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Has anyone plumbed tanks at the FRONT?


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My fish room is two sides of our laundry/furnace room. With space being limited, both racks are pushed as close to the walls as possible, and access to the rear of the tanks varies from inconvenient, to difficult, to impossible. All air, water in, water out and electrical are jammed down the back. 

This week, I had an overflow malfunction on a 40 gallon (18" front to back), and some water poured onto the floor, instead of neatly into the drain collector. Fixing it was such a job! There is only a couple inches between the top of the tank and the bottom of the shelf above. Reaching over around and down to reconnect the drain tube to the 90 degree elbow on the wall side of the overflow was SO hard. Only 1 tank on this rack is drilled, and all the others have over the rim overflows. Getting that primed, back in place, reconnected and working again in tight confines was not fun. 

Anyways, I'm always thinking of what the next change/upgrade will be. I'm considering changing the overflows and drain piping to the FRONT of the rack, instead of the back. Down side is clearly appearance. But like I said it's the laundry/furnace room. Up side is it's obviously easier to access and maintain the plumbing. Another up side is that I'd be able to drill the tanks with the fish still in and the tank on the shelf, as opposed to pulling the tanks off the rack to get to the back (not saying it's ideal to drill with fish in, but I've done it and have a routine). On a 40 gallon tank, that's the difference between draining say 20 gallons of water, vs draining all but a couple inches. 

For those of you that have fish rooms and/or racks, has anyone done plumbing at the front? Pics? 


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