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Tank lids? Aren't they usually a bad idea?

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Been seeing lots more posts lately about people using tank lids (glass or acrylic) to control evaporation on their tanks (and of course to keep fish from jumping), but I thought it was common reef wisdom that lids were a bad idea? Three reasons I've always thought they were a bad idea are:

1) they prevent gas exchange which is necessary for a reef
2) they obstruct light, especially when salt begins to build up and create a haze on the glass (I'd think these lids would need to be cleaned a lot to prevent this)
3) unlike mesh tops, lids are hard and won't give when a fish jumps into them. A fish can literally die because of jumping and crashing too hard into a lid. (I've actually watched this happen to a blue spot jawfish that I had in a biocube. It was awful.)

Just wondering if the wisdom has changed on this, or if it's just that more people haven't been warned of potential issues with lids?

I am not in favor of open tanks. I use mesh tops on mine.
 
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Crabs McJones

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Mesh lids yes, acrylic or glass lids no.
For the reasons you stated above.
I don't currently have a lid on my tank ( :eek: )
But want to get one. But the one I want is expensive so i'm saving up for it :)
 

crusso1993

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Been seeing lots more posts lately about people using tank lids (glass or acrylic) to control evaporation on their tanks (and of course to keep fish from jumping), but I thought it was common reef wisdom that lids were a bad idea? Three reasons I've always thought they were a bad idea are:

1) they prevent gas exchange which is necessary for a reef
2) they obstruct light, especially when salt begins to build up and create a haze on the glass (I'd think these lids would need to be cleaned a lot to prevent this)
3) unlike mesh tops, lids are hard and won't give when a fish jumps into them. A fish can literally die because of jumping and crashing too hard into a lid. (I've actually watched this happen to a blue spot jawfish that I had in a biocube. It was awful.)

Just wondering if the wisdom has changed on this, or if it's just that more people haven't been warned of potential issues with lids?

I am not in favor of open tanks. I use mesh tops on mine.
Great subject to address as it seems that sometimes the simpler things fall by the wayside.

I am totally with you on "anti-lid" for all the reasons you mention and totally with you on mesh-type covers. Gee, does this sound like I'm sucking up? If so, I'll just add that I still think you're a bit crazy! ;)
 

EMeyer

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Glass lids for life.

I see no reason to worry about gas exchange in a system with a skimmer and sump.

And I find the cleaning concerns are way overstated. I have to clean my tank glass every 2 to 3 d. My lids ... maybe once a month?

5 to 10% less PAR to cut evaporation at least in half... glass lids all the way for me.
 
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I personally like the look of a rimless, open top tank, but I hear too many horror stories about fish parasailing, so I decided to use the mesh lid that came with the tank. This one though doesn’t have a feed door, which can be annoying, so I ordered a custom lid from OctoAquatics that’s currently in the works.
 

Greybeard

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I don't currently have a lid on my tank ( :eek: )
But want to get one. But the one I want is expensive so i'm saving up for it :)
Octo Aquatics. Love mine, but yeah, wasn't cheap.

I don't use, or recommend, acrylic or glass tops. Acrylic? Really? That'd sag, be crusty, and get scratched in no time. Glass works, but you've got to clean it regularly. Most folks I know that have glass tops on a marine aquarium also have huge salt creep deposits all over them. Just too much of a pain to clean.

What's the benefit again? Oh yeah, less evaporation.

You know, evaporation isn't a bad thing... keeps tank temp lower (how many of us run chillers? Not me...). If you're running Kalkwasser, gives you the ability to dose more each day. A decent ATO system means your evaporation is handled... no problem, right? Keeps the house humidity up during the winter... I don't see the problem.

I suppose, some folks pay a high cost for water... but really, you'd have to be evaporating a lot to exceed the water usage from a load of laundry or a toilet flush. Here, water costs only maintenance and electricity to get it out of the well.
 

Chasemartin2134

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To those that go mesh lid or no lid... Do you see damage to the walls behind the tanks or any wood around the tank? We keep one in our office with out a lid and there's a huge picture above it (that admittedly is too close to the tank) that constantly has salt and water deposits on it and the wall. Our 180 gallon is in the living room and I would much rather clean the salt creep off of the glass lid than clean the wall.

Unrelated, does anyone have one close to a fire place? Have you seen any ill effects?
 

Han

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I’ve had mesh lids on all my tanks, but a couple months ago I set up a new tank and got a glass lid for the first time. It sits below the rim on my rimless tank so it is basically invisible. I wouldn’t go back to mesh.

That said, I don’t dont keep high end sps or corals that need a ton of light. For lps/softie or fowlr tanks though, I wouldn’t even consider going back to mesh.
 
