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Old 04/04/2006, 07:36 PM   #1
jimsflies
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**Clear** Mesh Top

I had to install a cover on my tank to keep fish from jumping. I used a glass top for several months, but didn't like the glass because it accumulates condensation and salt spray which blocks light.

This project has been in the works for quite awhile now, but I finally got around to getting it completed with a significant amount of help from beakerbob. Bob came up with the idea to put the mesh material in a standard window screen frame.

I found this clear mesh material after a lot of searching on the net. It ended up costing a small fortune due to the surcharge of ordering such a small quantity and shipping. (If someone is interested in some, I did buy quite a bit extra.) The I used mesh with 1/2-inch openings, but I also bought some mesh with 1/4-inch openings. I think the 1/2-inch is small enough to keep my fish from jumping out.

The other nice thing about this screen is that it doesn't hold heat at all. After the halide was on all day, it was barely warm to the touch right under the bulb. And the best part is, it blocks virtually no light!






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Old 04/04/2006, 08:04 PM   #2
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It looks like you put it in a window type frame. Great idea.


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Old 04/04/2006, 08:06 PM   #3
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It looks like you put it in a window type frame. Great idea. Whats it made out of. Kinda looks like it may be plastic or nylon. Also won't it start to sag as time goes on under the MH. just a thought Looks really nice though.


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Old 04/04/2006, 08:25 PM   #4
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Had it in operation for over a month and no sign of sagging. The material is so open and thin that it doesn't pick up any heat from the light.


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Old 04/04/2006, 08:45 PM   #5
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Jim tell me again where you bought the screening?

thanks, could've used it, I lost my lubbocks today, carpet surfing and it was covered.


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Old 04/04/2006, 11:10 PM   #6
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like it. Where's it from?


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Old 04/05/2006, 08:27 AM   #7
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Is the screen frame aluminum or is it plastic? I've never seen it in plastic, but I think it would be better in the long term if it is available. If it is plastic, where did you find it? Either way, this looks way better than eggcrate.


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Old 04/05/2006, 08:36 AM   #8
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I'm just using the alumimum frame material. I haven't seen any signs of corrosion on it yet. I agree that plastic framing would be nice.


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Old 04/09/2006, 07:15 AM   #9
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For you DIY reefers, here is how my friend, beakerbob and I, made the screen mesh top:

Materials Needed:
2 - 48" (or however much you need for your size tank) screen aluminum framing material (HD, Lowes, Menards, etc)
4 - screen frame corners
1 - roll of spline material
1 - spline roller
1 - roll of screening material (see Jimsflies description above)

Cut the aluminum framing to the interior size of the top of the tank lip (minus 1/16"), insert the corner and snap together:

photos courtesy of beakerbob:






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Old 04/09/2006, 07:16 AM   #10
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Lay the screening on the framework and, using the splining tool, press the spline into the groove of the frame, starting at one corner and working around:






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Old 04/09/2006, 07:17 AM   #11
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The splining will keep the screen taunt. Trim the excess screen material off the frame:




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Old 04/09/2006, 07:18 AM   #12
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And you have completed the screened tank top!




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Old 04/09/2006, 08:24 AM   #13
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Looks great!


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Old 04/09/2006, 09:10 AM   #14
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JUst curious as to why you did not opt to go with eggcrate style light diffuser? It actully helps to direct light straight downwards into the tank.

It may be worth looking at "no screen" "with screen" and "with eggcrate" PAR meter readings to see what the differences are.

In any case nice, work sourcing the material and putting the project together.


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Old 04/09/2006, 09:42 AM   #15
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I tried eggcrate. I have one halide centered in my tank with the eggcrate the ends of my tank were completely dark. All of the light is blocked with the eggcrate (after all, it does force light to be directional). This would be less of an issue with fluorescent bulbs, but still some light is blocked.

But the par would not be more with eggcrate since the eggcrate just blocks (absorbs) the angled light, it doesn't redirect it straight down.

There is no noticable difference between "with screen" and "no screen" in terms of brightness of the tank (as seen by the naked eye, anyway).


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Old 04/09/2006, 09:43 AM   #16
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OMG that take so much time to do. Heres what I did for my 110g

1. Pliers
2. 5fx2f eggcrate from Home Depot in the lighting section
3. Cut to size and WALA!!!

The eggcrate is around $11.00 for a nice big piece...



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Old 04/09/2006, 09:49 AM   #17
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I can see how the eggcrate would hinder your light performance in the corners or sides with the single halide.


From the reading I have done, the eggcrate (in some situations) does a good job at reflecting the otherwise "spilled" light downards and can increase PAR. In other words all of the angular rays of light that would reflect off the water and out of the tank are foced to strike the water at a steeper angle. The steeper angle allows the light to break the surface instead of reflecting off of it. Those certain "situations" would appear to be ones were the reflector is not very efficient at focusing the light onto the desired footprint without a lot of spill, or with a lot of steep shallow angles.

Great job and thanks for the additional reply. I think a lot of people will be looking at this as a good solution for "jumpers" and small single pendant setups!


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Old 04/09/2006, 09:54 AM   #18
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I remember Anthony Calfo in one of his topics was saying one side of the eggcrate indeed will allow and increase the lighting when ommited from water. And another will decrease algae growth if you have them being used as frag racks.

These are both very good ideas like mentioned above for frinicky little jumping fish.


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Old 04/09/2006, 10:04 AM   #19
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Yes one side of the eggcrate is "thick" and the other "thin". If you look at metal diffusers the same is true. Very little information is available about these things... some people asy that the "wedge" shaped grid runners are top help it pop out of the injection mold. However, a study of high tech light panels will show that it is a design parameter.

From my understanding FAT side towards the light causes the light reflected off the water to be bounced back off of the grid, while still allowing light to penetrate from above, as well as guiding the shallow angled light. THIN towards the light causes a more of the light to be lost and less to be reflected back to the water from underneath. If anybody has any hard studies or data on this it would be great. We may want to move it to another thread in fairness to the OP.

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Old 04/09/2006, 10:33 AM   #20
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I believe the type of screening used or at least what I've seen is blown insulation screening. Some HD's carry it but you have to buy an entire roll $40 for something 4ftx 390ft


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Old 04/09/2006, 11:16 AM   #21
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jimsflies work looks top notch though...Ver slick

Sam


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Old 04/09/2006, 11:30 AM   #22
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Thanks for the input guys.

Last summer, I lost several fish to jumping. Now I have four expensive wrasses and don't want to see any carpet surfing. After trying glass and eggcrate, I came up with this.

My halide is probably not very well focused since its in diy reflector in a conversion of a CSL hood (see first pictures for the hood I am using). But I also don't notice tons of light on the walls and ceiling, so I guess I'm not loosing too much light due to reflection off the water surface.

But no mater which way (up/down) I put the eggcrate on my set tank, I had less light on the edges...which is a slight issue I have anyway with a single halide (30-inch long tank). I didn't want to make the situation any worse with the eggcrate and also don't really want to go to two halides either due to heat and additional costs.

For kicks, here's a current picture of my tank (excuse the blurry fish):




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Old 04/09/2006, 12:04 PM   #23
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WOWZERS!


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Old 04/09/2006, 03:16 PM   #24
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Very good idea! I would be interested in getting some of the material from you if still have some available. What is it sold for? Very nice looking tank!


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Old 04/11/2006, 08:52 PM   #25
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have you been able to find plastic framing materials?

looks great.....where did you buy that screen material?


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