View Full Version : Clean lid for aquariums

01-25-2014, 11:51 PM
So I have a breeding system in place... and to help keep the humidity down in the room, and less top off water, I'm looking to place a hood/lid on the tanks.

I currently have spare acrylic I had lying around, which has warped and how hardly serves it's purpose.

The thing that makes this a difficult one is that it has to be clear so the lights can still go into the tank, and my return plumbing flows overtop of the back of the tank and in. So it has to be able to cut a hole out of it.

I'd also like to have a little spot I can use for a feeding hole so I don't have to lift the entire lid every feeding.

There are 2 tanks. 20G long's. 30x12x12 I think.

I've read about clear Lexan... and was thinking about trying it, but for the price of it, I'm sceptical. It's been known to warp with heat also.

Does anyone have any other ideas?

01-26-2014, 12:23 AM
I have 1/4" lexan as a lid on top of mine, and yes it does bend/warp. But only mildly. More has to do with the thickness im assuming. Super easy to just take it off, give it a quick clean and just put it on upside down and let it flatten itself out.
No issues with lack of light getting through as I let mine get dirty as heck with salt, dust, pet hair, etc.

01-26-2014, 12:26 AM
That's my current problem... I can't just flip the panel, as the holes are in certain spots for the plumbing.

01-26-2014, 12:35 AM
my overflow runs over the top as well just as you described. Its really not the end of the world when you flip it over and the holes don't line up.
You could potentially cut another piece that fills the holes in when the piece is flipped.
I haven't actually had to flip my lexan yet, and its been on there for a few months, it does have a bit of a sag to it, but it still sits in place just fine.
When I used thinner Acrylic ( 1/8" i think) I would flip the pieces for a day, once a week, then put them back.

01-26-2014, 12:38 AM
Heres my acrylic lids.
This is while it was flipped to get it to un sag. so you can see the return line on the right side of the tank, and the acrylic with the hole cut for it is right in the bottom left corner of the photo.


01-26-2014, 12:43 AM
That makes sense. I may have to try Lexan first. Thank you!

01-26-2014, 05:01 PM
Have you considered reinforcing your current cover(s) with a piece of rigid material to straighten it out? A section of aluminum angle fastened along the length might do the trick. Yeas ago I tried to keep my display covered with acrylic as well, but too much of a hassle with the bending. I tried welding vertical sections to the warped pieces but that was finicky. Never tried the aluminum angle idea, but might work better in retrospect. Get a few stainless steel screws to fasten the angle to the acrylic. Piece of wood might work too.

Reef Pilot
01-26-2014, 05:31 PM
I use very thin (1/16") lexan for my covers. If you bend a small flange (very easy with thin material) on the end, it holds its shape and remains rigid.

01-26-2014, 06:05 PM
I use very thin (1/16") lexan for my covers. If you bend a small flange (very easy with thin material) on the end, it holds its shape and remains rigid.

A flange, great idea! And you have an instant handle too.

01-26-2014, 06:29 PM
How would you bend the flange? Do you have any pictures of this in action?

01-26-2014, 06:41 PM
How would you bend the flange? Do you have any pictures of this in action?

A heat gun or hair dryer & a way to clamp the piece you're bending. Also a glove so you don't burn your fingers while handling the piece to make the bend. I've seen threads where folks are making cones by putting sheets of acrylic in the oven weighted down in the middle.

I haven't bent any real large pieces, but here's a photo of a small item that I bent a hook on to for hanging on the tank rim. For this all I do is apply heat with the heat gun & once it softens, bend it over the rim & hold it in place with a gloved hand until it cools & hardens back up.

https://tsl4pa.blu.livefilestore.com/y2pnpJWRTJ8RpY0SBJ139pyrFW1GvS5OCJc1cHXMJwCRKGIUMq P_AeMaoqDtZ8njynIEXB56tcalts_9qj_XHWaRReYEnNAbREDj NmtLPP-08M/P1010831c.JPG?psid=1

Reef Pilot
01-26-2014, 07:00 PM
How would you bend the flange? Do you have any pictures of this in action?
I use lexan for a lot of things. Here is sock holder I made for my sump. This is probably the most difficult with multiple bends that are close together.

Various methods can be used, incl sandwiching lexan between two straight edge pieces of wood in a vise. Or can use a rubber hammer over wood. Easier to make the bend (more leverage) before cutting the end off the lexan piece.

Trick is to use the thinnest lexan material you can find. It is light, has good light transmission, and holds its shape after a bend. It is very similar to forming thin sheets of aluminum and other metals. I learned this from building airplanes. As you know, airplanes have to be strong, but also very light. A straight skin only has strength in tension. But a skin with curves and flanges also has strength in compression. That design allows you to use the lightest materials for a given strength requirement.

01-26-2014, 07:30 PM
Guess I should have been a little more clear on my question. I've bent acrylic and formed it before using heat. So that I'm okay with.. Just wondering what the flange has to do with it and how it looks in the end?

01-27-2014, 03:38 PM
Just get concept to build you 2 lids out of glass with the plastic back for plumbing n the plastic joint for lifting a little part for feeding
It's probably cheeper then you think
The lid for my 90g is 2 lids and was $30

01-27-2014, 07:23 PM
The simple solution to your bent acrylic is to take a small 1" piece of acrylic and mount it across the whole lid in a T to the original piece. This serves two functions...it keeps the original one straight and it gathers any humidity to the center and drips back into tank.

01-27-2014, 10:25 PM
I kind of want to stay clear of glass lids as they're being taken off aswel.