Building an Aquarium Canopy

Building an Aquarium Canopy

I would like to discuss different ideas on how to build an aquarium canopy.

Aquarium Canopy Lighting Tips

Building a canopy is pretty simple if you keep a few tips in mind.

  • Lighting is the first thing you need to take care of, while building a canopy.
  • You need to decide prior, on how high your lighting should be, how long the light fixture should be, etc.
  • As an alternative, you can go for the lighting on the aquarium, with which, you will have more options, on how your lighting should be.

Canopy Examples

This ideal aquarium canopy is built for a 90-gallon aquarium. The frame, which is the first thing to start with, needs to be built in such in a way that, it sits on the on the top of the tank. For the frame to sit properly, the outside measurements of both the wooden frame and the fish tank need to be same. When the lighting is not wider, these measurements should do.

For the back and sides, 2X2 inch lengths of solid pine were used, and for the front, a 3/4 by 4-inch solid pine. Opt for grade wood screwdrivers and wood glue; you will need a lot of it.

Adding angled supports is pretty important for your frame to sit, and balance properly on the aquarium. On the picture, you can see an angled support on the right-hand side corner. Due to the internal overflow on the left corner, there was no angled support, used on this corner. In case, the aquarium does not have an internal overflow, then angled supports on both the corners are highly advised.

Using the Wood glue and screws, the back piece was then added. 3/4 inch solid pine, was used as the paneling. To avoid splitting up the wood, the holes for the screws were, pre-drilled; this is only the case with the harder pine wood. If you are using softer wood like pine, then pre-drilling won’t be necessary.

Canopy Sides

In the next step, the sides were added. The side pieces and back pieces should be attached from the inside of the canopy, and not from the outside. This is important, in order to hide the screw heads; in case the wooden pieces are attached from outside, the screw heads will be visible, and the holes will have to be filled, in order to cover them.

These pieces will also go 2 inches down past the frame, to allow these pieces set properly, and to avoid the from the canopy falling off the aquarium. This will also give the aquarium, a nicer look by, covering the black trim, that is the aquarium.

Canopy LED Lights

Coming to the lighting, for the LED lights I am using, I am aware that, these need to be at least 6-8 inches above the aquarium.

The LED fixtures I used were 2 inches thick with 1-2 inch thick mounting bar. I have left 10 inches of space above the frame to allow enough space inside the canopy, for the lighting and aeration around the lighting to be effective.

It was for this reason the canopy was designed with, 14-inch wide boards for the back and sides, 10 inches of space above the frame, 2 inches of space below the frame, and lastly, two inches of space for the frame.

To cover the top of the canopy, I then cut and attached a piece, that covered around 80%, leaving 20% of the top, open at the front.

In the next step, lid building was done. It was dry fit, just to make sure, it came right. In order to make the hinge sit on the top of the Canopy, the lid was built in L-shape.

The front of the door drops down by 2 inches behind the frame, just to match up with the sides and the back of the canopy. The L-shape lid was supported by four angled support, as shown.

Vent Holes and Paint Color

In the next step, the vent holes were drilled on the top, back and sides and were put in the rails for the LED mount bar that was prepared earlier.

A little trim on the edges can give a better look. The final touch for this canopy was some wood filler, two generous coats of good quality primer and sealer, and three coats of marine paint.

You can also use good quality exterior paint, in the place of marine based paint. I made sure that the paint had cured before I set it upon the aquarium.

The canopy was painted black, on the inside, as outside, to avoid spending on two different colors of marine paints.

Black was the color because, it went well with an aquarium that it was sitting on. I always like it when my set-ups have a consistent appearance and blends well with the rest of furniture. But, that’s how I prefer things; you can always get your canopy built according to your taste.

Once you have finished building your canopy, be sure to check out our article on the best freshwater fish for indoor fish tanks, in which we cover over 10 types of freshwater fish!!

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