View Full Version : Build Your Own Canopy/Hood

11-17-2009, 08:07 PM
Anybody have any good sites/ideas for building your own aquarium hood?

11-17-2009, 11:01 PM
Use lightweight wood, and make the doors as big as you possibly can.

Using killz on the inside of the canopy also works really well for mildew prevention, as well as giving some extra reflectivity.

I added trim around mine to frame the whole tank. It works great and covers up the seams, and since its attached with velcro, makes taking the top off really easy.

Basically I just made a frame for a box that covered up the top of my tank and was open on the bottom. I added some 6" legs to it, to give me room to run any HOB equipment I may need to and covered it all with super thin plywood. Cut out three doors in the front (did not make them big enough at all) and added some trim to them (hardest part. PITA getting them all in place right) and two huge doors on the top. For the front doors I used brass furniture hinges and the top doors have heavy duty gate hinges.
Added some trim to the outside edges, painted it all black.
To make an 8' canopy, the whole thing ran me about $150 including paint. Had it done over a weekend. Make sure and have some wood filler on hand, or I suppose regular spackle would work. If you are half as clumsy as me you will get dings in the wood and its nice to be able to fill them before you paint.

And of course, measure twice, cut once.

Good luck! It is a great feeling looking at it and knowing you made it. plus you can cater it to your specific needs.

Power tools I had- drill, jigsaw,circular saw, dremel.
Power tools I wish I had- rip saw, router. would have cut almost half a day off of the job.

Hope this helps!

11-17-2009, 11:48 PM
They are not hard to build!
I laminate boards together and plane them down.It looks so much better than plywood.I build the inside to fit tight around the outside of the tank.
I install trim around the inside for the canopy to sit on the edges of the tank.
Lighting is your choice.I just go with single or double strip flourescent shop light fixtures.

11-18-2009, 12:17 AM
i dont mean to hijack, but northernguy i see the light you go is the common one you see in hardware/building supplie stores. Just curious as to what bulbs you have in it?

11-18-2009, 12:50 AM
There are 2 36" T-8 bulb for each of my 35s,40 watts each. I don't have any access to buy nice live plants.When I do I will add more lights.
My 6ft tank has a 4 ft double light fixture.
Its also really easy to install a moon light in a homemade canopy!

11-18-2009, 02:27 AM
How high is that above the water NG? Looking to do something similar soon.

11-18-2009, 02:37 AM
They are fairly easy to build! I'm in the middle of mine for my 125 right now, here's a pic of the one I'm using as a "reference", very popular design...


I've found that mine will wind up being a bit more expensive then I had set out for, but ultimately it's much cheaper than buying one at retail cost...

11-18-2009, 04:11 AM
Thats a nice canopy design but you canot use the top.lol
I like to use the top on my tanks for plants and stuff.I usually make the doors fold down.I have been thinking about sliding doors this time though! lol
I haven't made up my mind yet.

AABatteries the light bulb is 4 1/2" above the water.
Thats just a regular bulb in the pic,not the t-8.

11-18-2009, 12:31 PM
Okay, thanks NG.

11-18-2009, 08:30 PM
Directions for building a HEX canopy?? I have a 35g hex tank, and right now my lights are resting on top of a plexiglass "cover" I cut to size. It isn't pretty, the lights hang over the edges, and I have to move them every time I want to get into the tank.

Making a rectangular box is fairly straight-forward. Making a HEX box isn't so easy. I'd really like some help in this regard, if any's available. I have tools I can use (hubby's), but I really would need plans of some kind. I've asked the only person I know with woodworking experience a couple of times if he'd help me, but I get a very lukewarm response.

I'd feel a lot of pride in making it myself...as long as it comes out decently!


11-18-2009, 09:00 PM
If you cut the wood at a 30 degree angle you can assemble it just like you would a normal canopy. Same concept just with more sides and different corner angles.

11-19-2009, 12:28 PM
I was wondering how to figure out the angle I needed; I knew it wouldn't be 45 degrees!

30 degrees it is! Thanks for the push in the right direction. :22:

11-19-2009, 02:57 PM
Its easier said than done to make a canopy for a octo tank.
Your angles have to be perfect to get anything to match up.
Build a frame to sit on the edges of your tank first.Your cuts I beleive will be at a 22 1/2 degrees.
The canopy wraps around the tank and the frame on the inside holds it up on the tank.
You will have to figure out what kind of light and how it can mount up in the hood.
How you want the door to open and build from that.
I don't have a design or plans drawn out.I just build as I go! lol

11-19-2009, 03:35 PM
is it an octo or hex tank?

11-19-2009, 05:34 PM
I have zero woodworking skills, simply because I've never tried making anything.

I have the original (All Glass) hood for the tank, which I can use as a template of sorts, adding to the edges the width of the trim on the tank, because the hood was meant to rest on the inside lip. I think I have a protractor somewhere, which will allow me to measure the angles of the seams. I could make a mock-up out of cardboard or similar "junk" material until I got it right.

I'll need to get new light fixtures because I'm not going to "cannibalize" the one I have (will work for my 20g, should I want to set it up). I've been looking at shop lights, but haven't found any under 4ft in length. I need about 24" length, and 100w (3 wpg).

Could prove interesting....

11-20-2009, 12:44 PM
I measured the angle of the trim, and it's 60 degrees. To make the frame come out right, I need to cut my joins at 30 degrees.

Kudos, aji1217. :22:

11-20-2009, 02:42 PM
Sorry I was thinking 8 sides not 6.