View Full Version : 252gal in wall construction diary
08/06/2006, 08:47 PM
well the day is finally here. i began construction on my tank. i will get the tank completely up and running with a fish room before i begin finishing the basement although some projects will coincide.
i only recently decided to document my build on RC mainly because i have seen how helpful feedback can be with a construction diary. im going to start the thread in our own little forum mainly because the other forum is for "large reef tanks" which this wont be. i will try to keep the thread updated faithly but it will be a slow process since i keep pretty busy with other obligations. all insights, suggestions, comments, and criticism welcome(be nice with the criticism;) ) anyways here was the first step
here is the stand with the 3/4" plywood and 1/2" foam resting on top. it is not attached yet because i am waiting on the tanks drain dimensions so that i can drill holes
the stands dimensions are all within a 1/16" of an inch and sturdy as hell. i havent decided if im going to add diagonal cross braces for peace of mind. here will be the first little fishy to go in the tank.
08/06/2006, 09:25 PM
wow that stand looks really sturdy...are you planning a sump beneath it? Only ask because with the vertical braces already attached doesnt look like you will be able to fit a large tank in there? Im sure you thought of it but figured id ask anyway.
Nice work though, looks great. Ill be following along.
08/06/2006, 09:44 PM
thanks. actually the sump is going to be a 100gal rubbermaid stock tank. i want a very large sump so that i can increase my total system volume to 300+ gallons for water stability. i was thinking about putting the sump 1/2 underneath perpendicular to the stand but the tank is to tall. the waste of space wont be too much of an issue since i will have a large fish room behind the tank. im sure i will think of a way to utilize the space underneath the stand sooner or later.
08/07/2006, 05:06 AM
Good luck and thanks for the post. It looks like your off to a great start.
08/07/2006, 11:03 AM
i just officially paid for the tank. after a lot of research i decided to order my tank from The Aquarium Company in winthrop MN. here is a copy of the invoice.
4 3/4" bulkhead 5.99 23.96
2 1" bulkead 6.99 13.98
4 3/4" loc-line w/round nozzles 6.50 26.00
2 screened intake 2.82 5.64
6 Routered Closed Loop holes 3.00 18.00
1 Auction Aquarium 1,049.00 1,049.00
i almost fell over when they said they would drill all 6 holes(2 intakes and 4 returns), including bulkheads, strainers, and locline nozzles for less than $90. i wasnt going to even ask but just do it myself. boy am i glad i asked. they are also going to ship it via freight from MN to my front door for $185. their prices just cant be beat. here is a link to the auction
to some people this may not seem cheap but i can assure you that asides from glasscages.com i dont think anyone can beat their prices. i even consulted with that fish place's custom aquarium department and i got a quote of almost $2500 for a 240gal long. the customer service is top notch. i only hope the rest of this transaction continues to go as smooth.
08/07/2006, 12:32 PM
Good start Shawn!!
Is this going to be an in wall tank in the basement? with a finished rec room wall on the tank face? sounds good, I wish I had a basement to play in. You know, to protect the rest of the finished basement from water spills or overflows, you could tile the tank room floor with a 6 inch high curb to contain any leaks or spills. or perhaps epoxy coat the floor and wall, for easy clean up before anything gets set in place. maybe even run a drain line through the curb to a floor drain or french drain sump if it's close. something like the tank room in this months tank of the month?
This is a great idea, Thank you for setting up this forum thread and sharing your work. we shall all be watching the progress with interest. and hey!, Your little Nemo looks like a keeper!! I'm sure he's going to enjoy growing up with a nice big reef in the house to spark his curiosity about sea life.
08/07/2006, 12:38 PM
ken - that is similar to what walter had in his equipment room - the floor of the room was about a 4" step down from teh rest of the basement, and ther ewas a small trough along the wall from the area under the tank to the area under a nearby utility sink - When i was ther ether ewas no light so i was unable to determine the specifics of the hook-up to the sink drain. seemed an excellent idea to me.
