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Fish room

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Fish room

Post by Biulu on Mon Oct 21, 2013 1:36 pm

I am back in Mtl so it is time to work on the fish room. It is not as big as it sounds; it is a closet where the water tank is located and measures about 3 x 1.5 metres and that space includes the water tank. The advantage is that thanks to that tank, the temperatures are quite high (currently my water is still 25 degrees without a heater) so I will only need a heater in winter time if breeding e.g. my angels.

For those that have seen the thread on CAC, I have a gorilla rack in there from which I want to use only 3 shelves for tanks, and the other 2 will be for storing stuff. Then there is a small Ikea rack on which I have a 29 gallon and on the shelf below there is space for 2 5 gallons side by side.

The first task will be to replace the rather thin shelves of the big rack with 3/4 plywood. I want to varnish them with boat varnish to protect them from the inevitable water that will drop on them.

Then I need an electrician to put in some extra outlets plus I assume the current 2 circuits that are part of that room (1 for the water tank and 1 for the air exchanger) need to get extra amperage.

Until here it is all pretty straight forward. The third task will be lighting. Gary's system with hanging lamps is only possible for the one tank that is on a top shelf. The rest will need some other kind of lighting.

As the space between the shelves is quite small, I wonder what the best option would be. Installing shelf wide T5's? Should I buy these LED plastic chains/hoses that you buy by the metre? Anybody any ideas?
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Re: Fish room

Post by Sbenson11 on Mon Oct 21, 2013 4:16 pm

sounds like an interesting project, will follow along for sure, but only if you post pictures, otherwise it doesn't exist. Smile 

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Re: Fish room

Post by caoder on Mon Oct 21, 2013 5:46 pm

Depending on the type of lighting you wish to achieve, you have many options. One of the easiest and cheapest is to buy 4 feet shop lights and hang them above the tanks. Just get the daylight bulbs. This would be considered up to medium light with a 2 bulb fixture depending on tank depth.

Using the led strings, you will only be able to achieve low light in shallow tanks. They are pretty low power unless you bunch them together. Even then low penetrating power.
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Re: Fish room

Post by alexmtl on Mon Oct 21, 2013 8:37 pm

I agree with caoder that dollar investment wise, go with CFL bulbs.

I bought a 10g kit from W-mart and I was so happy to get an LED lid with the tank as i thought that it would be an energy efficient investment. I went to the local electronic superstore by Sources Blvd and purchased the LED string that the car kids use to dress up their speedsters and picked up a transformer as well. In the CAC forum, I wrote about a DIY upgrade to LED lighting using the 3 ft LED strip and a transformer and silicone glue.

There is no comparison to daylight CFL bulbs. For the investment of $20 per strip plus $5 for transformer, I would rather use CFL bulbs. Anyways that current LED lighting looked really good, but side by side to a CFL, they are a dim (pun intended) comparison. Just hoping to shed some light on the topic.


Last edited by alexmtl on Mon Oct 21, 2013 8:39 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : spellin)
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Re: Fish room

Post by Biulu on Mon Oct 21, 2013 9:08 pm

CFL bulbs sound good, but I would need to have a way of installing them horizontally instead of vertically.

Maybe I should look around a bit to see if I can find something that would do this.
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Re: Fish room

Post by sucker4plecos on Tue Oct 22, 2013 1:21 am

I don't think you need to worry about an electrician if you have an 110 outlet nearby.... I use power bars in my racks and if you aren't using heaters you won't need that many outlets...

Also, as for light, I think people worry WAAAAYYYYY too much about lighting.... in my fish room, I have lights set up over my top shelf of tanks - the two lower shelves do not get any lighting except for the ambient light from the surrounding area.... I also have a few old 2 foot hood lights that I plug in and set over a tank when I want to check out more closely what is going on, catching fish or doing maintenance. Fish don't need light... or not very much.... consider for a moment a jungle or forest canopy and how much sunlight is shut out and shaded.... then consider how little light is penetrating the 10 foot or greater depth that many fish are living in.... and they get along just fine... If you are growing plants, then that is another thing but if you are setting up tanks to raise fry or breed fish, they are probably happier without all of the extra light.... they will be at ease and less stressed and will end up being healthier and more prolific....
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Re: Fish room

Post by Biulu on Tue Oct 22, 2013 7:54 am

That is very good advice as I actually plan to use the fish room more for breeding than for viewing as there is no space to sit in that closet anyway.

