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Hi all, after living in a small home for the past 6 years and having limited space for a larger tank, the wife and I finally moved up into a larger home with plenty of wall space for a larger tank. We plan on living in this home for a while, and this is the closest I'll get to a dream tank for a long time. I decided to order a custom build tank through River City Aquatics that is 7 feet long, 30" wide, and 24" tall. Roughly 260 gallons of water in the display tank.

We are also expecting a daughter to arrive in February 2020, so planning the tank to be kid safe was a key consideration. Since I don't want the kid to have access to the tank sump, the rats nest of wires and cables, and all the chemicals and reagents I keep under the tank, an in-wall tank was the best solution.

The house we bought did not offer many wall options for an aquarium except for the living room wall that was shared with the garage. My wife has never been able to park her car in the garage, so I had to be sure to leave at least half of the garage available to her to park her car while also having a fish tank in the garage. Since it's Texas and the garage will get insanely warm in the summer, I decided to build a dedicated fish room in the garage to house the tank and accessories.

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Since it's a one door, 2-car garage, I had to build a false ceiling for the garage door to open over. It seemed like an easier and cheaper option than replacing the garage door with a 2 door garage.

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I ran electric on two dedicated 20 volt breakers through the room. I also ran 1/4" tap water lines and internet cables through the walls to reduce the clutter. I decided if I ever wanted in-ceiling speakers to listen to music in the fish room while I performed maintenance, now is the time to do it, so I installed 2 Bluetooth speakers in the false ceiling as well. Trying to think long term here.

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I plumbed central air into the room for temperature control. Not sure if this will be enough in the summer heat, but I'm going to try this first before installing any kind of AC unit in the room.

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The build was going well and on schedule until the day I opened the wall for the tank and found that a load bearing column for the loft of the house ran right through the open space I wanted.

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This was a devastating blow to me. I thought the project would be dead in the water with such an integral part of the house in the way. But I persisted on, spoke with some engineer friends, did my research, and settled on installing a beefy header that would more than carry the load of a 7 foot opening. I built a temporary wall to support the weight while I removed the studs and the column.

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With the help of a friend I was able to wedge the header in place and secure it.

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I had made and installed a mesquite live edge bar top in the kitchen of our previous home and liked it enough to do something similar in the new house. The aquarium provided the perfect location for one, so I bought a solid piece of cherry, filled the cracks with gold leaf, and covered it in a high gloss epoxy resin.

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A little bit of drywall work to patch up where I installed the header, I installed the bar top, and I'm back on track to getting this tank build complete.

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I built a light rack out of extruded aluminum and hung it over the tank with a modified kayak lift so I can raise and lower the lights when I need to.

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I worked my butt off to get this room built starting in mid November, and I met my deadline of having the tank wet by Christmas. Granted I'm only performing a leak test at this point, but it sure feels good to have gotten this far considering the obstacles I've faced up to this point. Plumbing the tank will be next!

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Me first. And wow. That’s some serious diy


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When I saw it start I was like.... he has no room for lights or to get in the tank! Disaster! But then you moved it further in. Hah

 

Where’s the old tank and inhabitants? Plans for lighting? Flow? Filtration?

 

If you don’t have a plan for a sink, I would add that also!

 

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And I definitely think you’ll want something just for that room so you don’t have to run the house AC/heat to keep up with demand and can consume less power. Possibly a dehumidifier. Ask John Yull! He did something very similar.


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Heat may not be an issue in that space, but moisture almost definitely will be. 

Looks sweet!

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1 hour ago, Juiceman said:

When I saw it start I was like.... he has no room for lights or to get in the tank! Disaster! But then you moved it further in. Hah

 

Where’s the old tank and inhabitants? Plans for lighting? Flow? Filtration?

 

If you don’t have a plan for a sink, I would add that also!

 

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Hahaha yes, under the false ceiling would have been impossible. But the tank is pretty freaking heavy, so I let it sit until it was time to move it into place to cut the hole.

Everything is still in their original tanks scattered in the dining room and living room. I lost about 90% of my acros after the move, so there's not a whole lot to hold at the moment. Just fish, LPS, and a few SPS remains. I've pretty much neglected the old DT now since it's lost nearly all of it's value to me and grows nothing but GHA. I'm going to cook that rock and give it an acid bath before transferring it to the new tank. I've had nothing but struggles with that tank this year and I'm not risking bringing anything over.

As for equipment, flow will be from 4 Tunze Turbelle streams, lighting will be a mix of Radion G4 Pros, T5s, and BMLs. I don't know my skimmer situation yet, but it'll have to be hefty. Carbon, GFO, and biopellets. Apex to run everything.

A sink is one thing I really wish I could do. I considered it for a while, but it just wasn't that feasible or cost effective. Also my fish room is small enough as is, I wouldn't want to waste valuable space with a sink. Instead I installed a door that leads out of the garage when the garage door is open. I bought a french drain and 100' of drain line. I will install the french drain right next to the driveway and run the drain line into the backyard where it slopes down. I'll dig a deep hole and fill it with gravel where the salt water and waste water can drain into. So whenever I want to do a WC, I'll just run the hose out the door into the french drain and let it go out into the yard. It's not perfect, but better than hauling buckets.

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43 minutes ago, victoly said:

Heat may not be an issue in that space, but moisture almost definitely will be. 

Looks sweet!

I do have a dehumidifier. It will probably run non stop once the tanks are in the room and running. I'll run the drain line out of the garage door and into the french drain or the yard. The dehumidifier creates heat though, so it may be more efficient to just have a dedicated unit for the room or something like that. We'll see.

