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DIY hood project


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Hey guys,

Thought i'd start a thread of a project i'm looking at starting to make a hood for my 3 foot community tank, still in planning faze and sourcing the parts needed but hitting a dead end with some of them or more so wanting to reduce the cost with some of them so was wondering if anyone has any ideas for me.

Basically the concept is a basic hood, brushed aluminium/stainless finish on the outside with 2 LED hydroponics light units under the hood (http://cgi.ebay.com.au/ws/eBayISAPI....=STRK:MEWAX:IT) these look pretty purple so i'm currently waiting to hear back from the seller to find out if i am able to replace the bulbs and if so i will replace a % with white bulbs to bring it to a more natural color. I'm planning on making the top one piece only due to the size of the light fittings being almost the width of the tank. Now first question is that i was considering sloping the entire lid, not to the same degree that you would normally if it was just half the lid but enough to make sure it doesn't look like a plain metal box on top of the tank, my only concern is if this will be too much weight for the hinges, i was going to use a piano hinge almost the whole 3 foot, so it's probably enough but i don't have much experience with this kind of thing. If it is too much weight i was thinking of just putting a clip or two at the front of it to mate with and relieve some of the pressure on the hinge.

One area where i'm having trouble cutting down costs is the top sheet of timber for the lid, one consideration i had is that considering i am finishing it in the brushed aluminium i could simply do the outside rectangle, then a middle brace and 2 diagonal pieces of timber in both squares (does that make sense? Probably not so i'm currently trying to download a free cad program to draw it up, will add once done). I would then secure the lights to the cross members, this would also reduce weight of course and could solve the problem with the hinges too. Alternately, does someone know of somewhere i can find cheap larger sheets of wood to use, admittedly i haven't had the most amount of time so have only tried hardware stores so far, i know there's better places for alot of items but just trying to work out if this is even feasable at this stage. On the same subject, does anyone know anywhere other than a cabinet maker to get brushed aluminium, preferably cut to size.

I was also looking into placing a couple of computer fans in to help control temperature, and was wondering if anyone knows if the regular computer fan controllers go down to the type of temperatures we're concerned about or does it not kick in till it reaches more like 40-50?

I hope all this makes sence and if anyone has any feedback that would be greatly appreciated.

Have a merry Christmas everyone and hope you have a happy and safe holiday period for both you and your scaley friends.



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Hi Paul,

Ive tried to reply to your thread on AquariumLife but Ive been having troubles with my account and cant reply to some threads

I dont know if your seen my light hood but i run 2 80mm coolmaster computer fans on my hood with temp controller

its 2foot and i run 4 24w T5HO's, with all 4 lights on the temp display reads 50-60 but with the fans on full speed it quickly drops to around 25-28

my fans turn on when the lights turn on and i usualy just have 2 globes running and fans set to there slowest speed and the temp stays again to around 25-28

Inside my hood is really tight which is harder to cool so with what your planing i think 2 80mm or 120mm fans will work a treat

The link to the leds dont work for me but im pretty sure ive seen the ones your taking about, there are other units like this that i have seen on AL that use white leds and give a nicer look then the purple colour ones

As for the design im a little confused of what your describing but it dosnt take much for me to get confused ( ill have to wait to see your cad )

but i also have used a long piano hinge on a 3foot hood and worked well but the front and sides of my hood rested on the tank to take the weight

Like i said its hard for me to get a picture of your design but when you say your after wood have you considerd MDF? its pretty stong,cheap and comes in alot of sizes and different thickness

the only problem with using mdf is that you would have to waterproof the inside since condensation will get in there and destroy it, the outside would be fine since you will have the brushed sheets on it

anyways man i hope that i at least help a little with the fans and look forward to checking out your design piccys

Edited by divy
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Thanks heaps mate. Yes i have seen your 2 footer, it was one of the main ones that inspired me to take on this project.

I hadn't really thought about MDF, haven't have much to do with MDF because i was under the understanding that it wasn't very good around water, but after doing some reading i think you're right about simply sealing it and save some $$ and weight. Just one question, what did you use to seal the edges in your hood.

Am going to pick up the first supplies this week some time and start on the base.

Can't wait to have enough light to plant out my tank properly :-D

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Ok, i got very frustrated with free versions of CAD programs and wasn't buying one so ended up sketching my thoughts out in paint, i hope this makes it a bit clearer.

This is a front on view of the sides, demonstrating how i plan on sitting it on the tank


This is a birds eye view of the base


This is a front view of the rear support showing ventilation ect (the fans are lower than where they will actually be of course)


and finally this is the fish eye view of the lid with the lighting panels. I am putting the lattice of pine or even just ply so that the MDF or other choice of lid is not holding the weight of the lighting fixtures.


All edges will be sealed several times and then any edge visible to the outside will recieve brushed aluminium to finish it off. Inside edges will be painted black.

Edited by volvodriver
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