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10 Helpful DIY Fish Tank Lid Plans You Can Make Today (With Pictures)

Beth Crane

By Beth Crane

aquarium lid made by acrylic plate

Not all fish tanks come with a lid or canopy, so it can often be better to DIY your fish tank lid rather than spend extra money on a new one. There can even be issues with the pre-made lids not fitting your fish tank, so creating your fish tank lid to ensure that it can fit properly on your fish tank is a good idea.

You have endless options for adding your lighting systems to these DIY lids, and you get to choose how it looks and what fits best with your fish tank. Some DIY fish tank lids can be simple and discrete, while others can be opened by a hinge to make feeding and tank maintenance easier.

With this in mind, we have compiled a list of amazing DIY fish tank lids that you can create today.clownfish divider2 ah

Top 10 DIY Fish Tank Lids

1. DIY Cheap Aquarium Lid by Finley B. Fish

Betta Fish DIY Tank Lid
Photo Credit: finleybfish.wordpress
Materials: Plastic corrugated board
Tools: Craft knife
Difficulty level: Beginner

If you are looking for an affordable and simple aquarium lid as a beginner on a budget, then this DIY aquarium lid is a good place to start. You will need a plastic corrugated board to place over the top of the aquarium which will form the lid. You could use an acrylic board, but it is more difficult to cut if you want to create an opening for filters and wires.

Make sure the size of the plastic corrugated board fits the opening of your aquarium so that it can rest on the sides of the glass. You can trim the overlapping side with a craft knife, and you can create a square on the side to place a plant through.

2. DIY Screened Tank Lid by BRStv – Saltwater Aquariums & Reef Tanks

Materials: Window screen frame, plastic netting, window screen spline
Tools: Utility knife
Difficulty level: Beginner

Another affordable option would be a screened tank lid, which you can DIY fairly easily. You need to measure the opening of your fish tank and cut a piece of the window screen frame to fit up to the edges. Then lay a piece of netting over the cut frame. Once you have cut the window screen shape to match the opening of your fish tank using a utility knife, you can add use a window screen spline to hold the netting in place.

3. Sliding Glass Lid by Planted Tank

Sliding Glass Top
Photo Credit: plantedtank
Materials: Corner tile molding, glass sheets, cupboard handle
Tools: Glass cutter, glue gun
Difficulty level: Intermediate

If you are looking to make a conventional fish tank lid like this one, you can open and close the lid to feed your fish or do tank maintenance without having to remove the entire lid. You will need to use corner tile molding to hold the glass sheet in place so it can move smoothly.

The fish tank dimensions should be measured so that you can get the two glass sheets cut to the right size. You can either get the glass cut at a hardware store or cut it to your desired size yourself. Once the lid had been assembled you can glue a handle to the lid to make it easier to slide open and closed.

4. DIY Aquarium Canopy by Cichlid World

Building an Aquarium Canopy I
Image Credit: cichlidworld
Materials: Wooden boards, piano or door hinge, screws
Tools: Glue gun, drill, screwdriver
Difficulty level: Intermediate

This is an affordable canopy you can easily add a lighting system to. It is made from wood to create a frame that can be opened and closed. This is a slightly more difficult DIY fish tank lid or canopy, but it is still a simple design that looks great. It will be constructed out of wooden boards from colors of your choice that are connected by screws and a piano hinge so that it can fit around the top of the aquarium and be opened.

The wood will need to be cut and measured to the size of your aquarium.

5. DIY Glass Aquarium Lids by Odin Aquatics

DIY Glass Aquarium Lids
Image Credit: odinaquatics
Materials: Glass sheet, clear command hooks
Tools: Glass cutter
Difficulty level: Beginner

This is a clear and simple DIY fish tank lid that opens and closes. The glass sheets will need to be cut to the size of your aquarium which should be measured beforehand. You can either have the glass cut at the hardware store or use a glass cutter to do it yourself. The glass panel will be connected with clear command hooks that can be used as handles to lift the glass.

The clear hooks also blend in nicely with the clear glass to make it look discrete. This can be used for all sorts of aquariums because the glass is lightweight and can be fitted on small and large fish tanks.

