Marc's fish room build

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Marc's fish room build

Post by MarcW »

Hi everyone, my fish room is finally starting to take shape, so I thought it was time to share it on here.

The room is part of a larger piece of building work we had done to extend the kitchen. Being optimistic I ordered the tanks, which had a 6 week lead time when I was still working on the kitchen, 6 weeks seemed an age away and I'd definitely have finished the kitchen by then! :))

So now I have the tanks in the fish room after rushing to build a stand for the large tank, and the larger rack. But there is no room to move, and progress has stalled until I arrange 8 or so people to help lift the large tank onto the stand. 4 of us and the delivery driver just managed to get it into the room but had no chance of getting it up onto the stand! It weighs about 300kg, and measures 240x92x65 cm, length x width x height.

As things move on I'll add a pictures and updates, but don't expect any fish to move in for a couple months.

The room will just hold tanks, all filtered by matten filters from Swiss tropicals, the large tank has a sump which will be filled with poret foam. Everything but the large tank will be powered by a linear piston air pump. There will be an ibc to store ro water in the garage, just through the wall, this will be plumbed through the wall with valves above each tank to refill after draining water.

A few pictures of progress so far are below. I plan to use insulation boards to block the windows up, in a way that can be removed easily without damage, maybe I'll just need them in the winter, the room will be heated rather than the tanks.
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Last edited by MarcW on Sun Sep 30, 2018 7:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Marc's fish room build

Post by MarcW »

Now for some pictures of the tanks!
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And the wood cut ready for the remaining two racks, once the big tank is on the stand!
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Re: Marc's fish room build

Post by bekateen »

Good luck Marc! Let's watch this room evolve/develop.

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Re: Marc's fish room build

Post by MarcW »

Thanks Eric, I can't wait to get the big tank on the stand, so I can get everything else setup.
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Re: Marc's fish room build

Post by Jools »

Looks amazing fun! Condensation is a real pain, main thing is to ensure the window isn't colder than the rest of the ceiling and acts as a specific condesation point.

One other thing before you add any water is maybe consider treating the wood - or you plan to paint it?

Cheers,

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Re: Marc's fish room build

Post by MarcW »

Hi Jools, yeah I think it may be interesting trying to insulate the skylight and window in the wall!

I was planning to leave the racks bare, I've had a few made from the same wood going for 5 years that look as good as the day they were put together. But then again, they are in living areas of the house so likely not subject to the same humidity and splashes they may get in a fish room!

Would you recommend anything specific? Or is any old wood paint or varnish fine?

Thanks for the ideas.
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Re: Marc's fish room build

Post by panaque »

Thanks very much for sharing this. It's already helping me hatch my own plans...
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Re: Marc's fish room build

Post by MarcW »

No problem! It's been a long time coming, I'm looking forward to getting it up and running!
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Re: Marc's fish room build

Post by Viktor Jarikov »

This is a LOT of work and exciting at the same time! And yes, the same here. I've noted that I on average underestimate how much time something will take by a factor of 3x. Sometimes 2x, other times 6x. Let it be a task / project that I think would take 3 hours, or 3 days, or 3 months, or 3 years. Neither do I appear to learn. Welcome to the club of perpetual, forecast-handicapped optimists.
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Re: Marc's fish room build

Post by CoryWally »

Looking good Marc. I've used timber frames on my last two fish-house builds. Planning another rebuild and will go the same way. Just gives me the flexibility I need for odd sized tanks.The only real issue I get with untreated timber is damp on the ground and deterioration of wood in contact with wet floors. I'll support timber on thick tiles or similar next time round.

Cheers,
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Re: Marc's fish room build

Post by MarcW »

Thanks for the comments Mark.

I think I'll try to do something similar, maybe tiles, maybe some kind of plastic cup/tray under each foot to protect the wood from water on the floor.

Thanks again for the ideas, more things to think about :-).
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Re: Marc's fish room build

Post by Jools »

I used external wood treatment the like of which you use for fences outside. In the past I've also used marine varnish but its a lot more expensive and harder to put on. After 10 years nothing was even close to rotting. Where the racks touch the ground is where they get the most abuse - so you've spotted that.

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Re: Marc's fish room build

Post by TwoTankAmin »

I have always painted my wooden stands. Since the purpose is to avoid water damage, I chose to use Acrylic out paint. I prefer using a semi-gloss or a gloss enamel paint. Not only do I paint the stands/racks, I also paint any flat surfaces on which I will put things. I use both plywood tops to set tanks on and simple frames which support the way meta stands do (open bottom). If one has a bare bottom tank for the bottom dwellers this allows one to look up from underneath the tank. You may be surprised what you can see.

