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