The Blue Window - 500 G in wall, never ending build

Dennis Cartier

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I have been procrastinating on putting up a build thread for my new display tank. In fact I have been procrastinating about completing the build as well. Part of the reason is that it is a lot larger of a project than I have typically taken on. This project entailed turning a bedroom in the basement of a house I moved to into a fishroom. As you will see, I have a bit of an issue sticking to a single plan. I often change horses mid race, sometimes for the better, sadly sometimes not.

I will be posting photos, but first I need to give you the back story.

Because this is my first "large" tank, I decided I wanted something with decent depth front to back. My previous tank was 18" front to back, and I wanted more of a footprint for aquascaping. So I purchased a Marineland 300DD tank and set about getting the wall and floor of the new fishroom prepared to accept the 300DD. The process started in August 2016.

The wall of my soon to be fishroom where the 300DD will be placed.




And the demo and rebuild begins







Some supplies are already arriving, it won't be long now! ...

 
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Dennis Cartier

Dennis Cartier

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The first change of plan was the tank stand. I originally planned to make it out of 20 series extrusions. I purchased all the extrusions, cut them to size and screwed them all together. After I got it all assembled and cut a 3/4" piece of plywood for the top, I came to the conclusion that my epitaph would probably read "He died from a falling aquarium". No matter how much I tightened down the T-Nuts, I was never quite satisfied with the rigidity of the stand. I knew that just the smallest of small amounts of racking, and I would have over a thousand pounds of water and glass sliding off onto me or the floor. In my previous tank, I had purchased metal racking from Costco. It worked well, and since my new tank was more of a standard dimension for depth (36"), I figured I could get some industrial racking that matched it much closer. After searching local racking suppliers, I found some half height racks that were 7 ft long and 3 ft deep. That would be perfect.



The crossbeams were 8040 C channel extrusions (80mmx40mm). The first potential problem with my plans after the rack change was the door swing was impeded. I figured I could get items slightly bigger than 24" through (E.g. QT tanks), but I was pretty sure that it was going to be a decision that I lived to regret.

Dennis
 
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neilp2006

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Aww man, that sucks about the 20 series extrusion. The secret is to use lock washers in between the bolt head and the piece. It really allows you to tighten things up.

I helped build a 25 foot long rack using 80/20 at my lab, holding mri and pet scanners totaling around 7000 lbs. you could kick one end and the vibration sensors wouldn’t register anything more than a flicker.

Looking forward to seeing more of this build- thanks for sharing !
 
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Dennis Cartier

Dennis Cartier

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Aww man, that sucks about the 20 series extrusion. The secret is to use lock washers in between the bolt head and the piece. It really allows you to tighten things up.

I helped build a 25 foot long rack using 80/20 at my lab, holding mri and pet scanners totaling around 7000 lbs. you could kick one end and the vibration sensors wouldn’t register anything more than a flicker.

Looking forward to seeing more of this build- thanks for sharing !
Thanks for the tip about the use of lock washers. I will have to try that in some structures that I am (now) in the process of building for the tank.

Although in the end, my failure with the extrusions ended up being moot. At that point, I had purchased and paid for my tank, but I had not yet picked it up, and my LFS had it sitting at the local distributor on stand by to be shipped when I was ready for it. On a subsequent visit to the LFS I got a shock. The first sign that something was wrong was when I noticed the front door of the LFS was propped open when I arrived. Once I entered I saw lots of fans and dehumidifiers running. The floor still had puddles of water everywhere. They had a 300DD as a display tank in their lobby and a bottom seam had failed and dumped 300 G of water onto their floor. Yikes! The first thing that ran through my mind was, I wonder how common it is for these tanks to fail? A subsequent Google search provided the answer. There were lots of reports of this same model of tank failing. Oh, Oh. I had visions of my future in wall tank pouring its contents out into my basement. Time to re-think my plan to use a 300DD.

Before I chose the 300DD, I pitched the idea of a large 12' x 4' x 2.5' peninsula tank butting up to the fishroom right where the door is and moving the door around the corner in the hall. I could not get approval for that plan, and was told I could have any size tank I wanted as long as it did not extend past the fishroom outlines. Hmm, there must be a way to get a bigger tank and stay in the rules.

The answer was to move the door to the fishroom down the hall and open up the fishroom to make room for a long corner display tank that is visible from 2 sides. So this would call for a custom tank, and it would not be a inexpensive one.

In the meantime, we had decided to replace the floor in the basement with natural stone, and that one decision set off a whole series of cascading events that triggered remodels of 2 kitchens, 2 bathrooms and a dining room. We still have to complete 2 washrooms, a fireplace and stairs and much of the floors on the main level. The renovations continue today ...