08/07/2006, 03:31 PM
thats a good idea. i never really thought of a scenario for containing a spill. now that i think about it, the way my basement slopes if i had a large spill it would run directly through the finished portion. it may be worth trying to come up with a cheap viable soultion. im in no hurry to put up drywall because we just moved into the house in the spring and i want to see how dry the basement stays. there is a brand new top of the line french drain system installed about 6months before we moved in but we still had water a couple of weeks back during all the rain. im 99.9% sure the water was from the sump pump losing power(<-will look into battery backup....add it to the list:D ) but i still want to see know for sure.
one thing though.. the way my system is designed...my sumps will be able to contain all water if the return fails with no spillage. as far as topoff goes, i will be using the same float switches i use in my current setup. they are horizontal electric switches with solid state sensors. the good thing about them is that with the way they mount it is impossible to overflow the sump. worse case scenario is the sump would not top off. as far as my rodi, i will be using a a manual float switch with an auto shut off valve. it this fails, the resovoir will be a sealed 55gal food grade drum, which im hoping at full capacity will provide enough pressure to engage the auto shut off valve.
my entire top-off/water change system will be completely automated. ive stolen a few ideas here and there but the final system, which i loving refer to as "the water tower", will be pretty unique im hoping.
so hopefully i can avoid a big spill but i am definitely going to look into a cheap way to keep water from running into my finished room in case of a catastrophe.
08/07/2006, 08:47 PM
Logan you know that fish will eventually start climbing don't you ?
Now that's a cute pic!!!!!
Good luck with the tank I can't wait to see the finished product.
08/07/2006, 10:51 PM
Yes, you can easliy make a shallow containment basin out of the tank room. just outline it with a layer of solid concrete brick cemented to the floor/ then you could either tile it with a floor and wall tile, (expensive) or paint it with a garage floor epoxy kit from HD. that will water seal it and make a nice shiny floor. to figure out how much water spill it might contain, just figure the volume of the room basin in cubic inches. L x W x H of the brick in
inches, and divide by 231 cubic inches per gallon. its that simple.
so a curbed room 7 x 10 foot with a 3 inch high brick curb could retain a 130 gallon spill. for instance.
Im sure you will plan and build the best water level control system posible, and may never have a spill, but in the unlikely event of some unforseen equipment or power failure, a few dollars worth of brick and mortor, and epoxy could save replacing a carpet, and soaked drywall that might wick up water. just a little preventative medecine.
I'm fixing a back porch that was framed with a 2 x 4 wood sill directly on the outside patio slab. over time, the rain and snow melt wicked up the sill to the framing and rotted it all out and the paneling too. so im now cutting out the lower half of the walls, shoring up the roof, and pouring a 4 inch curb to get the new sill and lower wall off the slab. a lot of work and expense to fix what would have cost the previous owner 50 bucks worth of brick and mortor to do it right in the first place.
it's less expensive to stay one step AHEAD of Murphy.
08/07/2006, 11:54 PM
Don't forget a sump or plumbing springing a leak - it's unlikely but can happen.
of course there' always teh human factor... trip over a bucket full of water or something, might not be 100 gallons of water, but could still make a mess of things.
sounds like you've got a great system planend though - looking forward to more updates and pictures :)
08/08/2006, 09:34 AM
yeah...ive thought of that. the only problem with cementing bricks is that it is a very permanent fixture. i do not plan living in this house for more than 10yrs top. i have even taken tank removal and wall design into consideration while laying out the basement so that i can turn the entire basement into finished space when i move.
08/08/2006, 06:05 PM
Hmm something that might be simpler would be to put a small french drain right around the stands base?
I'm not saying it will look beautiful but it will definitely be practical, when you move it's an easy fix to mix concrete to match and simply chip and fill. I doubt your tank would explode for any reason which would surpass the capabilities of the drain.
