Keeping fish is a relaxing, if time consuming, hobby. Understanding the needs of the different fish that you keep is only part of what it takes to create the perfect environment for your fish. The right aquarium is also important and the hood that you choose is an important part of your set up. Deciding whether you want lighting or not, a solid or see through hood, and how you want the hood to open are just some of the questions you need to answer. So, how do you decide which is the right aquarium hood for you? Our panel of pet experts and fish lovers have put together a list of the best aquarium hoods to give you a head start.
Best Aquarium Hoods Buying Guide & FAQ
Knowing the best aquarium hoods available is only part of the answer when it comes to choosing the right hood for your aquarium. It is also important to consider the aquarium you have, what best fits your tank, and what your fish need to be healthy and comfortable in their environment. In this part of the guide we look at these and other considerations, as well as some of the most frequently asked questions about fish tank lids.
Things to Consider When Buying Aquarium Hoods
When choosing the best aquarium hood for your aquarium there are numerous things you need to consider, these include:
- Shape and size
It is important that you buy a fish tank hood that fits your aquarium correctly. If it doesn’t fit exactly, then there is a risk that it could fall in or your fish could still jump out. If it is too large, then there is always the risk of it slipping off and breaking or damaging your aquarium. Measure your aquarium carefully and check the instructions on the hood you are considering to see if it is suitable for your type of tank.
Not all hoods include lighting or are suitable for adding lighting. Whether you need lighting will depend on the type of aquatic life and plant life you have and where you keep your aquarium. Check whether the hood includes lighting, the type of lighting that is included or can be added, and how lighting can be secured to the lid.
- Splash guards
If lighting is included on the inside of the aquarium lid, then it is important that it and the electrical connection point is covered with a splash guard. If it is uncovered, then it becomes an electrocution risk. If the lights are on the outside, then there should still be a cover between the lighting element and the water.
Aquarium hoods are generally made of either glass or solid plastic. The decision is partly an aesthetic one, but it is also depended on the type of aquarium you have and whether it can hold the type of hood you are looking for. Glass hoods often also require more set up with double sided tape and vinyl strips needed to hold accessories, including lighting, in place.
A further consideration is the type of opening that the aquarium cover has. You need to be able to open the hood to feed your aquatic pets. You also need to be able to add and remove fish as required and the aquarium. Some hoods are hinged to allow the whole hood to be lifted safely. Others have built-in doors that mean you can feed fish without the risk of anything falling in or your fish jumping out of the tank.
- Filters and cords
Depending on the type of aquarium you have you need to be able to run cords and filter tubes out of your aquarium. Check that the hood has cut outs or openings for the cords that you need to run.
Why Do You Need an Aquarium Hood?
There are numerous reasons why you should consider a hood for your aquarium. Practically it is the best place to secure lighting for your aquarium and to hold certain filtration systems. It also helps to keep your aquarium water clean and reduce the risk of anything falling into the aquarium and contaminating the water. If you have cats or other pets, a hood is the best way to stop them accessing and worrying your fish. Aquarium hoods also help stop evaporation, maintaining a more consistent environment both inside and outside the aquarium. A hood also stops your fish from getting out. Some fish are jumpers and can damage their skins, if not cause themselves serious injury by jumping out of the aquarium and landing on the floor or getting stuck behind the tank.
Types of Aquarium Hoods
Generally, you can put aquarium hoods into one of three different categories; glass lids, plastic hoods, and wooden canopies. Each has its own benefits and drawbacks.
- Glass lids
These types of hoods are considered to be the most versatile and durable. They are easy to clean and fit snugly when the right size is purchased. If considering a glass hood, it is important to choose one that has custom cut outs for filter systems and cords and a way to attach accessories, such as lighting. Most glass hoods come as to separate panels that are secured by a plastic hinge. This makes it safer to open and reach the inside of the tank. Glass lids rarely include lighting, so this would need to be purchased separately.
- Plastic hoods
Plastic hoods can either come as a unit that just covers the lighting or as an integrated unit that also covers the whole aquarium surface. There is generally a little more evaporation with a plastic lid than with a glass lid because the fit is not as close. Plastic lids can also be more brittle and less long lasting, so it is important to buy a high-quality plastic hood to get value for money. The lighting is also usually included, so check the quality of the lighting as well to ensure it will effectively light your specific aquarium and will last for the lifetime of the hood.
- Wooden canopies
Canopies are generally made of wood and are decorative tops that provide coverage and can also house lighting for your aquarium. These are ideal if you want a built-in look for your aquarium, so that it blends in with the furniture where it is situated. A wooden fish tank canopy tends to be custom made and are therefore much more expensive than glass or plastic options.
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Best Aquarium Hoods FAQ
Q: Should I choose wood or plastic for my hood?
A: The material you choose is dependent on the type of aquarium you have and whether you want a unit that already has the lighting included or not. Glass is more durable, versatile, and easier to clean than plastic, but it does involve more work to set up. Plastic lids are easier to fit and lighter. They also usually include the lighting in a custom-built fitting, making it easier to set up.
Q: How do I know which size hood I need?
A: When choosing a hood for your aquarium it is important to get the size right. The first thing you need to do is measure your tank carefully. You need the length and width of your tank; it is also helpful to know the width of the glass, so you can check this against the hood depending on how the hood sits on the aquarium. Once you have the measurements, you need to check these dimensions against the manufacturer’s instructions on the hood that you are considering.
Q: Can I fit an automatic fish feeder or other equipment with a hood?
A: Automatic fish feeders and other equipment can be fitted with a hood. However, it is important to choose a hood that has the appropriate cut outs. Check the specific hood you are looking to fit.
Q: Can I use an aquarium hood with plants in the tank?
A: Yes, it is possible to use an aquarium hood with plants in the tank. However, it is important that the plants have lighting to survive. Invest in a hood that incorporates high quality LED lighting or that can have high quality lighting added to it.
Q: Why does my aquarium hood heat up during the day?
A: During the day, particularly in the summer months, the temperature in your aquarium can rise. As heat rises, it will also increase the temperature of the hood. Lighting can also cause the hood to heat up during the day. If the temperature rises above what is comfortable and safe for your fish. Open the hatch or door in your hood and allow the airflow to increase. This will reduce the temperature within the aquarium and allow the hood to cool. If you do not have a door within the hood, then remove the hood itself, but keep an eye on the aquarium while the hood is off.
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Our Top Pick
Our tip pick for an aquarium hood is the MarineLand LED Light Hood for Aquariums. The hood comes in three sizes and is designed to fit most regularly manufactured aquariums. The sleek and contemporary design includes LED lighting, which is integrated securely into the hood. It remains securely positioned even when the hood is open. The light provides the aquarium with natural shimmering light and has a night light effect. The hood itself is hinged, providing easy and safe access to the aquarium once the hood is in place.
Keeping an aquarium can be a very satisfying hobby, but it takes work to keep your aquatic pets safe and healthy. An aquarium hood is an important part of this process. By choosing the right hood and following the tips and advice provided by our experts you can enjoy your aquarium for years to come.