6. Polycarbonate Fish Tank Lid by Tazawa Tanks

DIY Polycarbonate Fish Tank Lid
Image Credit: Tazawa Tanks, YouTube
Materials: Polycarbonate Sheet, hooks
Tools: Scissors or Table Saw
Difficulty Level: Medium

This plan uses a table saw but shouldn’t be too difficult for experienced crafters. Measuring the inside groove of your tank is the most important part to achieve a good fit for your lid, then simply cut the sheet to the size of the inside groove!

Polycarbonate sheathing is double-walled and a great fit for warm heated tanks. Remember to cut any holes for cables or filter tubes to run through to your tank. Clear adhesive hooks are added to the lid at the end for an easy-to-lift lid that looks great and is simple to clean.

7. Sliding Glass Tank Lid by Steve Poland Aquatics

DIY Sliding Glass Tank Lid
Image Credit: Steve Poland Aquatics, YouTube
Materials: Clear glass, outside corner molding, handle
Tools: Sharpie, glass cutter, ruler, gloves
Difficulty Level: Medium

Measuring your tank size is key to getting a good fit with this glass lid. The presenter recommends marking the glass with a Sharpie for this reason! Line up the edges and use a glass cutter to cut the glass to shape, but wear gloves and be careful as the cut glass is very sharp. Then, place the first pane on the bottom corner molding on one side, and fit it in your tank. Add the second glass panel and install the handle for easy sliding, and you’re done! This lid is excellent for tanks that sit sideways, as it provides easy access to your tank for feeding and maintenance.

8. Simple Black Tank Lid by Blue Reef Tank

DIY Simple Black Tank Lid
Image Credit: Blue Reef Tank, YouTube
Materials: Black flyscreen frame, flyscreen corner stake, PVC insect screen spline, spline roller, aquarium netting
Tools: Miter box, measuring tape, gloves, sharpie, saw, scissors
Difficulty Level: Medium

This plan is easy to follow along and create, but it’s moderately difficult since it requires specialized tools. As always, measure your tank to get your dimensions and mark them out before cutting. The video instructs you to place the frame into a miter box and cut the edges to a 45-degree angle to make it easier to fit in at the corners with the corner stakes.

Then, insert the spline into the frame. Next, cut your netting 5 centimeters (cm) bigger than the frame and push in with your hands under the spline to hold it taught, then use the spline roller to finish the frame. This lid is lightweight and sturdy, making it easy to take on and off without worrying about anything falling into the tank.

9. Hinged DIY Flip Tank Lid by Ryo Watanabe

Hinged DIY Flip Tank Lid
Image Credit: Ryo Watanabe, YouTube
Materials: Polycarbonate sheet, hinges, handles
Tools: Ruler, marker pen, box cutter/knife, tape measure, strong double-sided tape
Difficulty Level: Easy

This easy plan is very well explained, giving you a step-by-step guide on creating a good-looking and functional hinged lid. Using double-sided tape makes this a quick plan, but you could always use screws if you want more security. Many types of handles can also be used, but the presenter specifies using a thicker polycarbonate sheet to prevent bending and bowing of the lid over time. Measuring and marking are also needed in this plan to create a lid that fits your tank, but it can be scaled up or down depending on which tank you need it for. This is the perfect lid for a beginner.

10. Easy Acrylic Fish Tank Lid by Fishman

DIY Easy Acrylic Fish Tank Lid
Image Credit: Fishman, YouTube
Materials: Acrylic sheets, methylene chloride glue
Tools: Saw, syringe, ruler, tape measure
Difficulty Level: Medium

This DIY plan doesn’t have many spoken instructions, so you’ll have to follow along with the video, which can make it trickier for beginner creators. Acrylic strips are glued together using the syringe to inject the glue, which is measured to the size of your tank to create the frame.

The first part of the construction is filmed, but the creator jumps to the finished product, so make sure to cut a square of acrylic which will fit the inside of the lid frame. Two are needed, and they sit on acrylic holders sitting on the frame. There are also two handles attached which can be bought or made cheaply out of acrylic, but it might take DIYers a bit of time to figure out how to slide the top of the lid into the frame.

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Building your own DIY fish tank lid can be fun and rewarding. You can choose from canopy lids, clear mesh lids, and even sliding glass lids. The options are endless and can be created on a budget. The type of DIY fish tank lid you choose depends on your preference and the size of your fish tank, but most of these fish tank lids look great on a variety of different rectangular or square fish tanks.

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Featured Image Credit: saiglobalnt, Shutterstock

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