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The Fish Room...

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#1 Guest_smbass_*

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Posted 30 January 2010 - 11:42 AM

Well I've been meaning to do this ever since we got going at our current location close to three years ago. Not a whole lot going on in the middle of the winter so I finally got around to this.

Had to start with a little demolition to make two small rooms at one end of the basement into one, the wall went across right in the middle of what is now the entrance to the room...


So the wall is gone and room all cleared out except for the inspecting cat...


Painted the exterior block walls with a coat of Killz to stop moisture...


My wife didn't like the white walls and I said it doesn't matter what color they are because it is a fish room and it is going to get dirty anyways. So I painted them a muddy dirt color, also got rid of the extra doorway seen in the the second photo in the last step...


Time to build some stands to hold all the tanks and it is a good thing I didn't have to drive far with all the wood because I think I just about had my jeep too loaded down...


Painted the floor and then got one stand together and painted so I could bring in the few tanks I kept going during the move which were still in the unheated garage at my parents and it is now late December 2007 in Ohio...


Finished the rest of the stands during the winter of 2008 and got some more tanks up and running that year...


And maybe it was good it took me so long to getting around to posting this because here are a few from last week (Jan 2010) after this room has been heavily used...

a Jan 2010.JPG
b Jan 2010.JPG
c Jan 2010.JPG

Much of the profits from the fish business this year went to improvements outdoors in the way of substantially expanding the number of breeding ponds. I got two more (20' x 20') ponds built in the spring (2009) and then bought an additional four 20x20 liners that need put in before this coming spring along with moving all remaining smaller 15 x 15 liners from my parents to rebuild those 5 ponds as well at our place. Once this is all completed we will have around 20 breeder ponds. We also got a larger piston pump to power more tanks and eliminated all other filters in the main fish room (actually if anyone needs hang on back filters just ask and I have plenty that are in good condition to sell). Next year profits will likely go to building a set of twenty stock tanks that would be approximately 35 gallons (30 inches long x 24 wide x 12 high) each to fill all the space on the top shelves of the 5 stands and get rid of all the 20 longs and 10 gallon tanks in the fish room. This will make it much easier to house (fall and winter) all the fish produced during the summer from the 20 or so outdoor ponds when they are drained in later summer or fall. I would also like to replace all the 55's, over time with ten 75's on the bottom shelves of the 5 stands, these tanks are used to house all the adult breeder fish.

Finally I can't spend everything on "improvements" after all I have to keep in mind why I did all this in the first place, because I like having fish as pets my self. My wife and I spent this past fall (2009) finishing the main room in our basement and I got to put my two display tanks out there...

Stream tank...
stream tank1.JPG
stream tank2.JPG

Planted tank which I need to drain back down and move away from the wall a hair because I put it too close to get the canopy back on...

And like a lot of you I like to fish as well so my couple of trophies went above the window on the front end of the room...
trophy catches.JPG

Also I have wanted something to properly display the fish I personally have the most interest in for years and finally decided to just go for it and this will be a 300 gallon tank on the opposite end of the room from the window. I'm going to make a separate post about that...

#2 Guest_smbass_*

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Posted 30 January 2010 - 12:07 PM

This will be the sunfish display tank. Dimensions will be 8ft long 2 ft wide and 21 inches high.

So far I have got the stand mostly put together and we had enough of the cedar planks that we used on the walls left over to make the stand match the two walls we put this stuff up on.

First the guts of the stand that needs to hold nearly a a ton of weight...


Like most basements ours is not perfectly level, although where this stand sits is very close. To help account for this I put a thin sheet of hard board on the top of the stand and then a half inch sheet of styrofoam on that to help the tank self level...


I then lined the outside of the stand with the left over cedar planks...


Then made the first set of doors, I'm sure there are better ways to do this but I'm no cabinet maker...


And so the stand is mostly done, I'll probably get around to making the other two sets of doors this weekend...


I have the acrylic sheets ordered and will be picking them up this week sometime and will try to continue to post updates.

#3 Guest_schambers_*

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Posted 30 January 2010 - 01:51 PM

Great pictures Brian! Thanks for posting them. You have a great fish room. I love the cedar in your basement.

#4 Guest_natureman187_*

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Posted 30 January 2010 - 02:12 PM

That's quite the impressive basement setup Brian. Looks like you're having fun! I'm curious to see how you do things with your 300. Tanks look great, keep us updated!

