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Thread: My Fishroom Project (Philadelphia / New Jersey area)

  1. #1
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    Default My Fishroom Project (Philadelphia / New Jersey area)

    Hello all,

    My name is Greg. I am located in the Philadelphia area in South Jersey. I graduated college this past May (2016) and currently still live in my parents house as I prepare for medical school. Back in August I decided, with permission, that I would move all of my discus tanks into our basement instead of keeping them all in my bedroom. Having consulted Wayne Leibel and Discus Hans for both plumbing design and structural design, we set out on our project.

    Back in August I had (6) 55gals and (4) 20gals all on the upper level of our house in my bedroom. I wanted to make the transition for a variety of reasons. First, I wanted to streamline my water changing to cut down on time spent on doing them. Second, I was tired of spilling water all over carpet in my room. Third, keeping 86 degree F water in a small room made it basically unlivable due to the heat and humidity. Fourth, I have a passion for breeding and growing out discus so I wanted to try to put a full effort into a breeding setup. For those four reasons and a few more I embarked on designing and building a fishroom with my father who used to do a fair amount of plumbing work and other construction work.

    It has been several months since we first started this project but I took pictures along the way. I will post pictures in chronological order and post some info about what was going on during the different phases of the project. We are nearly done and I feel confident enough to share with all of you what we have built this far, but the fishroom still has some work to be done at this date (11/26/16).

    Please feel free to check out my fish instagram @ southjerseydiscus to see photos/videos of my fish, breeding, and tanks.

    Hope those of you who are interested enjoy the photos and design.
    Last edited by GVB; 11-26-2016 at 08:49 PM.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: My Fishroom Project (Philadelphia / New Jersey area)

    To start, here are before and after photos. The fishroom is still not yet complete but I figured I would start with these two photos first. The first photo was taken August 11, 2016. The second was taken today November 26, 2016.

    FullSizeRender (1).jpg

    IMG_2977.jpg

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    Default Re: My Fishroom Project (Philadelphia / New Jersey area)

    One of the first things we had to do was to design our rack for the 6 55gallon tanks. I adopted my tank rack based on Wayne Leibel's design which he showed me in great detail. I painted all of the lumber black because that seemed like it would look sharp in contrast to the white of the room and I planned on painting the tanks white because I prefer my discus with a white background. Essentially all of the components were double reinforced strategically to allow for extra support. The rim of the 55gal would be held up by pieces of wood directly under the rim. We decided not to put plywood underneath the tanks as we felt just painting the bottoms and backs of the tanks would be a better route to take. Measuring this out took a great deal of thought as we had to fit two columns of tanks in a tight enough space to allow for 2 drums to fit to the right of the rack. We also had to account for the vertical aspects in that I wanted to have enough room to maneuver between each tank. Lighting fixtures would be fitted under the tanks, except for the top tank who's fixture would be attached near the ceiling. Throughout installing each piece we had to make sure everything was level as well so that the tanks sat evenly in the structure. Each cut was made and installed using 2-3 screws of varying lengths depending on the location in which we were drilling. In addition, we had to leave enough room behind the structure to allow to PVC lines for plumbing. We had concerns for the structure being unstable since a lot of weight was up so high and we didn't have a way to find a place to brace the structure. Later on in the construction we were able to find a spot in the wall where we could mount a brace to so that the structure was held to the wall and not just freestanding. For some reason we initially could not get traction in one of the house's studs, both ceiling and back wall, so we left bracing for another day.

    IMG_2291.jpg
    IMG_2304.jpg
    IMG_2307.jpg

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    Registered Member Clawhammer's Avatar
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    Default Re: My Fishroom Project (Philadelphia / New Jersey area)

    Your fish room is perfect. Great design and great work.

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    Default Re: My Fishroom Project (Philadelphia / New Jersey area)

    Quote Originally Posted by Clawhammer View Post
    Your fish room is perfect. Great design and great work.
    Thank you very much!

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    Registered Member Jack L's Avatar
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    Default Re: My Fishroom Project (Philadelphia / New Jersey area)

    very cool, and you have good parents!!!

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    Registered Member Phillydubs's Avatar
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    Default Re: My Fishroom Project (Philadelphia / New Jersey area)

    That's really nice. All dark it looks like a cool night club hahah. Maybe you should open one up down there and pay off your parents mortgage and buy more tanks haha!!

    I'm a south jersey guy myself. Nice to see you here with such a nice space I'd never leave.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: My Fishroom Project (Philadelphia / New Jersey area)

    Quote Originally Posted by Phillydubs View Post
    That's really nice. All dark it looks like a cool night club hahah. Maybe you should open one up down there and pay off your parents mortgage and buy more tanks haha!!

    I'm a south jersey guy myself. Nice to see you here with such a nice space I'd never leave.
    Thanks! I don't want to leave, hoping to get into medical school in the Philly area so I can progress with my discus obsession lol

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    Default Re: My Fishroom Project (Philadelphia / New Jersey area)

    In this picture you can see that the light fixtures are being installed. Also, two 55gal drums on the left were put to the left of the rack. We build a mini rack to hold the top drum over the bottom, but we had to leave enough room over the tops of the drums so we could have access. Later we would install our plumbing, heaters, airlines, funnels to pour Prime into for dechlorination, etc.