The nice thing about the paint it is cleans up with water. But once applied it will repel water just as it does on the outside of your house. it tends to be cheaper as well.

The other thing you may discover is the moisture the tanks generate in the space is more of an issue than condensation on window glass. It can foster mold and/or mildew. The only solution for this would be a small dehumidifier.

Aside from that never forget the old carpenter's proverb, "Measure twice and cut once."
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Re: Marc's fish room build

Post by MarcW »

Thanks Jools and two tank.

I think I'll address the issue where the feet touch the floor, but I think I'm going to risk not painting the stands.

Room humidity will be interesting, all tanks including the sump for the large tank have tight fitting glass lids, and I plan to fill any large gaps around pipes with the twin walled polycarbonate sheets, or plug with offcuts of foam. I'll see how that goes, the room will be heated rather than the tanks, I'm ready to go out and get a dehumidifier if needed though.

I've arranged enough people to come around on Sunday to help move the large tank onto the stand, so hopefully by the following weekend I'll have all the tanks in their final position, ready to test for leaks, and start the plumbing.
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Re: Marc's fish room build

Post by Bas Pels »

With regard to humidity, I have a garage full of tanks (6500 liters of water in 6 * 3 meters, or 20 * 10 feet). When this was in use, I did not heat anything, the light and pumps made enough heat. I did insulate well though.

As this came down to room heating, I found out I did not have any problem with humidity. I would assume the board I used were treated angains fungus, but they remained free of fungus for 10 years. In a very humid environment, the treatment wuld never have lasted these 10 years.

Later I did install ventilation, not because the room was humid, but because it lacked oxygen. I had too much fishe,s that is, too much oxygen consumption in the room, and the door remained closed.

Another thing was, I did not have a place to sit in the room. I did my chores, remained looking whether everything was OK and went. Looking back, I think I better had installed less tanks, and a couch to enjoy them more
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Re: Marc's fish room build

Post by MarcW »

On Sunday I had 7 people come over, and after about 2-3 hours we had the large tank on the stand! We couldn't lift it off of the floor due to the limited space to bend down and get a good grip, so we gradually added more wooden blocks as we lifted one end at a time, until the tank was at about knee height, we then tipped the tank so the base was resting on the stand, then lifted at each end and pushed from the back to slide the tank on!
Tank.jpg
Unfortunately in my excitement to get it finished, I dropped a pair of sliding glass covers into the tank when trying to install them, leaving a small chip and some scratches on the base, right in the middle. The base is 3 (three) layers of 12mm glass, so I'm fairly sure there won't be any issues going ahead and using the tank as normal with this small chip? There is no indication of any crack coming from the chip, its about 1mm deep at most and at the widest point 5mm across, I've added a picture below, with the chip circled, its the whiter bit, everything else is the silicone used to hold the bases together.
chip.jpg
Now I have some room again I can finish building the other two racks, then its on to the air ring, and water change system!
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Re: Marc's fish room build

Post by MarcW »

All of the racks are built with empty tanks on. I've drilled holes through walls for the drainage and water change system.

I've also made a start on the small room at the back of the garage to hold the IBC, RO/DI, and HMA/DI filters, the electrics are all wired in too.

There is 75mm/3 inch insulation on the floor, and 100mm/4inch on the outside walls/roof, the inside (garage) walls and door will have 75mm insulation also. This will allow me to warm the water before changes without wasting too much energy.

The bottom water pipe goes to an outside tap, two will be for the RO/HMA filters and one is a spare mains cold water if needed in future. There is also a single power socket at the bottom of the electric board which is fed through to a socket in the fish room to power the linear piston air pump from a deep cycle battery via an inverter in case of power cuts.
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Re: Marc's fish room build

Post by MarcW »

I've made a bit more progress, the IBC is in place, more insulation is done, and the 'water room' in the back of the garage is almost done, just needs a few finishing bits and I need to build and fit a door. Then it's time to add the RO/DI and HMA filters to the board above the IBC.

Then it's on to the plumbing and air ring in the fish room! When I first started this I had no idea it would take as long as it has!
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Re: Marc's fish room build

Post by Viktor Jarikov »

Everything looks so neat and well devised and executed. Are you a construction professional? My hat's off to you for sure.
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Re: Marc's fish room build

Post by MarcW »

Thank you! I'm pleased with it so far, I'm hoping the planning now will make things easier to manage in future.

I actually work in IT! I've done a lot of work around the house (plumbing, electrical, tiling, paving, general construction) and taught myself as I've gone along.
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