Monster 450 gallon build thread - FOWLR

Thomas Jedlicka

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May 8, 2020
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Hello everybody!

This has been almost a year in the making. I have been meaning to do a build thread however I wanted to have a lot done so you can actually view the progress that was made. I am about three months out from having the tank completely finished.

The tank is a 450-gallon tank ordered from Fish Tanks Direct. The dimensions are 5 feet long x 3 feet deep x 4 feet tall. The tank looks like a huge window essentially. Definitely a more unique and unconventional shape.

For a bit of background, I currently have a ~300-gallon tank with similar unique dimensions. 6 feet long x 2 feet deep x 3 feet tall. Another huge window-looking tank. With that in mind, this tank has a decent number of fish on the medium to the larger side. No need to worry there will be a ton of photos and videos within this thread.

I'll start with a current stock list that will be transferred over to the new tank and yes they have names.

In 300 Gallon:
(6 inches) Pebbles the Porcupine Puffer

(7 inches) Sushi the Striped Dogface

(7 inches) Potato the yellow belly Puffer

(12 inches) Borat the Blue and Yellowfin Cod/Grouper

(7 inches) Azhamat the Slender Grouper

(12 inches) Squishy the Panther Grouper

(2+ feet) TnT the Snowflake Eel

(10 inches) Dracula the Red Toothed Niger Trigger

(13 inches) Julian the Emperor Angel

(6 inches) Cookie the Pelagic Puffer

In a grow out tank:
(4-5 Inches) Hasbulla the Yellow Mouth Moray Eel

(2 inches) Brick the Bi-Color Parrotfish

Youtube video 300 Gallon Fowler

Yellow Mouth Moray Eel video
(Please Ignore my voice I talk to my fish as if they were puppies or babies)

Bicolor parrotfish

That concludes my current stock list. In the video, you can see roughly what the tank looks like. I will put a photo of the tank here as well so you can see it. I switch the rock semi-frequently which may be why it looks different from the linked video above.


One of the big reasons I am upgrading apart from having large fish is that it has always been hard to control nitrates. The nitrates in this tank are astronomical to the point where they can't read on the tests. The fish all eat and are active so it is an interesting crossroads. But being mere weeks away from having the tank up and running it has been a very exciting journey.

To start off this tank is not even in my house. I am 19 years old and fish are my passion. My parents are not a big fan of my passion, to say the least. My girlfriend who is also very interested and involved with fish hosts my tank. It's a unique situation but we have fun with it. I have a 300 gallon and so does she. We are on the opposite sides of the saltwater hobby however as she has a reef tank and I have a predatory FOWLR.

My family is in the process of moving out of our home and we are currently building a new one just over 20 minutes where we live now. I've grown up on the east coast in the Tristate area and currently go to school in Ohio at Miami University. Over the past year, we have been building our new house and I convinced my parents how blissful and serene fish are and that they should invest in a tank. We settled on a 450-gallon tank. To start off we had to figure out the placement of the tank.

We decided it would be a "wall" between the living room and the dining room and would be placed over a full steel beam that would hold 4 times the expected weight of the tank. The dining room side would be flush to the wall with trim around it. The living room side is surrounded by a bookcase. Now, this was 8 months ago. Things have changed partially since then.

Here is a photo of the wall before anything has been done.


The photo was taken from the dining room side facing the living room. This photo was taken almost exactly 4 months ago. The white square on the floor is a PVC "outline" for the aluminum stand. What that means is that if it were to get wet under the tank the PVC would contain the water.

The filtration will be completely on the floor below in its own designated room/closet.


This room is roughly 6 feet by 3 feet by 10 or so feet tall.

In the room, there will be a 90-gallon sump, 160-gallon mixing vat, and a full system for auto top of methods and a means to run a complete water change straight from the basement.

The plumbing I outsourced and am having the famous House Of Fins do my plumbing, aquascape, and setup. I have a few Vectra pumps to run the system, a Nyos protein skimmer rated for 1000 gallons, and a large amount of live and dry rock for the sump and main display. Later in the thread, I will go into more detail.

Going back to the top. Since it is a large tank in a mainly enclosed area we incorporated ventilation. The pipe on the floor pictured below will run and pull air out of both the bottom and top of the tank to remove any chance of moisture, mold, etc...


At this point, we added a special wire trip system where the wire will sit on the floor of the basement floor and below tank stand floor. The special wire sets off an alarm if it gets wet. this is going to be used for leak detection.



moving on from here a similar air removing system is added to the basement as well. for the same purposes as well as different outlets, lights, etc


Moving on from here we built the upper cabinetry that would house the lights.


from here we drilled the input and output holes to run the pipes up and down through the floor.


Here are photos and dimensions of the tank for some visualization.




you will notice one side of the tank was blacked out. This was because we decided to switch to a "peninsula-style" The open side would be partially blocked by the bookcase but still have sight through the side.

Moving on from here we improve on the basement side of the project and implement the same PVC style collection tray.


Moving from here we started to plaster and put sheetrock on the walls to start to bring the house together.



This brings us to where we are today. Since I have been at college since mid-august I haven't been able to take as many photos. This was a photo from a couple of days ago that my parents sent. The house is coming together. We are preparing to fill the tank with water. All I am waiting on now is for House Of Fins to come and do their work. We have been holding off since we did not have water until a couple of days ago. Which brought us to the issue that the sump we had custom made came broken so it had to be shipped back. We are currently waiting for the new sump to come in. Once it does the tank will be up and running and waiting for my fish to be moved over.


Here you can see the Partial side view that I was referencing earlier.

That catches you guys up from over a year ago at this point to today. I will update every time I get information of progress or lack therefore of. Thank you for bearing through my post and I hope you enjoy it!
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