed cells like greenhouse panels. BUT it gets extra ugly that way. One of the main reasons to have a rimless tank is for the aesthetics. Glass is a better choice because it won't warp and can be used as a sheet.

If using glass you might want to put a hole in it somewhere so you can grab it easily. If you don't have a means of grabbing it, it will be very difficult to pick it up for feedings, and cleanings and eventually you will probably break it.

There are other options technically. I made a partial lid out of wood to keep my newts from climbing out.



Making a wooden lid is not super easy though so I can't exactly recommend it, but its technically an option.

Another thing to consider is why you are putting a lid on to begin with. You mention concern about evaporation. While full lids will slow down evaporation, partial lids will not do much/anything. Honestly the only reason to have a lid is to keep fish that jump from coming into the tank or to keep out curious cats. In either scenaio a screen or net lid can work very well. There are plenty of diy screen making lids/supplies around online and in stores.

Since you will almost certainly be doing big water changes every week, evaporation is probably not going to be much of an issue for you. Just some thoughts.
Thanks for all the insight. Yes, glass is the direction I was leaning and it's mainly for evaporation, and to keep fish/snails/shrimp in if that would become a problem. The wood top you made looks great, but my light extends the full 39" of my tank so I can't have any part of the lid being solid, so glass seems like the best route. I found at the Home Depot website a cheap $9 3/32" thick piece of glass that is almost the perfect size (exact depth but about 3" short on the length, which is ok since I needed 2" cut out for my HOB filter anyway. I may buy that glass as a test since it's so cheap and once I get the tank set up, try the tank for a few weeks with no lid, a few weeks with a lid sitting directly on the rim and a few weeks with it propped up a little with bumper pads as suggested. That way I can compare all and see which I prefer for a total cost of $9. If evaporation ends up being minor, I'll go lidless. If evaporation is a problem, I can then invest in a thicker piece of custom cut glass from a local glass shop - someone in another forum got 1/4" custom cut lid with beveled edges and filter area cut out for around $40. I'll post my results but it may be a while since I don't even have water in the tank yet. In the meantime, if anyone else has any insight or experience with using a lid on a rimless tank, pros and cons, photos, let me know.
 

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If you make a lid from a sheet of plastic it will warp and become useless in short order. Plastic can be used in lids if its not in a sheet but rather in closed cells like greenhouse panels. BUT it gets extra ugly that way. One of the main reasons to have a rimless tank is for the aesthetics. Glass is a better choice because it won't warp and can be used as a sheet.

If using glass you might want to put a hole in it somewhere so you can grab it easily. If you don't have a means of grabbing it, it will be very difficult to pick it up for feedings, and cleanings and eventually you will probably break it.

There are other options technically. I made a partial lid out of wood to keep my newts from climbing out.



Making a wooden lid is not super easy though so I can't exactly recommend it, but its technically an option.

Another thing to consider is why you are putting a lid on to begin with. You mention concern about evaporation. While full lids will slow down evaporation, partial lids will not do much/anything. Honestly the only reason to have a lid is to keep fish that jump from coming into the tank or to keep out curious cats. In either scenaio a screen or net lid can work very well. There are plenty of diy screen making lids/supplies around online and in stores.

Since you will almost certainly be doing big water changes every week, evaporation is probably not going to be much of an issue for you. Just some thoughts.
Can you give some more details on how you made the wooden cover? I'm assuming that you had to seal the wood to protect it from moisture. If so, what did you use? Did you add a lip on the inside to keep it secured on top of the tank?
 

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Can you give some more details on how you made the wooden cover? I'm assuming that you had to seal the wood to protect it from moisture. If so, what did you use? Did you add a lip on the inside to keep it secured on top of the tank?
It's made of hardwood, I cut 45 degree angles in the pieces and used titebond 3 wood glue to secure them together. I applied Tung oil to the wood as a finish. There are many better finishes for this application but I already had the Tung oil and it goes on quick. There is a rabbit cut along the edge to hold the top on the tank. I used a router table to make the rabbit.
 
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