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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys, its been awhile. Finally moving forward with our dream home construction this week! House blueprints have been through the runner and the fishroom has changed in design several times. Now that the location and size has been set in stone finally, I can ask for advice and planning out the tank layout and filtration system. This is going to be mainly setup as a breeding show room where i can have the walls lined with tanks with species only tanks and have a seating area in the middle to look at them all. Also plan on setting up wifi cameras on the large 300g, one for the room facing the main tanks and Tegu cage so i can remotely see them all while im away. Filtration im looking for some sort of automatic water changing system or whatever is needed to keep the water crystal clear and have the most self automated fish room I can have so i can enjoy it to the fullest without having to do constant maintenance. Room is around 23x15

Now for the tanks: first is the monster 300g tank from custom aquariums that will be "inwall" and viewable from inside the fishroom and outside in the basement hallway. This will be an all male show fish tank with sandy bottom and piled rocks in areas to simulate the lake bottom and allow as much open water habitat as possible. The sump system thats coming with it will allow me to overstock it so theres less aggression and with a tank this size, aggression shouldnt really be an issue.

40g breeders on double wooden rack system along the back wall. 12 tanks total here if possible.

A quad of 75g tanks on double wood racks along the left side of the room.

Finishing it off would be a rack of 10's/20's on the right side possibly with another rack of duo 40's. This would be for fry/hospital area. Some of these tanks will NOT be on the filtration system because I would be using medication on them.

Link to basement blueprints https://i.imgur.com/dGohakL.jpg
Please lemme know if you have any suggestions. Would love some imput on the filtration planning as the only thing *** really seen done is the drilled tanks/water drip system. Is this the most efficient way?
 

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Having just completed my 5th fish room I feel I can offer you some advice.

Fish Room #4 was in my basement and I had terrible humidity issues going up through the whole house. Even though the room was highly insulated and wrapped in vapor barrier. I would highly recommend installing an air exchanger in the fish room to control humidity. I am using a Panasonic air exchanger in Fish Room #5 and it has worked very well through the first winter. I would also recommend a dedicated heat pump to heat the room up instead of using individual tank heaters. I went with a Mitsubishi heat pump and it also worked really well and even though I am running more tanks than #4 my electric bill was actually about 25% lower than before when I was using a Ranco controller on an electric space heater.

On most of my previous fish rooms I had at least some of the tanks on central filtration systems. For the most part it worked out well and I didn't have many issues. I would highly recommend a high wattage UV sterilizer in the system to prevent the spread of parasites. For #5, I went with a central water change system instead of central filtration on my larger tanks. I wanted to use Mattenfilters for their lower maintenance and running costs so I didn't need a central system any longer. The central water change system makes water changes much easier.

Andy
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks Narwhal. The fish room will be zoned with our HVAC system which is York equipment so that i can keep it a separate temp than any other room so that should take care of the heating issue. I had also planned on talking to the HVAC guys about the humidity issue and assumed an Air Exchanger would be the best solution. As for the central water changing system, can you elaborate alittle bit more on what that entails? *** never heard of it and dont know the difference between it and a auto drip system.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Also, ideally, I would love to setup a aesthetically pleasing rack system similar to custom aquariums racks.
 

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I would be wary about zoning it with the rest of your HVAC system. There may be situations where you need heat while the rest of the house needs to be cooled. In which case the system won't work properly. We run into that situation in our office all the time because the warm lab is tied into the same line as our cooler office.

An automatic water change system just really is a drain in each tank and a water line from a reservoir also sent to each tank. It's the same thing as a drip system. Just instead of dripping all day, I turn on a remote which activates a pump and empties my RO vat into the tanks. Then I refill the RO vat for next time.

Andy
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
We are going to have 3 zones that can be set to a different temperature than the rest of the house: the fish room, the basement, and our bedroom/bathroom. Zoning just means you can set a temp for that area/room that differs from the rest of the house.
 

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Congrats on the new house as well as doing a dedicated fish room!

I viewed your blueprint for the fish room and a couple questions. What is the closet? space in the lower right hand corner? Is the fish room mostly or completely below ground level?

I would leave access to the 2' x 3' window in the drawing both for light purposes and egress if that is why it is so large. How far off the floor is the bottom of the window?

How close are the drain and water supply to the fish room? Will you need to pump used water up to a drain or is everything lower than the lowest tank?

I would also do HMF filters on all the tanks except the big one, easy maintenance, relatively cheap and very efficient. A central air system would work great for the air lifts, I would do 2 per tank except for the 10G tanks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Deeda said:
Congrats on the new house as well as doing a dedicated fish room!

I viewed your blueprint for the fish room and a couple questions. What is the closet? space in the lower right hand corner? Is the fish room mostly or completely below ground level?
If you are referring to the large box at the bottom right, that is an 8x4 Tegu(large lizard) cage. Fish room will mostly be above ground as the basement is a walkout. Ceilings are 9ft and the walls are finished. Concrete floors.

