After my recent tank crash, I decided that I'm going to start building the fish room. This is part of the plan that got me to agree to buy our current house 2 years ago, and my wife has agreed that I can start tearing it up. Fair warning, this is going to be a long post with lots of pictures. I'm only certain of a little bit of the plan, and would love input and help on how to configure everything. I'm also going to share the progress on my home theater build, since the tank is going to be sitting in-wall in that room as well. Please let me know if the HT stuff strays too far off topic and I'll keep it to just the fish stuff.
Anyway, 2 years ago we purchased this 5 bedroom split level house where one of the bedrooms is right next to the living room and not needed. Here's the living room on move in day:
And here is the bedroom:
The plan was to turn the living room into a home theater with a large in-wall tank and fish room to come later. I can do the home theater stuff with no problem since I've installed them as a career for the past 12 years. It started out pretty ugly in the living room, hiding wires meant having to cut open the whole ceiling due to joist direction, so we spent a few months with speaker wire looking like this:
Finally, I was able to purchase an 11 channel Dolby Atmos receiver along with speakers # 8-11 and decided to hide some wires. I also decided to get rid of the front sconces and add 6 recessed lights with Philips Hue bulbs. Here's what I had to do to the ceiling.
I've since closed up the ceiling, painted the walls dark blue, made the doorway smaller, and built a sliding door (which is what killed everything in the nano due to the alcohol based finish). I'm going to scrape off of the ceiling texture, patch up the areas I cut, and redo with a newer texture.
The reason I shared this is to show that I'm planning on adding roughly an 8' tank in wall on the right side of the room, here. Beside the tank, I will be adding a couple rows of theater seating, a stacked stone looking wall, and a TV that is 20" bigger than the 55" you see here along with some sound treatments later. I do have a 4k TV with 11 channel Atmos sound, which is nice.
On to the fish room. I haven't had a tank larger than my 29g since 2012, when I had a 120 that ruptured. I plan on going a bit overboard as far as what to put in the room, but don't have the money to just go buy everything so I'm going to take my time and also do a lot of DIY. I started by ripping out the drywall and found this on the wall that is shared with a bathroom.
Those are electrical wires just spliced together without grounds and taped to the studs behind the drywall. We also found that the entire downstairs area was running off of a single circuit breaker. I didn't think it would be ideal to run a fish room and a home theater system off of one breaker so we found another one that had nothing more than 3 practically unused outlets and moved the fish room to that. We also re-plumbed the shower area to be the new home for our washer and dryer, getting them out of the garage and giving more space for tools in the workshop. While we were at it, we moved the power outlet on that wall much higher and added an AFCI/GFCI since it's the first one in the room. This wall will house my RO/DI system and a couple storage tanks, maybe also the QT.
This is the tank wall from before all of the drywall was out. One thing I had to make sure was that the electrical lines were gone. I feel like I should avoid having power outlets directly below the tank if possible. I am moving the outlet on that wall up high to the closet area on the left side. The idea right now is to have the upper left side as the home for all power bricks, surge protectors, controller parts, etc. We will also have a contractor cut the opening in the wall and add a header. I can do lots of things on my own but since it's a load bearing wall I want to be extra careful. The opening will start just past the double stud on the left and end just before the closet. That will get me a little over 8'. I also plan on replacing the door to the room and having it open into the hallway to make room. The tank will be fully visible from both the living room and fish room, so I've thought of a couple things I'd like to see:
1. the overflow/drilled area will go on the side of the tank by the closet. Right now I honestly don't know if I want the sump beneath the tank or in the closet. I want a large refugium and I've always loved just sitting and watching all of the activity in them. I may want a remote one up a little higher.
2. I can use the bulkhead to hang lights and hide the area behind the tank when in the living room. My idea is to get a large projector screen and mount it backwards right behind the bulkhead. It will be motorized with a trigger that I can hopefully rig to run off of a controller that interfaces with Alexa. When the screen drops it'll be the black side that acts as a background. I have a possibility of obtaining a screen that is 8' long from work that is a useless old demo model for not much money. I've wired the outlet for this in the ceiling just in case. I've also wired 4 power outlets in the area of the bulkhead without any HVAC for LED lights. Not sure on which ones yet.
Here's the room as of today. I changed the old '70s light out for recessed lights that will eventually also be Hue lights because I've become addicted to voice controlled colored lights. Above the closet I'm wiring 2 outlets and some HDMI. This is to run 2 monitors. One will be my Apex Fusion readout and the other is the 2nd HDMI output from the surround sound receiver. That model has dual out so I can see what's on the living room screen, it'll be nice to watch a little something in the fish room. Also I plan on adding a bathroom fan to vent moisture outside if the humidity reaches a point that is too high. The nice thing with the room is that it's an outside corner so venting won't be difficult. I will use this to run a fresh air inlet to the skimmer as well. I've found that it really helps the low pH in the nano tank but it'll be way less ugly. There are 2 closet areas, the left is going to hold any power equipment, then maybe a sump, maybe a fuge, who knows. The right will be a rack with smaller tanks so I can do other things. I've always been fascinated by breeding clowns, maybe a small breeding area. I don't know if I want it to have it's own sump or plumb into the one for the DT. In the corner just outside the closet I want a frag tank or two. To the right of that I'll build a desk to house a small PC and anything else I may want to do.
If you keep going around the room you get to the corner with the window then back to the wall adjacent to the bathroom. Here it is before I ripped everything out.
I want a 4' QT tank somewhere around here and my water storage. The pipes are exposed for the sink on the other side, shown in an earlier pic, so I can use them for RODI. I think I'll replace the ugly old vanity with a laundry sink so I can clean tank items in there. Also, there will not be carpet. I'm coating the floor with Rust Oleum rocksolid like I did in my garage. I hate getting saltwater in the carpet. I plan on adding a taller threshold to the hall carpet to keep any spills out. So here are my early ideas, I'm looking for any help I can get with planning this from people who have been there or see anything I'm missing.
1. The DT will be approximately 8' long x 30" high and go back to the back of the bulkhead, a little over 36" According to marine depot's calculator, this is 448 gallons.
2. The closet will house a tank rack for breeding or anything else I'd like to do, and next to that will be a frag area. Do I do a large shared sump with remote fuge or keep both under the DT?
3. I want to automate as much as possible. I love my Apex and won't go back. This includes the topoff from the storage to multiple areas. I also plan on having dosing pumps setup in the closet.
4. I want to build every single tank, rack and stand. I have a large workshop in the garage:
Everything you see started out as plywood sheets. I've built many things, just never out of acrylic. Understand that this isn't an all at once build, I'd like to start by building some of the smaller stuff to learn and practice, then finish with the DT after I'm more experienced, and hopefully with the help of people who have more than I do. Ambitious? Yes. Stupid? Probably. It's going to take a while to get the skill and money necessary to build it all, so that's why I'm starting with a frag tank and expanding from there. That's why I'm asking for help. What would you do differently? Are there any ideas that would help? This has been a dream for a long time so I'm willing to put in the time and work to make it all come together. Please let me know if there's anything that may be better and I'll update as progress continues.