Jump to content

Nuvo 20 DIY Tank Canopy and Base

Recommended Posts


Hello all.  I posted this in the All in one forum and thought I would repost here.


  As the title states this is my post about building my nuvo 20 reef.  I currently have a 150 reef at home and wanted to put a smaller tank at my office due to the fact that I spend 40-50 hours a week there and will have the time to enjoy it.  The deciding factor for me was that a recent dental journal did a report stating that 5 min staring at a fish tank lowers stress levels and pain experienced (which allows me to make this a business expense).  

The tank will be sitting on a shelf in my dental operatory and floor space is limited so I cannot use a stand to store anything.  Although the tank is rimless I need a canopy so the led does not shine in my patients' eyes when I lean them back (and it hides everything).  The electronics will be mounted on the wall below and to the left of the tank and I will be building a small wood cabinet to hold all of it.  I will also be building a cover for the ATO reservoir.  All wood will be stained to match the wood trim in my office.  

I recently upgraded my home tank to a digital aquatics Archon and had a reefkeeper elite sitting in a box so it will control this tank.


My hardware will consist of:

Nuvo 20 

INtank media basket in right return with filter floss and chemipure blue

IM media basket in left return full of live rock rubble with filter floss on top.

2 cobalt mj1200s as return pumps, each going to a spin stream

an eheim jager 75watt heater in right accessory spot

SB reeflights 16" wifi led

frag freaks magnetic float switch holder in ATO reservoir for low level sensing.

2 eshops triple probe holders, one in left accessory spot for reef keeper pH and temp probes and one in center return area for 2 float switches and return hose mounting.

Digital aquatics reef keeper elite with sl1, sl2, mlc and 2 power bars

4.5 gallon acrylic ato reservoir from advanced acrylics.

custom base for tank

custom canopy 

custom ATO reservoir cover 

custom electronics cabinet.


I will update this thread as the project progresses over the next couple months.


here Is a pic of the current progress







The hole in the top of the canopy will have a door on a hinge that I will let little kids feed the fish through.


One of the problems with having a hood on an AIO tank is easily accessing the sump area.  I solved this problem by making a valance that is held on with a magnetic catch, as you can see in the pictures.  I added 2 120mm fans for the reef keeper to turn on if the water temp gets too hot.






Update on progress, finished staining the woodwork to match our office trimwork.  Used general finishes Arm-r-seal satin polyurethane as the finish.  I know this is woodwork heavy at the moment and I hope it's not boring to all the reefers out there.  The stain is an aged cedar by old masters.





ATO box, canopy and valance.



Front hinged door



I made side panels for the tank that will cover the black area on each side of the sump  chamber.  On the most accessible side, I burned in gallon markers so that when I do water changes I don't have to measure out the water I'm removing, I just drain to the line then refill.  Did 1, 2.5 and 5 gallon marks because I don't see myself doing any other volume.



Electronics box and door.



Reefkeeper layout in electronics box, MLC module not in pic but will be in line with other modules.  80mm case fan on upper left for heat dissipation.



Eshops magnetic probe holder to hold float switches.  The switches will be wired in series so that both have to be on for the ATO to work.  Higher chance for a failure keeping the ATO off but lower chance for a stuck on situation.  The ATO fill hose will be in the center probe location.  Had to use the mount upside down so the magnets wouldn't interfere with the float switch operation.



This is how I'm running 2 cobalt mj1200s as the returns.  Each going to a spin stream and sitting on a silicone trivet to lower noise.  Had to place the hose in boiling water to get it to relax and go straight.  Using two little fishes 1/2" plastic hose clamps.



Got the final assembly done today, still need to let it sit for a few weeks until the polyurethane gasses off.  The color doesn't come through the best in some of these pics. 





Attached the sides with two sided carpet tape.  Pretty handy stuff.  You can see my gallon markers on this side.







Hook is attached to the brace that helps to hold the valance up and won't move when the valance is removed.  My reefkeeper will be below the tank so this is part of my drip loop solution.



The extra piece at the bottom is there to hide the extra electric wires outside of the box to keep it clean.



The back extended part is there for me to attach the pump and low level wires as well as the ATO hose.



Leak protection/warning is pretty important in the build so I placed some tinned wires in the bottom of the base on each side that will be attached to the reefkeeper to sense water leaks.




  • Like 4
  • Wow 1

Share this post

Link to post

Amazing wood work. Can wait to see it up and running. 

Share this post

Link to post
WV Reefer

Very nice! :) 

Share this post

Link to post

takes you right back to 2007

  • Like 1

Share this post

Link to post
17 hours ago, supernip said:

takes you right back to 2007

Haha yea maybe, but there are good reasons to have canopies on tanks. I couldn't think of a better way to hide that light.

  • Like 2

Share this post

Link to post


  • Like 1

Share this post

Link to post
On 7/15/2017 at 10:29 AM, Codiene said:

Haha yea maybe, but there are good reasons to have canopies on tanks. I couldn't think of a better way to hide that light.


I have a piece of aquarium backing that blocks the light. Since I sit under my tank, the light leak was bad. 

Share this post

Link to post

Banging tank.  Great work.

Share this post

Link to post

Where did you source that fancy design on the face of the canopy? Those look great and would be perfect for a chest I'm building!

Share this post

Link to post


1 hour ago, Lingwendil said:

Where did you source that fancy design on the face of the canopy? Those look great and would be perfect for a chest I'm building!

Well that is a trade secret sir...


My local Home Depot has all kinds of wooden accents like that in the crown molding section.


so maybe not so secret

  • Haha 1

Share this post

Link to post

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recommended Discussions

  • Create New...