How did that happen.......there is a 260 gallon aquarium in our walkout basement family room now......”the dipper”

Jeto2004

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Thank you all for the warm welcome and encouraging words in the meet and great forum (If I would only know how to reference that threat here....). So many of you suggested a build thread over there, that I have to oblige.... However, I didn’t really planned or even knew about build threats before I stumbled on R2R through my research. Thus don’t have all the picture of demolition, planning, build and progression (in no particular order and sometime simultaneous as the vision progressed). From now on, I will take more picture of the progression as I learned you all are lover of pictures more than the written word - fine by me ;-). But will try to layout retrospectively my thoughts and planning that went into it.

So lets start:
All started last fall, when my daughter started to talk about wanting an aquarium for her room. I will have to tell you that as a kid I wanted an aquarium too at the same age she ask for it. The next thing I remember my father was knee deep in the hobby and me standing on the sideline participating in the hobby, but not having a tank on my own till much later. But he is an awesome father and I learned a lot from him by watching over the shoulders of this wizard of handiness and knowledge. Mind you, that was 40+ years ago and he build his own aquarium controller out of “simple” IC chips from the ground up making his own circuit boards, display, control buttons and all - that controlled automatic water changes, CO2, temperature and lights. Build his own aquarium and stand and more. Wish I had some pictures of these. Yes all freshwater, but never the less. We even went on a trip to visit Tetra headquarters in Germany. The most memorable moment was seeing the founder of tetra in his German speedos with mask and snorkel in his massive indoor outdoor heated tank cutting back some of the plants in the tank greeting us. Remembering how awesome it would be having such thing in your own house...... I’m getting side tracked.
Yes my daughter got an aquarium for Christmas last year, just in case you wondered. I however, couldn’t get the thought out of my head that I wanted an aquarium too. Well even after 30+ years without a tank, and I had immediately a spot for it in my mind. Here is a picture of the basement walk in family room from when we bought our current house almost 10 years ago. Well it was stuck in the 80’s for sure...... lot’s have changed since then, the carpet is gone and we installed a slate tile floor, but we keep the original build in and wall paneling. Only later I figured out that the wall paneling is mahagoni 3/4 inch plywood. The wall to the right with the build in and mirrors is were I wanted a tank.

188ADA90-08BF-4609-B145-ADDE3F748793.jpeg
 
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Jeto2004

Jeto2004

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Well let’s say my wife was supportive. To my surprise and luckily to me she never really liked the build in shelf’s. We never discussed size of the tank, but she gave me somewhat free reign on what and how would reappear on the wall. In December last year I started the demolition of the build-in’s. I swear to you - I probably pulled out 2pounds of iron nails from these shelf’s and build in cabinets. No screws all nails. It was a nailing piece of nailing craftsmanship. To know how to put something like this together with nails and make it for eternity is a lost art. Oh have to mention our house was build in 1946 and has as it is said “extremely good bones”. I know for sure from our kitchen remodel when we took out a wall. Studs were actual real dimensional and from old growth fir. The studs were so amazing that I upcycled them to do a back panel of our kitchen island. Sorry no pictures of the demolition I was swearing and sweating a lot. But here is one were I put my daughter and her fried to work painting (waterproofing paint) the cinderblock wall.

F215C562-4EAC-4A43-AC0E-329DCE22BC27.jpeg
 
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Jeto2004

Jeto2004

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Well I had to fill in some tiles that were “missing” now - the place were the build in cabinet has been, I know there will be an aquarium stand, but I just can’t stomach the idea to know that there are no tiles were some should be....
With that complete, I laid out were the tank should be and played with different dimensions. One thing I was cautious about was our fire place in the corner. We use it in the winter, watching a movie and having a fire going is one of the best things in winter. From the placement of fire place to roughly knowing how the heat radiates out into the room I determined that I shouldn’t go perturb into the room more than 24-26 inches. And since I had most of the wall with an expedition of some sort of storage cabinet that my wife wanted back I had the whole wall from the fire place to the door into our utility room situated behind the wall. So suddenly I ask my wife how about a really big aquarium done here. She didn’t even blick - Go for it she said. Suddenly I had to make a decision 7 or 8 feet and I wanted it as close to the wall as possible - thinking peninsula style drilled tank....
 
