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Old 10/11/2015, 06:38 PM   #1
Thornbreaker
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5 foot long in wall tank build

Hello Reef Central,

I'm looking at doing a 5 foot long tank in wall (my wife and I are building a new house in the spring). I've never done a saltwater tank before, but I'm looking forward to getting into the hobby. I've been reading up a lot here at the forum and googling all over the place for research.

I plan to start with a FOWLR, but will likely one day give coral a shot. Mostly non-aggressive fish. I want to start as easy and stable to begin with and work my way slowly up. I plan to include a sump with the standard 3 sections of skimmer, ref, return.

I'd figure I'd go ahead an start a thread to get a few questions answered even though we are several months out from building so that I can be well prepared.

Current stocking list:

True Clown (maybe 2)
Green goby
firefish
royal gamma
Fire Shrimp
Green Mandarin (after a year)

Questions:

1. I know I want the tank to be 5 feet long. Glass. It will be in the living room wall with a closet on the opposite for all the equipment. Only the front will be displayed. Are there any pros/cons with the depth of the tank either 18" or 24"? I'll probably go with a 24" or so height.

2. I plan to have a GFI outlet, a drain, likely a water line, water resistant dry wall in the closet, ventilation. Any other good tips/ideas that I should include? (I'll be doing my saltwater mixing in the garage.)

3. Are there any puffer fish that won't eat a CUC?

4. On water changes, I see where people recommend 10% a week. Is that 10% of display tank, or total system volume including the sump?

5. Any other fish recommendations based on the stocking list above? I'd rather avoid aggressive fish.

Thanks for your help. I'll be sure to add pictures/sketches as spring rolls around.


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Old 10/11/2015, 07:21 PM   #2
Dundermifflin
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I have a very similar set up. Mine is a 120 gallon tall in the wall of our staircase with a storage closet behind it. I shut it down for a couple years and just finished rebuilding everything. Do whatever you can to do as much as you can in that closet. We don't have a big closet, maybe 4'x9', but I've done a lot in there. I have two 25 gallon poly tanks for fresh RODI water that gravity feed into a 55 gallon drum for salt mixing. From their I pump into the sump and/or QT. Also have my RODI that comes in from an outside line. You'll need more than one GFI outlet. I'd suggest a GFI breaker, but if you can't do that then do at least three GFI outlets in various locations of the closet. You'll need to run fans as well for ventilation. I live in So Cal where it gets over 100 degrees out quite a bit. I use to have a chiller, but after I rebuilt everything I did away with that and now use a couple fans. Saves over $100 a month in electricity. I also connect most everything to a power rack so I can automate as much as possible. Water changes are a breeze. I use a "J" pipe I created to drain from the DT to the kitchen sink (set up for 10%, 20% and 30%) changes if need be. I have a small MJ power head in my QT I use for easy water changes. At the flip of a switch I can fill either the QT or DT with salt water or fresh water. I use the DIY ATO kit from Bulk Reef Supply on the DT and fill the reserve up from the poly tanks using ball valves. Familiarize yourself with http://www.bulkreefsupply.com as you'll want to get most of your stuff from them.


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Old 10/11/2015, 07:39 PM   #3
Thornbreaker
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Thanks. The closet is currently smaller. About 3' by 7'. My water mixing will likely have to be done in the garage. I'll either carry a few buckets to refill on water changes or figure out some other delivery method. May also lobby to make the closet a little deeper.


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Old 10/11/2015, 07:43 PM   #4
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I live in Mississippi, but we plan on having foam insulation for the house so temps inside should be very stable. My wife likes a colder house too. I plan to avoid metal halides and roll with either T5 or LEDs. If I can avoid a chiller, I will.


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Old 10/12/2015, 08:45 AM   #5
Shawn O
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How far is the garage from the closet? Any way of running 1/2" pipe or tubing from the garage to the closet to make water changes easier?


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Old 10/12/2015, 08:55 AM   #6
dbl
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As others have indicated, and since it sounds like you're in a planning/build mode, plan out your water changes in advance. Put a drain under the tank or in the closet. As Shawn said, if you don't have room for water storage in the closet, plumb some lines to the tank from the location where you anticipate the water storage will end up. You will not enjoy lugging buckets back and forth...plan on letting the pump(s) do the water lifting!!!


