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Old 10/30/2012, 11:36 PM   #1
karimwassef
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In-wall 380gal tank - cut out options

The tank is 34" x 27" x 96" and I'm framing the wall to make a picture frame tank view. The front glass is 27"x96", but the eurobrace is 0.5" (leaving 26.5") and the water level is 2.5" below that (leaving 24" of water).

I have three decisions I'd like some feedback ok:

1. How high up should the tank be? Currently at 39.5" from the floor inside the house.

2. How large should the cutout be? I currently leave 1" all around and the tank is 0.75" glass. This leaves a cutout that is 25" x 94". This leaves about 2" of air visible on top of the water... I've never had an in-wall tank and can't visualize if the air top is good or bad. I know this is a matter of taste, but still open to opinions.

3. Foam compression? The opening is framed with 2x4" studs all around and 0.5" plywood on the bottom. I'm adding 3/4" foam between the plywood at the tank bottom AND assuming that this will be squeezed down to 1/2" when loaded. This is part of the framing dimensions. The problem is that, unloaded, the glass tank will be 1/4" bigger than the frame with the foam... I can open the top by 1/4" to allow for the variance. How much will the 3/4" foam shrink with 380gal of water and a 600lb glass tank on top?

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Old 10/31/2012, 01:17 AM   #2
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On #3... the foam wont compress as much as you think. I installed my 600g 999 lb. tank on 1/2" foam insulation and it only went down about an 1/8" when filled.


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Old 10/31/2012, 01:28 AM   #3
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Make to opening so that the water line does not show.


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Old 10/31/2012, 07:30 AM   #4
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I have an in wall 120. My picture frame is slightly smaller than the glass and butts up against it. I used vinyl stapled to wood and painted. It looks like wood but is thin and rests on the frame of the tank.

So to visualize that imagine the vinyl in an L shape. Now imagine the frame. Staple the L to the inner frame. The other end of the L touches the glass and is only 1/16 inch thick rather than 1/4 or more that wood would be.

Side view:

___ Tank
L Vinyl
___ Outer frame


As far as having your sump/plumbing on top where are your lights going to go? How hard will it be to maintain stuff that high off the ground?

The down side of making your frame part of your wall is that now your wall is coupled to your fish tank. Any vibration will be transmitted through the wall and will make a huge sheetrock "subwoofer". Mine is also designed like that but it is annoying. I am unable to use vortech pumps for that reason and have to use tunze/hydors. My tank is in a super quiet home theater room though. Perhaps noise isn't a concern for you.


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Old 10/31/2012, 09:52 AM   #5
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1.)My inwall tank bottom sits at 39". Perfect height for standing and viewing. If you plan seating mostly go for about 35"

2.) my cut out for the sides put the whatever the side panes were behind the wall. That way I din't have to see it. The top is probably about 1/4-1/2 below where water line is. Remeber it will actually be a bit above the overflow point. And the more sump turnover the higher it will be! You don't want a gap, else light will shine out and not to appealing or clean looking

3.) foam will compress very very little. say your tank is 500g. That is ~4000# filled plus say tank weighs 600# Your at 4600# You have a bootom surface area of 96x34(3264 sq in) So you are at about 1.41 Pound per Square In. Not a lot!



Looks lik eyour tank is 34" front to back. You are going to want front access. Mine is 36" and I would never be able to reach the front from the back,


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Old 10/31/2012, 11:20 AM   #6
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Thank you all for your valuable feedback.

So hiding the water line really is a big deal? Good to have that insight.

Great to know about the minor foam compression too.

The tank is intended for standing view primarily, so I am glad to hear it's a good fit.

The LED canopy hangs down and can be raised for access. The over the top 2" plumbing connections only push in 6" from the back. There's a 4" eurobrace leaving 22" of open top for lighting. My sump and plumbing are all under the tank. Only the surge reservoir is over the tank and has two actuated valve 2" lines running down into the tank.

In terms of noise, I am very sensitive but there are no options to frame without the wall unless I am willing to accept a 5" recess or a cantilever stand... Scary thought. I have used damping foam where hard objects contact - pipes to tank, pump to stand, etc...

The tank front Starphire glass is right up against the back of the drywall. At least 1" of drywall covers the front all around (more on top to cover the waterline now). The cut drywall lip will be covered with a 0.5" wood trim to cover the cut thickness. The frame around will be stained 3.5" wide scrolled trim to match the 0.5" lip. I'm planning on putting a bead of silicone at the drywall/tank interface before covering it with the wood trim which will be glued in place.


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Old 10/31/2012, 11:24 AM   #7
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Oh. And all the in tank piping will be covered in foam/rock construction: egg crate+ foam+ concrete + rock + coral branches....


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Old 10/31/2012, 11:25 AM   #8
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The surge device will cause the tank level to rise and fall by about an inch 3 times a minute (calculated). Would you recommend covering the waterline always or allow it to appear during the dwell but submerged during the surge?

The surge lasts 3-5 seconds and the dwell is ~15-20 seconds.


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Old 10/31/2012, 03:22 PM   #9
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If the waterline allows itself to appear and disappear 3 times a minute, I could see that drawing the eye to the waterline instead of the aquarium inhabitants. I think you'll find most everyone with an in-wall (including me) keeps the water lever above the trim.


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Old 10/31/2012, 06:39 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by karimwassef View Post
The surge device will cause the tank level to rise and fall by about an inch 3 times a minute (calculated). Would you recommend covering the waterline always or allow it to appear during the dwell but submerged during the surge?

