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New Canopy - *PICS*

Posted By: Mr. Leadfoot <leadfoot@sbcglobal.net>
Date: Saturday, 23 August 2003, at 1:46 p.m.

I finished the canopy for my 29 gallon tank. Here are some pics:

This is the complete setup. The bottom cabinet was a pre-fab I found at an LFS for $30. It was unfinished, made of pine. To increase the height of the tank on the stand, which is only 24" high, I made a riser by creating a frame of 2x4's placed sideways, so the height increase was 3 1/4 inches (which is what "4" in 2x4's are really). So why do they call them 2x4's when the "4" is really 3 1/4 inches? Go figure! Anyway, I took 4 5/8" crown molding from Home Depot and wrapped it around the frame. After discovering that the "4" in 2x4 is only 3 1/4 inches, I lucked out. You see, the frame on the tank is 1 1/4 inches high, so I was able to place the molding high enough to cover the bottom tank frame. and still overhang the bottom of the riser frame by 1/8 inches. Good thing the "4" in 2x4 is only 3 1/4 inches! :-) I placed the tank on the riser.

Here's the canopy. Made a frame of 3/8" 7-ply baltic plywood, 1/4" wider than the oustide dimensions of the tank top frame, but tall enough to hang down enough to cover the frame, and still tall enough to accomodate for lights inside. I wrapped the canopy frame with the same crown molding I used for the stand riser above. But, notice that the molding is upside down compared to the riser's molding below the tank. A friend told me that by doing this, the moldings actually create a visual "vaccum" effect that "directs" your focus between the two moldings, which is where the tank is. I tested my friend's theory before permanently mounted the top molding, and, I'll be darned, because it actually does do this. Cool, huh? I used the baltic plywood for the lid, and made the lid flush and inset behind the molding, so from the front it is hidden. Note the hole on the top. It's a way for me to open the lid, without having to ruin the lines of the canopy with a piece of hardware, like a knob or handle. To prevent light seepage through the hole, I made a 3-sided box and glued it to the inside over the hole. The trick was to make the box large enough so I can still bend my finger to grip the lid when I stick my finger in from the outside. I think I got carried away with the finger hole, though. I actually made the hole big enough for my thumb so I can open the top with either my thumb or forefinger. Thus, I also had to make the little box big enough for either finger to bend once inside the hole. Think I need to get a life? :-)

Here's an inside view of the canopy. The prop stick is temporary until I can get something else to hold the top open. Note there are no lights mounted to the lid to blast you in the face when opening the lid, like some canopies have. You can see a crossmember where I mounted my light. Attached to the frame are tall rails that serve two purposes. The rails are what rests the canopy on the edge of the tank frame so the bottom of the canopy can hang down and overlap the tank frame on the outside. The top of the rails are used for the light's cross member to rest on. The cross member is loose so that I can slide the light back and forth to get the optimum positioning over the tank. Note there are stops positioned near the rear so I can't push the light too far back and hit the filter or whatever. Of course, I used a piano hinge for structural integrity. Notice also that I specifically designed the piece I mounted the hinge to on the canopy frame to accomodate the hinge being mounted backwards with the spine of the hinge on the INSIDE, so you don't see the spine of the hinge from the outside at any angle, including when looking down the length of the back from the side. In retrospect, who the heck would be standing looking at the back of a tank anyway? Somebody get me a life! :-)

In any case, the reason I did this canopy was for a practice run for the canopy for my 75 gallon, which is supposed to be "furniture-grade" so it looks good in my entertainment center. So, now I have some what-to-do's and more importantly, what-NOT-to-do's for that canopy. And, you know what? I'm still nervous about that one. The bonus is that at least my 29 gallon tank now looks nice.

Any comments, hints and criticisms (hopefully constructive) would be appreciated so that I get the new canopy done right.



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