New House, New look through Tank, New tank room

AllanPritchard

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Well here it begins, My Tank build thread.

Prior to starting the tank I need to build the house so it is really a bottom up build. The house is two storey in the sleepy town of Blackball in New Zealand. The tank will be a 840lt look through tank with a similar sized sump directly below. i have never seen an actual setup in NZ like this as most people have the standard tank and stand with sump below. There will be a lot of research in the coming months to get it right and make sure its future proofed. The house cunningly designed so that if I ever move on from the house or hobby the room can be converted to a bathroom, all of the waste pipes will be in for a shower, vanity and WC.

Upstairs plan

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Down Stairs plan
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AllanPritchard

AllanPritchard

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As I said at the beginning of the thread it is going to be a ground up tank build. So to kick a few things off here is few pictures of us breaking ground and my partner Margie mixing concrete for two areas that had to be done before the foundations were boxed and lastly the foundations ready to pour.

In the tank room I have allowed for a floor waste, a wash tub and an extra two ducts to the outside for future. I am thinking of using one as an in ground circulation loop for cooling. The tank will be upstairs and in summer it can get hot. I though if i run a pump through 20m of in ground piping and can get 3-4 deg of cooling it may save running a chiller.

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AllanPritchard

AllanPritchard

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Waiting for concrete to be poured for the foundations. The weather here in Blackball has not been kind and caused some delays. It is Spring here so can be our rainy season.

In the mean time I have been thinking about the sump. The tank itself will be pretty easy as it will be a 2.0m long, 0.7m wide and 0.6m deep box to hold my little bit of the ocean, there will be some features to overflow area and all of the lighting and wave makers etc. The sump however is the heart of the system and I want to get right first time as much as possible.

I know what I want in the sump:
- Roller mat
- Skimmer (Already have a Deltec)
- Fuge
- Area for probes from Apex
- area specifically for testing and an area for dosing (easy access high flow),
- Area for equipment (heaters, pumps for external items such as chillers, reactors)

i have done a bit research into pumps and I think I will go with the Sicce Syncra SDC 9.0 as the primary return pump and have a more basic AC pump as a redundant spare. I like the idea of the Sicce being controllable from anywhere meaning tuning it from upstairs should be easier and I like the alert feature. I currently have Ecotech Vectra pumps but while programmable that don't tell you if they have stopped. The only issue is I cannot find a retailer in New Zealand so I will have to import one.

I had a bad experience where the Vectra pump stalled and I was away. Because the heater and apex probes were all in the sump the tank looked normal. Lucky we got home before it was a disaster. I now keep a heater in the main tank but I no longer stop my return when I feed as it is at the restart that it can stall.

Some of the other areas to work on are the auto top off system and the salt mixing station. The ATO should be simple but I have never seen a really good salt mix setup that can incorporated into auto water changes. I know they exist and I have seen "bits" but never a full working diagram. Something to research over the coming weeks.

That's enough of ramble for today. Back to my morning coffee and work.
 
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AllanPritchard

AllanPritchard

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Super excited, we were booked in for a concrete pour today and as luck would have it there was a break in the 2 weeks of rain. We were second pour so instead of the 5am start it was a civilised 9:30.
I worked out it was 34 cubic meters or concrete and ordered 36m3 to be safe (trucks come in 6m3 lots) when pouring I though I had drastically under estimated but it worked out to be 34.5 and we used the rest as site concrete.

the timber frames arrive next week and it won’t be long before I have 4 walls of my new fish room.
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AllanPritchard

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Well I'm starting to plan the sump layout. I have seen some "off the shelf" sumps but they are not available here and the shipping would be astronomical. So I guess I'm going custom which opens up some opportunities.

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To explain my thinking I am planning for the return to go into a small chamber that will act as a fish trap if anyone decides to ride the overflow to the sump. I have lost two Smiths Blennys to this in the past :(
I will also use this to check the temperature as that will be more reflective of the actual tank temp and a place I can pull water to test prior to the filtration and dosing.
That will then feed into a roller mat. I will probably need to purchase this soon as the size will dictate how that chamber works. I could go DIY but the off the self ones have come a long way. If I am cleaver I can get a roller mat and then block the space back to fit and therefore allow for upgrades later.
Then it will feed into the skimmer chamber which will overflow into a smaller chamber for dosing. I was thinking of putting a power head in here to stir things up. This will then flow into the equipment chamber. here I can put all the various pumps to run things like the media reactor, chiller (if needed), UV and a pump to pump into the refugium. I need to do some more research into the UV as I know people who recommend running off the return but my theory is that the return could have quite a bit of particulate matter and that really effects UV treatment plants.
This chamber is the one I will pull equipment in and out to clean regularly so the cables and hoses need to be well planned.
This then flows along the back to the return chamber, this allows the long heaters to be installed and finally the return chamber with a bubble trap that feeds the dual return and has an emergency overflow to the drain.

