Mr. Saltwater Tank TV Friday AM Quick Tip #130: Your Canopy Has You (Mostly) Covered


I love canopies for saltwater tanks. Unfortunately a lot of canopies lack this key feature that can help prevent a lot of fish deaths.

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Comments for this article (20)

  • Mark H. says:

    Mark, good tip. I have lost a few fish through those little cracks over the years.

  • JasPR says:

    great tips! Personally, I like that clean, clean look so I fabricated a four sided plexi ‘box’ ( just standing sides with no base or top- like a picture frame only on the vertical as opposed to the horizontal like a true picture frame). It is 6 inches tall and completely transparent and sits into and rests on, the support structure at top of the tank. And of course, the three ecotech LEDs are not obstructed in any way. Now I keep species that are pretty good jumpers– but unless they have mastered the use of sea fans as pole vaults, they aren’t going to clear that 6 inch plexi wall/barrier PLUS the natural water line/tank edge! ( Octopus and Eels need no apply to this challenge!). Indeed in hindsight, 6 inches is probably over doing it and next time 3-4 inches will be used as a transparent wall collar.
    Meanwhile my tank retains that clean, clear,open, unencumbered look.
    For what it’s worth, JasPR

  • Bruce says:

    Great Tip Mark, Please do me a Favor and Let me know the Distance you have you Radions mounted above the Water, Also in a New episode, let us know your experience with them, Setting to share, acclimation mode time, and intensity. So many people have different Ideas and Times. But yours would be most helpful. Thanks Bruce

  • Bruce…my Radions are 16″ off the water line. They are this high as I wanted to build a tall canopy so I’d have easy access to the tank.

  • Carl says:

    JASpr,
    What are the dimensions of your plexiglas box? Do you have to remove it for tank maintenance? Does it stay clean or do you have to treat it like it’s part of the tank?

  • JasPR says:

    Morning Carl, well I’m one of the weirdos that actually finds tank maintenance relaxing! NOT fun mind you, but rewarding once everything is ‘right’, clean and returned to pristine. I think that anyone in the hobby for over three years gets what I’m saying? So to answer your question, it does get some salt creep on it but I just use my RO/Di water line to rinse it and polish it when I’m also cleaning the front and side glass of film and diatoms on the inside and cloudiness on the outside.
    It is six inches high and spans the frame of a standard 120 gallon oceanic tank. If it was lower profile ( as I mentioned 3-4 inches) I think it would be easier to remove and put aside during water changes that include going over live rock with a gravity sucking hose to get at pockets of detritus/dead micro algae ect.
    I also had one on a small aquarium that was made out of fairly thick plexi and it is in two free standing halves that join at the center to form a full rectangle. That way I can remove half the barrier at a time- very easy and easy to clean and place to one side while working.
    I know fellow hobbyists that have done the traditional frame on the horizontal so that the tank looks like a Euro-brack style tank– trouble with that is the ‘flying fish’ can land on the structure and bounce around before ‘hopefully’ falling back in and not OUT and off the structure.
    ON traditional framed aquariums, just measure inside dimensions so the plexi structure sits on the lip. On all glass ( Elos, DAS, deep blue ext) prefab tabs on the unit. The idea is to have the structure sit inside the aquarium top/frame buy you can also make it flush with the glass using a tab system design.
    These units can be used INSIDE a canopy but then they probably should be cut down at points in the front so as to add access as the fish can’t jump out against a canopy wall. Best of luck, JasPR

  • JasPR says:

    P.S. an added advantage , by the way, is that gas exchange is NOT inhibited but evaporation is slowed somewhat as the shaft created seems to slow the ‘dry air/wet air interface at the surface. Minor point and minor benefit but I thought I’d mention it. JasPR

  • Dale says:

    That is a great idea to use screen

  • Carl says:

    JASpr,
    Wow, ask a question and get a REALLY thorough answer! Thanks for the detail. I agree, a pristine tank provides a goal that’s never completely achieved…keeps it interesting (And unexplainable to one’s wife)
    But, we’re getting the forum off subject–have a good weekend.

  • Jason says:

    That is an excellent tip!! Thanks Mark! 🙂

  • Steve Dodd says:

    Hi Mark .The mesh kit that you have over your tank is not available here in the U.K. Have you thought of selling the mesh kit in your shop/book section. Im sure plenty of people over here would be interested in buying one

  • Lecter says:

    Hi Mark,
    Is that the same screen you had on your other tank? The rimless one. If it is, can that stuff withstand the heat from halides a reasonable distance away?

  • Lecter…same screen as what I had on the other tank. I reused the excess material I had left over.

    How far away are you wanting to mount it from your halides?

  • Lecter says:

    2 situations on those.. 400 watt 20″ in above a 31″ deep tank and 250 watt 16″ over a 22″ tank so 20″ under for the 400w and 16″ under the 250w. If it did melt it would be like putting a gill net in place.

  • I like the window screen idea Mark, but does it atract salt creep? Do you have to clean i or spray it fresh water once in a while? I have plenty of that left over from replacing screen doors. Guess i can clean and repurpose.

  • Hey Lecter, with those high power lights do have fans in your hood? Mine kicked off so much heat I ended up opting for t5s. I found Fish that had managed to jump onto the center brace and ended up cooked… Lol

  • Marquette says:

    Mark,
    Do you cover the top part of the over flow with the screen? I’ve found a couple fish in my filter sock as they have jumped into the overflow and down to the sump.
    I’m working with a cabinet maker for my 375DT and want to know how to avoid light creep from their canopy? Thank you.

  • Marquette…I leave my overflow completely open. That way if a fish jumps in it, I can rescue the fish either in the overflow box or when it goes into the sump.

  • P.Bouic says:

    To Dee from Brooklyn, I went from halides to T5’s and found very little difference for the heat transfer between the two types, and have bought LED’s instead. Living in Australia heat is a big issue so I’ve been using a chiller since day one. The LED’s don’t transfer any heat plus my power bill is down. 7 x 54watt T5’s was 380watts, now my wattage is only 120w maximum & I only have them set to 80% so say 96w x 2 = 192watts. The biggest power saying for me is that my chiller is only activated 1 or 2 times per 12hr period, running for only 2.5hrs average. Before the chiller ran almost constantly at the 250w rating I’m saying heaps. But you are in the UK, still touch the top of the T5’s and see.

  • Ron says:

    Mark,
    I have, (had) a bubble tipped anemone, he was balling up… then two days later he would open up and was bigger than ever. Then… again he would ball up for a couple days… and when he opened back up he would be even larger. Then all at once, I can’t find him, and my starfish appears and his body is close to the size of a QUARTER. He was barely the size of a pencil just a month ago. Is it possible that he consumed my anemone?

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