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has anybody suspended the lights above the aquarium to get an open top? I have read that several plants will bloom if allowed access to grow to the top of the water. Currently, I have a newly planted 29 gallon with 75 watts of light. I have planted several swords, moneywort, and some kind of onion plant. I am also attempting to get glosso to grow. I have a DIY CO2 going and another basically DIY CO2 going (it has a canister and a zig-zag thing for the bubbles to go up). Everything is going very well. The Swords already have plantletts that are growing roots. Should I cut them? Sorry for all the questions!! :lol:

So, back to the original question - what do you guys think of open top aquariums??


Thanks!!
 

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Hello,
my aquarium is opened. I illuminate with a lamp of pl's mark Azoo and 3 lamps with light bulbs PC. I consider the part of above of the aquarium like another part for taking care.
The only problem that you can find is the evaporation of the water. in my case about 5 liters every day or two days.
 

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Spituch, how do you hang your lights from the ceiling, what do you use? And can you explain in more detail about the brackets and hanging the light enclosures off the rim of the tank?
 

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dear MikeWinLDS,

The tanks are in a sunroom with a low ceiling. The ceiling is plywood so I just screw a screw-hook into the ceiling. The lights are suspended by the power cord. If your ceiling is gypsum board make sure it can take the loads of the lights. It is very easy to adjust the amount of light reaching the plants by raising and lowering the lights. Also with emersed growth, you can really get the plants to fight algae.

If you make the length of the enclosure the right length, you can attach a piece of wood to the inside of the side of the enclosure so it projects down and rests on the tank rim. The outside of this piece of wood must line up with the outside of the tamk rim.

Now the enclosure stand will rest on top of the tank, but there is a chance that if if moved sideways, one side would fall into the tank. So what you need to do is add a piece of wood to the outside of the first piece of wood so it overlaps the side of the tank rim.



Tom Barr (Plantbrain) has made some of these in beautiful clear acryllic. But I don't remember where I saw the pictures.

Regards,

Steve Pituch
 

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Spituch, how exactly do you attach the pieces of wood to the aquarium rim? I know a lot of tanks say don't drill through the glass, and the rim is awfully close to the glass. Maybe silicone, but is that strong enough?
 

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Mike,

The beauty of this design is that the wood is not attached to the tank at all. It just rests on the rim. The second piece of wood keeps it from moving sideways. You can slide it back a bit for maintenance or just lift the enclosure off of the tank.

I found Tom Barr's pictures at:
http://www.picturetrail.com/gallery/view?p=999&gid=2904032&uid=1473668

The third and fourth pictures down show supports he has made out of glass! :eek: Note that Tom likes to remove the plastic rims from his tanks. The light supports rest directly on the side aquarium glass.

The fifth picture down shows an example of the wood construction I described previously.

Regards,
Steve Pituch
 

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Oh, ok. I'm looking at my tank right now, and on the inside there is a little rim like in that picture (the magenta arrows are pointing to what I think you're talking about). I'm not sure how strong that rim is and if it is going to hold a huge light enclosure or not, but that's a pretty cool idea.

I mean, right now, I have a hood strip light and we have to have a large piece of glass that fits on top of the tank so the light doesn't fall in! But, how do you attach piece #2 to piece #1? Because won't it just fall off if someone comes by and bumps it? If I don't feel safe, can I just silicone the wood to the rim?

Also, where can I buy glass? I think glass looks cooler than wood too, but is it cheaper?
 

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I think what he is describing would sit on the outside rim, the one without the arrows in your pic. It rests on the top of the rim with side pieces coming down the side of the tank a bit, so if it gets bumped from either side it wouldnt be able to move. Of course you could still move it from front to back, but it should be safe enough without silicone. You can purchase glass from any glass shop in your area, and they will cut it to size for you also. It will be more expensive than the wood option though.
 

