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Shark...fish are friends
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I've been anticipating building a large system including having a fish room to be able to hide all of my equipment so the wife doesn't complain about seeing it strewn about. I have been renting for the last several years so the first step is buying a bigger house that I can customize to include this big build.

We found a house that we really liked so we put an offer in on it and it has been accepted, we should be closing on it in the next 6 weeks or so, so now that I have an idea what the layout is going to be (and know for sure that I have a room that will work to be able to have an in-wall tank ) I'm starting to draw up some plans so I have a good idea what I want to do before I start ripping out walls.

This will be a long build, we have a few other things we're going to want to update in the house first but I'm figuring I will start ripping out walls in the fish room right away even though it will probably go back in a little slower as I have the funds to do it...

So here is my current plan... I want to do a 240 gal tank that will be visible through the wall in the living room, and I can also have the side of the tank visible from the hallway I think...

Here is a rough drawing of the room. I don't have the exact dimensions yet (just estimated based on the room size on the listing) so this will take some tweaking once we are in the house... there are two windows in the room, one of which is going to make it a pain for my stand (considering ripping it out and moving it over towards the corner of the room further, but that will be a lot of work, not sure if I want to do that or not...)


3/27/15 ETA: links to old tanks now that I've updated my signature to remove them...
20H salty work tank (1/4/15 - current) http://www.thereeftank.com/forums/f6/20-gal-softy-lps-work-tank-226333.html
two 40B's (1/4/14 - this tank going online) http://www.thereeftank.com/forums/f6/2-40b-builds-214883.html
10 gal PDWT (10/8/13 - 12/22/14, sold to upgrade to 20H salt tank) http://www.thereeftank.com/forums/f123/new-10-gallon-planted-dirted-work-tank-211642.html
55 FW (7/2/13 - 1/4/14, downgraded to get two 40B's) http://www.thereeftank.com/forums/f123/converting-55-gal-fw-to-planted-tank-207424-2.html
10 SW (4/21/13 - 1/4/14, first salt tank, upgraded to 40B) http://www.thereeftank.com/forums/f97/robs-first-saltwater-tank-204222.html
 

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Shark...fish are friends
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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Here is a rough drawing of the good stuff...

tank stand I'm planning on using 2x6 with 4x4 legs. I'll run some FEA on the stand to make sure it will hold the weight that is going to mount on it.

240 gal tank with a C2C style overflow but it will be on the side of the tank instead of the back, that way the tank is visible from the fish room too.

I will use my current 40B as the sump. I'm debating between an super SRO5000INT or SRO6000SSS skimmer... but I will house just the skimmer and heaters and return pump in the sump.

I am thinking I will get a 30 extra high tank that I can use for a SW QT since I plan on having a lot of fish in the tank I will QT new additions to make sure the existing fish don't catch anything from them. I want to have the QT connected to the main system to be able to keep the water parameters right in the tank and will just install a shutoff/bypass to disconnect the QT from the main tank/sump when I am QT'ing something and then will change the water in it afterwards. (I'm not dead set on this because I don't know how well it will work, maybe it will be a stand alone system).

I won't have room to keep my 40B freshwater tank so I think I'll get a new 10 gal to plant and have freshwater fish in since I like my planted tanks, I will mount it on a shelf up above the 30EH QT tank.

Under the stand will be room for a couple of mixing buckets and some storage shelves, as well as a 10 gal tank for blackworms and a 5 gal tank for either FW QT or a shrimp hatchery (probably won't need a QT for FW since it will only be a 10 gal FW tank I won't be able to add many fish so no need to QT much, but shrimp hatchery would be nice, then I could use ghost shrimp for feeding the SW tank).

I want to have a sink in the room for easy access and will do water changes directly into the sink, I will mount my RO/DI under the sink and will have it plumbed in to a 40B for storage and my ATO top off.

The first pic showed a corner desk, this will also double as my office space (small, but at least give me a place to get away for quiet while doing homework).
 

