How to Make an Aquarium Lid?

An aquarium lid is a vital, yet overlooked part of the overall aquarium setup.

While many prefer to keep their aquarium uncovered, others believe that it’s absolutely necessary to have one.

Having an aquarium lid helps in maintaining the thermal stability of the tank and also reduces the evaporation rate.

With an uncovered tank, you will have to add in water more frequently.

Moreover, the lid also prevents the fishes from jumping out, objects to fall in, and keeps your pets such as cats away from the fish.

While aquarium lids are commercially available, it is fairly easy and affordable to create one on your own.

Whether you want a glass lid or acrylic lid to cover your aquarium, this guide can easily help you create an aquarium lid for yourself.

Steps to Make a Glass Aquarium Lid

Glass lids are considered more effective and durable for the aquarium.

If you want to cover your aquarium with a glass lid, then follow these three simple steps:

Step 1: Measuring the Aquarium

First of all, you need to measure your aquarium to determine the right size of the lid.

The lid should be able to rest on the inner ledge of your aquarium’s rim. Therefore, you should measure the tank from one inside edge to the other.

Secondly, you also need to determine how far you want the lid to extend across the aquarium.

It is ideal to leave some open space, about 2” inches at the back, to avoid having the filter spraying water or contact the glass.

Moreover, this open space also allows for easily dropping the food in the aquarium without having to remove the lid.

Step 2: Finding the Right Glass Piece

Once you have the right measurements, you can head on to a hardware store or a specialty glass store to get a glass piece cut in the right dimensions.

A single pane of glass won’t cost you more than $20. Make sure to give them the right dimensions and pick the glass you want.

Step 3: Attaching Hooks

All you have to do now is attach the glass pane on top of the aquarium.

You can attach clear mini hooks on the corners of the aquarium to work as handles, so you can simply fix the lid on them.

Since these hooks are clear, they can easily blend in.

When you’re buying hooks, make sure you are getting good-quality ones that are sturdy enough to hold the glass pane in place.

The handles make it easy to lift off the lid when needed.

You are done! It is extremely simple to make a glass lid for your aquarium without investing much money or effort.

These glass lids are sturdy enough to last for a long time. All you have to do is clean them every month.

Steps to Make an Acrylic Aquarium Lid

You can also make an acrylic lid for your aquarium if you have an acrylic aquarium or if you prefer it over a glass top.

Here are the easy steps you will have to follow:

Step 1: Taking the Measurements

Start by measuring your aquarium’s rim with a ruler or tape measure. Be sure to measure the outer dimensions as the lid will cover all sides of the rim.

Next, you can trace an outline of the rim on top of the acrylic sheet using a felt-tip pen or permanent marker.

These markings should be made on the protective film which covers the acrylic and comes off.

Step 2: Cutting the Acrylic Sheet

Use a plastic-cutting blade to carefully cut along the markings you made on the acrylic sheet.

Make sure you are wearing protective eyewear whenever you cut acrylic pieces.

You should also use sandpaper to smoothen the edges of the material.

Step 3: Checking the Dimensions

Once you have cut the acrylic sheet, put it on your aquarium to make sure that you got the dimensions right.

Next, mark the locations and size of the cords and other devices that have to pass the lid to enter the aquarium.

These might include air tubes, on-tank filters, pumps or filters, and cords for heaters.

Step 4: Cutting Out Sections for Cords

Cut out all the sections you just marked for the devices and cords. Be careful about the shape and measurements when making these cuttings.

Use sandpaper to smoothen the edges of the cuttings.

Start cutting acrylic dowels in a way that they fit the black lines inside. These dowels will help in keeping the lid stable and avoid the lid from sliding off.

Step 5: Attaching the Acrylic Rods

Place the acrylic lid on its back and attach the dowels at the corners using silicone.

Be sure to attach them inside the markings you made earlier which indicates the inner side of the lid. Utilize clamps to firmly attach the clamps in place.

Allow the rods to dry off completely before moving on. Now, cover the aquarium to check if the dowels have been fitted right.

Make any adjustments that need to be done to get a snug fit.

Once you have checked if the lid is fitting securely and incorporates all the external devices, simply remove the film from the acrylic sheet and place the lid on top of the aquarium.

Useful Tips to Consider When Making an Aquarium Lid

When making a lid for your aquarium, follow these tips to make the process smoother and easier:

  • Make sure you leave the film on the acrylic sheet throughout the process and take it off once you are positively sure all the measurements are right and the lid is the right fit. Keeping the protective film on will prevent any scratches and chipping of the plastic during the cutting process.
  • An added latch or hasp can be placed to prevent any the lid from sliding off even though both the glass and acrylic lids are sturdy enough to keep the leaping fish in place.
  • Always wear protective eyewear and gloves when you are sanding or cutting the acrylic plastic or handing the glass pane for the glass lid.

Why Do You Need an Aquarium Lid?

Whether or not you should cover the aquarium with a lid or not is a question many ponder on when getting a new tank.

As mentioned above, an aquarium lid reduces the evaporation process among many other benefits.

Let’s weigh in both the pros and cons of covering your aquarium to help you decide:

Pros of Covering your Aquarium with a Lid

Here are some of the many benefits of an aquarium lid:

  • Since the lid will decrease the evaporation, you won’t have to top-off fresh water often. it will also help in lowering the humidity in your room.
  • Various fishes are prone to slithering or jumping out of the tank. Have a snuggly fit lid on top of the aquarium will prevent these fishes from escaping.
  • All the light fixtures are protected from the corrosive salt spray and water splashes with a lid in place. This is particularly beneficial if the lights don’t have protective lenses to protect the tubes or bulbs.
  • An aquarium lid also prevents the salt creep from advancing, giving you enough time to clear it out before it gets worse.
  • Aside from keeping the fishes in the aquarium, a lid also prevents foreign objects from entering and affecting the inhabitants. For instance, it protects the aquarium water from accumulating dust which can otherwise decrease the oxygen from the water.
  • Your fishes will also be protected from your household pets, including cats.
  • The lid also makes sure that the water stays inside the aquarium and prevents any possible splotches and puddles on the floor even when the aquarium experiences a jolt or nudge from outside forces, like a cat, getting hit by a ball while children play catch nearby, or someone accidentally bumping into it.

Cons of Covering your Aquarium with a Lid

Following are some associated cons of having an aquarium lid:

  • A covering on the aquarium reduces the exchange of vital gases at the surface of the water. However, this can be compensated by having a few inches of open space at the back of the lid or through vital protein skimming.
  • Salt and lime deposits might gradually start covering the lid which decreases the penetration of light. This can be prevented with regular cleaning and maintenance of the aquarium lid.
  • The tightly fitted lid can trap the heat inside the aquarium which results in a higher temperature of the water. This is especially true during the hotter seasons. Again, this can be prevented with a small opening at the back adjusting the water temperatures through the electric heater, or keeping the lid open for a few hours during the day.
  • The process of evaporation decreases. Indeed, this is both a benefit and a disadvantage for your aquarium. This reduces the cooling process, adding to the buildup of heat. However, it can be prevented using the same tips mentioned in the above point.

The benefits of having an aquarium lid clearly outweigh the cons which show how essential it is to cover your aquarium.

With that said, it is more affordable to make the aquarium lid yourself with the steps mentioned above.

There are also alternatives to acrylic and glass lids that provide the same benefits, for instance, you can create a canopy for decorative purposes, or make a lid with screening material or mesh.

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