Aquarium covers are an under appreciated, yet essential part of your tank setup. Perhaps you’ve heard the terms lid, hood, and canopy and wondered if they are all the same thing. Which do you need, and does it come with your aquarium? This list explains the differences and uses for each.
An aquarium lid serves three key purposes. First and foremost, it prevents the fish from jumping out. Secondly, it reduces evaporation of the water, and lastly it serves as a barrier between the light fixture and the water. Glass lids are ideal for all three purposes. They fit snugly, are durable, and are easy to clean. They are a bit more expensive than a plastic hood, but they are well worth the additional expense.
When purchasing a glass lid, make sure it comes with a back strip that allows a cutout for equipment, such as a filter. I highly recommend all-glass versa-top glass lids. They are well manufactured and hold up well over time.
Hoods are what covers the lighting fixture. They may also incorporate a plastic lid to cover the top of the aquarium as well. Hoods that cover the aquarium as well as house the light, are less expensive than a seperate lid and lighting unit. However, plastic lids generally do not fit as tightly as glass lids, therefore allowing more evaporation of the tank water. Plastic lids also tend to become brittle over time and are not as durable as glass.
When purchasing a hood, pay attention to the light specifications. Often the cheaper hoods are less expensive due to having a cheap light. Make sure you are getting the light wattage and type you require before purchasing a hood.
Some vendors label glass lids as canopies, however most enthusiasts are referring to a decorative top that houses the light and top of tank. Most often canopies are wood and are made to match the aquarium stand. Canopies are not necessary, and are fairly expensive, often costing as much or more than the aquarium itself. They are primarily intended to add atehetic apeal.