08/08/2006, 08:08 PM
yeah...im really undecided about this. working with concrete is exactly the same thing as cutting up some 2X4's. im really reluctant to start cuttting into my floor but at the same time i want everything about my setup to be done right. i defintely dont want to be kicking myself down the road if a large spill happens...you know the whole thing about an ounce of prevention and all.
anyways, i ran the idea by my wife last night, and lets just say it didnt go over so well.
i really cant think of a scenario where spilling 50+ gallons of water is even possible asides from the tank breaking and nothing is going to help that. i can see a leak or a small overflow happening and thats what i want to prevent.
i was thinking of buying the vinyl baseboards that you see mainly in unfinished cinderblock buildings and attaching it to the 2X4s that make up the bottom plate of my walls. i can then caulk/silicone the bottom of the baseboard to my floor. 2 out of the 4 walls of the fish room are perimeter walls and have a french drain already installed so i would only be doing this on two walls. i dont think this will be 100% waterproof but i can see it holding back water long enough for me to clean it up(at least 24 hours).
08/08/2006, 11:23 PM
well, brick and mortor will shear off the floor with a hammer and chissel. wont take long. and you can use the brick as a foundation for the temp walls to finish the room. that way the wall will be off the floor when water spills. not a big problem for removal.
I had a hose break off an over flow from my fuge last summer. it dumped the volume of the sump on the dining room carpet until the sump ran dry. salt peals paint right off of wood and blisters the drywall paint. think shallow containment. its not a big deal to do up front in your situation. and you need a footer for the walls anyway.
08/08/2006, 11:40 PM
kaptken - do you not think calked vinyl molding will work? all i reall need is a way to keep the water from running under my walls until i can shop-vac it up. it will be much less inexpensive, much easier to do(from my stand point at least:D ), and im hoping just as effective.
other news. i just finished my light rack and pulley system tonight. ive got an electric winch on the way this week. i still have some tweaks but i will try to post pictures tomorrow.
08/09/2006, 07:05 PM
The vinyl molding with calk sounds like a much better idea. Easier to implement and would look better also.
It should also be reasonable enough to handle a medium to small overflow or leak.
Sounds like a winner to me.
08/11/2006, 07:20 PM
no reason it wouldnt. Ive seen that white pebbled vinyl wall liner in 4 x 8 sheets at home depot. I'm sure that can be glued with tile adhesive, silicone should stick to it if its tight to the floor and wall , just caulk all the seams. the finished pebble side is pretty slick though. but i spose you could put it face down and use the back side as the walking on side. no problem, if it leaks, its only carpet. mine always dries out after a spill. just smells funny on humid days.
08/13/2006, 08:43 PM
ok. so finally an update. we have the main wall framed out. i still have to level, shim, and attach the walls to the rafters and floor.
i also have 90% of the electrical panel finished. as you can see from the pictures the box is double hinged. the outside door is to fully enclose the box while the inside door(the one with the switches) opens to gain access to the receptacles in case there is a problem.
here is a pic of the box "hot". i temprarily wired the box into my breaker box to make sure everythink was wired correctly
here are a couple of pics of the guts of the box.
the box is fed by 2 15 amp dedicated lines. 1 for the lights and 1 for everything else. the top two banks are DJ switches . 8 devices can be plugged into the back of each switch and turned on/off individually with the flick of the corresponding switch(which will soon be labeled). the single switch in the middle of the third row is a master switch which will turn off all outlets on both DJ switches. the four double receptacles are for lights. each light is controlled by its own intergrated timer and has its own switch. all lights can be turned off by the master light switch located in the middle of the bottom row. all lights will plug into the 4 GFI outlets in the pic above.
i still need to clean up the exterior of the box a little bit and finish the interior(im missing a gangway box). i will post more pics when the box is completed and mounted. as you can see from the pic below, my helper had a real rough day.
08/13/2006, 08:47 PM
i just noticed some of the pics didnt post. will post more when its complete. in case your wondering, the 2X4 that is not even with the frame is my light rack suspended from the ceiling. its not finished(needs lights, wiring, and winch) and its by no means level. i will post detail pictures of the rack when its finished or close to being finished.
