Aquarium cover - DIY
Getting to the equipment of the aquarium, you can not underestimate the importance of such an element as the cover. Special ready-made design can be purchased at the pet store, and even make an order for a model that corresponds to the size of the container. But the cover for the aquarium with his own hands, made of safe materials, will serve no less good service.
Why is it needed?
Aquarium covers perform a number of functions, thanks to which it is possible to keep the aquarium in perfect condition. They allow:
- Reduce the rate and volume of evaporation of water. Without a lid, the volume of water will fluctuate greatly, and the concentration of substances in the aquarium will become unstable. As a result, this will lead to poor state of health of the inhabitants and plants.
- Protect the container from dust, dirt or any foreign objects that may be dangerous to the inhabitants of the aquarium. Sources of pollution are already enough: food remains, fish waste, dead plant particles.
- Use them as a practical element of the overall design of the aquarium. Lamps, which are necessary for the life of both plants and fish, are attached to the lid first. Sometimes other devices are fixed on it, for example, an aerator or a filter.
- Prevent fish from jumping out of the tank. Alas, many species of aquarium fish have an unpleasant tendency to high jump, resulting in the death of fish.
- Maintain optimum temperature in the tank.
Obviously, if you intend to arrange for your pets the most convenient and pleasant conditions in the aquarium, you will have to take care of the lid.
Before you learn how to make a cover for the aquarium, you should understand the designs that are sold in pet stores. Standard aquariums, which are on the shelves, often equipped with a finished cover. They all differ in price and quality characteristics.
- Price segment. The cost of factory design varies widely. It will depend on the manufacturer, on additional elements, on the illumination equipment, on the material. In other words, any aquarist can afford a ready-made cover just by carefully studying the options.
- Dimensions. Of course, not always the lids sold in the store correspond exactly to the size of the aquarium. In this case, the best option is to purchase an aquarium with a lid. But no one has canceled the opportunity to make a cover to order. True, it will cost more.
- Color solution. Most often, the covers on the shelves are made of plastic. Usually they are made in restrained colors - gray, black, light brown. There are also transparent models. If you do not like the colors, it is easy to fix, using self-adhesive film.
- Quality. Properly selected cover will last a really long time. Largely because the finished designs are always made from a single piece of material. No seams, and therefore no leaks. The backlight built into the design, in most cases, changes in the event of a breakdown.
- Backlight. The number of bulbs in the aquarium cover is usually one or two. For some aquariums, lighting is selected in four lamps. Installing additional lighting, of course, is possible, but sometimes it can greatly spoil the appearance of the cover.
Materials for creativity
You can make a homemade cover for the aquarium from a variety of materials. They have their strengths and weaknesses, but one fact is indisputable: all materials are easy to find in ordinary building stores.
On the forums aquarium there are completely different schemes of manufacture. What do homemade covers prefer to do? The most commonly resorted to use: plastic, laminate, foamed PVC, plexiglass and plywood.
It has already been mentioned above that it is from it that the bulk of the caps are made, which can be found on the shelves of pet shops. Aquarists skillfully design covers of its various types, from materials for advertising structures to wall panels. It is important to take into account the strengths and weaknesses of the material, if you opt for it.
To the pluses you can enter a small price and ease of processing. In addition, plastic covers can be made for aquariums of various shapes and any size, and with a careful and high-quality approach to work, they look quite aesthetically pleasing, without spoiling the appearance of the aquarium and not much inferior to factory colleagues. The surface of the material allows you to glue the lid with a self-adhesive film and change the design of the aquarium whenever you want.
The weak side of the plastic cover is the presence of seams. Plastic panels are glued with a special adhesive or superglue, but the sealant, alas, does not take them. Over time, the seams still begin to leak.
Covers of laminated chipboard or laminate rarely prefer to use for aquariums.
Its main advantage is ease of assembly. True, provided that the pieces are already fitted to the size of the aquarium. Assembling a ready-made "designer", pasted over the cover with edging tape, is not difficult.
The disadvantages of such a cover more than the plastic. The most important of them is weight. The material itself is quite heavy, and if the volumes of the aquarium are large (say, 150-200 liters), you can imagine how weighty the lid will be. After all, you regularly have to remove it and put it back during cleaning and cleaning the aquarium. In the worst case, you can not hold the design and damage the container.
In the manufacture of such a cover using metal fittings. Obviously, the risk of rust is very high. To design served for a long time, the metal elements will have to change and lubricate, and it is also unnecessary trouble.
The important point is the quality of the material. If you choose a low-grade one, the cap will last very, very briefly. Even if you install excellent ventilation. And on the aesthetic side: changing the color of the cover is no longer possible. Of course, you can try to glue the laminate with a film, but such an experiment clearly does not improve the appearance of the aquarium.
PVC is today one of the most popular materials for the manufacture of covers.
According to many aquarists, he has enough advantages. Foamed PVC is light, but it is quite strong and tough. He is not afraid of water, and it is easy to handle. The parts are glued with a special adhesive, which is sold in many building materials stores.
In addition, PVC sheets are white and easy to paint, as well as to finish with various materials, including film. With a great desire to really find colored PVC.
On the downside, opponents of PVC include relative fragility, fading, and the question of the toxicity of this material.
