Indoor Waterfall with Custom Fishtank


  #1  
Old 01-12-12, 09:50 AM
H
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: usa
Posts: 6
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
Indoor Waterfall with Custom Fishtank

hey guys, heres the deal.
my dads birthday is coming up soon, and i want to do something special for my him. we both had a pretty stressfull year, and i think an indoor waterfall would be the ticket. but i want to make this a little more custom than the ones i have seen while researching. this will also double over as my Senior Focal Project, in order for me to graduate high school, because im working for free and donating what i make so ill post a journal and step by step pictures when im done. we both work constuction, and have a pretty hecktic schedule, so i'll have to work in secret. anyways, here's what i plan on doing:

The Base:i want to make the base into a fish tank, for freshwater fish. our house is made of stained barnsiding, cedar siding, and stone. i want to frame the base ( still deciding on a shape??) out of 2x4's and then cover that in cement board in order to apply the Mastick and stone. i want the tank to be about two feet tall, so our dogs dont jump in. i also want to put a plexiglass window in the front, so i can see in if im sitting across from it. the top will be open, in order for the stand to drip water in (next).

The Stand: i have a source where i can get an unlimited number of slate tiles (ex roofing tiles) for free, so i want to use them as my stand, or the main waterfall component. they each have two holes about a quarter inch wide on each, but i plan on staggering all of the tiles, so the holes are covered. i also want to make a small frame for the back of the stand, so it has more support, as slate is pretty heavy. i want this to only be about three feet tall. im not sure what to trim the sides of the slate with, as i fear the classy aluminum most waterfalls have will clash with the modest country theme of the stone in our house. when i make the frame for the stand, i plan on leaveing room to fish the waterlines ( im thinking a cheap clear rubber hosing?) up through the back, so they are not seen. i also plan on creating a series of small white HD LED's in the trim, so the light is cast out across the face of the slate and water. i have alot of experience with electric, so i can McGyver somthing nice. =]

The Mantel: i only threw this into the plan because of the next step (the roof ). i want to use a peice of old barn beam ( we have one beam thats probably, oh, a good 8x12x25 in our livingroom (we have an a-frame house) and two smaller ones up above the first) and i have a smaller beam (probably 5x4x15) that i want to cut down and use as a mantel. id like to make the lenght of the mantel, roof, and fish tank all the same (or possibly staggered, biggest to smallest??).if i go with the mantel, ill put another peice of slate above it, with a notch out of the beam for the water to run down.

The Roof: my dad grew up in a log cabin with a tin roof, and always says how he loved the sound of the rain as it hit the tin. it just so happens, we have a tone of old slightly rusted tin in our garage, so i want to take a peice (i have no idea what dimmension to use yet) and running two pump lines up to deliver the water from the fish tank. i plan on running one from the right side all the way to the left, and on from the left side all the way to the right,both with holes in them, in order to make an artificial rainstorm that will drop "raindrops" all across the tin, immitating a real rainstorm on a real house. i may need to make a small framed box under the tin ( no big deal) to create a hollow hole to enhance the raindrop sound effect. the only problem is, im still not sure how to get my waterlines up to the roof, and still be able to make it create raindrops, without the waterlines being visible? helpp! i do plan on using the 45 degree tilt like others mentioned so the raindrops hit the roof, fall off, run down the slate stand, and enter the fishtank, creating an improvised yet planned out bubbler to create oxygen for the fish.

Lights:
the fishtank will need lights, but im not sure what kind, how many, or where to put them. i think they would look best if i anchor them on the bottom, strategically placed out around the tanks bottom?

allllllright, i think thats the main jist of what i plan on doing. my dad and i both are contractors and both work for lowes and other construction companies, so i can get whatever materials i need at a decent price. like i said, this is for my senior project, so i will be taking step by step pictures and keeping a joural, and i will post it all on here for others to see when im finished. so, the biggest questions i have are:
1, what type of trim to case my slate stand with?
2, what size pump to use for my waterlines?
3, where/how/should i use a filter for the fishtank?
4, how to assemble the tin roof, waterlines up there, and angle?
5, whether or not to use the mantel idea, and if so, how to do it?
6, how to hide the waterfeed lines throughout the whole thing?
and7, whats the best method to make my waterlines create an artificial raindrop??

any advice, ideas, comments, forseen problems, or whatever are greatly appreciated!

please reply to ***** with this article copy and pasted, as i dont really get on here. thanks!!

