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Hood designs boil down to personal preference in many cases and most all designs are functional for their needs. The requirements for a hood are that it can house the lighting of choice, withstand the environment (e.g., water, salt), it can be cooled if required, and be moved/opened on a regular basis. Also. the construction must be sturdybecause the hood will most likely be opened on a daily basis for tank maintenance. Because the design of a hood is so personal (different lighting systems, different requirements for space and size), a detailed design walk-through won't be given here. Rather, various designs will be given and one detailed design will be presented. The detailed design is of a fluorescent hood with a flip top. The design can be altered to include metal halide lamps and fan cooling if desired.
Below is depicted various designs that I have seen and heard about from other aquarists. These are not the only designs and certainly should not be thought of as the only approach to a hood design.
Figure 4.0.0 - Popular Hood Designs
Design A is the basic flip top model. It has a base unit and the lights are attached to the top which opens for maintenance. Model B is similar to A, except it is split in two vertically and half of the hood flips open. In this case, the front half may be opened and rested on the back half. This has great advantages over model A, which needs to be supported while it is open. Model C and D are variations on commercial hoods. Model C is simply a piece of glass with two strip lights resting on top. It is simple and cheap, but offers little aesthetic appeal and it makes it very difficult to do maintenance. Model D is an illustration of the basic plastic commercial hood. Model E is similar to A, except the front panel flips forward instead of the top. This has the distinct advantage that the lamps do not have to be moved for daily maintenance (Model D also has this advantage).
Appendix B gives detailed drawings for Model A, as well as mounting tips for the fluorescent lights. The design is for a 30 gallon tank which measures 36" long and 12 1/2" wide. The only parameters that need to varied in the design is the length and width of the shape. The height will accommodate most any lighting choices. Up to 4 fluorescent lamps will fit nicely into the design. More could be packed in, but it would be a tight fit.
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