Aquarium advice

Importance of Fish Tank Lids – Build Your Own Rimless Aquarium Lid

Aquascaped planted tank

Lid function

A lid or hood serves the main purpose of stopping fish jumping out of your aquarium. Unfortunately, this is something you need to be prepared for when keeping fish. Certain species such as Siamese fighting fish and hatchet fish are well known jumpers, but every fish has the potential to jump out of an aquarium. Another reason to have a lid on top of your aquarium is to minimise evaporation, you would be surprised to see how quickly your water level can drop especially in warm weather! Lastly an aquarium lid can act as a form of protection, we often hear of kids pouring things into aquariums and fish can occasionally look like a tempting snack to a cat.


Is no lid an option?

No lid is indeed an option, just be careful with your livestock choice and water level. Some aquascapers like to have wood emerging from the water, this can look very impactful! But be aware you will always run the risk of livestock jumping out unless you water level is lowered. Most aquascapers do not like lowering the water level as it can leave unsightly calcium marks and reduce your overall water volume. In these situations, try making a custom lid to cover most of the tank, or even cut one to fit around your emerging hardscape. You can always remove it when taking videos or photos of your tank.

Clear, smart and functional

When creating a lid, it is important to ensure it work well. If you are a perfectionist like most aquascapers you will want a lid which is clear, smart and functional. The material you use to make your lid must be clear to allow light into the aquarium. You want to make sure it looks smart otherwise it can easily distract from your newly setup aquascape! Function matters: does it stop fish jumping, does it reduce evaporation, and can you easily open it to feed?


How to make the best DIY lid:

Nowadays, a high quality rimless tank is the best choice when aquascaping a planted tank. Unfortunately, not all high quality rimless aquariums come with a lid, some brands offer a lid as an additional purchase, these will usually be of very high quality and are the best option if you can find them. If you cannot buy a lid for your new rimless aquarium, then your only option is to do it yourself. The best type of lid I have ever made used clips around the rim of the aquarium to hold a clear lid in place, this method means the lid in inset slightly into the aquarium and creates a clean look. I have had great success using clear plastic clips I found online, some people use small stainless steel strips which they bend into shape. Either way, pick something which is discrete. Then for the actual lid itself you can use glass or plastic. Most glass shops will happily cut a panel of glass to size for you, the benefit of glass is that it will not bow over time. However, glass is fragile and easily chipped or broken. Sheet plastic is another option, although it can be hit or miss as to whether it bows out of shape over time. I have found the best material for me is thin greenhouse panels or polycarbonate sheeting available at every homeware or DIY shop. These panels are double layered with cross sections for added strength meaning they rarely bend or bow over time. Polycarbonate panels do not weigh a lot and are cheap, so you do not have to worry about spending lots of money. I have made multiple aquariums lids out of a single polycarbonate sheet. A final advantage of using polycarbonate sheeting is that it is easy cut into a custom shape. I often cut out notches for equipment and cable where needed.

Caution: Be careful when using sharp tools to cut your lid to size. Always ask an adult for help.



AQUAnatur supply a range of high quality rimless aquariums which are perfect for aquascaping. Most brands do not supply a lid with their aquariums, so I hope this blog post has been of help! Please let us know if you have any questions, our friendly expert team are happy to help!

By Alasdair McPhail

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