Deeda said:
I would leave access to the 2' x 3' window in the drawing both for light purposes and egress if that is why it is so large. How far off the floor is the bottom of the window?
I believe its 6 ft off the floor

Deeda said:
How close are the drain and water supply to the fish room? Will you need to pump used water up to a drain or is everything lower than the lowest tank?
The drain will be where ever I want it but figured it would be where the sink is going. Everything will be lower than the tallest tank. The water supply will be tapped into from the sink.

Deeda said:
I would also do HMF filters on all the tanks except the big one, easy maintenance, relatively cheap and very efficient. A central air system would work great for the air lifts, I would do 2 per tank except for the 10G tanks.
I had def planned on a central air loop by a linear air pump for the room. The big tank will have its own filtration system using Custom Aquariums Seamless Sump system. For the actual filter sponges in the tanks, i was going to purchase over time the Swiss Tropical sponge filters for the corners. I believe they are similar in design to the HMF style and I know they work incredibly well.
http://www.swisstropicals.com/filtration-shop/cornerfilter-shop/
 

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Hock,

You are misunderstanding zoning. You may think that zoning allows you to set a thermostat for each zone but it's not really true. If you only have one furnace and one air conditioner they will both be connected on the same ducting as will all the zones. They do not run simultaneously. Only one can run at a time.

If your fish room in a cool basement is telling the system that it needs heat but your upstairs bathroom is telling you it needs cooling, the system will turn on only one unit. If the fish room thermostat activates first it would heat the fish room and shut the ducts off to the other zones. Or it may just heat everything up because most home HVAC systems do not have automatically controlled ducts. So it just sends heat to the other zones too.

It all depends on what thermostat is the highest upstream. That one controls the temperature for all the others down from it. Once that unit turns off, the next zone downstream turns on if necessary and may switch from heat to AC.

I think you will find it hard to maintain tank temperatures using zoning as your method of control. It's too unpredictable and unreliable. Especially as the differences become greater than 5 degrees.

Andy
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Narwhal72 said:
Hock,

You are misunderstanding zoning. You may think that zoning allows you to set a thermostat for each zone but it's not really true. If you only have one furnace and one air conditioner they will both be connected on the same ducting as will all the zones. They do not run simultaneously. Only one can run at a time.

If your fish room in a cool basement is telling the system that it needs heat but your upstairs bathroom is telling you it needs cooling, the system will turn on only one unit. If the fish room thermostat activates first it would heat the fish room and shut the ducts off to the other zones. Or it may just heat everything up because most home HVAC systems do not have automatically controlled ducts. So it just sends heat to the other zones too.

It all depends on what thermostat is the highest upstream. That one controls the temperature for all the others down from it. Once that unit turns off, the next zone downstream turns on if necessary and may switch from heat to AC.

I think you will find it hard to maintain tank temperatures using zoning as your method of control. It's too unpredictable and unreliable. Especially as the differences become greater than 5 degrees.

Andy
If this is the case, i'll just use a small heater to help heat the room. Putting a separate heat pump in the fish room isnt feasible for me.
 

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That's what I did on fish room #4. An electric space heater tied to a Ranco Controller that had a probe inside one of the aquariums on the central system.

Difference was an extra $150 a month in electricity compared to Fish room #5 with the heat pump.

Just keep that in mind. My heat pump is wall mounted above the sink so it doesn't really take any room from tank space. The condenser is outside and it's small and quiet.

Andy
 

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Narwhal72 said:
Having just completed my 5th fish room I feel I can offer you some advice.

Fish Room #4 was in my basement and I had terrible humidity issues going up through the whole house. Even though the room was highly insulated and wrapped in vapor barrier. I would highly recommend installing an air exchanger in the fish room to control humidity. I am using a Panasonic air exchanger in Fish Room #5 and it has worked very well through the first winter. I would also recommend a dedicated heat pump to heat the room up instead of using individual tank heaters. I went with a Mitsubishi heat pump and it also worked really well and even though I am running more tanks than #4 my electric bill was actually about 25% lower than before when I was using a Ranco controller on an electric space heater.
Andy,

I have a couple of questions about your humidity issues mentioned above, as I'm in the process of setting up a fish room in my basement:

I take it the humidity problem was primarily an issue during the winter ? (but not the summer ?)

Was the previous basement/fish room (#4) HVAC conditioned space and heated to the same temp as the rest of the house ?

Does/did your furnace have a whole house humidifier ?

How tightly were your tanks covered ?

Any open sumps/tanks/containers ?

How many tanks/total gallons are we talking about ?

Thanks in advance.
 

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Additional question:

What type of construction were the foundation walls ? (masonry block, poured concrete, ICF, etc.)
 

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Yes Humidity in the winter. Summer we leave windows open a lot so humidity wasn't an issue. We were close enough to Lake Michigan that it was really rare where it was so hot we needed AC.