However, I do like them to spawn in a 'natural' environment, which means plants for me. So maybe the grow out tanks without lights and the spawning tanks with lights?
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Re: Fish room

Post by sucker4plecos on Tue Oct 22, 2013 9:01 am

mosses and Java fern require very low or little light to get by...... I like to have some in my breeding/fry tanks to provide micro organisms for the fry's first meals...
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Re: Fish room

Post by Biulu on Tue Oct 22, 2013 9:08 am

Yes, the fry will be in the spawning tanks for the first weeks before moving them to a grow out tank which will then be somewhat more 'basic' quarters without much decoration.
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Re: Fish room

Post by Shell on Tue Oct 22, 2013 9:47 am

You'll have to get a pic once everything comes together - sounds neat...very creative use of space Smile  I'm interested to see the end result!

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Re: Fish room

Post by caoder on Tue Oct 22, 2013 12:28 pm

if light isn't an issue just go get shoplights. They are easy and cheap. a 4 foot 2 tube shoplight runs less than $20.
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Re: Fish room

Post by Biulu on Fri Oct 25, 2013 8:15 am

Alright, I have an appointment with an electrician for next Tuesday to make the room ready for plugging in all these tanks. Gary suggested I should open up an extra circuit for the room and put a GFI (I don't know what it is, but I know what it does).

This weekend I hope to exchange the shelves of the rack, so I can start setting up tanks.

I have come up with an idea to make water changing easier. The fish room has a wall in common with the laundry room so are you thinking the same as what I am thinking?!

Right! Hopefully they can make me a T for a water faucet and some kind of similar thing for the drainage. I am actually wondering whether it would be a lot of extra work to make a small sink....
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Re: Fish room

Post by mikebike on Fri Oct 25, 2013 10:26 am

I did somthing unusual by mistake
I tool my 2 bulb incandesent bulb hood off to work in the tank I laid it behind the tank resting against the glass near the top of the water.
It had to compact grow bulbs in it.

It works great that way and iluminates the tank well.
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Re: Fish room

Post by hello_rockview12 on Fri Oct 25, 2013 10:32 am

Making a small sink, or a big sink even, should be fairly manageable if there is plumbing next door, depending on how it was done initially. I like your plans and see it coming together nicely. Good call on the GFI Gary/Biulu. I recently installed a few extra ones in my house. There were outlets next to sinks in almost every room that had a sink without GFI plugs... For all the effort it takes/cost, it's worth your while - particularly since you're installing a new circuit with new plugs. Looking forward to seeing progress!
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Re: Fish room

Post by JayB on Fri Oct 25, 2013 1:23 pm

It's great to hear that the project is soon to be underway. That's cool that the fishroom shares a common wall with the laundry room. Running a faucet to the fishroom should be easily done. As for the drain, they should be able to attach a drain pipe to the existing drain in the sink. When we installed an automatic washer & dryer (replacement for our old wringer washer) years ago, a with a large diameter opening (2 - 2.5 inches maybe???) was connected to the sink drain so we could hang the washing machine outlet hose on it (outlet hose was U-shaped on the end so would hang onto the outlet pipe without any worry about it falling off.) It was done that way to ensure free-flow of the water discharged from the washing machine down the drain without using the sink.
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Re: Fish room

Post by Sbenson11 on Fri Oct 25, 2013 4:57 pm

@JayB wrote:When we installed an automatic washer & dryer (replacement for our old wringer washer) years ago,
WOW...

Your even more of an antique then I though you were. Shocked 

Not that I have any idea how far back a wringer/washer would have been, I have heard stories of these things, but it was way before my time.

