Planning First Big DIY Systems

Ulu

Candiru
Original poster
Dec 13, 2018
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The Sunny San Joaquin
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Puddin'Tame
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Retired computer bum
Designers and Builders: Your opinions and advice are earnestly requested in the planning of my first monster build. I have previously made and customized some small systems. This will be a departure from a life of keeping many small fish, to mainly keeping cichlids like Cromwell here.
newfish.jpg


I am retired, and nowadays I play with my grandkids and my fish, and build or customize various things for amusement. I managed IT for an engineering company and was a project engineer in the glazing business. I have never built a big tank from scratch, but time is available now.

I probably won't build the tank itself. A new 100g tank locally is only $432 with tax. It's so cheap, I am tempted to not go larger. I plan to have big sumps. Right now I have 12 glass tanks and some bins.

These two 55's are currently my largest.
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Felix the Oscar lives in the foyer and has a sump. My mixed cichlids sit on the hearth. Both of these tanks are ~48"x12"x21" will be replaced this year. Felix will get ~ 60"x14"x24" (possibly from Customaquariums.com) made to fit my DIY stand. It will be factory bottom drilled & I will drill the stand to match. The top is 65"x15.5"x1.75" thick birch and the cabinet is two Lowes kitchen cabinets (each 30x12) joined with additional oak and poplar framing. $88 ea for the finished cabinets and about $260 for the (unfinished) bar top. There's $80 small lumber, $20 hardware, $5 glue, $25 urethane, $30 sandpaper etc. I routed the edges and flat-sanded it with a huge board, 12x24x1.75 by hand until dead flat. I made a matching shelf (not shown) from the scrap.

Poor photos . . . I took these right after we repainted & still cleaning, but here you can actually see the cast stone hearth and fascia. Clearly I can put even a 150g tank here if custom built, but my wife may be put off by size and mostly the cost.
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The slumpstone fireplace facing and hearth stays.

but the Heatalator sheetmetal firebox guts and flue will all be removed. In fact the entire wood and stucco chimney will be removed to roof level, leaving a concrete-footed alcove outside the house (yet on its foundation) about 72" wide and 30" deep. The hearth is 72"x22" and opens ~40" wide x 32" tall into the firebox.

The resulting big chimney hole will be re-roofed, re-sheeted, etc. to create an alcove (essentially external to the house) that can be accessed from the outside, by a special door. The sump will only be accessed from the outdoors. I will possibly create a tray to drain seepage away to a weep there.

The idea is that the new tank will sit on a short steel stand. It will be drilled in back, and, wiring, plumbing etc. will all go through the wall to the sump. The "sump room" will be sealed from the back of the tank around the edges so nothing is seen from the sides,

I think this is sufficient footing for a much larger system. In any event the tank will be bedded on steel with multiple adjustment feet to the slumpstone. In the event of settlement, I can true things up easily.

Much more to come. Must take pix.
 

BIG-G

Goliath Tigerfish
Dec 12, 2005
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Keep us posted. Interested in seeing this progress.
Also congratulations on the retirement!
 
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Ulu

Candiru
Original poster
Dec 13, 2018
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The Sunny San Joaquin
Real Name
Puddin'Tame
Gender
Male
Occupation
Retired computer bum
This is my first scale drawing, showing a section and interior elevation.
fp001.jpg

You can see the chimney to be removed.
 

Ulu

Candiru
Original poster
Dec 13, 2018
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The Sunny San Joaquin
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Puddin'Tame
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Retired computer bum
I noted the chimney as 72" wide, but it is actually only 32×63" outside dims, which means about 22x53" inside.

We have a gas stove, but also wiring for an electric stove, so I may extend that to my "sump room" and install an Insta-hot water heater to serve just the kitchen and my sump.
 
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Ulu

Candiru
Original poster
Dec 13, 2018
145
134
46
The Sunny San Joaquin
Real Name
Puddin'Tame
Gender
Male
Occupation
Retired computer bum
Keep us posted. Interested in seeing this progress.
Also congratulations on the retirement!
Thank you. It is the retirement that makes it possible to keep so many tanks. Right now I have ten systems going, and 4 are running sumps.
 
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Tarsun

Exodon
Sep 26, 2018
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That will be pretty neat. in PA we use the stove 24/7 to heat the house. With electric baseboard it cost an additional $100 per month per room kept at 65-68F... and im 30 years from retirement. lol

im excited to see the final product; good luck.
 
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Ulu

Candiru
Original poster
Dec 13, 2018
145
134
46
The Sunny San Joaquin
Real Name
Puddin'Tame
Gender
Male
Occupation
Retired computer bum
I have to make some decisions, & I already don't want to drill a $400 tank, so I decided to order a custom tank, pre-drilled.

I am thinking to run a nearly "level" sump, instead of one far below the tank. That reduces the pump requirements & noise.

The sump will be in a separate room & I can build whatever I need. I have various glass tanks and a reinforced 55g PVC drum.

I think I want to avoid an overflow box. I intend to plumb right to the back of the tank. I may use flex PVC. I used a short piece on my Oscar sump, but it didn't deaden noise much.
 
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Ulu

Candiru
Original poster
Dec 13, 2018
145
134
46
The Sunny San Joaquin
Real Name
Puddin'Tame
Gender
Male
Occupation
Retired computer bum
I sent for a quote on a drilled 100 gal today. I'm expecting to get it for $500 for the bare tank, drilled, including tax & delivery.

This is a Visio, & will be delivered to our local store, black frame & black silicone.

The tank will be ~18"x60" and 24" tall, and just standard glass.
 
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