10ft tall cylindrical reef tank?

StaircasetoHeaven

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So I am a former long-time reef aquarium enthusiast although I have not had a reef tank in ten years. Now that I am retired, I am dreaming of placing a tank in my current home. I want to place a cylindrical tank in the corner of a spiral staircase (not in the center of the spiral staircase, but on the periphery) with the base at about 1/2 way up the stairs. So one side of the tank would be visible going up the stairs. The opposite side of the tank would penetrate the wall between the staircase and the living room. Thus the tank could be seen from the corner of the Living room. There are multiple tall rectangular windows to the exterior of the home that partly encircle the spiral staircase seen in the photo, and the goal is that the aquarium could also be seen through these windows from the exterior of the house as well. I know that 10 feet would be very difficult or impossible to get light down to the bottom to keep a live reef alive, so that obviously is an issue. One thought that crossed my mind is to have a perhaps 6" wide band of a lighting fixture conforming to the curve of the cylinder which could potentially be mounted on the staircase side and/or the living side of the cylinder that would be mounted on rails hat would slowly move up and down from the base to perhaps 7-8 ft up the tank constantly during the day in order to give light to deeper parts of a live reef. Could have lighting at the top of the tank for the upper 3' of the tank. Anyway just a thought. So i just spoke to a local custom reef tank builder and discussed my desires and he will be coming out next week to check out the house. Yes I know this would be a very expensive and difficult build. Any thoughts?? Yes I know cleaning and access to the tank would be highly limited. Yes I realize that a Fish only tank would be much more doable. Attached are photos of the spiral staircase , and the view from inside the living room and the corner where the cylinder would come out from the wall.
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PharmrJohn

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That is an impressive endeavor. I can't imagine what the aquascape would be like. Cleaning could be done with a specialized instrument (a long pole with SOMETHING on the end of it). OR.....You could contract an LFS to come in twice a month and do it for you. Your lighting idea is original, but I'm not sure what the effect on corals would be. I would expect them to AT LEAST survive, but not thrive to their maximum potential. Great ideas man. I really want to see this built!
 

PharmrJohn

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Oh.....Something else. You're gonna have to account for the weight of this thing on your flooring. I'd have a structural engineer come in if you have a basement or crawlspace. Unless this is going directly onto concrete, steps will need to be taken to protect your house.
 

robinm

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Ambitious! Which is always good :) My initial thought is that light from the windows could be a real issue for algae growth.
 

Stevorino

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Welcome back to reefing!

If it were me, I would instead consider doing a peninsula-style tank that looks like a built-in from the stairway and is based primarily in the living room. If money isn't an object, you could go super long with it too and get a LOT more functional viewing area than a tall cylinder.

It would also be easier to install, maintain, and have fun with. You also somewhat get two tanks in one if you aquascape down the middle and give each long glass it's own personality and corals.

Good luck!
 

Fish_Fry

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It sounds beautiful but maintainence would be a pain. If you do it you might want it wide enough that someone could fit inside, similar to how they service tanks at an aquarium.

If you have live corals it will be very hard to clean around them, especially using a 10 ft pole. Whereas with a fish only tank you could aggressively scrub the rock with a brush on a long pole to keep everything clean.

Good luck
 
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StaircasetoHeaven

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Yes I assumed that the stand would have to be a welded reinforced custom steel stand that extended down to the foundation. I also assumed that would need a structural engineering review to insure that the foundation could assume over 10,000 lb tank
 
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StaircasetoHeaven

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It sounds beautiful but maintainence would be a pain. If you do it you might want it wide enough that someone could fit inside, similar to how they service tanks at an aquarium.

If you have live corals it will be very hard to clean around them, especially using a 10 ft pole. Whereas with a fish only tank you could aggressively scrub the rock with a brush on a long pole to keep everything clean.

Good luck
Yes I realize that even IF it if possible to clean a 10 ft deep tank, is that something that I would want to do whether that be via a long pole system, or via getting into the tank, or paying someone to get into the tank. My initial measurements call for a 4ft diameter cylinder. Even if you just had a snorkel air system, I think it still would not be easy to clean e in that space and then dependent on the width of the coral it may also be impossible. These difficulties were discusssed with the first builder I spoke with, and his reply is that with enough money, almost anything is possible. Bottom line is that I wanted to get three builders to come out, look and give me their possible solutions and then decide.
 
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StaircasetoHeaven

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Welcome back to reefing!

If it were me, I would instead consider doing a peninsula-style tank that looks like a built-in from the stairway and is based primarily in the living room. If money isn't an object, you could go super long with it too and get a LOT more functional viewing area than a tall cylinder.

It would also be easier to install, maintain, and have fun with. You also somewhat get two tanks in one if you aquascape down the middle and give each long glass it's own personality and corals.

Good luck!
100% agree with you that a peninsula-style tank would be an order of magnitude easier to design, build and maintain. Once I get an idea in my head it is difficult for me to abandon it. Will at least get the input from builders.
 

crazyfishmom

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What about a cylinder within a cylinder for the lighting so that the tank is lit from within? That should technically be possible. It would be cool to see which corals would thrive at which heights.

The cleaning portion of this is definitely concerning and the ability to prune is also hard to think about.

Would love to see that build if you do go through with it!
 
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StaircasetoHeaven

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What about a cylinder within a cylinder for the lighting so that the tank is lit from within? That should technically be possible. It would be cool to see which corals would thrive at which heights.

