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DIY - Making a light cover

by Christopher Petrides

The purpose of this article is to give you a simple solution as well as make you think of all the details if you are going to construct something like this...

One of the main problems in small aquariums that are available in the market is the limited amount of light. Most of them with a size of 50 cm or less ussually have a plastic top, and a simple lamp that only iluminates the tank and certainly it is not adequate for plant growth.

With the method we present here it is possible to fit as many lamps as you like (or can fit) in the cover of the tank. It will also give you a great advantage because all the routine maintenance of the aquarium (water changes, plant prouning, planting etc) will be easy to perform, since the entire cover together with the lamps will be lifted leaving you free space.

 

 

 

The tank in the photo is 37 cm length x 19 cm widt. It is mainly used for planting the cuttings of my plants from my larger tanks, as well as raising fry. Since the cuttings come from demanding plants, extra lighting was necessary. The top of the tank is completely open as you can see in the photo. The idea was simple. All it has to be done, is construct a box made of glass that would be placed upon it. Lamps would be placed inside the glass box. There would also be special cuts at the edges in order to pass through any cables from the lamps or thermostats etc.

 

All you need is a bit of imagination and a measure tape in order to figure out the dimensions and shape of the glass.
In order to have a box in the shape of a parallelogram with the above dimensions we need the pieces shown in figure 2. The large piece 37x19cm is the base of the box. The cut that is visible in one edge allows the passage of any cable necessary (e.g. thermostat). The height of the box is 8cm, it is calculated according to the type of lamp that we are going to fit in. The dimensions for the sides have been calculated in a way so to include the width of the glass itself (3mm) when they are joined together with the other pieces. The top consists of two pieces, that are cut in a way that when they are joined by silicone the top cover of the box will be able to open.
 
The first thing is to join the sides on the base glass. Small pieces of self adhesive tape were used to hold the pieces together untill the silicone dries up.

 

The cut that is clearly visible allows the wiring to go through the box, so we can have a perfect fit on the tank. (In our case the wires form the thermostat, the air pump, the air tubes as well as the wires of the lamps will pass through). You have to be carefull and make it wide enough so the plugs at the end of the wires fit too ! (Actually I made it smaller than I should, and since I couldnot cut the glass without breaking it I had to cut the corners of the plugs in order to fit them !)
There is also another way to make the cuts so that they do not come out of the top glass, but on the back side. This way they will be completely invinsible, but a more difficult cut is required.
The top part comes next. A good idea is to use a piece of self adhesive tape and join the two pieces together. This will keep them together and will also provide a firm layer for the silicone joining the pieces. Now comes the waiting part. I ussually leave at least 24 hours for the silicone to dry up.
 
You can see in the photo how the box fits on top of the tank. Next thing to do is to join the top part of the box with the base and wrap it with your favorite type and color of plastic sheet (I used a reddish self adhesive sheet) and you are done !
 

The final result !

Cost
Glass 3mm : 8 €
Silicone : 3 €
Self adhesive sheet : 3 €
 

 

 

 

 

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