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Shark...fish are friends
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I plan on ripping all of the walls apart to be able to run electrical and plumbing to the room. I don't want the mess of cords I currently have under my stand, so I will have plugs above the DT for lights to plug in to, as well as plugs near the shelf mounted FW and the 30 gal QT so I don't have plugs hanging down. Under the stand I'll have plugs run to two central locations because I bought two DJ power units that have individual switches for each plug. The plugs above the tanks I'll run switches to another area so I don't have to unplug them as well. The SW tank will be hooked in to an Apex controller, so will make custom plugs for those outlets to run under the tank to plug in to the apex.

I'm going to add a ceiling fan to the room as well as a vent fan to be able to help draw humidity out of the room so it doesn't start molding with all that water in the room... I think I'll be able to control the vent fan with the apex to be able to turn it off automatically at night but kick it on during the day (unless I can find a probe that senses humidity and only kick it on as needed?)

That's about as far as I've made it so far. I am planning on picking the tank up in December, so I have a few months to brainstorm ideas and figure out exactly what I want to incorporate. What do you guys/gals think? Anything you'd like to have in a fish room that would make things easier that I haven't thought of?
 

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Shark...fish are friends
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
What would you guys use for flooring? There will be a lot of weight on the floor so I am planning on reinforcing the floor joices in the basement to help support the weight. I thought about tile so if it gets wet it wouldn't hurt it, but I don't think tile would support the weight of the stand, so IDK, I guess my dad is the tile guy so I could have him tile around the stand legs...

tile would be bad for the winter time though, would be pretty cold for an office floor...
 

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Wow Sounds like a great build :) For the floor i would try to do some kind of vinyl, prefeably in one piece. Since fish room will be over a basement, any way you could put a drain in middle of fish room floor and tie into plumbing at some point without it being a bg ugly eyesore? Another thought is to do the walls and stuff in that plastic coated stuff used to build showers and such. Moisture resistant and easy to wipe off salt creep and stuff.
 

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Great project!

My 2 cents - use the area under the tank for storage only.

Put you sump where you can access it from the top for cleaning and skimmer/pump maintenance. In my opinion that is the biggest advantage of a Fish room and the most critical part of your system.
 

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Shark...fish are friends
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Wow Sounds like a great build :) For the floor i would try to do some kind of vinyl, prefeably in one piece. Since fish room will be over a basement, any way you could put a drain in middle of fish room floor and tie into plumbing at some point without it being a bg ugly eyesore? Another thought is to do the walls and stuff in that plastic coated stuff used to build showers and such. Moisture resistant and easy to wipe off salt creep and stuff.
Hmm, the bathroom in the house that we're renting now has the vinyl walls in it... kind of ugly look, but it does serve it's purpose I guess (but they drywalled the ceiling... figure that out lol). I know they have the greenboard drywall that is supposed to be used in bathrooms since it is more water resistant, then you can still paint it. I'll have to see if they have other options for the vinyl or if its just white like what is in my bathroom... originally I had thought about painting the wall that would be viewed from the living room a dark blue and having some fatheads of corals and marine fish made to decorate the wall around the tank, but maybe if I could find a dark blue vinyl it would work for the fish room.

It probably wouldn't be hard to add a floor drain, I had considered adding one of the sinks that has a drain on the floor but figured with it in the counter top it would give me extra storage room underneath it. The fish room will be a little smaller than I had envisioned (9.5ft x 10ft) and I still want to fit a desk in there so trying to get the most bang for my buck with space. If I added a floor drain near the sump then I could just siphon from the sump to the floor drain and wouldn't need the sump to sit as high to be able to siphon it out...

Great project!

My 2 cents - use the area under the tank for storage only.

Put you sump where you can access it from the top for cleaning and skimmer/pump maintenance. In my opinion that is the biggest advantage of a Fish room and the most critical part of your system.
right now I'm showing about 13.5" between the bottom of the stand and the top of the sump. I was planning on building a little stand for the sump to sit on in order to raise it up enough to be able to siphon any settled detritus out of it. I could make the stand shorter, but where it is at now gives me 5" between the 2x4's for the stand in order to fit my hand in and be able to store stuff that isn't used as often under the sump stand. I could go a little higher with the main stand perhaps. Right now the top of the stand is 48", the top of the tank is 73". I will need a step stool to be able to clean the tank since I'm 71" tall... but I want the tank to be eye level so I can see everything without having to stoop down to look at it.

