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How to make your own DIY hinged glass lids for your aquarium.
DIY Hinged Aquarium Lids
DIY Hinged Aquarium Lids

I've previously written about how to make some very inexpensive DIY glass aquarium lids. But that design uses a single piece of glass that needs to be lifted off the aquarium for maintenance. For larger aquariums, a hinged design with thicker, tempered glass is more convenient and reliable.

You can buy hinged glass aquarium lids for many standard sized aquariums, but they can be harder to find for some larger tanks. Additionally, the lids available commercially almost all have a dark plastic hinge running across the whole lid. This thick plastic strip blocks light and can create shadows in your aquarium. For my 100 gallon aquarium, which is not a standard dimension because it used to be a reef tank, I made my own hinged glass lids.

Materials Needed to Build Your Own Hinged Glass Aquarium Lids

For this project all you need is:

How to Make Hinged Aquarium Lids

I used a sheet of cardboard as a working surface to glue my lids together. The hardest part about assembling these DIY glass aquarium lids will be aligning the hinges so that they function properly. I recommend using a business card or shim to keep the two pieces of glass evenly spaced while gluing the hinges in place. A small gap should be sufficient.

Since my lids are almost 2 feet wide, I used two 6 inch hinges on each lid. For smaller lids you could use smaller hinges. This is one of the benefits of these DIY glass hinged lids, you can customize their design to fit your setup.

Gluing Hinges in Place
Gluing Hinges in Place

Let the glue cure for a few hours before you attempt to move the lids or bend the hinges. The good news is if you screw up during this process, any stray glue can be removed from the glass with a razor blade scraper once it dries. I used some cheap wooden knobs that I had leftover from other projects as the handles on these lids. A glob of super glue is all you need to attach these to the glass.

Knob Handle
Knob Handle

Once the glue cures your lids are ready to go!

Finished DIY Hinged Glass Lids
Finished DIY Hinged Glass Lids

Check out some of my other DIY Aquarium Lid designs:

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How to make cheap custom DIY aquarium lids using twinwall polycarbonate greenhouse panels.
DIY Polycarbonate Aquarium Lid
DIY Polycarbonate Aquarium Lid

Why Use Polycarbonate for DIY Aquarium Lids

I've previously covered how to make DIY Aquarium Lids out of glass, but glass lids are less practical for larger tanks or configurations where you want a lid that has multiple cutouts for your equipment. I used a panel of twin-wall polycarbonate to make a custom lid for my 40 gallon breeder aquarium (shown above).

Twin-wall polycarbonate is used for roofing panels on greenhouses, so it is designed to allow good light penetration. It is also far more durable than glass. Polycarbonate sheets won't crack or shatter if they are dropped or bumped. They also will not bow or bend like sheets of acrylic, which makes them an ideal material for covering larger aquariums.

Constructing the DIY Aquarium Lids

Hacksaw
Hacksaw

I started with a 2' x 4' sheet of polycarbonate, and used a table saw to cut it down to the dimensions of the top lip of my 40 breeder aquarium: 35" x 17". Then I used a handheld hacksaw to make the cutouts for my incoming water line and my Aquaclear 70 HOB filter. Finally, I added "handles" to the front edge using clear Command hooks. The hooks allow the lid to be lifted off the tank easily for maintenance.

This video by Jadren Aquatics has more good information about making DIY aquarium lids out of polycarbonate panels:

The Marineland LED Light Hood for Aquariums, Day & Night Light is pretty popular as an affordable combination light/hood in aquarium starter kits. I have used the 20" x 10" size on a planted 10 gallon tank for several months. While the light is certainly not the brightest LED, it is just enough to grow some low light plants. In this review I will cover some of the pros and cons of this hood.

Planted 10 Gallon Lit by Marineland LED Hood
Planted 10 Gallon Lit by Marineland LED Hood

Pros:

  • Hinged hood design

The hinges that come with this hood allow it to be lifted up to feed your fish or maintain the aquarium without fully removing the lid. I use a small hook in the shelf above my tank to hold the lid open when I am working in the tank.

Marineland Hood Open
Marineland Hood Open

  • Low wattage LED

The integrated LED light bar uses about half the power of a traditional fluorescent tube light, and should have a much longer service life. This light puts out a natural color temperature (around 5500 K according to Marineland) that does a great job of showcasing fish.

Yellow Tiger Endlers under Marineland LED
Yellow Tiger Endlers under Marineland LED

  • Integrated light / hood combo

Having the light bar nested into the hood keeps light from escaping horizontally across the top of your aquarium. This gives it a nice sleek look as all of the light from the LEDs is directed down into the tank.

Planted 10 Gallon Lit by Marineland LED Hood
Planted 10 Gallon Lit by Marineland LED Hood

Cons:

  • Comparatively low light level

While the output on these Marineland LED hoods will keep low light plants alive, it is not anywhere near what you would get out of a more expensive LED fixture. I have been able to grow rotala rotundifolia, anubias nana, and cryptocoryne wendtii under this light, but everything grows very slowly. Since the LEDs are all concentrated in the center of the hood, the light level drops off significantly on the outsides edges of the aquarium.

  • Lack of customization

These hoods are difficult to cut or modify for different styles of filtration because they are made from a thick plastic. You also cannot swap out the light for one that stretches across the whole tank. In my opinion, this is the biggest drawback to their design.

Planted 10 Gallon with Marineland LED Hood
Planted 10 Gallon with Marineland LED Hood

Bottom Line

The Marineland LED Light Hood for Aquariums, Day & Night Light is a good affordable option for aquarists who are looking for an all-in-one light and canopy design. I would not recommend it if you are interested in growing high light plants; but if you want a light that will showcase your fish and keep some plants alive, it is a nice looking option.