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Old 10/12/2015, 12:47 PM   #7
Thornbreaker
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It's probably over 50 feet easily from garage to tank location, likely more. I've thought about adding a line in order to pipe it over rather than use buckets but I just have little experience with plumbing.


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Old 10/12/2015, 01:01 PM   #8
reelredfish
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I have almost the same setup I have a custom built 180 gallon 5' tank in the back living room wall.

It was an old bar and when we did remodel last year I turned it into a small fish room. I wished it was a little wider as for only enough room behind the tank for a step stool.

But I am happy with it non the less its better than what I had before.

I installed the moisture board throughout the room just as you mention. However I then finished out the inside of the roof with FRP while this was a bunch of extra work I feel very certain no moisture is getting in my walls.

I then installed a fan that has a humidity control that will come on when its to humid in the room and vents it through the roof.

All in all I am very happy with the setup. If anything I can help with let me know and I will see what I can do information wise.


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Old 10/12/2015, 01:35 PM   #9
Thornbreaker
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Thanks reelredfish. When you say "roof" did you mean "ceiling" for the FRP board? Or did you actually do the interior of your roof?

The closet will be below the 2nd floor, so I can at least FRP the ceiling of the closet (great idea btw), and then route the vent fan duct work to an exterior wall between the floors, just like a bathroom vent would be done, correct?

Makes a lot of sense with FRP only being about a $1/sq. ft.


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Old 10/12/2015, 02:11 PM   #10
reelredfish
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I did the entire roof with FRP. So the walls and the ceiling. When I was talking about the roof I was talking about the vent....just as you mentioned yours would come out on the side mine went through the roof....You are on the right track. Also its very easy then to take a wash cloth and wipe down walls and such. Also the white helps with light and makes it easier to see things in the fish room.

Are you planning to use an apex for this system if so plan that out in advance as well. Where some folks mess with the wireless for the apex I went ahead and ran to LAN lines back to the fish room one for the Apex and one for cameras or whatever else I might need or never need.

I can send some pics of things if it helps just let me know.


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Old 10/12/2015, 04:01 PM   #11
Thornbreaker
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We plan to have the house fairly well wired up, so an extra line in the closet shouldn't be a problem. However, at worst case, I've used the outlet ethernet adapters before in our previous 2 story house and though you get some loss of speed, it's not usually noticeable. The closet adjoins what will be our office as well so shouldn't be hard to have a hardline for when I get around to upgrading to an Apex controller. I haven't researched those much yet, but the prospect of integrating pc/web etc would be nice down the road.

I would appreciate some pics when you have the time.


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Old 10/26/2015, 03:18 PM   #12
Thornbreaker
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Update:

I think I've narrowed down what I'm looking at using as far as equipment, but I would love some feedback and good advice on these items esp as to if they are sufficient for the size of the display tank.


Skimmer $190.00 ESHoPPS 150 PSK
RO/DI $150.00 Likely BRS 75gpd 4 stage
Lights $250.00 Mars Aqua LEDs x 3
Heaters $150.00 2x 300 Watt finnex
power heads $150.00 jaebo Rw-15
return pump $100.00 SK 400 or sicce synkra 2.0
dead rock $450.00 ~150 lbs
live rock $100.00 ~20 lbs
Sand $100.00 3-4" fine sand bed
Sump 30gal $290.00 ESHOPPS 200 - R
auto top off $100.00 Auqa Gadget HydroFill ATO Pump System - IM
refractometer $40.00

60"x24"x24" ~$1000.00 Glass tank

A few questions:

1. Any good recommendations on custom glass tanks or tank brands? A couple of the places I've found online it looks like I can get one in the above size for ~$1000. (There is a small chance I talk my wife into going for a 6 foot long tank, but I'd cut the height down to 18-20" if we decide to do that. Currently house plans don't allow for it.)

2. Is it better to do a HOB overflow or a custom preinstalled overflow with an in wall glass tank?

3. I'm definitely looking at adding a pipe, maybe two, that will run from the garage to the closet. I say two possibly, because I'm trying to visualize how to have a RO/DI line and a saltwater line in the closet. One for water changes and one for refilling the ATO bucket/container. However, would it be easier and more efficient to have a 2nd ro/di unit (small one) with a tap water line in the tank closet itself, maybe one that refills the ATO container as needed? I think I could fit a 20 gal container in the closet with room to spare.