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Jeto2004

Jeto2004

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Ok one more for tonight before I call it quits:
Were was I? Aah tank size.
  • Peninsula style drilled tank to get it as close to the wall as possible - check
  • Should not stick into the room more than 24 to 26 inches - check
  • height - lots of inner discussion 24 or 30 - somehow went for 30 (well the why will start confession time, and that is something for another post) so let’s give that a check for now too- check
  • Length - lots thinking about length going back and forward between 6, 7, and 8 feet. In the end the space need for a storage section in the wall, room for plumbing and aesthetic I ended up with 7 feet for length - check!
Started looking around who sells these kind of water boxes with a 84x24x30 dimension and learned quickly that this will be a custom build. Got a couple quotes online, looked at all the reviews, even talked with my LFS owner. He is a strong believer in Plant Aquariums from his experience regarding build quality vs cost standpoint. And as my father taught me, buy cheap and you will pay twice or even three times......So I was willing to pay a little premium for the peace of mind....ordered a tank through my LFS for a Planet aquariums tank drilled for a eclipse overflow box (L) end of December of 2018.

Lead time was 6-8 weeks so the race was on to build my own stand, since wood working is one of my other hobbies and to save a little bit of money for other things....

Unfortunately I do not have any pictures of this process - but the genreal back bone of the stand is based on the design of The KING of DIY stands. I opted to build it out of cedar 2x6 to increase natural rot resistance and face framed with 3/4 inch mahogany and 3/4 Mahagony plywood that I salvaged from the demolition (that stuff is expensive these days and is the type that you can sand down once or twice). It helps that I just buy rough milled wood that I can mill to dimension in my garage shop! I was fortunate enough that I could match the wood color of the existing wood paneling with the new mahogony. For the wood finish I decided to use shellac (easy to work with, water and UV resistant) and a coat furniture wax.

The tank arrived end of February, during that time I build the stand face frame for the stand and the cabinet structure next to it. Also worked on some other house projects during that time more to that later.

D3C40454-D9CC-4C57-9A7F-A8515E01F412.jpeg
 
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mcwhng

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Ok one more for tonight before I call it quits:
Were was I? Aah tank size.
  • Peninsula style drilled tank to get it as close to the wall as possible - check
  • Should not stick into the room more than 24 to 26 inches - check
  • height - lots of inner discussion 24 or 30 - somehow went for 30 (well the why will start confession time, and that is something for another post) so let’s give that a check for now too- check
  • Length - lots thinking about length going back and forward between 6, 7, and 8 feet. In the end the space need for a storage section in the wall, room for plumbing and aesthetic I ended up with 7 feet for length - check!
Started looking around who sells these kind of water boxes with a 84x24x30 dimension and learned quickly that this will be a custom build. Got a couple quotes online, looked at all the reviews, even talked with my LFS owner. He is a strong believer in Plant Aquariums from his experience regarding build quality vs cost standpoint. And as my father taught me, buy cheap and you will pay twice or even three times......So I was willing to pay a little premium for the peace of mind....ordered a tank through my LFS for a Planet aquariums tank drilled for a eclipse overflow box (L) end of December of 2018.

Lead time was 6-8 weeks so the race was on to build my own stand, since wood working is one of my other hobbies and to safe a little bit of money for other things....

Unfortunately I do not have any pictures of this process put the genreal back bone of the stand is based on the design of The KING of DIY stands. I opted to build it out of cedar 2x6 to increase natural rot resistance and face framed with 3/4 inch mahogany and 3/4 Mahagony plywood that I salvaged from the demolition (that stuff is expensive these days and is the type that you can sand down once or twice). It helps that I just buy rough milled wood that I can mill to dimension in my garage shop! I was fortunate enough that I could match the wood color of the existing wood paneling with the new mahogony. For the wood finish I decided to use shellac (easy to work with, water and UV resistant) and a coat furniture wax.

