I prefer open tops but when i first switched to an open top I hated being blinded when i was sitting next to the tank. (lazy boy is right in between 2 tanks
) So i made some sheilds for the side of the fixture. I used some rubber type material, not exactly sure what it was from (found it in the garage) but it was thick and plyable...perfect!
I cut it to length and on the side of my coralife aqualight there are 2 screws. I took those screws out poked them through my new rubber sheilds and then screwed them back in to hold the new sheilds on and they have been working perfectly ever since. If i ever need to get to the tank from the side they just flip right up.
I also made a sheild for the front of the fixture that is see through but tinted...if anyone is familiar with welding curtains I made it out of that. I hung it from the grills on the fans on top of the fixture and it just hangs over the front of the light stopping at the trim of the tank.
So basically i have an open top but it is all enclosed to keep the light from floding the room and blinding me or glaring of my TV. I can still see through the front even with the sheild hanging down, its just tinted. and if i need to get into the tank it just filps up and rests on top of the light untill im done.
It works great for me...and since everythign is black it just blends right in like it was made for it.