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Discussion Starter #1
Hi. I'm new here. I'm in the process of building a 12x18 foot freshwater tropical fish house and would appreciate any input from those of you with fish house experience. I raised lots of tropical fish when I was in high school and now that I am retired and have a bit of money I want to get back into it. Things have changed a lot since I last raised fish so I'm looking for advice. Thanks. Roger:)
 

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hello and welcome.
i hope you're able to find the answers you need.:-D
 

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Hi Roger welcome to TFK :wave:

If you haven't checked out the DIY part of the forum yet it's a great place to start. This link will take you to it. Good luck and I look forward to your progress.

DIY Aquarium
 

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Hi Roger, welcome to TFK! I so envy you being retired and now being able to have fun and pursue such endeavors. Please post your own build thread so we can follow along with your progress. Pictures are also always enjoyed and appreciated. :)
 

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Right now all I have is the cement foundation; framing starts next week. It will be next fall before I actually get fish. Being on well water, I'll have some hard water fish but I also want to use an RO unit so I can have soft water fish as well.
I'd like suggestions as to:
1. What kind of RO unit I should get?
2. I need suggestions on shelves. The ones I have seen are not very attractive and DIY wood shelves seem too heavy duty.
3. I haven't been able to find information as to how big a wet/dry filter/sump needs to be to accommodate x gallons of water. Is there a chart or formula? Same question regarding the pump.
4. I plan on having two storage tanks of water, of 50-100 gallons. Since the fish house will be heated, the water for water changes will be readily available. Any suggestions as to type of tanks and where to get them?
Thanks, all. Roger
 

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Welcome to TFK and congrats on retirement!

This fish room of yours, is it going to just be a nice sanctuary to relax and enjoy your fish? Or you thinking floor to ceiling fish? What kind of fish are you looking into?

As for wet dry and sumps, there really is not a big formula for picking one out it mainly depends on how much filtering material you will use, how much extra water volume you are looking for and what your intake and output between your sump and the tank will be to account for drainage from the display when power goes out. At least from the freshwater side of things. A good starting point but not a rule is the sump being at least 20% volume as the display tank.

Looking forward to seeing the progress of your fish room!
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for the info

Thanks for the info. I'm looking at 15-20 tanks. It will be a nice sanctuary. (If my wife gets mad at me I'll be in the fish house instead of the dog house.) But it will also be a bit of work, I realize. I'm putting a lot of money into this project so I want to do it right. No interesting photos to show yet as only the cement foundation is done. Framing starts tomorrow.
 

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Well if you don't mind a more crude urban look then look into cinder blocks and 2x4's (or 4x4s if you get really large tanks) the benefit to this type setup is its completely customizable and easy to reconfigure if you decide to grow down the line plus really cheap. And the only carpentry involved would be cutting the wood to the correct length that you want the shelf. And if your looking into efficiency rather than cosmetics a top drain sump system would work great with that shelving. Basically that means a sump at the bottom with 2-3 tanks above it, so the pump pumps the water to the top tank which then over flows the water from that tank into a drain pipe that leads to the next lower tank, and continues into the sump. In fact you can probably even put 4-6 tanks per sump in that setup with a large enough sump, just get a separate pump to each set of tanks. This way you will only need 1 really large heater instead of 4-6 smaller ones and when you only have to do 1 water change to cover all 4-6 tanks. The down side to a multiple tank sump system is you really have to make sure all new arrivals are quarantined in separate tank for 1-2 months to make sure they aren't carrying anything that could get to your other fish.

