Fish house and fish house construction

meloizias

Member
Mar 23, 2011
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Cobham
Having a fish house is the pride and joy of many fish keepers. Normally constructed by the aquarist himself/herself can provide the ultimate satisfaction when you first turn on your pump and start the circulation and maturing process. There are many ways of constructing a fish house and different systems you can use, I will try and cover a all round spectrum of ideas. Though I do warn now, I am no expert in builds and construction as I have just converted part of my garage. So we shall begin...

Actual Building

The first place to start is with the building itself, you will need it to be insulated enough that the room temperature doesn’t fluctuate too extremely during the cold months but has enough ventilation so that the fish don’t get cooked during the hotter months.

There are some very good sheds available from your local garden centre that you can pick up for about £200 (8 x 6) though this being a budget one which is literally just walls and a ceiling, but you can easily add insulation to the building. If you have the money you can buy very good quality out building though i find these personally a bit of a extreme which a £200 shed with some DIY wall insulation and installation of a heater will do you very well.
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Next idea is what I have done, is section of a part of a existing building, in my case part of the garage. I constructed a partition to section it off and allow greater control of environment in the fish house.
Then installing ventilation ducts into the wall which was literally hole at either end of the building with a fairly good fan in it to circulate the air through and a simple Wall mounted panel heater connected to a thermostat which I set to 25degrees.


They can be purchased in all shapes and sizes very easily! (Picture courtesy of www.shedtraders.co.uk)

Insulation

Good insulation can be picked up from somewhere like Wickes or now a days delivered to your very door! You can get the simple foam padding insulation which uses simple physics of reducing convection current and conduction to insulate walls and can be picked up for £4 a square metre but if bought in bulk is sold cheaper. Or even cheaper and simpler is Polystyrene Sheets which work well, obviously not as good as the foam but still very well and they are a lot easier to install.


Heating and Temperature Control

This is down to personal preference.

I have installed in mine a room heater which keeps the room at roughly 25degrees during the colder days and effective air flow ventilation for during the hotter months. I used a wall mounted panel heater secured to the wall and connected to a normal thermostat which comes on when temperature drops below 25 and turns off at 28. Although i wouldn’t find this suitable from heating the fish tanks effectively it keeps the room pretty constant and minimises fluctuation. Then in the tank systems i have placed 2 300W heaters in the sump set to keep the water at 27-28 degrees for my fish. These are just there to have micro control of the water temperature and to keep it constant.

However some people prefer to have small heaters in each of their tanks if they are not all linked to one sump at the bottom. This works the same as having display tanks around your house and work fine, you might just find that your electricity bill is a bit higher since you are using 10 heaters for your fish house plus needing filters for each one aswell. During the summer i might find i will need to use a few more fans or even a air conditioning unit but i have found even now with the warmer weather as spring has arrived the temperature is perfectly fine.

However if you would rather have individual control of systems then having small heaters in each tank such as a 50W Elite heater would do perfectly fine and with the room temperature being quite stable you might find the heaters dont suck as much juice.

Filtration and Sumps

Now this will be the main bit of every fish house, what method do you use for your water. Do you have it as individual systems and filters or do you go the full way and use a sump or powerful external filter or 2?

I personally would rather use a sump as they are relatively cheap to construct and in my opinion very effective. I would have 5 compartments in the sump, first would be the water inlet to sump then from there would be filtered through simple foam medium starting at course then getting finer so as to remove the bigger rubbish, then from there into a biomedia compartment to have the biological filtration stage, you can use lava rock which is totally unreactive and has large surface area for bacteria or you can use the plastic man made products then can be bought from internet or LFS. then from there into another compartment of either Carbon padding or carbon based media which act as your chemical filtration and then from there into the outlet pump where you can place your heaters and from there water gets sucked up by the pump and into your tanks.


(Pictures courtesy of Melevsreef)

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Other alternative is to use multiple extranal filters such as Fluval 405s or if oyu have the money buy the supreme Fluval FX5 which says it is suitable for 1200L but wouldnt use on more than 1000L systems. So using Fluval 405s extrenal filters x2 you could tubing linking the systems together and then brining it down to your filter but you might find this a bit more complicated to do. And this might be a bit more expensive as Fluval 405s are around £120 each and FX5 is £200+.


(Picture Courtesy of Cichlids.com)

The Tanks and Rack

These are pretty simple, if you decide what size tanks you would like then it pretty easy, I have got for a mixture of 24"x18"x18" for my fry tanks and 3ft by 18" x18" for my adult plecs as other fish. And having seen andrews beautiful fish house setup a while back I have decided to build a nice figurehead tank at the back above the treatment area and storage and so on.
The tanks were custom made for me and were done prerty cheap think each 2ft tank cost like 15 quid or something since I was buying quite a few and so on which works out pretty cheap, the tanks then had 2 holes drilled into the back of them at each end for the inlet and outlet pipes. You can have your outlet pipe coming up through the bottom in the corner if you have your sump directly underneath and so sump as fed via gravity. This works well though you end up having a work tube coming up. The racks were made from a simple steel frame as they would be holding a large amount of weight, there are places on the internet where these can be purchased from or you can get a metal works to construct the frame for you. I had the luxury of having a wielding machine so I just made the frames myself from 30mm steel square tube. Then out of my pure OCD I painted it all with a silver hammerite paint which will stop the steel from rusting and gives it a nice finish and the lovely thing about hammerite is the special finish it leaves which hides my somewhat cack handed wielding and grinding :D

(Picture courtesy of Ozreef Aquatics)
This very smart and neat wooden rack system at Oz Reef Aquarium can easily be made by anyone with knowledge of how to use a saw and drill. And it looks very smart!

This is the first bit of a very long essay in progress hopefully people will deem it a good article:thumbup:

Please post your comments and i apologise for the spelling mistakes and grammar errors as english has never been my strong point :(

Acknowledgement
The pictures are not of my personal equipment as i have not had a chance to take some nice photos but will do so by this weekend. Was suddenly bit ill so for explanation purposes have used pictures from internet though i will replace them with my own very soon.
 
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meloizias

Member
Mar 23, 2011
224
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Cobham
There will be many, it is a working progress. As you can imagine there is SOOO much to write :D but i will put photos up definately and of different components such as heater and so on
 

meloizias

Member
Mar 23, 2011
224
0
16
Cobham
Oh i will, it is my pride and joy! sweet, tears and blood have gone into it! Dreading the day i have to leave or dismantle it
 

ridout

Member
Nov 17, 2009
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Wiltshire
Keep the info coming Meloizias. Great read so far.

Thanks for making the effort to help the fish house novice.
:thumbup::thumbup::thumbup:
 

meloizias

Member
Mar 23, 2011
224
0
16
Cobham
No no, i put in foot notes that these are off the net for illustration purposes till i can get pictures of mine sorted. Not been very well last few days so havent got a chance, but i will put my racks and sumps in by the weekend. But no i got my made for me by a company though make custom aquariums and so on.
 

scatz

Retired Staff
Apr 8, 2009
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Devon, UK
very good, just needs a note by each pic as to where they came from and then it looks like a job well done
 

meloizias

Member
Mar 23, 2011
224
0
16
Cobham
There we go :D I will change the photos to my owns when i am not being sick into a bucket :D Otherwise i think it pretty much finished, what everyone think?