08/13/2006, 09:23 PM
WOW! You are moving right along!! lots of progress. i like the power supply box.
08/13/2006, 09:30 PM
Looking good, looking good.
08/14/2006, 04:16 PM
LOL looks as if he just had his first shaving accident with a dull blade ;).
It's looking very good and the electical box? Incredible job !
08/14/2006, 08:47 PM
updates, updates, updates.
the power box is finished and mounted. i also got my winch for my light rack mounted. here is a shot of the inside of the power box.
the two black DJ cords will plug into the single gangbox and the right. they are not plugged in because the liquid nails are not dry yet the slack on the lines are so that the inside door can open in case i ever need to reset the GFIs or do any other maintainence or upgrades.
i have found new appreciation for everyone who has built a powerbox and have had their outlets sit square and flush. as you can see, the outlets sit much more square than they did last night(still not perfect though:mad:). i tell you, this was really a task and a half.
here is a picture of my new hoist/winch.
i got it off ebay for $40 new. we tested it out tonight and it worked well considering we have not leveled everything anything yet. i am waiting on my retrofits which i should get sometime this week. after i install them into the rack i will level the rack and pulley system and post more pictures. lastly, here is a pic of the unlevel, unfinished rack/pulley system.
08/14/2006, 09:10 PM
hoist/winch looks nice. I was thinking of doing a set up like this when I get my tank up and running well. My brother is supposed to help me build a hood when I am ready. I may have to bug you with questions when I get to that point, lol.
08/14/2006, 10:47 PM
Nice hoist. but does it have a limit switch? you know in case it goes on, and keeps going beyond, ALL THE WAY UP? I'm sure it's manually operated. just wondering. I'm probably over nuke engineering things in my mind. we had to consider every possible malfunction. we had electrical motor driven valve operators that would drive the valve plate right through the valve case if you didnt have a travel or torque limit switch on it to make it stop. manual should work just fine. thats the only way you will be raising it. right?
no problemo!! looking spiffy!!
08/15/2006, 06:27 AM
Looks great, what do you expect the hood to weigh when completed?
08/15/2006, 07:38 AM
kaptken- i will be using the motor to raise the rack. i dont think there is any sort of brake on the winch itself, but i have one installed on for foward and revers movement. if a cable comes loose the most the rack can fall is back to its original position. i do have a reverse brake as well so that no one can accidently pull the rack into the ceiling, but let me tell you, the winch is stronger than my rafters. i will only utilize the winch to lift the rack when i actually need to get into the tank to move things around, which hopefully wont be too often. i think wiring a kill switch right to the remote shouldnt be to hard. i will definitely try it when i permanently wire the winch.
dvlhzdu- the rack will weigh as much 12 linear feet of 2X4 and 8 T5 retrofit kits weigh, so im guessing probably 50-75lbs. the winch is rated for 220-440 lbs(the smallest they had)
08/15/2006, 11:17 AM
Will you be able to keep SPS with the 8 T5 fixtures? What about clams? How deep is the tank?
I am in the process of planning a big tank for our house that will be finished in January and im looking at anyway possible to keep the electric bill down...
Our tank will be 24 inches deep and id like to keep everything from Clams, and Acros to shrooms.
08/15/2006, 02:10 PM
the tank is actually going to be a FOWLR for now. i am going to convert my current 75gal into a reef tank. my 75 already has a MH fixture with a T5 retro. once i get my 252 up and running i will break down my 75, install a CL, and a system to drip kalkwasser.
im almost looking as much foward to setting up my first reef as i am my big FOWLR.
i mainly want large angels, tangs, and triggers but havent decided on temperment yet. i dont know if i want to go with more docile fish(i.e., blue throat trigger, regal tang) so that i can add community fish, or if i will go all out with aggressive/semi-aggressive fish.