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I can’t do mesh, the light is on top of my lid (not great idea I know) and the evaporation would be too much to keep up with. Especially in the winter when we run the heater constantly (Utah is unforgiving and unpredictable). I would like to clean the lid though. It does have a bit of salt buildup.
 

Greybeard

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To those that go mesh lid or no lid... Do you see damage to the walls behind the tanks or any wood around the tank? We keep one in our office with out a lid and there's a huge picture above it (that admittedly is too close to the tank) that constantly has salt and water deposits on it and the wall. Our 180 gallon is in the living room and I would much rather clean the salt creep off of the glass lid than clean the wall.

Unrelated, does anyone have one close to a fire place? Have you seen any ill effects?
I had a coated aluminum shield made to attach to the wall where my Peninsula sits against it. Wires run under it, salt creep (what little there is) is easy to wipe off.

Also, I have a pellet stove in the same room with my (screen covered) tank. Yes, a pellet stove is well ventilated, in comparison to many regular fireplaces... Still, I burn around ton and a half of pellets a year. No problems


I would need a LOT of fish to jump before one of those expensive custom lide would be worth it...:eek:
Just one made it 'worth it' to me. Oh, I suppose that the fishes couldn't care less what it looks like, but I do, since I'm the one having to look at it every day... and loosing fish to jumping is simply unacceptable.
 

ca1ore

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I think the objections to solid lids still apply. Less about absolute gas exchange though and more about that trapped layer between the sold lid and tank surface.
 

EMeyer

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I don't use, or recommend, acrylic or glass tops. Acrylic? Really? That'd sag, be crusty, and get scratched in no time. Glass works, but you've got to clean it regularly. Most folks I know that have glass tops on a marine aquarium also have huge salt creep deposits all over them. Just too much of a pain to clean.

What's the benefit again? Oh yeah, less evaporation.

You know, evaporation isn't a bad thing... keeps tank temp lower (how many of us run chillers? Not me...). If you're running Kalkwasser, gives you the ability to dose more each day. A decent ATO system means your evaporation is handled... no problem, right? Keeps the house humidity up during the winter... I don't see the problem.

I suppose, some folks pay a high cost for water... but really, you'd have to be evaporating a lot to exceed the water usage from a load of laundry or a toilet flush. Here, water costs only maintenance and electricity to get it out of the well.
I suppose it all depends on your local situation.

I don't use chillers, but I do need to run heaters 24-7 if I take the lids off. Evaporation reduces the temperature of the tank. Evaporative cooling is more of a problem than the water loss itself. On shallow frag tanks I find it hard to even maintain temperature without a lid unless I run huge heaters constantly.

By the way, in the summer I get to take them off and cool the tank for the cost of water, which is very cheap here too (I'm on a well). But don't forget, its not water we put in our tanks, its RODI which has additional costs.

For me its less about the raw cost of the RODI water than the sheer amount. I go through 20 gallons of DI a week for my home tanks alone. If I took the lids off that would at least double. I don't want to make that much RODI each week.

No one size fits all solution here, but I dont see any of these disadvantages. I prioritize minimizing evaporation over almost everything else.
 

Montiman

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The only time I would use a glass lid is with a short wooden canopy. I have seen too many develop mold and start to sag from humidity. Tall canopies are fine because they are usually better ventilated and they are also much easier to work in as well.
 
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Mical

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I had glass lids went to mesh then back to glass. Glass has to be kept clean (which can be a pain) but with mesh my evap rate doubled and had a six-line jump into and get stuck in mesh. I went back to glass lids on both of my tanks but back 2" has black rubber trim molding over it and evap rate is about 3 gals per week on both tanks. Cleaning glass is now part of my Sunday ritual - testing, filling ATOs, cleaning skimmers, cleaning ATO sensors & ALL glass including lids. Takes about an hour.
 

AdamW0611

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I use glass lids, my wife has 3 carts I can't trust, and I don't want cat fur floating in the display tank. Cat fur ends up everywhere. I may try the diy mesh top kit from BRS down the road, but for now cleaning the tops 2 times a month isn't bad.
 

adrianr514

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You have way more gas exchange in your sump via a skimmer than you could ever get with just no lid.

you can avoid the salt creep on the lid issue with good daily husbandry and most of the lights we are running are so powerful that even if you went a week or two without cleaning it that they wouldn’t be affected.
 

RJ F.

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I have used glass and mesh. I really like how easy it is to remove the mesh screen. I also have my ato to dose my alk so the evaporation is in tune with my dosing needs.

What it really came down to though was aesthetics and ease. When I had my glass lid I had light reflecting all over my living room and my back room. Also we have a pass through in the kitchen amd the light would bounce off the lid through the passthrough right into everyones eyes. I went to mesh and never looked back.
 
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