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DIY Mesh Top to Keep Fish From Jumping

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  1. #1

    Default DIY Mesh Top to Keep Fish From Jumping

    Thought I would share the cover I have been using to keep fish from jumping out of my tank. I have been using this mesh for tops for about 3 years and couldn't be happier. I used a glass top for several months, but don't like the glass because it accumulates condesation and salt spray which blocks light. I also had heat issues with the glass top.

    The screen doesn't hold heat at all. After the halide was on all day, it is barely warm to the touch right under the bulb.

    For those of you that use eggcrate, this top is also better because it allows more light to pass than eggcrate. With a metal halide, I got dark corners when I tried eggcrate. The light difference is hardly noticable with the clear mesh screen!

    I have tried both 1/2 inch mesh and 1/4 inch mesh, both work very well. If you have real small fish, then the 1/4 is the way to go and doesn't compromise light intensity.

    Here's photos of the top on the tank.

    screen top1 - DIY Mesh Top to Keep Fish From Jumping

    screen top2 - DIY Mesh Top to Keep Fish From Jumping

  2. #2


    For you DIY reefers, here is how I made the screen mesh top:

    Materials Needed:
    2 - 48" screen aluminum framing material (HD, Lowes, Menards, etc)
    4 - screen frame corners
    1 - roll of spline material
    1 - spline roller
    1 - roll of screening material (see Jimsflies description above)

    photos courtesy of beakerbob...

    Cut the aluminum framing to the interior size of the top of the tank lip (minus 1/16"), insert the corner and snap together:

    frame 1 - DIY Mesh Top to Keep Fish From Jumping

    frame 2 - DIY Mesh Top to Keep Fish From Jumping

    Lay the screening on the framework and, using the splining tool, press the spline into the groove of the frame, starting at one corner and working around:
    frame 3 - DIY Mesh Top to Keep Fish From Jumping

    frame 4 - DIY Mesh Top to Keep Fish From Jumping

    The splining will keep the screen taunt. Trim the excess screen material off the frame:

    frame 5 - DIY Mesh Top to Keep Fish From Jumping

    And you have completed the screened tank top!

    frame 6 - DIY Mesh Top to Keep Fish From Jumping

  3. #3
    ReeferRob - Reefkeeper CR Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Awards Photo of the Month


    I made one as well with Jims help and direction. Love it over a glass top any day, and a small price to pay to protect your investment (fish) Heres a pic of mine with a sweet hand blown glass marble that looks like a ricordea for a handle.
    I also collect hand blown glass in addition to credit card bills!
    100 3749 - DIY Mesh Top to Keep Fish From Jumping
    "We shouldn't think of an environment where livestock can survive, we should ensure an environment where livestock can thrive."-Rabidgoose
    "If it's gonna be that kinda party, Ima stick my ........ in the mashed potatoes!"-Beastie Boys

  4. #4


    Wow...not that's a cool addition! I want one of those.

  5. #5
    The Rugger - Reefkeeper CR Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    JAX, FL
    Awards Monthly Giveaway Winner


    I was going to ask you about that Jim. Did you find the mesh at a Norm Hardware store like Lowe's or Home Depot? I have an external over flow on my current tank so I would have to think about some sort of modification. Thanks for sharing.

  6. #6


    No I got it from a store that was going out of business. But I had to buy a ton of it. I've been selling pieces of it to other reefers...most tanks are in the $20-40 range including shipping.

  7. #7
    Rabidgoose - Reefkeeper Moderator

    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Thumb MI
    Awards Yugo Award Photo of the Month


    I also use the mesh on my tank and highly recommend it.
    I simply can't trust people that don't like bacon,

  8. #8


    The pictures in the DIY thread are a 1/2 inch mesh. I also bought 1/4 inch mesh and now exclusively recommend that instead of the 1/2 inch. Unless all you have are big fish, then I would go with the 1/2 inch because it is a thicker sturdier material. The piece of mesh I am using is the 1/4-inch and it has been in service for several years now...so it is still sturdy, but not as much as the 1/2 would be.

  9. #9
    Rook - Reefkeeper CR Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Grosse Pointe Park



    What did you cut the metal with, hacksaw?

    Also, I need to go around the return plumbing. I was thinking of cutting a slit in the metal and the net to go around the plumbing and either (a) hope the tension holds it together, or (b) add a straight connector at the cut that I would have to open if I remove the top. I don't want a large opening on the back. I just know that jawfish will find that opening.

  10. #10


    I use a chop saw, but a hack saw would work fine.

    I don't think what you are proposing will work. The frame needs to be solid all the way around or it will likely fall apart.

    Can you use a narrow piece of plexi across the back and notch out the place for your overflow/return/etc? Then just make the frame so that it goes up to the overflow and over laps the plexiglass a bit. You could dab silicone on the rim stock to secure the plexiglass since it shouldn't have to come off very often.
    Last edited by jimsflies; 09-28-2009 at 05:29 PM.

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