For aquarium hobbyists, it is difficult not to get get emotionally attached to our fish and it can be devastating to lose one of our wet pets.

Sometimes fish will perish due to disease, stress or factors beyond our control. However, when a fish dies due to factors we can control, it is even more heartbreaking. I have come home several times in my many years of fish keeping totally distraught to find a dried-up fish on the floor. As Murphy's Law would have it, it is always my favorite—or most expensive—fish.

I have learned this lesson the hard way and keep a screen top on all of my aquariums now. Carpet surfers are now a thing of the past! The only question I ask myself is, "Why didn't I do it sooner?"

Screen covers are very inexpensive, extremely easy to make and will keep your fish inside your tank where they belong. They allow better gas exchange, block very little light and are much easier and safer to move around when servicing your aquarium than glass covers.

Marine Depot carries several sizes of ¼" clear netting you can use to make a screen top for your aquarium at home. The netting we offer contains a UV inhibitor that helps it stand up to intense light exposure. In order to build your own DIY aquarium screen top, all you need is a couple of tools and a do-it-yourself screen frame kit form your local home improvement store.

Here's what you'll need to build your DIY aquarium screen top:

  • DIY screen kit
  • Clear netting
  • Hacksaw
  • Measuring tape
  • Spline roller
  • Utility knife or scissors

Now let's get down to business:

  1. First, you need to take precise measurements of your aquarium.
  2. Next, cut the rails to size. Be sure to account for the corner connection pieces—which in this case are ¾" on each side for a total of 1.5".
  3. Assemble the frame and test fit the cover on top of your tank. 
  4. Lay the frame onto a flat table and place the netting over the frame. Cut the netting so it's slightly larger than the frame to make it easier to work with.
  5. Using the spline roller, role the spline in on parallel sides. This will create a tight, even fit. Having someone hold the screen or using tape will help you get a clean, taut installation.
  6. Once installed, trim any leftover screen with a blade and you are all set!

It really is that simple!

Creating a DIY screen top for your aquarium is so inexpensive and easy that carpet surfers will be a thing of the past.

If you need help building a screen cover for your aquarium or simply want to talk tank, feel free to contact us because we're always eager to help you out. We certainly appreciate you reading and, if you found this tutorial helpful, please like or share it with your fellow fish geeks.

Don't forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel to stay up-to-date with our latest videos and until next time... take care and happy reefkeeping.

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