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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I plan on building a hood for my 200g tank (see my wonderful drawing)

I will build this out of ¾â€
 

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I would prepare the inside surface for paint and coat it in the brightest white paint that you can find. Then let the paint dry completely and apply at least 3 coats of polyeurethane. I recently saw a thread where someone painted the underside of their hood with mold resistant bathroom paint and the plywood warped due to the moisture. A healthy 3 coats of poly will keep any moisture away from the wood. I say to use bright white paint, because it reflects light very well.

Hope that helps!
 

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The drawing suggests tube lights. I'd go with PCV twist bulbs. Cheaper, more adaptable, more convenient when servicing them and more out of the way for maintaining the tank and filters. White varnish inside, and polished aluminum reflectors -- if you can get them -- between the lights and the canopy to get more light into the tank and to protect the canopy from the heat of the lamp. The polished aluminum is expensive, so the twist bulbs have another advantage since they don't need as much.

Instead of a hinge top, I would have a solid top and put runner boards inside the ends to support the top and when it it lifted, to have a notch near the back that catches the top and supported it in a lifted position.

I would use dowels instead of 2 by 2's. If you do want to use 2 by 2's, what about slicing them diagonally to make triangular strips? Half the weight, most of the bonding surface. Solid oak is pretty heavy. Is that what you are using, or oak veneered plywood?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Enlarge for better view


I already have the 3’ light strips (and bulbs), and the 2x2’s will be 12â€
 

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Is the back solid? I would leave it completely open for aquarium equipment, wires, filters, etc. Closing it in may cut down on the barely noticaable light cast on the wall behind the tank, but it creates a heat trap that can damage everything. If you must enclose it completely, install a muffin fan on one side and a equal size vent on the other.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
The back will be mostly open (2" strip at the top), but I may still install a fan.. Thanks
 

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Painting the inside would be your best bet. An exterior paint would also be a good choice. That way moisture would be a nonfactor. Sealing it with several coats of polyurethane would also be cheap insurance against any water damage. IMO I would use a thinner plywood. 1/2 would be fine. Less weight less cost. Good Luck
:thumb:
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
R-DUB said:
IMO I would use a thinner plywood. 1/2 would be fine. Less weight less cost.
½â€
 

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Mcdaphnia said:
White varnish inside, and polished aluminum reflectors -- if you can get them -- between the lights and the canopy to get more light into the tank and to protect the canopy from the heat of the lamp. The polished aluminum is expensive, so the twist bulbs have another advantage since they don't need as much.
I was thinking about the polished alluminum reflectors and the idea of a coke can poped into my head. With the top and bottom cut off you would have a thin sheet of alluminum with a near mirror finish. It is probably too thin to disipate much heat, but you could rig something up that would allow the can to be mounted maybe 1/2" below the hood and the lights below that. A bolt/screw with a spacer on it should do the trick to allow air to pass between the can and the hood. Also if you left the can a bit curved it would serve to direct the light away from the opening in the back and would probably disipate more heat than a flat sheet.

I am assuming that, since you already have the light strips, they have some sort of housing and you will probably mount that to the hood eliminating the need for the reflectors, but I thought I would throw it out there.

The can seems ideal for the twist bulbs though.
 

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So I am pretty I am the person that Stickzula was referring to - and so you defintely want to put a sealer on the inside as well as the outside. I think its also a good idea to use a mildew resistant paint primer on the inside. I have read several posts of people getting mold on the inside of their hood. My hood is actually very similar to your design except I do not have the break in the top - the whole top of my hood lifts up. I used lift supports instead of hinges. Theoretically they keep the top up when it is opened so it doesnt fall back down. However, there are basically two different kinds of lift supports - cheap and really expensive. I bought some cheap crappy ones so you really have to push it all the way back to make sure its locked in. So I would spend some time looking into that. Originally I wanted to use gas springs (the kind that lift the trunk if you car) because I think that would be so cool, but apparently they are really complicated.

Also, think about whether you want the top of the hood to sit inside the sides or to side on top of the sides. There are pros and cons to either approach.

I would also not make it too high I think aesthetically and practically thinner is better. Most hoods are made very high (I think by high I mean deep) because they open in the conventional way - where the front half of the hood both the top and the sides lift up. So you need to be able to get to the water when the lights are installed. However since your lifts lift up with the top of the hood you don't have that problem. So as far as the height goes you only need to make it deep enough to include the amount that overhangs the tank + the height of the lights + some margin. This "advantage" is why I went with this design. Also the more height you give the hood, the taller you need to be to reach in to the access the tank (this is the disadvantage to this design).

Lastly, if you are going to use molding on the corners of the hood, going with two sepeate pieces to make the top of the hood means you will have to have a break in the moulding on the top - so one can be open when the other isnt. This is one thing I regret about my hood - and I wish I made the top one whole pieces. However, then it becomes a little heavy, especially if you are using 3/4" wood. I am actually trying to think if there is some kind of cheap solid plastic I can use to replace what I currently have, which is two 1/2" pieces of plywood. Plastic would be more water proof and lighter.

Anyway, a few things to think about.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
boredatwork said:
So I am pretty
I don’t know about all that…. :roll:

boredatwork said:
Also, think about whether you want the top of the hood to sit inside the sides or to side on top of the sides. There are pros and cons to either approach.
I plan on making my lid on top of the sides, and the molding will cover the edges..

So what are the pros and cons to this method?

Charlutz said:
It's not perfect, but maybe mine gives you some ideas.
Looks good Charlutz…
Did you use plywood or solid wood?
And what kind of paint did you use inside?

.
 

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The canopy is poplar (light and straight) and the stand is plywood. Next time, I'd use 1x10's for the canopy instead of 1x8's. A full 2" is needed to cover the tank molding. I used exterior house paint for the inside of the canopy. I just use a dowel to hold the top open when I am working in the tank. No gas shocks or anything. :)
 

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Charlutz said:
No gas shocks or anything. :)
Yea, but how cool would that be?

Anyway, I think how you design the top in the hood goes hand in hand with what kind of molding you will use and how you will attach it.

I like the idea of having the front of the hood lift up. Much easier access. But then if you use some type of hinge that can hold the top open, the extra front loaded weight wouldn't work - hence the need for the dowel to hold it open.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Where can I buy, or order a fan for my hood... (muffin fan?)?

.
 

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CICHLUDED said:
Hows the 180 coming along?

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Stand is almost done, 3rd coat of varnish is drying now, I'm on shut-down the week after the 4th so if all goes well..... who knows :wink:
 
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