Mod note: All replies should be on the forum so that others may benefit also.
 

Last edited by Shadeladie; 01-12-12 at 10:10 AM. Reason: Email not allowed.
  #2  
Old 01-13-12, 08:15 AM
chandler's Avatar
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 39,964
Upvotes: 0
Received 9 Upvotes on 8 Posts
Welcome to the forums! You have a great imagination. Have you put this on paper, yet? Do it soon, as memory will play tricks on you. My only concern is having a waterfall and fish tank with live fish in the same breath. Any airborne contaminants will be carried by the waterfall directly into the fishtank and deep six your fish in short order. Any wood product you use for trim, should it get wet, it will need to be something like cedar, but if it leaches into the water, same result.
Hang in there. Lots of good ideas on the forum. Others will trip in here soon, so listen out for them.
 
  #3  
Old 01-13-12, 09:04 AM
P
Group Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: NC, USA
Posts: 28,578
Received 1,707 Upvotes on 1,525 Posts
If possible I would find a pane of tempered glass instead of Plexiglas. Plexi scratches easily and hazes if you clean it with anything containing ammonia. If you want to stay with plastic a polycarbonate like Lexan would be better but it's considerably more expensive.

The big thing watch with waterfalls, especially indoors is splashing. The big drops are easiest to control and they are the ones that tend to make the floor wet, but the tiny little water droplets can be a real problem. They stay airborne longer and can travel further than you think. It's no big deal at first but over time a chalky haze of minerals may appear on the walls or floor around the water feature.

As for the mechanical details like pump size & filtration you have to figure out your design first. The pump you choose will have to be based on how high you want to pump the water and how much water you want going over the waterfall. I would recommend separate filtration and waterfall pumps so you can keep the fish alive without running the waterfall. The type of filtration needed will depend on they type of fish you choose and how many. Different types of fish require different water qualities. Cichlids require considerably more care than goldfish for example.
 
  #4  
Old 01-13-12, 09:11 AM
H
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: usa
Posts: 6
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
thanks chandler. i have made a rough outline of each peice, and have a stack of notes and other examples to look at later. if theres any contaminents in the air, wouldnt the filter clean up most of it when it gets into the water? and if i do go with, say, a staind oak trim, i would deffinetly put coat of poly to keep it waterproofed. i woudl also silicone around everything on the back so the water cant drip out as it falls. thanks for the advice. =]
 
  #5  
Old 01-13-12, 09:19 AM
H
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: usa
Posts: 6
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
hey pilot dane,
is tempered glass something i can pick up at a local lowes or is it something i will need to cusotm order?
i dont want something that would shatter easily if somthing were to knock into it. as for the water getting on the floor, i plan on making the actuall waterfall drain into the tank, with about four inches of drop form the stand to the tanks water surface, to eliminate the splashing out. i also plan on making the sides of the tank about a foot or so higher than the bottom of the last tile i use in the mantle, to avoid cats getting into the tank and water splashing out, as you said. with the pumps and filter, i think my pest bet will be to go to a petsmart or the like and explain to an employee what i want to do and get their thoughts on the project as well. of course, i will try the pump they sell me to see if it will perform the task i need, and to make sure it will put the amount of water as high as i want it. also, when i say waterfall, i dont mean a huge, wild, flowing waterfall, i mean a modest amount of water simply flowing of of the tin roof, and onto the slate, then down the slate and into the fishtank. i dont want too much pressure hitting the water and continually distrubing the fish, so thats why i plan on fooling with the water delivery lines to get it to where i want it. thanks for the advice.
 