The surge lasts 3-5 seconds and the dwell is ~15-20 seconds.

Always!


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Old 10/31/2012, 08:04 PM   #11
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I have my 220 in the wall. One of these days I'll make a few changes.
I should've pushed it back 4" from the drywall because the light isn't centered over the tank. There are a lot of shadows toward the front rocks with T5 or LEDs. Its always after the fact that you see a picture that someone posted. He had it pushed back 4" with a granite inlay and a picture frame outside. It looked really nice with total light coverage.


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Old 10/31/2012, 08:17 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by one clownfish View Post
I have my 220 in the wall. One of these days I'll make a few changes.
I should've pushed it back 4" from the drywall because the light isn't centered over the tank. There are a lot of shadows toward the front rocks with T5 or LEDs. Its always after the fact that you see a picture that someone posted. He had it pushed back 4" with a granite inlay and a picture frame outside. It looked really nice with total light coverage.
Is there really no way to move your lights forward a bit? Most lighting setups I have seen are much narrower than the tank.


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Old 10/31/2012, 08:42 PM   #13
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My LED is narrower than the tank and 8" back from the drywall: 14.5" x 91.5" on a 34" x 96" tank. The front 4" of tank are covered by the stud and eurobrace. The back 6" of the tank have the overflow, so there's really only 24" of open space front to back. The LED lights are 4 rows at a 3" pitch.

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Old 10/31/2012, 10:45 PM   #14
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The problem is the rock structure in the middle will block most of the light before it makes it to the bottom front keeping it dark. I had a 72" 6 bulb t5 fixture, it was a little better than LEDs for coverage but not much. The higher you raise the fixture the more light goes to the header stud blocking light from reaching the bottom. I would plan a "just in case" strip of leds that could be mounted to the header stud if you end up neading it.


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Old 10/31/2012, 10:52 PM   #15
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the 2x4" is immediately over the eurobrace and is intended to act as a pocket/guide for the tank to slide in. I could remove it completely since the remaining 3 2x4s on the bottom and sides should be enough.

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Old 11/01/2012, 12:24 AM   #16
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I would make sure you use green board drywall surrounding the tank on the outside. I would also paint all the 2x4's and the back side of the drywall above/below the tank too. I put drywall in the whole fishroom, above and on the sides of tank, so I can't move the light forward any further. That's why I'm having such a problem. I'm moving from a FOWLR to a mixed reef and I didn't have these problems before. It looks nice and clean without front access doors, but It's impossible to get to the front of the tank to place corals and clean. I put my light on a unistrut trolley so I can move it completely out of the way. I don't have the head room to move the light higher than 2' above the tank. 2' sounds like a lot of room until your standing on a ladder trying to move things around.


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Old 11/01/2012, 12:33 AM   #17
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yes. I was planning on sealing all the wood and drywalling, even though it's all in the garage. I had a 10' ceiling, so that will come in handy.

I might have enough 1/2" plywood left over and may use that instead of the drywall so I can move and attach heavier objects.


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Old 11/01/2012, 08:20 PM   #18
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Second on the front access, you will regret it if you don't. Also not sure if you have had a surge device before but they make lots of small bubbles that cause salt spray that coats everything......just a thought.


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Old 11/01/2012, 08:35 PM   #19
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I have front access on one side, but not the other - up against a wall. But I have a 10' ceiling and lots of room to maneuver around and above the tank since it's in garage.

My surge uses an actuated ball valve, so the pipes are always primed without air getting in.


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Old 11/01/2012, 09:23 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by karimwassef View Post
The surge device will cause the tank level to rise and fall by about an inch 3 times a minute (calculated). Would you recommend covering the waterline always or allow it to appear during the dwell but submerged during the surge?

The surge lasts 3-5 seconds and the dwell is ~15-20 seconds.
I am really looking forward to a video of your surge system. I have postponed surge devices on my build (going with MP60s) but may very well put them back in after seeing your plan in action.


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Old 11/02/2012, 08:59 AM   #21
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I have a different opinion on a few things. I wanted a picture frame look and front access would have killed that so I didn't include it. I don't really miss it to be honest. Aquascaping is harder but with my wife acting as a spotter it wasn't bad. Playing corals is relatively easy. This is a standard 120 a bigger tank would probably need front access.

Also this is my third in wall in the same spot (upgraded from 75 to 90 to 120). Sealing or any special wall treatment is pointless in my setup. My stand and the area around it is unsealed other than the sheet of plywood the tank sits on. Occasional saltwater drips on a 2x4 or plywood is harmless. My fish room is in an open part of my unfinished basement and has decent cross ventilation (humidity is at most only a couple points over ambient). A big tank or closed fish room would definitely be a problem though.

Lighting is a problem. With the front sitting under the framing the max I could do with good reflectors was 2 lumen-something-or-others centered over the tank and one 54 watt t5 sitting under the front 2x4 header. The t5 is basically so the fish can see as people are rarely home when just it is on.


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Old 11/03/2012, 09:55 AM   #22
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ok. now it begins - ripping up drywall and pulling the parts together

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Old 11/04/2012, 09:32 AM   #23
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Looks like you have adjusted nicely to the change in plans. Great build! Tagging along.


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Current Tank Info: 600g DT, 140g sump, 200g Cryptic, 90g Refugium, 3-400w MH, 2 Reeflo Barracudas, and 3 MP60s
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Old 11/04/2012, 09:48 AM   #24
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Awesome build!


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Old 11/04/2012, 10:37 AM   #25
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What is your plan on securing the surge tank to the wall above the tank?
How much water will it hold when it is full?


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