08/15/2006, 04:39 PM
What about a French Angel? I have been putting up posting about this, but I need to sooner or later. I have a french angel that I would like to find a home for, but I won't give him up till he has a good home. Thing is I doubt if I find a good home they will want him because he has one eye. The only reason I ended up with him is because when it lost it's eye in a fight the owner gave up on him. (I tend to end up with a lot of misfit animals like my hamster with one ear, anorexic gecko, and the one eyed French Angel) I'm just thinking in the long run I probably won't be able to set up the FOWLR I was dreaming of before he gets too big. PM me if your interested or anyone else.
08/20/2006, 06:34 PM
well, ive made quite a bit of progress. the light rack is finished. here is a picture of the winch control with an emergency cut off in case the winch gets stuck in the on position(thanks for the advice kaptken).
next was the 8 54watt T5 retro kits. the lights will produce a total of 432watts, which isnt bad for a FOWLR. i am using 4 blue, 2 aqua, and 2 daylight. im very happy with the color.
you can see in the pic that i left room for MH retros down the road in case i change my mind about the tank.
i decided to put the ballasts on the outside of my powerbox instead of inside. it would have been cleaner if i mounted them inside but i was worried about the heat even if i added fans. i decided that it was not worth mounting them inside.
you can see the general color that the lights produce in this pic.
her is a pic of the tenative layout for the skimmer, skimmer pump, sump, and return pump. the fuge will be on the opposite side of the sump.
lastly, here is a picture of my "water tower". the top barrell will contain RODI, and the second will be the mixing barrell for saltwater. as i get the tower plumbed i will post plenty of pics and details.
08/20/2006, 10:14 PM
I like the water tower Idea, good use of space and gravity saves using one pump for water transfer to the mixing barrel.
the hoist kill switch sounds good. but I might have used a sand bag counter weight to balance the hood weight to neutral, instead of buying a power hoist. kinda like a sash window. then have a tie down at the up and down position to keep it in place. actually, make the couter weight just a little light and tie off in the up position. I like to keep costs down. But power hoists are cool!!
mounting the ballasts outside is a good idea, they last longer if kept cooler, and away from the humidity under the hood. Do those sump pumps have to draw from the bottom of the rubbermaid? I suppose so. well, back to worst case scenario of a spill. you could raise the sump and pumps off the floor a couple inches on bricks to prevent a possible short and hot foot when you hit the wet floor.
speaking of humidity, I always paint my hoods, inside and out with first an oil based primer, then a couple coats of oil based rustoleum glossy white. I see you are not using the individual T-5 bulb parabolic reflectors, I know, they are expensive. but if you paint the hood glossy white, you will protect the wood from discoloring and warping or delaminating from the humidity at night, AND you will get more reflective light into the tank. plain wood doesn't reflect much and remember, half of the wattage of light is going UP from the bulbs. glossy while oil based paint is a cheap, but pretty darn good reflector.
when you retro some halides later, they will make more heat, so you could drill or cut some 3-4 inch holes above them to let the heat rise out of the hood, so as not to over heat the paint or the tank. Natural convection, IE no fans to buy, run or replace. I like simple,when ever possible. If you mount the hood so that there is a 1 inch air gap between the tank and the hood, you will get better convection air flow to remove heat. a tight fit will keep it in.
Hey , speaking of retro fit HQI MH kits, have you seen the new ones on HELLOLIGHTS? they have a new HQI reflector that is just like a pendant, with UV glass, sockets, electronic ballast and power cord. these are perfect for retro.
for that future upgrade.
Hope this helps, you are doing a great job. And I hope my back seat engineer don't bother you too much. I like this post so we can all watch your progress. its going to be a nice set up.