I might have to rethink that height though because I hadn't considered that if I pull up a chair to sit and watch it I'd be looking at the bottom of the tank. I had considered putting a small bar on the outside of the tank as well, but being that it will be in the living room I may not do that now (although bar stools could be taller, just not sure if it would look good with the layout of the living room... maybe i could still do a small bar in the hallway with a bar stool sitting there because I think the hallway was quite wide...) there is a small wood pellet stove in the living room on the other side of the wall from where the tank will sit, but it will be on the outer wall so it isn't right next to the tank.

I'm trying to make this fish room and office so I don't have room for the sump to be elsewhere, but currently planning on leaving the bottom of the stand open so I can access everything...


Thanks for the comments everyone, like I said before this will be a few months before I have much to show, and will be 2015 before everything is operational, but I want to get all my plans figured out ahead of time so I do it right the first time!
 

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Shark...fish are friends
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
- 13.5'', 5'', raised for syphoning
- Tank top 73'' I'm 71''
- Viewing angle for watching from chair
- step stool / bar stool options

The level of detail you are getting into now tells me this is going to turn out great.
I'm a design engineer that doesn't get to design anything anymore... I took a sales engineering position almost 6 years ago and have been stuck here so I don't get to play around with CAD packages that much anymore, which is what I really enjoyed doing and the whole reason I work for this company because I was in a lot of drafting classes in high school and started here as a draftsman and slowly made my way up through the ranks... until I took the sales engineering position and got stuck here...

So for fun I draw stuff like this up to think out things I'd like to build... I'm also in the process of drawing up a greenhouse in SolidWorks (3D CAD package), because eventually I will build my wife a little greenhouse at the new house that way we can have garden fresh food year round, so if I draw it up I can figure out the materials I need to be able to get a cost estimate of what it is going to cost me...
 

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Shark...fish are friends
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
other fun things I've drawn...

house floorplans...

hunting shack...

concept for taking an enclosed trailer and converting it to add shelves / sink / food prep area (my mother in law runs a catering company, this was something we considered buying/building for her for everything she did to help with our wedding). They have so much stuff for the catering business and are constantly carrying it in the house and trying to store it... would be easier to get a big trailer it could all stay in and its ready for the next catering gig!

eventually I'll probably have a model of my entire house drawn up once we take poessesion of it... =)
 

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Shark...fish are friends
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Well things went sour with the house deal, the septic inspection came back and said the septic was too close to the well so had to have a new septic put in which they wanted us to pay half of it. We told them we weren't going to pay for it because we had already offered them their full list price plus we were paying closing so they needed to pay for the septic. They came back and said they still wanted us to pay half of it, so we walked away from the deal. Found another house that we really like too, put an offer in with them paying most of closing and they accepted it, so we've moved on!

Getting anxious, waiting for the mortgage guy to get the paperwork rolling on the new house... supposed to close on it by 8/15 so under a month to go now! Of course it could be another month for them to move out =( hopefully they are out by closing though.

The new house is a bi-level, 4 bedroom 2 bath (with a third toilet downstairs in an unfinished bathroom/laundry room, so will be 3 baths eventually). One of the bedrooms is downstairs with a family room/rec room outside of it, so going to make that bedroom my fishroom as I figure I'll probably spend most of my time in the downstairs family room anyways since it would be cooler in the summer than the upstairs living room would be...

I started sketching up the house layout so I could start playing around with my fish room ideas again, this bedroom is larger than the one that I was playing around with before, so won't be quite so cramped and might be able to keep my freshwater tank with this house...
 

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Congrats on the house, man!
Sounds like your kicking your design brain into high gear soon
Like the idea of a through the wall tank between rec room and bedroom, but might be easier to just have your display against the bedroom wall, run the pipes/etc through wall for a real clean look in the rec room
Rimless tank?
Lights running up to ceiling
Real clean look!!
 

