View Full Version : In-wall tank build without fish room?

05/30/2010, 12:47 AM
Hi all,

I have the opportunity to install an in-wall 180 but unfortunately there is nowhere for a fish room. The lights, tank, sump, everything will have to be built into the wall and viewable from one side. I see lots of build threads for large tanks but it seems everyone has a fish room. Does anyone have a build thread for an enclosed in-wall system, or any advice?


05/30/2010, 05:58 AM
No photos, but all you will really be doing, in effect, is building a stand that will allow viewing from just one side. I say go for it! Do yourself a favor and allow plenty of overhead space for lights/ventilation, and build the sump area as big as possible as well so you have enough room under tank for all the pieces parts.

Have fun! Post pics of the project!

05/30/2010, 07:43 AM
all you will really need to do is put all your equipment under the tank. you will need doors above and below it to access it all. it won't be difficult. here is a picture of my 180 in wall. i have a fish room behind the tank. in your case just add hinged doors below to get to the sump.


05/30/2010, 08:16 AM
I built a 125 in the center of a wall viewable from 2 sides, everything is located in the cabinet below that I also built. I built the cabinet as tall as possible so I could have as much room as I could for everything. Have 50g sump/fuge, uv light, fuge light, ro/di unit,external pump, in sump skimmer, carbon reactor, and still have room to store all the teat kits and cleaning stuff under the cabinet.

It works fine, I wish I had a nice big open tank room like some people have but this works.

05/30/2010, 10:15 AM

Do you have any pictures of your system that you could share? How do you deal with heat buildup and air exchange? How do you access your overflow?


05/30/2010, 01:53 PM
no picture at hand, but I can explain a bit more.
My overflow is a center overflow in the tank. I can raise the canopy on both sides of the tank to access all the insides of the tank. My lighting is florescent, that are temp, I'm collecting parts to build a LED array. Heat so far has not been a problem, but I think I may have to install a fan into the cabinet at some point. My PH stays around 8.0 so air exchange not a big issue so far. I think my cabinet is like 42 in tall 28in wide and 78in long. The top is slightly bigger so I have a few inches all the way around the tank to sit stuff on and for the cat to stand on and day dream about the fish, which he does daily.

My tank has 2 tank return lines 1 1/2 1 goes to then fuge then flows over to the skimmer then into the pump reservoir the other return flows into the reservoir. My uv light is attached to the pump reservoir. The fuge/sump tanks up 2/3 of my cabinet space. the other 3rd has my ro unit in the back then the pump and the carbon on the side of it.

I have 2 pressure lines from the pump and they pump out the cabinet into the wall and up to the top of the tank on each side of the tank and into the tank on the ends.

somewhere in the shallow tank thread there is a picture of the tank that is from this winter when the tank was first cycled and still under construction, but it only shows it from one side, not the cabinet door side.

05/30/2010, 02:55 PM
Be very wary of the humidity inside your hood if you dont have a fish room. You need to have some serious ventilation to keep the mold under control.

05/30/2010, 05:59 PM
thanks for that comment, had not thought of that.

05/30/2010, 06:23 PM
The tank will be replacing a fireplace that is currently in the wall. I could run a pair of exhaust pipes up the chimney to the roof, one to draw fresh air in and another to blow hot humid air out with the aid of a roof-mounted fan. I could run the same vent pipes down to the sump area as well. You think that would do the trick?

05/30/2010, 06:34 PM
I think that sounds like a perfect solution, you basically already have a built in vent. Of course, if the fireplace is on an outside wall, where is the back of the tank going to go? There has to be a bit of a "fish room", or are you building another wall behind the tank? If so, you could add some storage space on the sides of the tank for other gear? The key is going to be not boxing yourself in to much so you can still access the entire tank for cleaning etc.

05/30/2010, 06:48 PM
The key is going to be not boxing yourself in to much so you can still access the entire tank for cleaning etc.

That is exactly my concern. The fireplace is on an interior wall, so the only way to vent is straight up the chimney. There can be no fish room. :( There is another room on the other side of the wall. I could possibly have the tank open for viewing from both rooms, but I don't think the placement would be right in the room on the other side of the wall.

Here is a picture. The tank would replace the fireplace and mantel. There would be cabinets for the lights above and the sump and everything else below. There will be a new entertainment center with matching cabinets for the TV.


05/30/2010, 07:59 PM
I used the space intended for a direct vent fireplace for my 120g inwall.





05/30/2010, 09:22 PM
I thought of an inwall as well with no fish room. Large support beam in the way. It would cost way too much to deal with it. Just went with a stand and its been working for 3 years.

05/30/2010, 09:44 PM
the room on the back side, can you put a set of closet doors where the tank is so that it looks like a big closet but allows access to you tank? Even a single door there to have some access would be nice.

05/30/2010, 10:18 PM
OMG...Now I'm thinking and I have just the space for all of what I need for my 120L. I just have to go through a brick wall...on the other side of my bedroom.

06/09/2010, 05:22 PM
Sorry, I wasn't notified of the latest replies here.

Indymann99 - Love your setup. Did you vent your system through the ceiling or just use the cutout in the wall?

jchase1970 - Can't use the room on the other side of the wall. However, the plan may be changing to using the wall just to the left of the fireplace. You can just see it on the left of the photo. There is an open "window" in the current wall that faces the hallway and the dining room. I might put in a tank there that is viewable and accessible from both sides. I could still vent it up the chimney, as the fireplace will still be removed and replaced by cabinets if the tank doesn't go there.

06/09/2010, 09:31 PM
Robert, I just used the cutout in the wall. I dont have any mold issues.

Oh and I REALLY miss scuba diving in Monterey bay (thats where I did my NAUI open water) and I prob have 250+ dives.


06/09/2010, 10:12 PM
i have a 120G in a coat closet with no fish room. if you want more info about is message me or if you want to see pics.

06/09/2010, 11:59 PM
we put our 110g w/ a 50g fuge in a closet that we didnt use. It turned out great. we put a tub liner w/ drain in to basement "just in case" and vented it with a bathroom vent/fan thru the ceiling. It turned out great with the full closet/access door in the back and viewable from the Master bedroom and 2 sided in the living room. Just play with a few different ideas.

06/10/2010, 09:52 AM
smarcus3 and zackc13 - I'd love to see some pictures of your tanks if you have any to post. I don't have a basement but my house is a single story and I can vent it through the ceiling like you did Zack.