This material, unlike ordinary glass, is lighter, and the plexiglass cover will not be troublesome during cleaning. Plexiglas product is transparent, which means it will not be an extra stain in the interior. But it is quite difficult to handle, therefore, it is rarely used to use it.
Not the best option to cover the aquarium. Plywood is very quickly exposed to moisture. From which it follows that as a result the lid of plywood will crack and become unusable. So is it worth the time and effort to make it?
Of what material to design the cover for your home water kingdom, you decide. Whether it is PVC, plexiglass sheets or several wall panels, it is worthwhile to start making an aquarium cover only when you are firmly confident in your abilities and capabilities.
The manufacture of this design requires not only accuracy and diligence, but also the presence of certain skills. Ignorance of the rules for working with materials and, as a result, improperly assembled cover can cause significant harm to the inhabitants of the aquarium. The desire to save can result in a source of greater costs. Therefore, if there are doubts or fears that the appearance of the product will spoil the interior and harm the pets, it is better to go to the pet store and purchase a ready-made cover.
We make a cover for the aquarium with backlight
The cover for the aquarium can be bought in specialized stores, but it may not be suitable for your tank in terms of quality or size. There are many inconveniences that you have to face after installing the factory cap. Among them:
- Factory models of covers are not always suitable for a non-standard size aquarium.
- The factory covers use 2 electric lamps, but they are not enough to create the perfect lighting.
- Cleaning the tank will be inconvenient, since such a mechanism is disassembled in parts. It is also inconvenient when replacing water.
- The aquarium cover may be close to the surface of the water, which will cause the formation of strong condensate. Low landing mount will affect the temperature of the water, raising it by 5 degrees or more.
- The intake mechanism of water for the filter is inconvenient to install because of the narrow compartments for wires and tubes.
- There is no ventilation system.
Making aquarium cover
It is best to make a cover for the aquarium with your own hands. First you need to decide on the material. The most affordable and best option is foamed polyvinyl chloride (PVC). It is inexpensive, not heavy, tough and has waterproof properties. The material is easily cut with a stationery knife, which will allow you to build the desired structure. In addition to polyvinyl chloride, you will need such tools and materials:
- Stationery knife for cutting PVC.
- Aquarium glue for plastic. It is not recommended to use PVA glue and super glue, which emit toxic substances. If there is no possibility to buy such glue, then the finished product will have to be aired longer.
- Silicone sealant and gun.
- Rubber gloves, simple pencil, ruler (30 cm).
- Corners from plastic 4 pieces.
- Self-adhesive wallpaper or acrylic paint.
After all the parts are assembled, you can begin the work on making the cover for the aquarium with your own hands. The aquarium cover should be capacious, and should contain integrated lighting and an external filtration system. The height of the bonded design is selected with the ability to hide all the details in it. Other lid parameters, such as width and length, should fit the tank size and allow some air out of the gap.
Make all measurements using a ruler and a pencil. Leave the markings on the PVC sheet. Take a stationery knife, and cut the necessary details. The material is easily cut, does not crumble, does not break off. Next, glue the sides to the base of the cover. This should be done in a room where the windows are open and there is access to fresh air. As a result, you get a box with equal edges.
See how to make a cover for the aquarium with your own hands. Part 1.
Having retreated three centimeters from the top edge of the cover, glue one plastic corner in all the inner corners. It will serve as a support for the upper body of the cover. You can create a few more edges from the same plastic. Due to the stiffness of the material, the support will stay stronger.
Turn the cover over so that the base is at the bottom and place it on a newspaper or paper. Take the sealant with silicone, and glue all the places of the seams. When the adhesive layer dries, you can proceed to the next step.
With a stationery knife, one or two cuts should be made for the necessary hoses and wires; cut out the feed door to the fish. You can also cut a hole to replace the water, soil siphon (so that the hand, the hose, the carrying net are pushed into it). Size of each hole, choose any - the main thing is that in the future the aquarium is easy to maintain. As a cover for each hatch, you can use PVC, which remained.
In size it should correspond to the parameters of the hole, and 2-4 cm of its side should be larger. Then the cover for the hatch will fall comfortably and will protrude slightly. Inside, the product can be pasted over with self-adhesive wallpaper, foil, and externally, the lid can be painted with acrylic paint, or not painted at all. Now the design can be considered finished.
See how to make a cover for the aquarium with your own hands. Part 2.
The next step - making lights for the aquarium do it yourself. It is also easy to make, but you need to comply with all safety measures - wearing rubber gloves, avoiding contact with water. Into the aquarium cover should be built-in appliances for lighting - lamps. You must first buy two LED, two energy-saving lamps and cartridges for each of them. This amount of light is suitable for lighting a 150 liter tank.
Connect the wires from the lamps to each other, and insulate them. It is better to glue a piece of plastic material to the cartridge of energy-saving lamps so that the lamps do not touch the base of the aquarium cover. It is important to remember that lighting devices and wires should not reach the surface of the water. Carefully measure all the details so that you get a solid and durable design. The stiffeners are necessary to ensure that the lid on them lies at the correct height to the aquarium.
Do not forget that at each stage of work all surfaces must be degreased, and then glued. To avoid the ingress of toxic substances into the water, the cover should be left for ventilation. Day or two on the balcony - and it will be ready for use. After that, you can install it on the aquarium, and check the performance. If you did everything right with your own hands, the construction will be solid and reliable for a long time.