The cleaning portion of this is definitely concerning and the ability to prune is also hard to think about.

Would love to see that build if you do go through with it!
Very interesting thought! Assuming a reef tank, not sure where the coral would go relative to the internal cylinder. Yes there are daunting issues, which is why I appreciate the input of others.
 

BeanAnimal

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This is not a realistic dream even if you have piles of money to burn. All of the coral will sit on the bottom with no light, if you raise anything above them (vertical reef walls?) then it shadows what is below it.

How does one shine light through the side of a cylinder and focus it down on the coral and/or not blind the people trying to look at the coral?

Where does the water and mess go when you literally climb into the tank to clean it? How does one climb in that narrow of a tube and clean it if there is stuff halfway up…. Even if not and it sits on the bottom, how do you not wreck it all like Godzilla stomping on a city? Shall you purchase a lift system like the wine cellar at Aureole, to suspend you at working depth? Flip upside down in the hinged harness like Mission impossible so you don’t touch the floor? Is this a custom underwater remote or is you wife standing outside with the controller? Do the scuba tanks fit or are you holding your breath like creep show, for a “very very long time”?

Is there a platform or are you getting out the 16 foot ladder to do maintenance and feed the fish daily?

Can you tell me how to get 12 foot long tools into a 10 foot tall tank unless the ceiling above it is another 12 feet away?

What? You need a winch to move the canopy and the 10kw of focused beam lights so you can climb in?

Pretty round tank that you can see through… where is the plumbing? Are you encasing it all in a floor to ceiling wall you are ripping out and rebuilding?

Any idea how thick a 10 foot tall acrylic tube needs to be and a realistic cost? They don’t sell these at the local plastic store, this is custom manufacturing, but who bends 1” or thicker acrylic into perfect distortion free tubes? Maybe they can custom cell cast you one?

There is so much about this that is insanely unrealistic that it is hard to take seriously. Any “aquarium” guy that is willing to take your money to entertain this idea is doing you a disservice, because they want your money. Honest guys would give you an honest answer… “this is not remotely realistic, have a nice day”.

The “go for it bro” posts amuse me.
 
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FUNGI

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Nice!!!!!!
but how you going to clean the bottom?....
and maybe get one or several of these:
 
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StaircasetoHeaven

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This is not a realistic dream even if you have piles of money to burn. All of the coral will sit on the bottom with no light, if you raise anything above them (vertical reef walls?) then it shadows what is below it.

How does one shine light through the side of a cylinder and focus it down on the coral and/or not blind the people trying to look at the coral?

The concept is that the coral would be a pillar in the middle of the cylinder. Thus the hypothetical reef lighting band which traverses up and down the tank would be aimed at the pillar sitting about 2 ft away in the middle of the tank.

Where does the water and mess go when you literally climb into the tank to clean it? How do climb in that narrow of a tube and clean it if there is stuff halfway up…. Even if not, how do you not wreck it all like Godzilla stomping on a city.
My concept is that there would be at least 6" to 12" or more of a drain grate encircling the the tank on the living room side, and on the staircase, which would catch water overflow. Yes this is a dilemma regarding the space possible for someone to physically enter the tank for cleaning. Conceivably the tank could have a diameter of 5 ft or more to increase space, but this of course would increase width and cost. Just because something is possible, does not mean it is a good idea.
Is there a platform or are you getting out the 16 foot ladder to do maintenance and feed the fish daily?
OK the aquarium could not extend to the ceiling or it would be impossible to access the top. I have thought that the tank would go up to approximately 3 feet from the top of the ceiling allowing access via a retractable scissor ladder which would receed into the space below and alongside the tank.
Can you tell me how to get 12 foot long tools into a 10 foot tall tank unless the ceiling above it is another 12 feet away?
I thought that there would need to be a scissor type custom tool with approximate 3 foot segments that could lock straight as the tool was inserted into the tank. It is possible (not something that sounds like a good idea (not that any of this may be a good idea, LOL) of having a hatch in the roof.
Pretty round tank that you can see through… where is the plumbing? Are you encasing it all in a floor to ceiling wall you are ripping out and rebuilding?

My concept is that the plumbing could go into the walls though which the tank penetrates. Plumbing/electrical conduit could also through central tube where coral is mounted, and drains in bottom of tank. Definitely this project would require significant tear out, and rebuilding.
Any idea how thick a 10 foot tall acrylic tube needs to be and a realistic cost? They don’t sell these at the local plastic store, this is custom manufacturing.

The custom builder asked me my budget, I told him "under 100K" and we continued with the discussion with him saying that indeed people have ideas, but have no realistic idea of the cost.
There is so much about this that is unrealistic that it is hard to take seriously.

Then “go for it bro” posts amuse me.

I am here to get feedback, criticism, skepticism; it is all good as far as I am concerned. It will help me think through the feasibility, wisdom or non-feasibility and impractibility of this project. First I would like to see if it is possible, then determine if it is within budget, then can go from there.
 
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bakbay

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Understand that you're now retired and/or recently hit the Las Vegas jackpot, I'm just curious why putting the tank there? Judging from your neighborhood with similar-sized homes, I also assume that you have another optimal location in your own mansion? If it were me during my retirement years, I would find to a location that is comfortable for enjoyment and maintain. Perhaps you like to go up & down the stairs all the time or camp out in the steps?

Agree with others -- very dreamy idea but perhaps not practical.
 

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