The basement was heated to the same temp as the house, but the fish room was isolated from the rest of the basement HVAC to attempt to control humidity. No ventilation other than what leaked out through the door and gaps around tanks built into the wall. A wall mounted 90 cfm fan was connected to the outside from the fish room so theoretically it should be negative pressure inside the fish room and positive pressure outside preventing humidity from escaping.

Furnace had a whole house humidifier but it was never activated.

Most tanks had glass lids. A couple of the 120's were open top.

Total volume was around 2000 gallons.

2 walls were masonry block, Painted with dry lock, 2x4 stud wall on top of that, R34 insulation between studs, vapor barrier, 3/4" foam on top of that, wood paneling on top of that. That was the construction for all 4 walls and also the ceiling.
 

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Thanks for the detailed info ... :thumb:

It doesn't sound as though there should have been any moisture wicking into basement from the foundation walls, as you dry-locked them ... plus the vapor barrier.

If I had to guess I'd bet it was open top tanks that were a major part of the problem.

Part of the reason why I asked was that we keep our house pretty warm in the winter (73F - 76F) and I've currently got 5 tanks set up upstairs where it is warmest. Generally all pretty tightly covered, tanks heated to 77F - 78F, and very little apparent evaporation loss. Haven't run the whole house humidifier since I set them up (we get shocked a lot in the winter :D) ... if anyone would have an evaporation loss/humidity issue, I'd think it would be us ... due to the inside air temp. But we don't.

I'm not really planning to do anything special with my room ... it was built with 2 x 4 construction, pink fiberglass in the walls, drywalled (walls and ceiling.) I do plan on painting it with mildew resistant paint. The fish room (to be) stays pretty warm in the winter (same as upstairs basically) if I leave the HVAC air register open ... in the summer however, with the AC running, our entire basement is usually at least 10F cooler than the upstairs ... so it's not likely I'll be able to leave the air register open at that point.

I might add a bathroom fan to exhaust humidity out of the room ... or possibly add a dehumidifier, which might help warming the room in the summer.

Appreciate the info ... :thumb:
 

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I also ran a dehumidifier in the basement. That was probably a big part of the energy bill. It was drawing 300 watts and was running nearly constantly.

The air exchanger has taken it's place in the new fish room. My new house I have the same dehumidifier in the basement. But it never runs any more. I haven't had to empty the tank in months. And we get shocked all the time. My kids hair is always standing up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
So I worked a bit more on the layout. Moved the Tegu cage from the fish room to the main basement area so I have a more uniform layout for tank placement. Did a mockup of the plumbing, growout/hospital tanks will be on a separate sump system that I need to figure out still. Thought about using a IBC container or something. The main tanks(40's/75's) will all run to the floor drain at the sink. Above the sink will be the filter cartridge system Teeing off to refill the tanks as needed or set to a timer, whatever is optimal. We have hard water where i am with cholramines. Room itself is going to be fully finished drywall with air exchanger. I'm not purposefully breeding, its mainly a show room where i can go and relax and be able to view all my fish from the center. Room will be heated in some way or kept warm enough so heaters are not needed.

Layout:https://i.imgur.com/cyNEsuf.png
Species List:https://i.imgur.com/fgFllx5.jpg
 

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Narwhal, covered what little bit I offered, especially about having a dehumidifier. I know someone that had many tanks in the basement, and they eventually had to gut the entire basement due to mold. Wish you much luck and happiness with the project.
 

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wryan said:
Thanks for the detailed info ... :thumb:

It doesn't sound as though there should have been any moisture wicking into basement from the foundation walls, as you dry-locked them ... plus the vapor barrier.

If I had to guess I'd bet it was open top tanks that were a major part of the problem.

Part of the reason why I asked was that we keep our house pretty warm in the winter (73F - 76F) and I've currently got 5 tanks set up upstairs where it is warmest. Generally all pretty tightly covered, tanks heated to 77F - 78F, and very little apparent evaporation loss. Haven't run the whole house humidifier since I set them up (we get shocked a lot in the winter :D) ... if anyone would have an evaporation loss/humidity issue, I'd think it would be us ... due to the inside air temp. But we don't.

I'm not really planning to do anything special with my room ... it was built with 2 x 4 construction, pink fiberglass in the walls, drywalled (walls and ceiling.) I do plan on painting it with mildew resistant paint. The fish room (to be) stays pretty warm in the winter (same as upstairs basically) if I leave the HVAC air register open ... in the summer however, with the AC running, our entire basement is usually at least 10F cooler than the upstairs ... so it's not likely I'll be able to leave the air register open at that point.

I might add a bathroom fan to exhaust humidity out of the room ... or possibly add a dehumidifier, which might help warming the room in the summer.

Appreciate the info ... :thumb:
I totally agree about dehumidifier! By the way, you can found one in link removed]! It's informative and well-written
 
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