Let me know if you want more info or if you are looking for a more elegant solution I love stuff like this and one day when I get a garage I will have my own!
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Continuing thanks

Zof - thanks. Good ideas. i was looking for something more elegant in the way of shelving but you make a good point about the customizing using cinder blocks - I'm sure I'll want to change the setup after six months or so.And I appreciate the thoughts on the sump. Roger
 

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Well if you don't mind a more crude urban look then look into cinder blocks and 2x4's (or 4x4s if you get really large tanks) the benefit to this type setup is its completely customizable and easy to reconfigure if you decide to grow down the line plus really cheap. And the only carpentry involved would be cutting the wood to the correct length that you want the shelf. And if your looking into efficiency rather than cosmetics a top drain sump system would work great with that shelving. Basically that means a sump at the bottom with 2-3 tanks above it, so the pump pumps the water to the top tank which then over flows the water from that tank into a drain pipe that leads to the next lower tank, and continues into the sump. In fact you can probably even put 4-6 tanks per sump in that setup with a large enough sump, just get a separate pump to each set of tanks. This way you will only need 1 really large heater instead of 4-6 smaller ones and when you only have to do 1 water change to cover all 4-6 tanks. The down side to a multiple tank sump system is you really have to make sure all new arrivals are quarantined in separate tank for 1-2 months to make sure they aren't carrying anything that could get to your other fish.

Let me know if you want more info or if you are looking for a more elegant solution I love stuff like this and one day when I get a garage I will have my own!
Thanks for all the info. The fish house now has walls and a roof; stucco goes on next week, then painting. Then the interior.
So I visited several large fish stores and looked at their setups. Some used power filters for each individual tank and some used wet/dry filters for individual tanks, some used wet/dry filters for a bank of tanks, and most had a mixture of these setups. Anybody have any recommendations as to what I should use for 20 tanks? I like fish, obviously, but I don't want to spend most of my time changing water on individual tanks. On the other hand I don't want to spread a disease around to six tanks because they are on the same filter system. Any suggestions?
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks everyone for your input. An update on my fish house. Electric is in and sheetrock is up. Texture, taping, painting, and plumbing next. Decided to go for heavy duty steel shelving, acrylic tanks, and wet/dry filter. Fish house has an HVAC so I don't need heaters except for special cases. Will have two 30 gallon reservoirs (horse trailer water tanks), one for hard and one for soft water (with RO unit.) Only ceiling lighting with timer for now. Might have to add tank lights for plants later. If anyone can recommend a dealer for the tanks, I'd appeciate a recommendation - and any other advice.
 

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OK; I am about to paint my fish house inside and out, then install the floor and some of the plumbing. Slow but sure. I have visited about 10 fish stores to look at their setups and ask questions and of course look at their fish. Except for two of them I was basically ignored by the merchants. Today I approached a young man cleaning tanks and I told him I was building a fish house and he said "what do you want to do that for?" as if I was an idiot. His store was a mess, too - dirty tanks and just a junkyard. In only two of the ten stores was I even treated politely. One young man was very nice and spent a lot of time with me. In one store I asked for prices of acrylic tanks as I am interested in buying 12-20 of them ( a lot of money) and the owner "forgot" to get back to me. I am very disappointed in the tropical fish retail trade. Anybody have similar experiences? is online better?
 

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that's not nice to be treated like that at all. :-(
i buy a lot on line,apart from live fish,i've not done that before.
 

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Yes LFS have gone down hill. So to say. I order all of my stuff online. Rock, sand, Plants ect. I even buy my fish online. The 2 stores we have, have gone from great stores to a dump in the past 2 years. If i were you i would shop online for your tanks as you would probly get a better discount on that many tanks, filters, decor, ect.
I use a Site Called craigslist for my tanks. They are used tanks. You can find great deals on there. But if you want new i would brows online.
 
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Yes LFS have gone down hill. So to say. I order all of my stuff online. Rock, sand, Plants ect. I even buy my fish online. The 2 stores we have, have gone from great stores to a dump in the past 2 years. If i were you i would shop online for your tanks as you would probly get a better discount on that many tanks, filters, decor, ect.
I use a Site Called craigslist for my tanks. They are used tanks. You can find great deals on there. But if you want new i would brows online.
Thanks. I have seen tanks on Craig's list and I might get a couple of big ones there. Where do you buy online, especially your fish?
 

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I buy the from a place in Utah. The web site Is Livefishdirect.com. I have been ordering through them for over 2years now Have never had one complaint. They specialize in Cichlids, but there other fish are just as great of quality. I have orderd over 300 fish through them to date. Never have had a dead or sick one.
 

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You should post pics of your fish house. From the start to finish.
 
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