    IMG_2402.jpg

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    Default Re: My Fishroom Project (Philadelphia / New Jersey area)

    This picture was taken after we completed building the stand for the 200gal. It came out very nice in my opinion. We planned to surround the stand in black painted plywood or something similar to make it look more like a proper stand. At this point in time the 200gal still had not been filled with water. The next step involved filling the tank up to test it out as I got it used on a local facebook fish swap group, but as you will see in the next few posts that we had some complications lol

    IMG_2403.jpg

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    Default Re: My Fishroom Project (Philadelphia / New Jersey area)

    Here we are filling up the 200gal up for the first time. We bought this used for about $250 which is a steal of a price. If appeared to previously exist as a reef tank as there was some sand and other reefy debris in those two big column. I am not a fan of those columns as the water level cannot ever drop lower than the very top or else the filter will be cut off from the tank and run dry. We installed our own plumbing and had the inlet inside the column and the outlet aimed outside the column. I run Filstar canisters on this along with 4 big sponges. If you look carefully you can see that the left brace going through the middle of the top rim was broken, the one of the right had fractures in it as well.

    IMG_2414.jpg

    As we filled the tank up we could tell it was starting to bow out, especially towards the side that the brace was broken. We quickly drained the tank and ordered new top and bottom rims from the Aquarium Center in NJ. We did not even want to take the slightest chance / gamble with this thing as 200gals breaking out would definitely ruin everything in our furnished basement. The rims were fairly cheap and only cost about another $100. While we waited for the rims to arrive we removed the preexisting rims which was perhaps the most difficult part of this fishroom construction. We had to first separate the silicone bonds all around the rims to be able to remove the plastic rims. After we did that we open up our razor blades and went to work shaving off as much residual silicone as we could so we could have a nice clean surface to resilicone the new rim to. Once that was completed and we had the new rims, we siliconed each rim. The bottom was the hardest part as we put the rim on top of the stand and put some scrap wood in the middle of the rims onto which we would position the tank. We then had to slowly and carefully place the gigantic tank perfectly onto the pieces of wood. The rim was siliconed then pulled up to the bottom of the tank where we used duck tape to hold it there. The top rim was easier as we just placed it on top. We tightly duck taped the top rim down to try our best to create a strong bond here as well. This probably could've been done better but oh well it worked. We put the tank up on those pieces of wood because we believed that the weight of the tank would be too much for the silicone to bond to the bottom of the tank but we could've been wrong. Also, it was the easiest way we could thing of getting the rim under the tank so we wouldn't have to lay the tank into the rim... this way allowed us to put the rim on the bottom of the tank instead. The pieces of wood were in the gaps of the rim which is what allowed us to do this. Not sure if I am making sense but you get the gist. After a couple of days we painstakingly simultaneously held the tank in the air while removing the scrap wood so that we could lay the tank to rest on top of the stand. We had completed the re-rimming of the 200gal and after multiple rounds of filling it up and draining it to clean it, the determined that there was no more bowing and that the structure would hold!

    IMG_2486.jpg

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    Default Re: My Fishroom Project (Philadelphia / New Jersey area)

    Wow Greg! That is amazing. It was nice of your parents to give up the basement!

    My question is even if you get tings as automated as possible how will you have time to maintain all of these while in Medical school? Do your parents share your hobby?

    You are building a room that will be the envy of so many here. Can't wait to see pics of your fish.

    Good luck with the finishing touches.

    Tell your dad we are in awe.
    "You can't trust water: Even a straight stick turns crooked in it." -W.C.Fields

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    Default Re: My Fishroom Project (Philadelphia / New Jersey area)

    Quote Originally Posted by Jenene View Post
    Wow Greg! That is amazing. It was nice of your parents to give up the basement!

    My question is even if you get tings as automated as possible how will you have time to maintain all of these while in Medical school? Do your parents share your hobby?

    You are building a room that will be the envy of so many here. Can't wait to see pics of your fish.

    Good luck with the finishing touches.

    Tell your dad we are in awe.
    Thanks for your kind comments and your questions!

    So basically my father more or less started me off with fishkeeping when I was a kid... guppies, etc.... as he had fish when he was growing up. Every year we got more and more into fish keeping. About 5 years ago we decided to try discus which was a disaster when we first started. But ever since then he has been doing a lot of work while I was at college. Basically he would take care of them during the semesters and I would take care of things during my breaks and whenever I would visit home.

    Eventually, as discus keeping naturally does a lot of the time, we found ourselves having gone from 1 tank to 5. He is very good at plumbing and doing all the dad stuff that I need to learn lol. By him doing a lot of plumbing things to our tanks it made life a lot easier to change water. He is very good at the mechanical sense of things and more than capable changing water and feeding. He kind of stays at that level doing 2x water changes per week and monitoring chemistry and looking at ways of improving our operation. I am more so the one that is really particular and interested in breeding. I can stare at the fish and tinker all day.

    Basically the only way I could do this is if he was able to keep up with water changes and just keep the discus in a minimalist sense. The most important part of this is that he has all of the $$$ so I could not be more thankful for him shelling out the cash for this as I am sure you all can understand something like this is not cheap lol. I plan on trying to get into a medical school in the Philadelphia are so that I am able to take care of things on weekends and such.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: My Fishroom Project (Philadelphia / New Jersey area)

    A video of a water change on my 200gal growout tank. It is a complete start to finish video with everything I do during the process.

    https://youtu.be/La3stvNrvks

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    Default Re: My Fishroom Project (Philadelphia / New Jersey area)

    Looking good.

    -john
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