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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Dear all,

This is my first post on this page. Just a small introduction I have been keeping fish for the past 20 years. I am 30 years old and live in the small island of Malta which is in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea. My wife and I have bought our own apartment and in one of the rooms I am currently building my fishroom.

I know that I was hasty and should have asked for professional advice before but please bear with me and guide me on whether or not the floor on this room will hold what I plan to have.

I will mainly use the metric system as that is what we use in Malta.

The room measures 3.57m in lenght and 3.16m in width. (11'9 x 10'4). It is situated in the 2nd floor. Beneath me there is my neighbor's kitchen/dining room which was converted to an open plan and thus the wall beneath my wall on the left hand side of the fishroom was converted to an arched doorway. The right hand side wall is untouched. In Malta we use mainly concrete slabs for flooring and most of the slabs are 6-8 inches thick.

Beneath their kitchen/dining room their is a room (with no divisory wall) used as an store/engine room for a flower shop. This forms part of a large garage which is situated on ground floor. Beneath this garage is a complex of small garages. My left hand side wall will be above the open space of this garage complex.

I have insulated the room by covering all four walls and ceiling with 2 inch thick high density (15kg/cubic meter) polystyrene sheets. Also the floor has a marine carpet (the one used on boats) to further insulate the room. I was planning to install an air-con unit of 12000 btu to help cool down the temperature in summer and help warm the temperature up in winter.

I was planning to have 42 tanks in this fishroom. Totalling to 4281 litres of water and totalling the weight of 5022 kgs including the glass. Not included in this massive weight are the wooden structures which I designed and built, accessories, substrate and rockwork etc.

On the left hand side I have a 340 (L) x 240 (H) x 60 (W) cm rack was planning to have:
6 - 30x30x30cm tanks, 3 - 45x27x32 cm tanks on the very top
8 - 60x30x30cm tanks in the top shelf
2 - 150x60x60cm tanks in the middle shelf
8 - 60x30x30cm tanks in the bottom shelf

In the middle stand which is a 150 (L) x 100 (H) x 60 (W) cm rack was planning to have:
1- 100x60x40cm tank and a small nano (15 litre) tank on top
1- 120x30x40cm tank and 1- 60x30x30cm tank in the bottom.

In the right hand side racks I was planning to have as follows:
1st rack (from North to South) measuring 140 (L) x 240 (H) x 60 (W) cm
1 - 117x44x36cm on the top shelf, 1 - 110x46x32cm on each of the remaining shelves (middle and bottom)

2nd rack (from North to South) measuring 140 (L) x 240 (H) x 60 (W) cm
1 - 102x56x66cm on the top shelf, 1 - 120x60x60cm on the bottom shelf

3rd rack (from North to South) measuring 110 (L) x 240 (H) x 40 (W) cm
2 - 40x40x48cm on the top shelf, 1 - 90x40x40cm on the middle shelf, 1 - 77x30x35cm on the bottom shelf.

I am attaching a couple of pictures of what I have built so far.

I am mainly worried as I am assuming that my floor will not hold the total weight of the tanks with water and the racks built for them which this totals up to 5500 kgs (give or take)

Will my floor hold 6000 kgs so that my fishroom can be completed?

If not, are there any solutions one can do for my dream to happen please?

An engineer is coming this week to see what I could do but I am really worried that she will tell me that this project cannot go any further and that I will have to find some other place to build my fishroom :(
 

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If this were the USA in an apartment built relatively recently I'd think you'd be OK. In other countries the standards for building are different, and if it is older then it could indeed be unable to withhold that much weight. People get worried over 1000 pound aquariums but that should be no problem for any remotely modern building. For 5500 kgs things are much more serious and you are right to worry.

I would try to get the blueprints to your building and find out how much load your main supports are capable of withstanding and try not to come close to this number let alone exceed it (usually very high so may not be a problem) and talk to your engineer about the blueprints. I'd also make sure to have the tanks positioned so that the weight goes evenly on the floor and especially the supports.