4. Is 3x 165W LEDs too much lighting, would I be fine with 2?
5. Is that return pump enough gph, esp with the 2 powerheads?
6. Any recommendations for what type of pump to use for sending the saltwater from the garage to the tank closet? Would some type of in-line work?

Thanks for everyone's help. I get overwhelmed at times with all the info, but I feel it's started to get a little easier.


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Old 10/26/2015, 09:28 PM   #13
ReefWhatYouSow
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This is pretty much how mine is set up as well except we couldn't make changes as we built the house so I had to go back and do it myself. I raised outlets, ran a line through the ceiling to take water from my garage to the room, etc. one bit of advice... Definitely build a steel stand. I'm so glad that I have the room but it does start to feel small after a while. I don't know what I would do it I used anything thicker.

Here is a link to my build. I haven't updated it in quite some time... I should probably do that.

http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/sh....php?t=2461391


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Old 10/27/2015, 07:43 AM   #14
Thornbreaker
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ReefWhatYouSow View Post
This is pretty much how mine is set up as well except we couldn't make changes as we built the house so I had to go back and do it myself. I raised outlets, ran a line through the ceiling to take water from my garage to the room, etc. one bit of advice... Definitely build a steel stand. I'm so glad that I have the room but it does start to feel small after a while. I don't know what I would do it I used anything thicker.

Here is a link to my build. I haven't updated it in quite some time... I should probably do that.

http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/sh....php?t=2461391
Great work, Reef. Looks really nice. Thanks for sharing your work. I think that's the first rockwall I've seen like that. I saw you mentioned running an airline and an electrical line as well. I don't plan to start with an Apex because of the cost, but will upgrade to one down the road. Getting all the needed lines in ahead of time will be great though.


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Old 02/23/2017, 07:57 AM   #15
Thornbreaker
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Resurrecting an old thread.

So my wife and I are finally building our new house, and lucky me, but I get a 6' by 14' closet and get to do my in-wall Huzzah!

Okay, so I need some help at the moment with stand design to go along with the in-wall. I plan to just have the builders put it together since they have far more experience than me.

The tank will be a 60"x24"x24", likely from SC Aquariums.

Currently, I plan to have the opening in the wall at 61" long by 30" tall. The width allows some wiggle room to get the tank in and the 30" high should allow me front access. I'll overlap the tank with some trim work to make it look framed.

Depth wise, I expect it to sit on 25", with 4"-6" being the wall itself. Can someone help provide information on what I need to tell my builders on how to design the stand/inwall portion of this?

(I've read some of the DIY stand threads, but I'm not sure how to proportion it when the front part of the tank will be supported in the wall.)

In addition, I plan to have a ~30 gal sump beneath the tank, preferably without a center brace on the stand for easy access. Lastly, the display tank will have a center overflow in the back center.


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Old 02/24/2017, 08:25 AM   #16
Thornbreaker
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Does anyone have a picture of how to plug in/manage lighting fixture cords for an in wall?


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Old 02/24/2017, 06:05 PM   #17
IvanTheTerrible
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thornbreaker View Post
Resurrecting an old thread.

Currently, I plan to have the opening in the wall at 61" long by 30" tall. The width allows some wiggle room to get the tank in and the 30" high should allow me front access. I'll overlap the tank with some trim work to make it look framed.

Depth wise, I expect it to sit on 25", with 4"-6" being the wall itself. Can someone help provide information on what I need to tell my builders on how to design the stand/inwall portion of this?

(I've read some of the DIY stand threads, but I'm not sure how to proportion it when the front part of the tank will be supported in the wall.)
6" is not much height for front access. How will the access work with it trimmed?

I built my stand first and then built the walls around it. This means the tank sits back in the wall about 4" and leaves a small ledge, which I will have tiled. If you want it truly flush, I would put the drywall on the stand and have surrounding walls built flush with the stand. You want the entire stand to be solid and evenly distributing the weight.

- Ivan


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Old 02/25/2017, 07:45 AM   #18
Thornbreaker
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6" is not much height for front access. How will the access work with it trimmed?

I built my stand first and then built the walls around it. This means the tank sits back in the wall about 4" and leaves a small ledge, which I will have tiled. If you want it truly flush, I would put the drywall on the stand and have surrounding walls built flush with the stand. You want the entire stand to be solid and evenly distributing the weight.

- Ivan
Since most of the tank will be easily accessed from the closet, my arm should fit fine in the front with just a 6" gap for cleaning the front of the tank and reaching to the bottom. I'll have some trim on top, hinged or removable so it can be raised. Probably do something very similar to you on the drywall. I'll probably just bring it forward that 3/4" so that it's almost even and abrupt to the trim. Trim will overlap a ~1/2" on all sides.

Thanks for you feedback, Ivan.


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Old 02/25/2017, 07:56 AM   #19
fishgate
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I would not have any part of the wall support the tank. Make a free standing stand and butt it up next to the wall. This is how I did my 72" inwall tank.













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Current Tank Info: 125g, 120g, 2x40b sumps, ATI 4x80 T5HO
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Old 02/25/2017, 07:56 AM   #20
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125RR in-wall, 40B Sump, CS180 BM Skimmer, ATI 4x80 watt, eheim 1262, custom wrap around rock wall, ReefKeeper Elite

120g in-wall, 40B Sump, PC 54wx4, Jabao DC-6000 (full siphon), future seahorse t

Current Tank Info: 125g, 120g, 2x40b sumps, ATI 4x80 T5HO
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Old 02/25/2017, 07:57 AM   #21
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125RR in-wall, 40B Sump, CS180 BM Skimmer, ATI 4x80 watt, eheim 1262, custom wrap around rock wall, ReefKeeper Elite

120g in-wall, 40B Sump, PC 54wx4, Jabao DC-6000 (full siphon), future seahorse t

Current Tank Info: 125g, 120g, 2x40b sumps, ATI 4x80 T5HO
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Old 02/25/2017, 08:14 AM   #22
Thornbreaker
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Wow, that looks great, fishgate.

My only concern with a window ledge like Ivan mentioned is that we have cats.

However, I'll forward these backside pics to our builder as I've been hunting a great example like this. Thank you for sharing.

Sent from my SM-G900R7 using Tapatalk


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Old 03/02/2017, 07:32 AM   #23
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Hey Fishgate,

It looks like a lot of your electrical is above your tank, is that correct? Is it pretty safe to have an outlet or two above a tank for at least plugging in lights? Will evaporation from the tank be any problem or a future problem?


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Old 03/02/2017, 03:29 PM   #24
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Hey Fishgate,

It looks like a lot of your electrical is above your tank, is that correct? Is it pretty safe to have an outlet or two above a tank for at least plugging in lights? Will evaporation from the tank be any problem or a future problem?
The only electrical above the tank is an outlet for the FIOS and Alarm system. I ran 2 new circuits for the tanks and had one existing outlet. Since I use a Reefkeeper controller, that is the outlet that I use and it is below the tank. I have never had any issues in the 4 years this has been set up with evaporation effecting the outlets. I would say it will not make a difference where your outlet is located. Above should be fine for the lighting. All of the outlets that I added are protected by GFI. But I did not add that to existing outlets although it probably is a good idea. Current code would require it.


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125RR in-wall, 40B Sump, CS180 BM Skimmer, ATI 4x80 watt, eheim 1262, custom wrap around rock wall, ReefKeeper Elite

120g in-wall, 40B Sump, PC 54wx4, Jabao DC-6000 (full siphon), future seahorse t

Current Tank Info: 125g, 120g, 2x40b sumps, ATI 4x80 T5HO
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Old 03/03/2017, 07:33 AM   #25
Thornbreaker
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That makes me feel better. I really don't want cords from the light fixtures hanging down across the tank somewhere, so I'll be sure to put in an outlet over the top of the tank somewhere convenient. I'll have a GFI breaker for sure and probably the outlets as well in the room. Thanks again for your help.

I'll update again once I've got the tank delivered. Probably a couple of months from now as were still in the framing process on the house.


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