My 1500 Gallon Fish House!


Bronze Tier VIP
MFK Member
Feb 1, 2010
Hey Guys,

This is my fish house build - i went through many ideas on the lay out and really wanted to have sofa in there to make the full use of the shed and ensure that i actually spend time in there.

The final plan was a 20' x 10' shed, this was the largest i could find online, looking back i wish i custom made it and simply built it from scratch. As obviously a large amount of weight would be on the ground we purchased the shed without a floor as we wanted the stands directly on the gardens concrete base not on wood.

This is how the shed arrived

Here is it partly assembled

It was actually very difficult to build without a floor due to the walls just blowing in the wind, the roof falling down, the sides tipping over and our garden plants holding the shed in a slanted position due to it being that unsturdy. We however battled on and finally got the shed up with the roof on.


In order to counter our problem of the shed being so fragile due to no base we installed what we called a "floor plate" - it was timber in a rectangle which was screwed into the concrete floor, the shed was then screwed into the wooden frame which was solid in the ground and this firmed it all up. However, the walls would still flex where they met every 4 feet, the roof wasn't the greatest so our next step was bracing the shed walls every 2 feet with more timber, this went right into the floor plate too.

At this point the shed become solid - you can thump the walls and it doesn't budge, along come some harsh weather - just what we needed to test it out... we lost some felt from the room but the shed stood firm... we felt confident!!

Our next job would be to insulate this shed, we considered king span but the price frightened us off, we thought about loft insulation but it was so thick so we went for 25mm polystyrene, the stuff we all sit our fish tanks on, between this and the shed we found some plastic sheeting so we lined the walls with this to draft insulate and keep warmth in.


You can see in the above pictures the bracing i talked about - none of us had any experience with insulating this type of thing and at plaster boarding stage i become all frightened of it not being good enough - we installed 25mm more polystyrene walls and ceiling - now 50mm in the walls and roof... still nothing on the floor.

Next came our plasterboard sheets;


We didn't have the patience to plaster with a nice smooth finish so did a sweeping brush like effect - you can see what we mean here..


With the mucky stuff out the way we was ready to rid our stock of supplies which were cluttering up the place, every time we worked we would be moving materials around or out the shed - particularly the plasterboard, the MDF sheets for the floor and the kingspan for the floor.

It was now time to lay the floor, we put beams across, around every 4 feet i think from memory and braced them down the middle, under all this we lay a black membrane which wasn't particularly good at keeping water out but what the hell, every little helps.

I didn't get any pictures of the wooden beams as they went in quite quickly but you can get a vague idea when examining how the king span is laid down





















Bronze Tier VIP
MFK Member
Feb 1, 2010
Once we wedged all the kingspan in we lay the MDF sheets over the top


Next up - our lighting, 3 6' light strips, these are great and really light the room up


We now installed some internal doors - the exterior ones are dispicably poor, for insulation purposes they are laughable.


Now we were weather proof we were happy to build the stands.

The four tanks we were going to have were;

8 x 4 x 2.5
8 x 4 x 2.5
6 x 2 x 2
6 x 2 x 2

The two 8' tanks would be side by side so a 16' stretch of tank, the 6' would work inwards from each wall and the sofa slide in the middle - although the shed was 20' it's actual measurements were something like 19'4" give or tank and by the time we installed 50mm of insulation plus the plasterboard we had took some space out the shed, the sofa only just fit in, it's a littler over 6' so internal measurements we're down to slightly over 18'

I'm certain i took more pictures along the way, somehow i seem to have lost most of them, those which were particularly important to share unfortunately!

The 16' stand is built starting with a 4' wall which is around 3' high, the blocks are around 16" wide, there is just over a 5' gap in between the next wall where there is another 4' wall and then finally a third wall at the 16' mark.

8' concrete lintels join each wall, there are 4 lintels for each tank (8 in total) - the Plywood sheet then sat on top of this.


Now the stands for the 6' - this was simply 2x 2' deep walls and a 2 x 6' lintels on top - why concrete and not wood? i once built a wooden stand for a 6 x 2 x 2.5 - the tank lasted a short time before the base cracked, whether this was down to my build or the fact it was in my upstairs bedroom with a 210 gallon already set up and the weight caused the floor to move i'm not sure - regardless i was cautious to sit so much money of tank and stock on timber when i failed before.


It was my birthday in June - two of my birthday presents was these cheeky little numbers...


The sign and the weather vane.

I wanted to tile the floor, i spent a little extra here getting a good quality non slip tile.


Electrics were all fitted at the stage of plaster boarding with a fuse board above the door, we have 4 sockets on each side wall, 2 high and 2 low and 1 low socket on the far end wall.