I'd also take a look at the lease and make sure this is not a violation and you won't be liable for damages. Hope it all works out, even if you have to scale back a little it will be a really cool project.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Cyphro - Thanks for your output. Strucural engineer is coming today (in 3 hours time) so wish me luck. I will try and get a copy of the blue prints and see what can be done.
 

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Another issue for you to consider. What is the most number of tanks you have ever run all at the same time in your life? If your answer is less than seven, you might want to reconsider starting with some number smaller than 42. It would be an awful lot of work for one person to maintain unless it is your full time job.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
So structural engineer came and said that I would definitely need to install at least four beams (two on each side) they have to be at least 2cm elevated from the ground in order not to break any tiles in case of a slight bend with the weight. The outside aquarium which I have not mentioned as I thought it would not be a problem cannot be set up because the weight on the floor would be too much. So there goes one aquarium. With the elevation of the stands another 10 aquariums have lost their place. I wouldn't worry as these were mainly fry tanks and/or betta single tanks.

This would mean that I need to dismantle the large stand (on the left), the contractor would need to drill 4 large holes in the wall hence the jablo sheets would need to be cut through too. As per the stands on the right the one with the tanks which are filled with water and fish need to be emptied and for a second time re-homed some place else. The other two just need to be moved outside until works are done.

It would also mean that such alterations will take at least 2-3 months to be completed and another 2 weeks to rebuild any thing that was dismantled. If I were to sell the place the beams would be an eye-sore and the prospective buyers would start asking a lot of questions.

The other option I have is to rent a garage which sits at basement level at a very reasonable price. I would need to dismantle all of the jablo sheets from the wall and roof and try to salvage as much as possible. Also dismantle the large stand and the ones on the right can be brought down as a whole.

I would need to put through electricity and water feed down from my apartment into the garage.

I'm note sure what I am going to do as both have their pros and cons. Having everything on the same level where I live would be easier logistically.

I am going crazy and need to think of a solution asap!
 

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Well I've got a custom aquarium stand that is cinder blocks with an eight foot long granite kitchen counter on top. The stand alone weighs like 300 lbs. On top of that is another 900 lbs at least, probably more. So as far as weight density goes mine is very high, probably moreso than yours. So I don't think you need to go nearly so crazy as elevating the whole stand above the floor. That is not the issue I'd worry about, I would just worry about the total weight and whether it could bring your apartment crashing down! Your engineer can tell you that, but he is not a builder so I would not ask him how to actually build stuff.

You do have to keep evenness in mind though. First off make everything level as close to 100% as possible. For me I have 3 layers of plywood and one layer of 'wonderboard' on top of the floor itself. I've got marble floors through the whole house, so if it can save my marble floors then it can save any floor. In between each cinder block and between the blocks and granite and blocks and floor, I have some padding, too. This way if there is some tiny differences in level it won't break the granite counter and have the tanks smash apart and flood my room.

There's a ton of DIY videos out there, so you can watch some and see the kind of stands people are making. You may need to do more to spread the weight around evenly but I don't think your concept itself is bad, so long as the total weight won't collapse the main beam. And if they are doing any beam additions then they ought to be concealed in the floor not something visible. But probably if it comes to that (I am a little confused about what the guy wants to do) then I would probably just reduce the number of tanks a bit to the safe zone instead of trying to alter the apartment itself too much.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I guess moving everything out of the apartment into the garage I mentioned before. I would have more space so hence my fishroom will be larger. (Will have place for a monster tank :D :D )

I do not want to go through the whole hassle of dismantling the stands just so that I could insert beams into my walls. Then again the change would bring about a lot of dust and hassle. Wife approves on the beams but I know deep down she's not too happy about it.

Logistically the garage is also easier as I could park my car next to it if I would need to take out fish for the annual fish show we have here in Malta. Easier than getting the fish down three stories in bags and boxes.

I will try and save as much as polystyrene sheets as possible. I know this will all be a hassle and I have to start over but I will learn from my mistakes and do better.

Thanks for all your output and help guys!
 
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