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Mike,

Yes, it is on the higher outside rim. Not where the cover glass would rest. I see your point and I have revised the sketch above from the eariler post to show the recess for the cover glass and the gap between the enclosure and the tank rim. (see the previous post above). I am hoping with the revised sketch, you can see that the enclosure is far less likely to ever fall into the tank umless it is lifted and dropped. It can't slide in. The entire enclosure if made of wood and should be glued with an Elmer's type of wood glue and nailed or screwed. I now show generic symbols for the screws. This kind of construction is very solid. Once the pieces are glued together, the enclosure is basically one piece of wood. A varnish should provide enough waterproofing.

Regards,
Steve

PS for "Littlefish81":
See some emersed growth at this site:
http://users.ev1.net/~spituch/Steve's Page/Aquarium/125gal_biotope/125gal_biotope.html
 

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Steve, those two designs are great, and I finally understand now. ;)

I see how those little pieces help in making it so that you can't push it left or right, and that it can only slide back and forth, and I guess you could also drill in another small wood piece towards the front, and maybe even the back if you want to make it completely stationary.

Also, is there a way of making it so that you can remove the light enclosure instead of screwing it in to wood piece #1, kind of like in the link you sent me to that guy's page who made the same design out of the glass, one of the picture showed how glass piece #1 (wood piece #1) was fastened to the tank, but the light enclosure could be removed when needed for tank maintenance.

Is that the bottom picture in your drawing? If it is, then the only problem or question I would ask is when you took the light enclosure off, wouldn't the two ends (wood piece #1 and #2) be wobbly and fall down since it's not glued or siliconed to the tank itself?
 

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In an open top system like those drawings you drew, Spituch, will NO fluorescents be able to penetrate all the way to the bottom of the tank?
 

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I made two canopys that I hang from the celling using a chain. Really nice, and when i'm going to work on the tank the light is still on it, making it much easyer to see where you put things :)
 

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I have six 40 Watt T12 NOs in the 75 gallon canopy for 240 Watts and 3.2 Watts/gal. I currently have the enclosure a little lower than is shown on the picture, about 10 inches from the top of the water to the bottom of the bulbs. I can still get my hands into the tank easily enough for maintenance. Don't forget I don't have a glass top to reduce the light transmission. Its not a point source so not as much light is lost per increase in distance like the inverse square law would be for a point source. It is probably equivalent to 2.5 W/g. Its hard to say since there are no standards to compare it to. With T8s you might be able to fit two more lamps in the fixture.

Steve
 

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Something I posted at another forum asking about ways to Evaporation-proof my tanks.

MikeWinLDS said:
I like open-top aquariums though, so those types of tanks would have to go. Is there any sure-fire method of sealing your tank so that no water can evaporate at all and then cause those mineral build-up lines to form on your tank? The hassle of topping off the tank is another thing. I don't know how to measure out such a small amount of water conditioner for the top-off water. I'm tempted to just dump it in there, since it's just a small amount, but the chlorine/chloramines are still probably bad for the fish.
Spituch, do you have big problems with evaporation? Do you constantly have to top off your tanks?
 

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Mike,

I have about 60% humidity in the room. I probably lose about one inch of water in the tanks in one week. However, I use Tom Barr's regimen and do 50% water changes once per week. So I don't have to add water to the tanks at any other time. Its true that sometimes a spray bar gets slightly exposed and I can hear the turblence near the end of the week, but not very often. Since the water does not go below the rim, I never see any white scale build up. In fact since I wipe down the glass every week just before the water change the glass near the top edge is quite clean.

I actually think the glass is cleaner looking than a tank with a tight fitting top. With a tight fitting top you will get condensation on all air exposed surfaces promoting etching of the glass since it is essentially distilled water. Since the top is open I have no condensation and no etching of the glass.

Also, a Diana Walstad type of low light tank needs a top to conserve CO2. But a high light tank with injected CO2 can easily be open top. With a 50% water change its easy to measure out the water conditioner.

Steve
 
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