#5 Guest_Newt_*

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Posted 30 January 2010 - 03:52 PM

Great looking setup you've got! Those are some very sturdy-looking stands. I like the cedar plank walls too; that's not something you see every day. Are you running sponge filters with the piston pump or some other sort of filters?

Just a note on the self-leveling properties of foam: they don't exist. Foam can help create a more even surface if your stand top is less than perfectly flat, but it does nothing for a stand that is out of level. I suggest you shim around the bottom of the stand. Don't cut the shims until the tank is filled, as you may need to do some more adjustments.

#6 Guest_donkeyman876_*

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Posted 31 January 2010 - 07:21 AM

It's like I've died and gone to fish heaven. Very cool!

#7 Guest_smbass_*

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Posted 31 January 2010 - 09:10 AM

Thanks Nathan, it is more to even out the surface and make sure it is flat. The stand is pretty darn close to level as is but that is good to know.

#8 Guest_Radioguy_*

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Posted 31 January 2010 - 10:03 AM


I'd like to join the parade of admirers. Congratulations on all that work having paid off so nicely.....it will serve as an inspiration for some of us to "get down to brass tacks" and do some woodworking.

Your orange tabby could be a brother to mine ... I've always had a soft spot for the orange guys.


#9 Guest_31dirty_*

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Posted 01 February 2010 - 10:05 PM

nice work.

#10 Guest_lozgod_*

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Posted 01 February 2010 - 11:45 PM

Very nice!

#11 Guest_smbass_*

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Posted 04 February 2010 - 07:48 AM


I'd like to join the parade of admirers. Congratulations on all that work having paid off so nicely.....it will serve as an inspiration for some of us to "get down to brass tacks" and do some woodworking.

Your orange tabby could be a brother to mine ... I've always had a soft spot for the orange guys.


Thank you. Yes we have 2 cats that seem to rather enjoy the whole fish setup. 1 orange (Curious George) and 1 gray tabby (Pickles). The cats enjoy running quickly by the fish tanks, trying to make the fish jump out to enjoy a snack.

#12 Guest_sandtiger_*

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Posted 04 February 2010 - 10:28 PM

I'm very envious, I look forward to the day I can do my own fish room. Till then it's nice to look at yours, great stuff.

#13 Guest_BenjaminS_*

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Posted 05 February 2010 - 08:31 AM

Very nice! How much time per week do you spend on maintenance in your fish room?

#14 Guest_reebok_*

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Posted 06 February 2010 - 08:12 AM

That incense cedar is glorious. Wish we could get it in the UK...

#15 Guest_smbass_*

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Posted 06 February 2010 - 11:22 PM

Very nice! How much time per week do you spend on maintenance in your fish room?

I try to do about 1/3 -1/2 water change on all tanks every other week but some times it is more like every three or 4 weeks. If I do this all in one day (actually did it today) it takes 3-4 hours. More often I'll do one or two of the 5 shelving units a night and take 2 or three days to get them all cleaned and water changed. Aside from that I spend about 45min-1 hour every other evening feeding everything. It doesn't need to take that long to feed them but I enjoy it and try to watch them all as they feed.

#16 Guest_NateTessler13_*

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Posted 09 February 2010 - 12:49 PM

Brian, I like the new paneling you put up on the walls. I'll have to come down there sometime soon to see the new set-up and the new baby (soon!).

#17 Guest_TexasDiver_*

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Posted 21 May 2010 - 12:15 AM

Wow, What a setup! By the way, would you be able to steer me in the direction of where I could buy some small 2-3" gar of a species that stays relatively small when full grown. You can reach me at: mr.coconutpalm@yahoo.com

#18 Guest_smbass_*

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Posted 21 May 2010 - 06:58 AM

I would try looking at local pet stores because the species most commonly sold is Florida gar which I believe are to smallest species in N.A. They are usually a little larger than 2-3" when sold more like 4-6". I don't know of anyone specifically selling gar.

#19 Guest_andyavram_*

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Posted 23 July 2010 - 11:40 AM

Very cool post. I like the fish room design and the display tanks. This post is missing something though...

UPDATES! I would love to see how the sunfish display tank is coming along.


#20 Guest_smbass_*

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Posted 23 July 2010 - 06:29 PM

I know I need to take some new photos and get them posted. Summer came along and I have been very busy doing outdoor activities and the fish tank has not changed as much as I would have liked.

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