So that's my current thinking. Chip in with any suggestions and I will likely throw this design into some of the forum pages for feedback.

Until next update, cheers Al
 
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AllanPritchard

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Well it has been awhile since posts. I had great intentions of posting every friday but things just got on top of me. Besides the thread is a long way off from the tank build. But I thought I would do a series of updates showing progress.

Since the last post with the slab a lot has happened. The ground floor flraming went down before Christmas to allow my partner Margie and I to work on the flooring for the second floor.

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First few walls up

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My Partner Margie putting in the hold down bolts

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Me in the orange and Smithy who helps out with the tricky parts. We are pondering how we are going to lift that wall up.
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Ground Floor Walls mostly up, all in one day.

Next post will be the floor. :)
 

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Not a stand or room but a house built with a tank in mind. Epic!
 
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AllanPritchard

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With a bit of help from Smithy we got all of the floor framing in before Christmas. As it is our summer months it was baking hot but it was nice relaxing under the floor at the end of the day. At this point I could start to get an idea of the where the tank and tank room would be.

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View to the southern Alps of NZ
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Margie hard at work butting on all of the brackets.
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The sump room in framing stage. Note there are specially treated floor joists below the tank.
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The floor going down. It was a bit nerve racking for the first few sheets but once the working area got bigger it became easier.
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The floor almost completed.

Next post will be second floor framing and some rooms becoming rooms :)
 
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AllanPritchard

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January saw the first floor frames going into place and the exterior bracing ply on the ground floor.
It was a good feeling seeing all the rooms laid out and we can see the house coming together. The Weather was stunning with clear blue sky days

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Ground floor bracing ply

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Second floor frames. Standing in the dining room looking towards where the look through tank will be. (to the right of smithy)
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All the frames up and completed

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And finally the lined sump room. It is designed that it can be converted to a bathroom should we move on, the blue wrapped pipe would be the toilet by it will be utilised as a drain system for water changes etc.

Next post will be the post to get everything up to date.
 
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AllanPritchard

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Over the last 6 weeks we have got the roof all framed up and now we have got to the stage of roofing almost completed. We are moving into winter here, although it doen't get cold, it does rain, a lot. We usually get somewhere around 3m of rain per year so we will be pleased to have a water tight building. I am just starting to think about getting the tank manufactured. I have started on the joinery drawings and making a list of equipment I already have and stuff I will need to upgrade.
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My partner in crime.
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Framing up the deck

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Installing the roof trusses
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Our attic space which has turned out much larger than expected but will be fantasic storage
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Me playing on a digger getting the prep done for the paths.
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House all wrapped up wating for a roof.

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One of our Shepherds guarding her "toys" beneath the drop saw.
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Finally the room where the fishtank will be. The look through tank goes to the right of the column (laundry chute) and will be between my office and the lounge.

So that is the New House, New Look Through Tank, New Fish room build blog all up to date. IMG_6095.jpg
 
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AllanPritchard

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Well the house is progressing, although a bit slower than we thought. My partner had an accident in October where a large shelf fell on her and broke her neck in three places. So after taking her in to hospital via Ambulance (lucky I can drive the ambulance) and a flight to the spinal unit in Christchurch she was found to be OK with no spinal damage. So 6 weeks of a neck collar and light duties put a hold on things. But now we are both back in full swing.
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and back into it



We are up to lining the house, we call it Gibbing, ie we are gibbing the house, after the product in NZ called Gib Board but basically it is just a name for drywall I think. We were hoping to have it all Gibbed and plastered before Christmas but that is not happening. No sense rushing it.

The outside is 90% completed, we just need to add some finishing touches and complete the staining.


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We have had some added costs along the way having to replace clothing and blankets that one of our German Shepherds has a tendency to find and chew up. Very embarrassing having to take a mangled top back to a contractor.

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And today we got the what will be the sump room ready for painting which we will do tomorrow. We are almost up to the exciting bit of an actual tank build.

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AllanPritchard

AllanPritchard

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Well I'm starting to get to the business end of the tank build.

We gave the sump room a first coat today and will do another two coats tomorrow.

I was about to order the actual display tank which will be 2m long, 0,7m wide and 0,65m tall but realised I need to probably get the overflow box first so the tank can be made with the holes in the right place. (I can drill the tank myself but would rather not) I have been online for a couple of hours and I can't find anything in NZ. We are so limited here . I was thinking of something like the Lopro 1600gph or maybe the 2400 GPH. I am not sure if bigger is better.
 

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That's a gorgeous build you guys have going on there! :star-struck: Can't wait to see the tank being set up as well if this is the standard to be expected ;) Best of luck with both builds!
 

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