08/21/2006, 08:28 AM
way ahead of you Ken:D
we are both from the same school of thought when it comes to keeping it simple.
the picture was before i snapped the reflectors on. i was reading an article on the polished aluminum reflectors and i believe it said something like 60-70% more light will be directed to your tank with the reflectors. i would never install lights without reflectors. another great thing about them, is that i put all of my T5s towards the front of the rack and angled them slightly back so that i can cover the whole tank with out mounting them directly above the tank. the rack is completley open above and below so heating will never be an issue. if i ever upgrade to MH and heat becomes an issue i think i will run an exhaust before i use a chiller. as far as painting, i just didnt like the ideal of having chemicals of any sort directly above my tank. im sure it wouldnt really be an issue, but i still prefer to leave my wood raw. even though the wood will be unprotected it will surely last longer than i plan to be in the house and then some.
i was going to go with a manual winch but it would use up more space. you would need to mount the winding mechanism at waist height(ideally). with an electric winch it literally takes up zero usable space, just enough room for the width of the controller and receptacle mounted on the wall. besides, the winch was only $35 brand new on ebay.
im not sure i understand your comment about the sump. both pumps will be mounted externally and will draw water from the bottom of the sump. they will be approximately 2" of the floor. i have a pice of 1/2" foam glued to 3/4" plywood to support the pumps + the leg height. i really dont want to have them any higher because the numer of ideal bulkhead spots on the sump are limited, and the noise will be more pronounced the higher the pumps sit.
as far as spillage, i have a 100gal fuge and a 100gal sump. the nominal volume for each will be between 50 and 70% of total so that in case of pump failure the system will be able to contain between 60 and 100 gallons of overflow.
i also still plan to waterproof the perimeter in case of a catastrophic spill.
09/16/2006, 12:39 PM
ive had a real busy last couple of weeks so i havent made much progress with the tank. however, i did finally get the tank. ive also started to dry-fit all of the plumbing for the CL.
ive used tru-union ballvalves for all bulkheads. the two lower holes are my intakes for my CL that feed into 2" piping which will drain directly into my Dart. i have an OM 4way mounted directly on the output of my dart. my 4 return lines are directly plumbed to my OM4wasy using 90% rigid PVC and flexible PVC at the end for flexibility.
im going try and dry plumb the drains/returns for the tank itself and maybe cement everything this weekend if i can work up enough energy.
here is a pic of the tank.
the little marks are acrylic splinters and styrofoam not scratches. once everyting is done i will swiffer than tank out and then run RODI throught the tank for a week to wash out all the remaing debris and test for leaks.
as you can see in the pic, using a CL with a black background makes for a very clean look. there will be nothing in the tank equipment wise except for what you see. the extra two loc-lines in the top right and left corners are the returns from the sump.
will post more pictures when i make more progress.
09/16/2006, 12:41 PM
sorry...here is the second pic.
09/21/2006, 10:17 PM
The tank is looking good. Any more updates?
09/26/2006, 05:31 PM
no. nothing to update. things have been really hectic at work lately. im pretty close, all i really need to do is finishing the plumbing and begin the rockwork. i just need to find the time to do it.
03/10/2008, 10:06 PM
ok...so i figured i would bump this thread since i will be selling this tank soon. it looks exactly the way it does in the pics...the CL is dry plumbed only and i will include all plumbing(over $300 from salvkos). the 2 100g stock tanks and 2 55g drums are still around too if anyone is interested...both drums are drilled horizontally though...and one tank is drilled but near the very top for a sump...the tank still has the protective paper on the sides...flawless except for dust.
words can not describe how awesome this tank is...i know its a big step up for the average reefer...but if you know anyone please lmk...im asking $1000 for the tank $200 for the sequence dart and $300 for the oceans motions 4way...everything is in perfect condition and these prices are considerably lower than msrp. i will entertain all REASONABLE offers and will offer a package price...i will also throw in the plumbing wich includes all of the tru union ballvalves and spa flex for the CL.
03/10/2008, 10:28 PM
Selling any parts to that electrical panel?
03/10/2008, 10:34 PM
no...sorry. the electrical box, both LG pumps, and the PM skimmer got canniblized for my 75g
03/11/2008, 08:01 AM
Doh! Still like that, I really need to do something similar.
Truth is I like your whole set up, but the budget just doesn't go that far at this point. :-D Good luck selling the rest of the set up, hopefully in a couple of years you can put together an ever bigger set up. Perhaps by that point LED lighting will be affordable and the new wave.
How much do you want for the storage containers?
03/12/2008, 10:25 AM
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