The tank arrived end of February, during that time I build the stand face frame for the stand and the cabinet structure next to it. Also worked on some other house projects during that time more to that later.

D3C40454-D9CC-4C57-9A7F-A8515E01F412.jpeg
Wow now that’s a great start! May your reef skills match your wood working talent.
 
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Jeto2004

Jeto2004

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Wow now that’s a great start! May your reef skills match your wood working talent.
Thank you! Wood working talent developed overtime by learning from mistakes and practice. Reefing will be the same.....but once you have fish and coral that you like mistakes that will be made come at with a higher price (emotional and financial) I guess. Looking forward from the help of all the more experienced people here on R2R
 
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Jeto2004

Jeto2004

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Spring arrived and work, outdoor activities and travel forced the build into a 4 month hiatus. In a certain way that was good, during that time I devoured knowledge for both freshwater and saltwater alike to brush up on my 30+ old knowledge of keeping freshwater tanks. Let me say some things have stayed the same other things have changed dramatically.

Here is the confession I talked about earlier: To this point I was planning on having an freshwater discuss tank. But reading and watching all the amazing content out there resulted in an inner battle what should I do? Freshwater, saltwater or should I even dare trying my hand reefing. Secretly I always wanted to become a marine biologist, and my wife and I love all things ocean, but even more than anything else seeing reefs and fish in tropical waters is what we love and want we would like our daughter to enjoy to. It didn’t help that we took our girl to Belize this spring and spend 5 days out on Glover’s Reef. And seeing once again reefs in its natural habitat. If you don’t know - Belize is home to the 2nd largest barrier reef in the world and the largest barrier reef in the northern hemisphere. No scuba this time around but lots of sea kayaking and snorkeling. Best thing ever our girl was a trooper at age 7 and loved the snorkeling so much she wants to go back. Here are a few shots with nature at it best.

So by July I came to a decision and I switched the plan from having a freshwater tank to saltwater. Never had a saltwater aquarium and hope that all will go well. Focused my research and reading/watching even more on saltwater and reefing - Thank you BRS TV, Tidal Gardens, Mr. Saltwater, Hex of Fish, Reef Sanctuary, Reef Builder, last but not least R2R, and all of you who generate and contribute to the spreading of saltwater and reefing knowledge.

D3A3E54D-055E-401A-BBE8-F866E1201F8A.jpeg 66711F0F-BBDB-45EF-8A6E-93CBB964A161.jpeg CDED4E4A-B26B-4930-A80A-97FBA82317F4.jpeg
 
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Jeto2004

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First thing was to figure out my hardscape for the tank. Ordered 190 pounds of dry rock, when it arrived in 4 huge boxes I was wondering if it would fit all in the tank. By the end I had a handful of small rumble that didn’t make it in. Tried to apply rules of thirds and image composition insights. I think it really helped that photography is one of my other hobbies, which developed my eye for image composition. Unfortunately didn’t take a picture of it, but I put masking tape on the tank to lay out thirds (horizontal and vertical) - highly recommend this. Also helped that I used dry rock so I build up my structure and let is sit for a while to see if I would still like it in the next few days and tweaked it from there. My wife made fun of me how long it took to put couple of rocks in a glass tank....

The first image was my first product that I was somewhat satisfied with (multiple attempts), however something was just not right on the right site of the tank that has two viewing panels.

The last two images are the final product I sticked with. Feedback desire actually was one of the primary reasons I joined R2R. Posted my scape to the Need Help with Aquascape thread

@Ardeus gave me praise - Felt certainly good!

Thank you again, I was ready to do redo everything but after that did not change a thing

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Neptune 555

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following! I started my first tank w/ my Dad at 9/10 when they found out I was allergic to dogs. It was my dog replacement. I have always had a tank... but just this year I upgraded to a 180 reef in my basement. I wish my kids loved the fish like I do... but I think they know more then they let on.

Happy to help if this is your first reef... I would use the forum and search quarantine process BEFORE you end up with some illness in your tank... Better to get a strategy now... before anything sets in

GOOD luck!
 
