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Mick's Fishroom Thread


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It has four walls now I can call it a fishroom right?

What started earlier this year as a single rack of tanks, my nerm-side got the best of me.


My desire to expand and add more tanks came from two things. That 40B is now a thriving Guppy colony and I'd like to try line breeding some of the color strains. The second thing was wanting to heat the room not, relying completely on individual heaters. Being in northern PA and the tanks being in the basement it can easily dip into the low the 60's (F) down there. 



I started in late September with the Dollar Per Gallon sale getting the tanks I wanted. Six 10s, two 20Hs, and two 5.5s. 




I like painting the bottoms black for a cleaner look. I prefer having bare bottom tanks for easier maintenance. I have also noticed less algae growth on the bottoms of the tanks that are painted black. I use Gloss Black Rust-oleum Enamel Paint.

Next step was to enclose the area where the tanks are. They sit in a corner of my basement so I only have to make two walls. I like building simply and effectively to reach my goals. To enclose the tanks I made a framework using 1x2 furring strips and 1/2" styrofoam panels as insulation. 




After that I needed to move the 40B and the shelf it was on. I did that by draining it to about 3 inches of water. Lifting the shelf enough to get furniture sliders under each leg and sliding it out of the way. I used a Nano USB pump and airstone to keep the water moving for the day while I prepared the new rack.




I also added some insulating panels to the wall to keep the heat in the room.  Once I had the 3/4" plywood cut and painted for the bottom shelf I leveled the rack. I was then able to move the 40B to its new location.




To move it, I drained another inch or so water from it and had someone help slide if off the old shelf onto the new one. It wasn't as sketchy as I was fearing, not as heavy either with a bag of eco-complete and little water. I refilled it immediately and didn't lose any fish in the process. 




Next since the major construction was done I added heavy vinyl curtains to act as doors. Then I placed the new tanks on the rack and got the heater running to get in dialed in. I will still run the individual heaters in the tanks until I'm confident the room will stay warm enough. 




I added the warning label for any visitors.

I added thermometers around the room to monitor the temperature.




I picked up a full 4x8 foot sheet of 1/8" thick glass from a local shop to begin making lids. I have the shop cut the sheet in half to fit it in the back of my truck.  Once home I set up a work table in the garage on sawhorses, carefully slid the glass out and begin making the cuts I need.




I like making the lid opening 5" wide and clipping the corners for the airline heater cord to enter. 




Lighting next, for that I use all 36" Finnex Stingray lights. Had a small issue mounting them under the shelf as there is metal supports in the way.

I made some quick spacers out of scrap wood and used Kreg jig to make pocket screw holes for mounting them.




It worked great and I could finally see easier having the lights installed. All the lights on both racks are controlled by a single Kasa wifi timer.




Really the last thing left to do is layout and install the air system, connecting it to my first rack. The air system on the first rack is run off a Linear Piston Pump the same one sold by ACO. I use 3/4" pvc and #10-32 tapped plastic airline valves. I like those because they can be used for both air and water. I mocked up the loop on the front of the rack to get the measurements required. 




I'm using 3/4" barbs and vinyl tubing to connect this loop to the original one.

Once laid out, I took everything apart to drill and tap the holes. 

Dean's tip of using a piece of tape to make a straight line is excellent for lining up your marks along the pipe. I like to use an automatic center punch as well to mark the holes and prevent the drill bit from wandering when starting the hole. 




Nice and in line.





Both air loops now tied together. 




With the air in I was able to trim and install the mattenfilters in the new tanks. I found its really nice to cut the foam using hot foam cutting pen.




While rearranging everything I did lose a lot of storage space. I was however to clean out some old junk and boxes and fit all the my supplies into bins under each rack. I did fit a small plastic shelf in between the racks for some additional storage. 




This morning I finally filled all the tanks and got them running. I already have some new fish in the rack, some Red & Blue Colombian Tetras. They came into my LFS and I set up one tank this week to house them. Without the mattenfilter cycled yet I added cycled sponge filter into the tank. 




I realize this a quick breakdown of how I expanded into a fishroom so please feel free to ask any questions you may have. 

I look forward to adding to this thread all future breeding projects and builds. 


Edited by MickS77
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  • 2 months later...
On 12/12/2020 at 5:46 PM, MickS77 said:

It's called Poret foam. I purchase them as a kit from Swiss Tropicals. 

Apologies in advance if this is answered elsewhere, my forum searches did not turn up any results.

I am a die hard sponge filter user, and am giving the AQCOOP sponges a go after previously using the 'hydros'. I am curious what PPI foam you are purchasing from Swiss for your mattenfilters? I am thinking the 30ppi is probably the best kind of general purpose foam size, but am looking for alternate opinions.

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On 12/26/2020 at 4:27 AM, MickS77 said:

Inspired by Dean again, I found these squeeze bottles at Walmart for my Xtreme Nano. They work great, the bottle feels compatible to the ACO fry food bottle. 


Thanks for the inspiration! I bought the bottles at the dollar store two for a buck. Trimmed the nozzles to fit the pellet size. Now to find a resealable spice shaker with big enough holes for flake food.


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