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Hahaha yes, under the false ceiling would have been impossible. But the tank is pretty freaking heavy, so I let it sit until it was time to move it into place to cut the hole.
Everything is still in their original tanks scattered in the dining room and living room. I lost about 90% of my acros after the move, so there's not a whole lot to hold at the moment. Just fish, LPS, and a few SPS remains. I've pretty much neglected the old DT now since it's lost nearly all of it's value to me and grows nothing but GHA. I'm going to cook that rock and give it an acid bath before transferring it to the new tank. I've had nothing but struggles with that tank this year and I'm not risking bringing anything over.
As for equipment, flow will be from 4 Tunze Turbelle streams, lighting will be a mix of Radion G4 Pros, T5s, and BMLs. I don't know my skimmer situation yet, but it'll have to be hefty. Carbon, GFO, and biopellets. Apex to run everything.
A sink is one thing I really wish I could do. I considered it for a while, but it just wasn't that feasible or cost effective. Also my fish room is small enough as is, I wouldn't want to waste valuable space with a sink. Instead I installed a door that leads out of the garage when the garage door is open. I bought a french drain and 100' of drain line. I will install the french drain right next to the driveway and run the drain line into the backyard where it slopes down. I'll dig a deep hole and fill it with gravel where the salt water and waste water can drain into. So whenever I want to do a WC, I'll just run the hose out the door into the french drain and let it go out into the yard. It's not perfect, but better than hauling buckets.



I just know one of my wife’s biggest gripes is having to use the kitchen sink when cleaning reactors, pumps, replacing gfo, etc. I guess since you can just take them right outside, that wouldn’t be too bad. That have stand alone sinks at HD that you can move around.


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1 minute ago, Juiceman said:

 

 


I just know one of my wife’s biggest gripes is having to use the kitchen sink when cleaning reactors, pumps, replacing gfo, etc. I guess since you can just take them right outside, that wouldn’t be too bad. That have stand alone sinks at HD that you can move around.


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You just gave me a really good idea. My house used to have a pool in the backyard and there is still a platform on the side of the house where the pumps used to be and there are 2 faucets there. It would be a great place to have a cheap utility sink that just drains into the grass. Boom! Juieceman for the win.

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The cabinets are in place, despite the IKEA doors not wanting to fit with my stainless soft close hinges, but I made it work (for now).

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The Radions and T5s have been attached to the light rack. I left room for my BML actinic strips, which are currently being used on the old DT.

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I was admiring @victoly build thread and was inspired by his tablet bracket on the wall. I decided I could take advantage of my low ceiling and attach an adjustable swivel bracket for mine to control the Apex and music in the room. It’s nice because it can swivel 180 degrees so I can flip it around to control the Apex when standing at the frag tanks too. Geeking out about this addition pretty hard right now

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It’s almost 2020 and I had set a personal goal to have the tank full of water by 1/1/20. It probably won’t be full by midnight, but at least RO is starting to fill the tank!

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The march of progress continues steadily on. Plumbing is complete, only two minor leaks that will be fixed later this week.
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The tank is filled all the way and most of the sand has been added. The water never has cleared since mixing salt into it. I’m hoping running the return pump will help clarify the water.
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Hmmm, what brand of salt did you use? Mine was clear AF before I plumbed the return in. Maybe run a pump with a filter sock over the top to filter out some particulates that didn’t dissolve?


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Hmmm, what brand of salt did you use? Mine was clear AF before I plumbed the return in. Maybe run a pump with a filter sock over the top to filter out some particulates that didn’t dissolve?


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It is Instant Ocean. Usually new salt water clears up after a day or two, I find it very odd that it is still so cloudy. Granted in this picture there’s the addition of cloudy sand water AND bubbles from the return pump that had just kicked on, but it’s still not clear. Could be the cooler temperature of the water since it’s not being heated yet? I plan on running a filter sock and adding a small protein skimmer to try and pull out as much suspended particulates as I can over the weekend.

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FWIW, my IO has a pretty substantial chunk of totally insoluble material in it. Like was previously mentioned, you may have to mechanically filter this out. 

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I recently switched from IO because of this same exact reason, Id do a water change and the tank would stay cloudy for a few days sometimes it would never clear up. TBH it looked like a bacterial bloom, but the UV would have killed that in a day or so.

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I don’t remember this being such an issue a couple years ago when IO was my go-to salt. I switched to Fritz for a while and went back to IO. I wonder if they changed their source or have started adding something to their salt since then? It used to clear up within a day of mixing.

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I read something a while back on some issues with it, i cant recall the exact issue, but it was connected with coral issues and cloudiness and particles left in the buckets after mixing. I started my recent build with it, didn't have any issues until the last 2 boxes as far as cloudiness. but my sps have had a hard time the entire time ive had this tank setup, with everything being on point. i switched and its been a dramatic difference in coral health.  

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I mix outside the tank, so it hasnt been an issue, but I could see how in tank mixing would cause a problem. 

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I saw something on Reef2Reef or one of the Reefer Facebook groups about lots of people having issues with IO salt recently. Yellowing of bags, solidifying in the bags, etc.


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1 minute ago, Juiceman said:

I saw something on Reef2Reef or one of the Reefer Facebook groups about lots of people having issues with IO salt recently. Yellowing of bags, solidifying in the bags, etc.


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That was it. it was on reef2reef, i believe it was noted on the poll of the day question about salt. 

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