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vetteguy53081

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Thank you all for the warm welcome and encouraging words in the meet and great forum (If I would only know how to reference that threat here....). So many of you suggested a build thread over there, that I have to oblige.... However, I didn’t really planned or even knew about build threats before I stumbled on R2R through my research. Thus don’t have all the picture of demolition, planning, build and progression (in no particular order and sometime simultaneous as the vision progressed). From now on, I will take more picture of the progression as I learned you all are lover of pictures more than the written word - fine by me ;-). But will try to layout retrospectively my thoughts and planning that went into it.

So lets start:
All started last fall, when my daughter started to talk about wanting an aquarium for her room. I will have to tell you that as a kid I wanted an aquarium too at the same age she ask for it. The next thing I remember my father was knee deep in the hobby and me standing on the sideline participating in the hobby, but not having a tank on my own till much later. But he is an awesome father and I learned a lot from him by watching over the shoulders of this wizard of handiness and knowledge. Mind you, that was 40+ years ago and he build his own aquarium controller out of “simple” IC chips from the ground up making his own circuit boards, display, control buttons and all - that controlled automatic water changes, CO2, temperature and lights. Build his own aquarium and stand and more. Wish I had some pictures of these. Yes all freshwater, but never the less. We even went on a trip to visit Tetra headquarters in Germany. The most memorable moment was seeing the founder of tetra in his German speedos with mask and snorkel in his massive indoor outdoor heated tank cutting back some of the plants in the tank greeting us. Remembering how awesome it would be having such thing in your own house...... I’m getting side tracked.
Yes my daughter got an aquarium for Christmas last year, just in case you wondered. I however, couldn’t get the thought out of my head that I wanted an aquarium too. Well even after 30+ years without a tank, and I had immediately a spot for it in my mind. Here is a picture of the basement walk in family room from when we bought our current house almost 10 years ago. Well it was stuck in the 80’s for sure...... lot’s have changed since then, the carpet is gone and we installed a slate tile floor, but we keep the original build in and wall paneling. Only later I figured out that the wall paneling is mahagoni 3/4 inch plywood. The wall to the right with the build in and mirrors is were I wanted a tank.

188ADA90-08BF-4609-B145-ADDE3F748793.jpeg
beautiful room
 
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Jeto2004

Jeto2004

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I think it looks awesome! Excited to see how it looks with fish and coral
Thank you! Yes can’t wait, but everything that I read or watched says all the same go slow take your time - hope I can contain myself and go slow.....my wife and daughter asking, when do we have the first fish every other day.
 
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Jeto2004

Jeto2004

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following! I started my first tank w/ my Dad at 9/10 when they found out I was allergic to dogs. It was my dog replacement. I have always had a tank... but just this year I upgraded to a 180 reef in my basement. I wish my kids loved the fish like I do... but I think they know more then they let on.

Happy to help if this is your first reef... I would use the forum and search quarantine process BEFORE you end up with some illness in your tank... Better to get a strategy now... before anything sets in

GOOD luck!
Thank you for following! Yes first reef, very sure I will have lots of questions. Not thinking I can do it without the insight that other people already have.
Quarantine is something that is high of my list to set up, as you suggested reading and learning at the moment. Wish I could setup a dedicated fish room, but our utility will have to do. Will have to carve out some room their for a simple Quarantine set up
 
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Jeto2004

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With a 260 gallon tank it was clear I needed an RO/DI source - no way going to the LFS to get Saltwater or RO/DI H2O for water changes.....

Indianapolis is using chloramine for most part of the year so needed to deal with that too - got a 7 stage RO/DI unit with a 150 gallon/day capacity (upgraded it to auto-flush too)- hope it will deal with the chloramines, but have to watch out not to deplete the two carbon blocks, guessing will check the waste water for total chlor once in a while... put it over our utility sink, with easy access to plumb it into cold water coming from our water softener.
EBA860FD-4ECE-4DCF-B21B-DCE2F9E49A20.jpeg

The faucet was broke, had already a replacement that I wanted to install, but the brass ring holding it in place was completely fused to the utility sink, so had to replace the whole thing. Sometime or maybe always simple projects always take longer then you think.
 
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