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Shark...fish are friends
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Congrats on the house, man!
Sounds like your kicking your design brain into high gear soon
Like the idea of a through the wall tank between rec room and bedroom, but might be easier to just have your display against the bedroom wall, run the pipes/etc through wall for a real clean look in the rec room
Rimless tank?
Lights running up to ceiling
Real clean look!!
That's more or less what I'm thinking... I can't picture a good way of having the tank flush with the wall of the rec room, so it will probably be up against the inside wall of the bedroom, so 4" inset from the rec room. Which is OK, because I like the idea of putting a bar in by the tank too so you can set some stools outside of it and sit and stare at the tank. Inspiration ---> jpdiii3's bar setup... http://www.thereeftank.com/forums/f176/our-400-gallon-in-wall-natural-sun-lit-reef-191598-2.html

I don't plan on going rimless, I plan on having the wall cutout level with the edge of the tank trim so you can't see the trim from the rec room.

I think I'll probably build shelves above the big tank that I can hang my lights from, I still want to be able to have some small tanks (I'd like to keep my freshwater tanks if possible with the room I have, and also wouldn't mind doing some shrimp tanks for hatching shrimp, pod tanks, etc. to do live food for the reef tank. One way or another you won't be able to see the light fixtures from the rec room.
 

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Shark...fish are friends
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
toying around with ideas for what I'm going to do with the fishroom... here is a picture of the family room where you'll view the tank from, the tank will be in the LH wall behind where the one couch is in the picture. They only have one picture of the room itself and have it looking from the door inwards so I can't remember exactly how the closet was in the room, but I think the room is going to be laid out wrong for what I want to do... I've attached a starting point for the fishroom but I don't have the closet shown in here, I don't know if the room dimensions included the closet or not so don't want to get too ahead of myself with plans then find out they won't fit, but I'm anxious so wanted to play around with some ideas...

The other side of the closet from the fish room is the utility room where the furnace/water heater/water softener etc. are located at. So I will be able to tie in to the plumbing there to run water to the fish room, but I would have to tear out the walls all the way around and drill holes in all of the 2x4's in the walls to be able to plumb it without having exposed pipes (or plumb it up over the door going the other way...) so I'm thinking I might have to flip the door location so it is on the other side of the room. That way I could have the tank stand run on the inside of the room from the closet, but could put a sink and my RODI and RODI storage tanks all in the closet and not have to plumb it as far... it still means I'll have to make a mess with relocating the door, but I'll have that wall tore apart anyways to be able to rebuild the headers in order to cut out the viewing window, so it shouldn't hurt to relocate the door while I have the wall torn out.

Just getting an idea what I'm going to do, I'm really anxious to get in to the house so I can get started!
 

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Shark...fish are friends
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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
the other think I'm debating is what kind of tanks I want to have in there... I'm pretty much set on the 240 wide, and 40B for a sump. Still debating if I'm going to keep my freshwater tank or if I'm going to give up on the freshwater tank. With the amount of money I'm going to eventually have in fish and corals I'm thinking I might set up a 40B QT tank too. Kind of interested in doing a predator tank seperate from my reef tank but thinking the QT is probably more feasible since theres not much you could do in a 40B predator tank...
 

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Shark...fish are friends
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
well we are slightly closer! received a phone call that the well and septic inspections both passed (other than the septic had to be pumped, which has already been completed, so we'll have a fresh tank going in to the new house!) and the appraisal happened on Tuesday, so hopefully early next week we will hear back on that and fingers crossed we'll get a firm closing date.
 

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Shark...fish are friends
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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
So close I can almost taste it now! Just got the email saying "clear to close!" so now just waiting for the realtor to schedule the closing with the title company. Should be by wednesday the 20th at the latest I hope... and fingers crossed we get keys at closing as the lady knows ahead of time so she will hopefully be able to move out this weekend. Then I plan on taking thursday/friday next week off and have to do a few quick updates before we move in (adding extra outlets, running cable wires through the walls, sealing tile floor grout, scrubbing down the walls, if I get it all done with time remaining we'll hopefully get the walls painted too, then have family/friends out saturday/sunday next weekend to help us move!)
 
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