  #6  
Old 01-13-12, 09:20 AM
P
Group Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: NC, USA
Posts: 28,578
Received 1,707 Upvotes on 1,525 Posts
Fish are rather sensitive to contaminants. If anybody in the house smokes I would say no for the waterfall since nicotine is so toxic. Fish filters remove particulates (solids) and once it gets established biological activity breaks down fish waste chemicals. Using a filter that contains activated carbon can remove other contaminants but they are not designed to take out things like nicotine or formaldehyde or whatever household cleaner that might get accidentally sprayed on the tank when cleaning.
 
  #7  
Old 01-13-12, 09:44 AM
P
Group Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: NC, USA
Posts: 28,578
Received 1,707 Upvotes on 1,525 Posts
Tempered glass is much stronger than regular glass so breakage is much less a concern than regular glass but it can be expensive if you order it from Lowes or Home Depot though they can special order it. Try looking a flea markets, second hand stores or yard sales for anything that may have tempered glass. Look for the tempered symbol etched into the corner. It's used in store displays, storm doors, some glass table tops, vending and pinball machines. You definitely want to buy it second hand if possible. You can also check with glass shops for pieces that were ordered the wrong size that they might have laying around and willing to sell cheap.

Whatever you buy, it has to be a size you can use. You can NOT cut tempered glass. If you try to cut it at all it will make a loud "pop" sound and the entire thing will shatter into little glass pellets.
 
  #8  
Old 01-13-12, 10:02 AM
H
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: usa
Posts: 6
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
awsome, thanks PilotDane.
what exactly does the tempered symbol look like? and i understand what you mean about cutting it.
thanks for the advice
 
  #9  
Old 01-13-12, 10:05 AM
H
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: usa
Posts: 6
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
i understand the nicotine part, i think i heard that before. luckily noone smokes, so that wont be a problem. as for the household chemicals, i dont think that will be a problem either, but any ideas on maybe making a lid of some sort? i dont know how i will make my stand/waterfall enter, but just another thought.
 
  #10  
Old 01-13-12, 10:46 AM
P
Group Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: NC, USA
Posts: 28,578
Received 1,707 Upvotes on 1,525 Posts
The tempered symbols look different but normal glass has none at all. Just look in the corner of the glass and it will say tempered and probably a brand name. Take a look at your car windows or the next time you go to a store that has a glass door and look in the corners of the glass to get an idea what the symbol looks like. Pinball machines are the only thing I know of that use tempered glass without aetched symbol.
 
  #11  
Old 01-13-12, 11:27 PM
airman.1994's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: VA
Posts: 5,795
Upvotes: 0
Received 8 Upvotes on 8 Posts
My concerns are how are you going to kill bacteria in the water before it gets airborne. You will have to use some type of UV light to kill it before it gets into the air. Also how are you going to deal with the humidity. A dehumidifier attached to the HVAC system?
 
  #12  
Old 01-14-12, 05:10 PM
H
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: usa
Posts: 6
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
i do want to put some type of light in, whether its underwater or above and looking down i dont know just yet. i also will put several hd LED's around the stand, facing across the slate.as for humidity, i dont seee that being too big a problem, do you?
 
  #13  
Old 01-15-12, 09:31 AM
airman.1994's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: VA
Posts: 5,795
Upvotes: 0
Received 8 Upvotes on 8 Posts
Regular lights will not kill the bacteria. You will need a UV light to do this. Yes humidity will be a big concern.
 
  #14  
Old 01-15-12, 02:59 PM
P
Group Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: NC, USA
Posts: 28,578
Received 1,707 Upvotes on 1,525 Posts
Humidity, splashing and the resulting water loss is the big reason I recommend having separate pumps for the filtration and waterfall. I would not worry about bacteria put into the air by the the waterfall but a UV sterilizer would help keep algae under control.
 
  #15  
Old 01-15-12, 09:13 PM
G
Member
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: USA
Posts: 699
Upvotes: 0
Received 2 Upvotes on 2 Posts
aii my filters are like waterfalls(aquaclears) my store bought tanks are reg. glass,only one way to find out no emblems.they are 3/8 and 1/4 thick and some glass shops will cut for free to sell glass,they like a challenge to,not all square cuts.get a algae eating fish and give it a go,nice plan.
 
 

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
 
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Description:
Your question will be posted in: