View Full Version : My tank install

04-08-2008, 01:58 PM
This will also serve as my introduction. I've had aquariums for most of my life. At one point I was up to five - two breeding, two community, & one fry. I no longer supply the LFS with Angels, so three of those are gone. My tanks have always been plant tanks, canister filters, carefully planned communities, some breeding, etc, etc - nothing Earth-shattering on a forum such as this.

I stumbled onto your board while looking for ideas for a tank install\furniture alteration I was working on. I didn't find anything similar to what I was trying for, so here is what I came up with.

This new tank is replacing the remaining two community tanks that are about 8 years old. Itís going into a space that was a double-door closet, between the living room and an atrium. I could have just purchased a tank stand but they all looked very utilitarian and\or industrial. Even the stands designed to look like furniture didn't look right for the room. My only alternative was to use a regular piece of furniture and modify it to handle the weight .

The furniture piece I used & altered came from Crate & Barrel. To accommodate the weight, I came up with some considerable changes to make to it. After I built it, I made several sketches of different ideas I had. I decided on four 2Ē steel supports with 4Ē footers and headers to go inside the furniture, and a ĺ" structural-grade plywood copy of the closet floor to go between the tank and the furniture piece. The steel will support & distribute the weight and the floor copy - because it extends to all the walls - will prevent any horizontal movement of the completed structure. Almost none of the added structural changes will be visible when itís completed. Here are some pictures of the installation and their accompanying explanations.

1. Furniture & tank in place, with molding, baseboards, & framing removed around wall opening. That two inches made it possible to get the tank in. Even then, it scraped against the framing studs. It was as close a fit as it could be without taking out the studs in the wall. One of the 2Ē steel supports is visible just inside the door.

2. The ĺĒ plywood that I cut to the size of the closet floor Ė it is wedged in very tightly between the walls and prevents any horizontal movement of the structure. There is a 1"(side), 2"(side) and 3Ē(behind) air space between the tank glass and the walls. You can see one of the two 8Ē x 2Ē openings I made in the floor copy for filter hoses & wires to pass through. The white debris on the glass surface and inside the tank is salt residue from the initial cleaning after I got it home. Thatís also when I first tested it for leaks by leaving it filled on the garage floor for several days.

3. Close up of the steel supports, with the door open. You can see the ĺ" plywood copy of the floor sandwiched between the tank and the furniture top and extending to the walls.

4. Both doors open, good shot of the steel supports. The roughed-in holes for filters & electrical will be cleaned up after itís functional. The glass in the doors will be frosted so that none of the filtration or electrical components inside will be visible. Iím using two Ehiem canisters - for redundancy. One will go on each side of that center piece.

V continued V

04-08-2008, 01:59 PM
A few days later;

5. The moment of truth - filling after it was in place. It took about 30 minutes. There were a total of 5 loud pops and creaks, about every 5 minutes, as it settled in. It is even sturdier than I had hoped for. One of the engineers at work, as well as my fish supplier, and even the guy that cut the steel for me, all told me I was over-engineering for the weight. I told them I would sleep better that way. The empty tank weighs 240 pounds and when itís all finished, Iíve estimated about 1,400 pounds. The electrical cords for the light will eventually be routed out of the way and into the inside of the furniture (through the same holes cut for the filter hoses).

The water thatís in the tank in this picture has already been removed and replaced. It was untreated and in there only for 4 days, for the stress test. Also visible is the reconstructed wall opening and the suspended light. The light installation is also my own design. I drew up the plans and made it out of materials from Home Depot. The light came with hardware to mount it on top of the tank, but I wanted it up and out of the way. The light company makes a suspension kit, but it only has two wires. I wanted 4 Ė for more stability.

This installation has been a huge project and has taken about three months start-to-finish Ė including;

Waiting for the tank to be built.
Finding & building the furniture piece.
Getting the steel cut.
Getting the floor copy cut.
Modifying the furniture piece afterwards.
The demolition\readying\rebuilding of the closet space - removal of the door rails & hardware, tearing out & re-framing the opening, removing the shelves & refinishing\repainting the sheetrock).
The installation itself.
Preparation in getting two tanks worth of fish ready for a very stressful move.

This entire project has been on an indefinite hold for a few years while I waited for a breeding pair of Gold Angelfish to live out their lives. They spent many years in one of the two tanks that I'll be taking down. For several years, they bred every few months. Whenever the babies were quarter-sized, I traded them to the one of the larger fish stores for credit toward our own supplies. I must have supplied them with thousands over the years. I was their sole supplier of Gold Angels during that time. Both of my breeding tanks (Gold Angels & Marble Angels) were plant tanks also.

Anyway, thatís it. The second of the two moves was last week and all are well and behaving normally. Not a single casualty and after a few days of meet & greet activity, the tank is very peaceful Ė as were the separate tanks previously.

The tank now includes;
Glass Cats
Red Phantoms
O Cats
Zebra Loach

Iíll take pictures of the finished tank soon and post them. My avatar is one of my Discus.

04-08-2008, 02:09 PM
Welcome to AC! Looks like a great project! Keep up the good work, can't wait to see pictures!

04-08-2008, 02:20 PM
That must look amazing now that it's ready. Well done. Can't wait to see the pictures.

04-08-2008, 02:41 PM
Very, very impressive sir. I wish to do something half as good when I get the funds. Can't wait to see the finished product. Do you plan on planting the tank?

Wild Turkey
04-08-2008, 03:23 PM
Welcome to ac, Tank looks great what are you gonna stock it with?

04-08-2008, 03:30 PM
Welcome to the A.C. and nice looking set-up...we can see your other pets in picture two. Definitely keep us posted on the progress!

04-08-2008, 03:47 PM
I wish to do something half as good when I get the funds. Can't wait to see the finished product. Do you plan on planting the tank?

It's something any of us could do. The project extras (closet construction, steel uprights, floor copy, lighting suspension, etc) weren't terribly expensive. The steel was about $120.00, the plywood sheet was $30.00, the light-suspension wire & extras were about $20.00, and new molding & lumber for the reframing was about $30.00. Plus paint, nails, sandpaper, etc.

What it was, however, was labor-intense because I did it all myself. But truthfully, it's a labor of love so it wasn't too bad. Alright - there was some cussing when I was tearing out the framework of the closet opening. That was a huge mess. It looked like an episode of Flip This House.

Another thing that really helped was not rushing through it. I just set aside days for each phase. One weekend was measuring, buying, and having the steel cut; another was working on the floor copy; another was preparing the closet space, etc, etc.

The whole reason I made this post was because I couldn't find an instance where someone had done a DIY like it. Now mine is here for people to get ideas from. Plus, it's not like I'm some sort of engineer. I designed the whole thing out of a fear of having a sudden 120 gallon addition to the living room floor.

However, I did run all my sketches by an engineer at work. Every few days, I'd come in with a new idea....

"Hey Ed, what about this...?"
"That will be fine - it would hold up a car"

"Hey Ed, I'm thinking of placing an extra set of supports here instead of here..."
"Not necessary, it will already hold up a car"

Yes, it's a plant tank. Swords, Mondo Grass, Java Fern & Red Lotus. My avatar is from the new tank. I'll take a full picture when I get the backing in place. I haven't made it yet. It's going to be a piece of fabric suspended from the tank edge and weighted at the bottom with a rod to keep it taught. I haven't frosted the glass in the doors yet either.

04-08-2008, 03:49 PM
...we can see your other pets in picture two.

Yes, they were out in the atrium - making sure none of the neighbors over slept.

04-08-2008, 03:53 PM
Tank looks great what are you gonna stock it with?

Currently it's;

Glass Cats
Red Phantoms
O Cats
Zebra Loach

If I add anything at all, it will be more Cardinals and maybe another Discus if I see one that really looks nice. Other than that, it will stay where it's at.

04-08-2008, 04:42 PM
Welcome to the AC... great first intro. :) I don't have time to read through it right now... but, will come back.... and look forward to updates. Was that nook created for the tank... or did it just happen to be the right size for that tank?

What is it a 90-100gal tall? <edit... nevermind... I just read 120 gallons spilling out. :) That's a tall tank!

Lady Hobbs
04-08-2008, 04:46 PM
Good spot for a tank and out of the way. I thought of doing that to my bedroom closet but have no where to store the existing doors to it.

04-08-2008, 05:43 PM
Hello and welcome to AC. Congratulations on that project...it's awesome! :fish:

04-08-2008, 06:47 PM
Very nice setup. I like the way it looks like it belongs there. Great job....

04-08-2008, 07:05 PM
Was that nook created for the tank... or did it just happen to be the right size for that tank?
It was already there (it was a two-door closet). I ordered the tank to fit the space. That's another thing that took a while - finding a piece of furniture that would fit in there and still leave room for hoses and electrical.

What is it a 90-100gal tall? <edit... nevermind... I just read 120 gallons spilling out. :) That's a tall tank!

The gallons are just a guess. It has the same base dimensions as a 110, but with a few inches added to the height*. Since I was going to all the trouble of altering the furniture and rebuilding the space, I wanted to get as much tank in there as I could. It's as high as I can comfortably reach the top of when I walk up to it to open it and feed fish, check temperature, trim plant tops, etc. It's almost too deep for me to reach the bottom of. It's a chore and I have to stand on a ladder and reach down - shoulder under the water if I'm reaching to the back of the tank.

*The company that built it is Ocean View. My LFS took care of the ordering and delivery for me. It's half-inch glass with euro bracing. It's not quite as polished as an Oceanic - plastic trim isn't colored & pattern-embossed, had some excess silicone, etc - but man, it's built heavy duty alright.

04-09-2008, 06:47 PM
WELCOME!!!!!!Love the project

05-20-2008, 02:01 AM
The tank is up and running. Not quite finished yet. The glass on the doors of the base has been frosted to hide the filters and electrical.

Inside; I'm waiting on some Pennywort to attach to the far right side on the driftwood.

Outside; I still have the external background to finish and the wires for the lights to finish routing.

Two pictures;

Room view;


05-20-2008, 12:59 PM
Is that a discus and how did you get it red, white and blue?

05-20-2008, 02:28 PM
Is that a discus and how did you get it red, white and blue?It is.

It's a Pigeon Blood from a breeder in Germany (forgot the guy's name) - via my LFS. It's predominately yellow\orange with bright red and blue on the fins. I'll try to get a better picture. That fish is also my avatar.

05-20-2008, 02:36 PM
It is beautiful.

05-20-2008, 04:54 PM
looks great keep up the good work and like most others im waiting to see the final pics

05-20-2008, 05:19 PM
Absolutely beautiful.

05-20-2008, 05:41 PM
Wow- absolutely gorgeous tank and set up!

05-20-2008, 08:55 PM
It is beautiful.

I should mention; When I bought him last year, he was only about two inches and was a pale brown with a little red on the fins. The LFS guy told me he was a Marlboro and would be a nearly solid red when he matured and showed me a picture like this...

He's nothing like that.

05-20-2008, 08:56 PM
looks great keep up the good work and like most others im waiting to see the final pics

Thanks everyone.

When it's finished, I'll post pictures.

05-21-2008, 12:40 AM
I would love to have one that was red, white and blue. He/she is simply beautiful

05-21-2008, 02:00 AM
Awesome setup! I'm speachless at the beauty of those discus.

05-21-2008, 04:05 AM
I'm speachless at the beauty of those discus.

My LFS guy is on vacation this week. When he gets back, I'll ask him who the breeder is. Maybe other LFSs can get fish from him. I'll post any info I can get on here.

That particular Discus is a male. He's already paired with a female Red Turquoise. They've laid eggs once, but ate them one day later. They'll get the hang of it eventually. I hadn't really planned on bringing a second tank back in to service, but hey - if I have to - I have to. :c12:

05-23-2008, 03:00 PM
In this thread;

http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/aquariumforum/showthread.php?t=13879 (http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/aquariumforum/showthread.php?t=13879)

The third Discus down looks like the same type I have. It's maybe a little younger, but you can see the blue starting to gain intensity on the fins.

05-23-2008, 06:22 PM
very nice setup i love the way you squeezed it into that little room

05-24-2008, 01:21 AM
Very VERY nice setup, rep for you!

06-09-2008, 02:51 PM
The tank is up and running.

That's one sweet setup. I'm a wee bit jealous. ;o) Seriously, really nice.

06-22-2008, 01:15 PM
I am thoroughly impressed. Being a finish carpenter by trade, the final piece looks awesome. I will be doing something similar next summer. I plan on putting it into entertainment center wall unit.

06-22-2008, 04:09 PM
You've done an amazing project, I'm very impressed.....keep more photos coming : )

06-30-2008, 09:10 PM
That is a incredible tank! I will be in my current house another 9months before I retire and move back to my hometown and I hope to borrow your idea to create a similar set up in my new house. Great JOB!!!! Please some more pics!:22:

06-30-2008, 10:09 PM
WOW is about all I can say!! That looks awesome!!