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Re: Fish room

Post by Sbenson11 on Fri Oct 25, 2013 5:05 pm

@Biulu wrote:Right! Hopefully they can make me a T for a water faucet and some kind of similar thing for the drainage. I am actually wondering whether it would be a lot of extra work to make a small sink....  
A sink would be a great idea,

Washing filters, cleaning tanks, etc. Will save a lot of running around if you have the room. The easier you can make your water changes the better.

One of the systems I have at work has a great setup for water changes. I open a valve at the bottom of the filter, I drain out so much of water and then turn on a hose and fill it back up. takes a few minutes and it's done.

I am a lazy **** when it comes to water changes so the easier I can make it the better.

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Re: Fish room

Post by mikebike on Fri Oct 25, 2013 5:22 pm

A trick I use with my canister filters is to shut if off
remove the inlet and place in bucket/sink or drain
then return line goes into the tank and is now the inlet
start a syphon on the tube that was inlet and let the pulling of water fron the tank through the filter backwashes it and drains the tank.

If you don't care about backwashing just put the retun line from the canister into the drain.
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Re: Fish room

Post by Biulu on Sun Oct 27, 2013 7:26 pm

Thanks for all the suggestions! The space where I want the sink is somewhat small, so I have thought about putting in what I call a Mexican sink. It is basically a tiled enclosure with a drain and a faucet above it. Extra advantage is that it will allow me to fill up buckets easily as well for house cleaning.

So, I made some progress in the form of getting the materials I need for finishing the rack. From tomorrow onwards I will be applying the outdoor oil to the plywood shelves to protect them from water. This oil has to be applied with a cloth and they need 3 treatments to allow the oil to really impregnate the wood. The oil is from a Danish brand so I have a lot of confidence in it. When it comes to wood paints for outdoor use, the Scandinavians can't be beaten...

I also got organic potting soil as I want to use that as a nutrient rich substrate for my plants. I will start demineralising it as of tomorrow. Not the best time of the year to do it as it needs to dry after the washing....

Anyway, here are some pictures:


DSC00279 by Biulu, on Flickr

First of all the wood: I had a rona store cut up a plywood sheet to get the right sizes.


DSC00281 by Biulu, on Flickr

Here you can see the original shelf on the left hand side and the new plywood shelf next to it. Makes a big difference, right? I had brought the original shelf as I am very bad with inches and know that wood guys here don't master the metric system.


DSC00284 by Biulu, on Flickr

The oil: I was looking for boat varnish originally but the environmental laws changed last year and all the stores took it off the shelf because of the extra storage and I don't know what else requirements.


DSC00287 by Biulu, on Flickr

And lastly, the potting soil.
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Re: Fish room

Post by mikebike on Sun Oct 27, 2013 8:04 pm

I pick up nylon stockings and panty hose at the $ store when they are 4 for a $1 : or cheaper.
put the cleaned potting soil in them and place it where you want it.
Cover the poting soil logs and or insert plants into them.
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Re: Fish room

Post by Biulu on Mon Oct 28, 2013 8:58 am

That is a great idea to avoid a mess if plants are being uprooted or you want to place them elsewhere!
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Re: Fish room

Post by Sbenson11 on Mon Oct 28, 2013 11:28 am

You had Rona cut the wood for you?

Ah come on, that's the easy way out Smile

3 coats applied by a cloth? sounds like a messy, stinky project. I am hoping to subcontract my wood preserver to one of my staff, maybe.

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Re: Fish room

Post by Biulu on Mon Oct 28, 2013 11:31 am

I have and had no other options as you didn't make it on time to Mtl! Very Happy 
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Re: Fish room

Post by Biulu on Mon Oct 28, 2013 12:11 pm

The instructions given to me by the company where I bought the oil are different than the instructions on the product and website of Deft.

According to Deft I can also apply it with a roller or a brush, need to apply it liberally and remove any excess after half an hour with a cloth.

Much more convenient of course, so that is what I am doing now.
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Re: Fish room

Post by Sbenson11 on Mon Oct 28, 2013 12:15 pm

That doesn't sound as bad as applying it by a cloth.

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