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Jon & Michelle's Fish Room Build


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We have been working on our new fish room for the past several months and thought we would share a little of the build with everyone. I'll update this thread as we go along and include individual tanks and the other walls as well. 

Rack System: 1-5/8" Pre-Galvanized Unistrut, 1/2" Hardware and 1/2" Plywood for the aquariums to sit on.

Air: Central air system that loops through out each row of aquariums and throughout the room.

Filtration: HMF

Lighting: Fluval 3.0

Top Row Aquariums: (10) 10G & (1) 20L .

Middle Row: (5) 20H & (2) 40B.

Bottom Row: (2) 120G & (1) 60 Cube.

Electrical: Each row is protected by (1) GFCI, has multiple quad outlets above the aquariums and is in PVC conduit & bell boxes.

Substrate: Black Diamond Blasting Sand except for the snail breeding aquariums, they have crushed coral.

All bottoms and sides of the aquariums are painted black.

All aquariums but the dedicated snail breeding aquariums have plants.

Several years ago when our kids started moving out we had begun a different fish room. We had it going for about a year and Michelle's mom moved in with us so out it went but the below photos are what it looked like. It was no where near the size of what we are building now.




A couple of more kids moved out and fast forward to last year and we started out with a rack and a hand full of 10G aquariums.


Well that didn't last long and we went full on into building a fish room. Below is the bottom row rack portion being built for the aquariums to sit on. We had planned on doing 30XH but we couldn't get them so we opted for 60G cubed in the middle of the 120G.


Here is my wife painting the 1/2" plywood that all of the aquariums sit on.


The following photos are of the progress made (when I remembered to take photos.)



Our grandson had to make sure that Pawpaw's measurements were correct :).




Here we are putting in the air valves, we installed (2) valves for each 10G & 20H. The 20L and 40B got (4) valves each.



We are planning on a fry system on this short wall above the return vent.


We are planning to run double air pumps and we have each wall & air pump to where a valve can shut off the air flow so that we can keep air going while working on different sections / pumps.





We are finally installing aquariums!




We had the bottom row aquariums delivered today and a 180G for the center piece on the other wall. If you have any questions please ask and we will do our best to answer them and we will keep updating this thread as we go.

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22 minutes ago, Tetra Guy said:

Looks great! I like your choice of the good ol’ made in USA Unistrut system to build your racks. I might copy you! 😊What tool are you using to cut the struts to size? 

Thanks all!

I use a bandsaw to cut it and a tripod or saw horses to hold the strut.

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On 2/3/2021 at 3:30 PM, Ryan S. said:

Wow, looks great.  What are you planning to do for water changes?  

I really wanted to drill overflows in the back of the tanks and drain them to our outside flower bed but my negotiating skills were severely lacking. I may of lost the discussion when I said “I’ll just drill a five inch hole right here and here through the front of the house and we can plant some nice bush things to hide it if you want.”

To drain the water we have a power head that has 50’ of python hose attached to it which pumps it into a 5 gallon bucket that overflows into a bathtub. We pump it into a 5G bucket so that we can catch any fry or scuds in the bucket that inadvertently get sucked up.

At the present time we use aged water that is stored in 45G Rubbermaid trash cans which we pump to the individual aquariums to fill. In the near future one of the 120G will be used for water storage and filling from.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Fingers crossed that we have eggs in the very near future. These two have previously laid one time in the grow out tank and ate them pretty quickly. Now that they’re in their own 20H I’m curious to see if they eat their eggs quickly again. I’m hoping that they last a little longer since there’s no pressure or competition!



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  • 2 weeks later...

We went to the DFW Fish Expo last weekend and picked up some sterbai cory cats and another pair of xenotoca lyonsi. I am glad we showed up early as there was a hour and half wait to get in when we left. It was really nice seeing everyone come out and participate, it’d been a long time since anything like that had happened.

The young angel pair spawned for third time yesterday and it looks like they are starting to figure it out. All of the eggs looked fertilized and they’re starting to pick off the eggs that are starting to fungus.

This week I am thinking of getting the other rack done which will support (8) 10G, (8) 20H & (1) 180G. I also need to install the (2) 120G & (1) 60G cube on the lower section of the current rack. Big goals but we will see how it goes, lol.



Edited by Struggle
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  • 1 month later...

I’ve been really slacking on this one.

A couple of weeks ago our three sons came into town to visit and it had probably been three years since we had them all together at the same time. It was a great time and we ended up putting the second rack together that will hold the 180G, 20G tells & 10Gs on the open long wall.

we got in our Chilatherina bleheri Rainbowfish that will be going in the 180G with the two eels. I’m hoping that they don’t become a expensive snack! It’s a horrible photo, those guys are really fast and don’t sit still.

Our blue eye albino bristlenose have started spawning and they produced some fry.  

I’m thinking that we may need to try and raise some fry from the millennium rainbows in the next few months or so.

The koi angelfish pair have spawned 4 or 5 times so far and have eaten the eggs every time. I think we’ll give them a few more and then start pulling them.





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  • 5 months later...

I’ve really been slacking and need to pick it up. All the fish, shrimp and eels are doing well. We ended up cutting the plywood for the for the 180G, 20T and 10G Caridina tanks set on. Now we just need to paint the wood, install the electrical, install the air air, paint tanks, install the tanks, install filtration, install the lighting, install substrate and cycle. In typing all of that out it looks like I have just about everything left to do. LOL!

With the cooler weather coming I’m hoping to be more motivated to finish this rack up, complete the work bench area, install a fry rack and possibly  a smaller 10G rack. (I know but it doesn’t hurt to wish 😂)

On a side note, we’ve purchased our tickets for Auquashella Dallas and we are very excited to go. We have been to auctions and swaps before but nothing remotely close to this. I was hoping to have the 10G shrimp tanks cycled by then so that we could possibly try to pick up some high quality shrimp but I believe we’ve run out of time. 

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  • 1 month later...
  • 4 weeks later...

After lots of back and forth with what to stock in the shrimp tanks we decided to go with the below Caridina shrimp. Unfortunately our tanks will not be done cycling until the end of this year so we’ll receive the after the first of the year and post photos then.

Wine red Hino/No Entry

Black Galaxy Fishbone

Orange Eye Yellow King Kong

Orange Eye Black King Kong (Black Devils)

Red Pinto Spotted Head

Black King Kong Mosura 

Red Fancy Tigers

Pure Red Line


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