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How to Build a Wood Aquarium Top for a Cage

Updated on August 7, 2013
A secure aquarium top keeps your caged critters safe.
A secure aquarium top keeps your caged critters safe.

Is your aquarium used for an animal that can escape like a lizard or a rodent? You will need a secure top for your aquarium. You can purchase one or you can make one out of wood and mesh. Some aquariums are custom sized and finding a pre-made top is difficult or impossible.


Measuring tape




Staple gun and staples

Wire cutters


1” x 2” lengths of wood

1” lengths of wood molding

Hardware cloth


Step 1

Measure and cut the wood and molding. Measure the top of the aquarium around that outside of the top frame. You will need to add about ¼-inch for the long pieces and about 1 ¾ inches to the short pieces. Cut the 1” x 2” and the molding pieces to the correct lengths. You now have 2 long pieces and 2 short pieces.

Step 2

Pre-drill each end of the 1” x 2” short pieces about a ¼ to ½ -inch from the end. The holes should be smaller than the screws that will be used.

Step 3

Screw the long pieces and short pieces together. Using the screwdriver place the short pieces across the top of the long pieces and put the screw through the pre-drilled holes that should now be at the top screw a screw on each side. Flip the top and do the same thing with the second short piece.

Step 4

Measure and cut the hardware cloth. Using the wire cutters and cut the hardware cloth to size. Tin snips can also be used for that. The hardware cloth needs to be cut just shy of the edge of the frame so there are no sharp edges.

Step 5

Staple the hardware cloth on the frame. Using the staple gun start with each corner to keep it centered on the frame. Continue stapling the length and width of the frame.

Step 6

Staple the pre-cut molding over the hardware cloth covering the sharp edges and the staples used to secure the hardware cloth.


The size of the holes in the hardware cloth depends on the animal that will be living in the aquarium that the top is for.


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