DIY Mesh Screen Aquarium Top
This is nice aquarium cover alternative. It looks classier than eggcrate, keeps your aquarium cool, and allows you to keep jumpers inside your tank (better than eggcrate does) because you can choose to use mesh will smaller holes (.25"), rather than the holes of eggcrate which are .5". However, it's a lot more work than the Eggcrate DIY. I just did this DIY this past week because I want to keep a couple of really small fish in my 50 Gallon, and was afraid they'd jump through the eggcrate holes. Materials
Most of these materials can be found at Home Depot or Lowe's. Bulk Reef Supply also carries these supplies.
1. Aluminum Screen Frame
2. Plastic Frame Corners:
3. Mesh Screen:
I decided to go with clear mesh screen with .25" square holes. It doesn't matter what size/color you buy, but make that you do NOT buy screen that has been pre-treated with poison for bugs, because the toxins can leach into your aquarium! Standard black netting found in the garden department at Home Depot or Lowe's should be safe, but typically screen sold in the "door/window" sections will have been pre-treated.
The aluminum frame rods that I bought required .160" spline.
5. Spline Installation Tool
9. Razor Blade (optional)Directions
1. Cut the aluminum frame to the dimensions that you want for your aquarium with the saw.
2. File rough ends of aluminum rods.
3. Insert plastic frame corners into aluminum rods to make a frame.
4. Make sure it fits your aquarium like you wanted.
5. Cut mesh netting a little bigger than the size of the frame. (My dog likes to help with aquarium projects
6. Use spline and spline installation tool to install the mesh into the aluminum frame. You can choose to keep the spline whole and run it continuously around the entirety of the frame, but I found it to be easier to do each side of the frame with separate pieces of spline.
7. Cut the excess spline and mesh netting off of the frame (this is where you could use the optional razor blade).The Final Results
Full Shot:Important Things to Take into Consideration
Do you have equipment hanging off the back of your tank? Do you have equipment inside your tank?
The answer is probably "yes", and this is where things can get tricky and down-right irritating. Solutions
1. If you don't have equipment hanging on the back of the tank, but have equipment inside the tank, all you have to worry about is power cords. You can use a dremel to saw out a section of your frame to make a hole for the power cord(s).
2. You can use eggcrate, or some other covering for the back half of your tank.
3. You can simply drape netting (taping it down to the back/sides) of the aquarium.
4. Do what I did. I have a bunch of equipment on the back and chose to build my screen frame to go around all of the equipment. I don't recommend this. It was a pain in the butt! It was very difficult to cut the aluminum frame so small, and impossible to insert spline into these itty-bitty pieces. Because of this, I used super glue to secure the netting. This methods worked, but, like I said, I wouldn't really recommend it.
*Also, consider making separate rectangular frames for your aquarium cover instead of just one big frame. When I made mine, I made smaller rectangular screen frames at the front of the aquarium so that I can easily remove them for feeding, maintenance, etc. without having to take off the cover for the whole aquarium.