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Aquarium built into wall

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Forum topic by MrRon posted 12-27-2012 08:55 PM 2520 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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MrRon

2834 posts in 1900 days


12-27-2012 08:55 PM

My son asked me to construct an aquarium enclosure that will be built into a wall and viewed from both sides. The enclosure will be built from common building materials and covered with wood paneling. Where the doors will be , the panel will be cut out and used in a door frame. There will be 4 doors on top and 4 on the bottom. The aquarium will be for marine species. The bottom will be used to house the filters and purifiers. The top will provide access to the top of the tank and lighting fixtures. The enclosure is shown on the left and the wall it interfaces with is shown on the right. What do you think?


15 replies so far

View Belg1960's profile

Belg1960

803 posts in 1721 days


#1 posted 12-27-2012 09:02 PM

Ron, I would build the enclosure with pressure treated lumber as with any aquarium there will be some water spillage. Also you need to build in a way to access all the component you mentioned as there is ALOT OF MAINTENANCE with operating a salt water aquarium. If you have to do this thru small gaps it will be very frustrating. I did maintenance on fish tanks for almost 4 years and know how frustrating this could be.

-- ***Pat*** Rookie woodworker looking for an education!!!

View frosty50's profile

frosty50

27 posts in 1003 days


#2 posted 12-28-2012 12:53 AM

I built one in a wall years ago for fresh water fish. I recommend that you use marine grade plywood for the deck or teak. On the one I built, above the aquarium, I installed a pair of door with Blum hinges to access the tank for maintenance. Supplies were in a compartment to one side and pump and filter equipment to the other side. Frame underneath no greater than 16” on center with joists on 12” oc. Pressure treated lumber is not needed if you use teak or marine plywood. The cabinetry was maghony wrapping the opening and seal with a marine spar varnish to with stand the water. It was a major focal point within the home I built. Also insure the electrical circuits are GFI connected. The owner of the home loved it.

-- frosty

View Tedster's profile

Tedster

2271 posts in 867 days


#3 posted 12-28-2012 01:02 AM

What do I think? Thanks for asking. I think it will be awesome! A blog about the process will make it even more awesome. Have fun!

Also, ditto what Pat and Frosty said.

-- I support the 28th Amendment. http://www.wolf-pac.com/28th

View hhhopks's profile

hhhopks

564 posts in 1033 days


#4 posted 12-28-2012 01:08 AM

I have been away form aquariums. Now, I have an outdoor pond.

Here are just a few things to consider.

Big aq is a lot of weight. Are there adequate bracing on the support?
What is your plan on filtering?
Is it salt water?? Salt water is a different beast and need more room (skimmer…....).
How do you plan on changing water
???? Drian? Pre-treat water?
Electrical circuit to aq (lights and pumps…...) should be on GFCI receptacle.

We love our outdorr pond. It’s a lot less in maintenace. I have gold fish and koi in it. Just done feed the fish when it is cold.

-- I'll be a woodworker when I grow up. HHHOPKS

View MNgary's profile

MNgary

235 posts in 1073 days


#5 posted 12-28-2012 01:24 AM

If this is a supporting wall for either joicts of a second floor or roof trusses, you need a header above the opening and supports on both ends of the header.

-- I dream of the world where a duck can cross the road and no one asks why.

View Moron's profile

Moron

4666 posts in 2550 days


#6 posted 12-28-2012 01:27 AM

I would add solid bridging between the studs for sure, more is better. I might even consider using galvanized steel studs 18 gauge with solid pressure treated wood bridging (less chance of mold)

Cant read the writing but am guessing its 100 gallons, which could weigh in at 1,200 pounds plus. This means it would a good idea to brace the floor joists, solid bridging …….bad surprises can happen when load isn’t supported correctly

The top needs to be vented

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

View Wdwerker's profile

Wdwerker

333 posts in 889 days


#7 posted 12-28-2012 01:37 AM

I would use two doors at the top and hinge them to swing up. Then devise a way to hold them open like a hook and eye. You want as much room at the top as possible to get in to clean and work inside the tank. I would make the top opening as tall as possible as well.

-- Fine Custom Woodwork since 1978

View Belg1960's profile

Belg1960

803 posts in 1721 days


#8 posted 12-28-2012 02:20 AM

Frosty, I agree your choices of lumber are good choices but economically for parts that are not seen I would go with PT and use some of the better wood for where it shows. I would also make a few weep holes under the tank in case you do get some spillage it can drain and not get moldy.
If it is to be on the second floor, you might want to think about setting up a water alarm like they use in basements. Its just a sensor placed on the floor when it comes into contact with water lets out a piercing alarm.

-- ***Pat*** Rookie woodworker looking for an education!!!

View Moron's profile

Moron

4666 posts in 2550 days


#9 posted 12-28-2012 05:51 AM

funny how no one thinks about the weight ?

what floor it sits on ?

what size floor joist it sits on?

is a bearing wall under it?

if not, how far away is the bearing wall ?

is it sitting on a concrete wall ?

prestressed concrete floor ? ……condo ? wood framed ? steel stud?

this is what might happen by some far fetched scale of imagination but the principle of thought is similar

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-china-20850048

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

View Moron's profile

Moron

4666 posts in 2550 days


#10 posted 12-28-2012 05:59 AM

yup

who had the iron ring that stamped that ?

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

View Moron's profile

Moron

4666 posts in 2550 days


#11 posted 12-28-2012 07:22 AM

we like to think this doesn’t happen on our shores

dont kid yerself

best

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

View hhhopks's profile

hhhopks

564 posts in 1033 days


#12 posted 12-28-2012 12:33 PM

These home aquariums are actually pretty common. I have a former associate that build one down in his basement. My recollection is that the size is roughly 2’x3’x8’. He used these plexiglass material and is at least 3/4” (might be an inch) thick. He had framing around it and is display on one side. It is a saltwater aquarium. He had the skimer, bio filter, aux tank ,,,,,,etc in the back. He had drains and water supply all there behind the wall/aquarium. He had pretty much everything including future plans of having things automated control via a PLC complete with monitor display interface, sensors and control valves…......

He is also a big stereo guy ($$$$$). I made up a story about how salt air and electronic don’t mix (salt will eat up the electronics). He almost $hIt in his pants. : )

-- I'll be a woodworker when I grow up. HHHOPKS

View hhhopks's profile

hhhopks

564 posts in 1033 days


#13 posted 12-28-2012 12:41 PM

MrRon,
You did the right thing. Consult LJ members on the framing.
However, makesure you consult the aquarium guys on the aquarium construction and set up.

-- I'll be a woodworker when I grow up. HHHOPKS

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

1678 posts in 1578 days


#14 posted 12-28-2012 02:23 PM

I made one like that when I was a teen. Mine was in a cinder block wall though in our basement. Plenty of room above the tank is a must.

-- In God We Trust

View MrRon's profile

MrRon

2834 posts in 1900 days


#15 posted 12-28-2012 09:57 PM

Thanks all for your comments. I have taken into account bracing for the floor which is over a first floor crawl space. Will take pictures when finished. One thing I don’t know about is: The floor is plywood with laminate flooring on top with a pad. I wonder if I should cut the laminate so the enclosure sits directly on the plywood and not on the laminate. The tank has to be perfectly level as the water level will be to the very top.

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