DIY Aquarium Canopy

Written by ariel phillips
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DIY Aquarium Canopy
An aquarium lit by a fluorescent light. (Aquarium image by crossgolfing from

An aquarium canopy is an important part of any aquarium. Not only does the canopy help protect the fish inside the aquarium, but it also plays an important aesthetic role in the overall look of the aquarium. An aquarium canopy is basically a sturdy cover that easily opens and shuts over the aquarium tank. Once this basic task of the canopy is accounted for, you can focus on adding visual elements and other additions, such as lights, to the canopy.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Four wooden boards
  • Large piece of plywood
  • Tape measure
  • Handsaw
  • 1-by-1-inch wooden square rods
  • Two metal hinges
  • Paint (optional)
  • Protective eyewear
  • Gloves
  • Rubber siding or moulding
  • Screwdriver and screws
  • Hammer
  • Nails

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  1. 1

    Measure the dimensions of the aquarium. A typical 15-gallon tank usually measures about 12 inches by 24 inches.

  2. 2

    Construct a rectangular box slightly larger than the dimensions of the aquarium. The rectangular box, which will slip over the top of the aquarium, should be between 1/2 and 1 inch longer on all sides than the aquarium itself. So if your aquarium is 12 x 24 inches, the box should be about 14 x 26 inches, giving each of the four sides an extra inch.

  3. 3

    Build the rectangular box by nailing two smaller boards to either side of one of the longer boards. Then place the other longer board opposite the first long board, laying it on top of the two smaller boards. Nail this longer board into place. You should now have an outline of a rectangular wooden box.

  4. 4

    Attach the square rods to the inside of the wooden boards. Attach them near the centre of the boards, about an inch from the bottom edge of the boards.

  5. 5

    Attach the rods to the middle of the board that will be laying over the back of the tank. These rods, which protrude vertically, will be used to anchor the canopy around the tank.

  6. 6

    Make the canopy lid by cutting the plywood so it is about an inch bigger than the outer dimensions of the rectangular box.

  7. 7

    Paint the aquarium canopy if you want. Black is a common colour for aquarium canopies, since it often matches the base of the aquarium. Painting the underside of the canopy white is beneficial because it helps increase the light reflection within the aquarium.

  8. 8

    Attach the plywood lid to the rectangular box with hinges.

  9. 9

    Place the aquarium canopy onto the aquarium and make sure it fits. Secure it to the aquarium using the rubber siding or moulding.

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