All this is ran through conduit from the main house through the garden and into the side of the shed, along with water supply for the HMA filters.

it was a two day visit for the tank builders - this is how it begun


Notice all the pipework? Was thick stuff - 50mm - i specifically told ND Aquatics as i worked with them before that their pipework on my 750 gallon last year was too thin, so they didn't mess about and took every detail into consideration.


The joints and glue;


I find sand a beautiful natural substrate, but so difficult to maintain on large systems so i opted for a sensible easy to clean tiled bottom.























Bronze Tier VIP
MFK Member
Feb 1, 2010

My grandad is nearly 60 but age is just a number, not an excuse not to climb into the tank and lay that damn floor down!

Pipework was a PITA - due to the 50mm drains to the sump - 3 of them! we couldn't get our puny little arms to turn them hard enough - no spanners would fit the monster bulk head, countless leaks due to this.

My grandad came up with a frightening solution - a hammer and chisel, he chiseled the bulkheads until they turned - it actually worked however!


As mentioned earlier i'm using a HMA filter, i think these things are fantastic, you run them into the tank, let it overflow out the sump on a slow drip and it water changes your tank, only issue is the drain is near the house, the garden is downhill.

We proposed a pump house!

The water all links via pipework from the sump and goes out a hole in the wall, out the hole it goes into our "pump house" - a plastic bin in the ground, i had some fun digging the hole :)


Where was i? Ahh yes! the bin in the ground... we dropped a pump with a float in there, as the bin fills, the pump comes on and has a plastic blue water pipe attached and it's pumped up the garden and runs through the conservatory, but it needs a way to get through the conservatory...


Thus, we bought the beast!

once out the conservatory it is burried into the ground slightly and runs directly into our drain then we concreted over the pipe.

You can see it being pumped through on this video - works fantastically well.


Here is a shot of the pipework on top of the tanks


I turn the lights on and then turn them off of a night, however my schedule changes and this didn't give a very natural cycle for the fish - i thought this was unfair and so despite purposing choosing the option of shed with no windows, i decided to add a window to allow the fish natural light.


The window in


Unfortunately i'm out of photo's at this stage - my biggest point i've learnt is never buy a 16 GB Iphone, always pay the extra and get the 64 GB!

We have trimmed the outside up quite nice to make the shed look straighter and bulkier, painted some of it but some to be done.
We've put half the tank stand faces on and cut holes for cuboard doors and have begun tiling these.

For filtration the two 8' tanks have a 5' sump with a 20,000 litre per hour pump, it has 2 returns, for media i use the ceramic bricks and al***rog - mechanical i use jap matting which isn't fantastic but lasts quite some time until i needs washing out.

Ventilations was a big issue, we tried drilling holes and putting vent screens over but it made no difference - you could leave the door open all day with little difference, the air just wasn't flowing - eventually we got a extractor - in terms of cubic meters it did the shed approximately 80x in an hour so we run this for 1 hour on, 1 hour off and it does the job perfect - reduced the room temp and really decreased the humidity.

unfortunately i couldn't find the right pipework for the HMA, it has 1 line out per unit, i have 2 units but 4 tanks, ultimately i have to manually lift the line out the 8' tank and drop them into the 6' tank for a few hours once a week - the surplus water overflows out the shed so there is no siphoning just pure water change but i'd rather have a T piece in there and run it across the room - maybe one day i'll find the piece im looking for.

In terms of stock currently i have;

8' (1)
1 F P12 @ 23"
1 F P14 @ 18"
1 F P13 @ 18"
1 F P12 @ 15"
1 M P12 @ 15"
1 F P12 @ 12"
1 M P12 @ 10"
1 RTG @ 28"

8' (2)
2 F Pearl @ 18"
1 M Pearl @ 15"
1 P13 @ 12"
3 Kelberi @ 14"
2 Azul @ 14"
3 24K GMXB @ 12"
3 Armatus @ 13"
8 Myleus Shomburgkii @ 6"

6' (1)
1 F P14xP13 @ 8"
1 M P13 @ 5"
1 M P14 @ 4"

6' (2)
Empty :(
Considering a peru black rhom or shoal of RBP.

Few shows of the inhabitants...

Shame i lost so many pictures - i purposely took them in preparation for this write up and it set me in a good lay out. What's done is done however, i'm sure i've missed a load of stuff but i'll update when i finally manage to finish those few little finishing touches off.






















Bronze Tier VIP
MFK Member
Feb 1, 2010

It took months, approx 4 so far but work has slowed down due to doing other bits, we just do a few hours some Saturdays and a full day on Sunday

Evz jardini

MFK Member
May 19, 2010
manchester /uk
All I can say is WOW bonesb66 you've gone all out there , once I get out of rented houses and get my own that's what I'm after , bet its cost you a fair bit but looks worth every penny
I've built a few spaces like this at work for people never fishrooms though just home offices etc , my mates got his garage done out for breeding fish but its nothing like yours im very impressed , next time im in Birmingham ashlee aquatics better be open hahaha :D