Here is the start of the change from 300DD to new custom tank. I had decided this a few weeks before, so I had the installers follow the new outline for the marble being laid.







Time to rip out all the studding we had just got done putting in.





And the final version. We apparently finished up the painting around this time as well.





The next step was to get quotes on the tank to fill this opening.

Dennis
 
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Dennis Cartier

Dennis Cartier

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This was the planned point of entry for the new tank, and would be the limiting factor for an easy install. The patio doors would both be removed creating a good sized opening, but the gate, and more specifically the hot tub would pose a problem for a tank too wide. In retrospect, I sometimes wish that I had went for a tank deeper front to back, like 48 or 60", but that would have required bring the tank in on its side, and then rotating it before putting it into position. A tank that size would be well over half a ton, so I decided to keep things simple and planned on a 120" x 36" x 30" tank. It would be just over 504 G of net water volume.



Dennis
 

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This was the planned point of entry for the new tank, and would be the limiting factor for an easy install. The patio doors would both be removed creating a good sized opening, but the gate, and more specifically the hot tub would pose a problem for a tank too wide. In retrospect, I sometimes wish that I had went for a tank deeper front to back, like 48 or 60", but that would have required bring the tank in on its side, and then rotating it before putting it into position. A tank that size would be well over half a ton, so I decided to keep things simple and planned on a 120" x 36" x 30" tank. It would be just over 504 G of net water volume.



Dennis
Entry ways, always disappointing hobbyist on how big our tank can be.
 

neilp2006

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Entry ways, always disappointing hobbyist on how big our tank can be.
Only if you are scared of some drywall mud and frame work repair!

Not the same thing, but my wife was so disappointed the old fridge wouldn’t fit through our remodeled pantry door (contractor used a 22” instead of a 24”). I knew the rough in was 25”. So one day while she was out getting her hair done, I ripped that door frame out, moved the fridge, reinstalled the frame and touched up the trim. She didn’t realise what I’d done for a full hour after she got home.

Entry ways have never been a considering factor for my tanks, but I’ve never done over 180. I’d have no qualms taking off a door frame of knocking out a window if the wife wanted an upgrade though.
 

mch1984

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Only if you are scared of some drywall mud and frame work repair!

Not the same thing, but my wife was so disappointed the old fridge wouldn’t fit through our remodeled pantry door (contractor used a 22” instead of a 24”). I knew the rough in was 25”. So one day while she was out getting her hair done, I ripped that door frame out, moved the fridge, reinstalled the frame and touched up the trim. She didn’t realise what I’d done for a full hour after she got home.

Entry ways have never been a considering factor for my tanks, but I’ve never done over 180. I’d have no qualms taking off a door frame of knocking out a window if the wife wanted an upgrade though.

Oh I understand that, I'm pretty sure my next tank is going to require taking out a window and carrying in the tank on its back instead of flat. None of which sounds like any fun. Love the story about your wife and the fridge.
 
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Dennis Cartier

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I started the search for a custom tank manufacturer by reading the forums to see who was well regarded and would be a good fit. It was not long before I realized that Miracles was 30 minutes from my house and if I dealt with them, with any luck they could assist with the installation. I reached out to them to get a quote, and once I was able to reach them, talked to Derrick from Miracles about my tank plans. He was really great to deal with, and he went through all the things that would need to be decided to give an accurate quote. I settled on a 120" x 36" x 30" with an end mounted external overflow and 3 sides Starfire. The tank would be using 18 mm glass (3/4"). The tank would be eurobraced around the entire top, with no cross braces. The tank would also be fully euro braced at the bottom.

As for the installation, they would be providing a powder coated stand and would deliver and install the tank in place on the stand. Derrick asked for some measurements revolving around the patio entrance, the width of the gates, the distance the hot tub was, spacing of the balcony supports, etc.

For good measure I sent off a few photos to give him a good understanding of the terrain and obstacles he would be faced with during delivery.







Derrick came back with a quote that was a sizable amount of money, but I felt that it would meet my needs and last for hopefully as long as I am able to keep a tank (not as long as @Paul B, but I probably have another 35 years to go). So I agreed and placed my order (and sent a 50% deposit). Now it was just a case of waiting for the tank to be built. I could hardly wait.

Dennis
 
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Dennis Cartier

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Beautiful place! I am curious as to how a tank like that will effect the value of the home. I would assume it would go up, but how much?
Large tanks will reduce a homes value generally unless you end up selling to someone who is in the hobby which would be unlikely. Swimming pools generally do the same in our area which suprised me
 

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