Building an In-Wall aquarium

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  #1  
Old 08-21-03, 05:54 PM
ejmeier
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Building an In-Wall aquarium

Okay, as you see from my post I hope to one day (soon) build an in-wall aquarium.

I'll readily admit that I don't know the first thing about building walls...

But.... I do consider myself a fast learner and a competent DIYer. I will be building the actual tank myself (this I actually know how to do fairly well) and I've got the support for the tank covered...

The thing that I need help on is actually building the new wall. I am planning to make an addition to an already existing wall where the new wall will run perpendicular to the existing wall, making this wall sort of a room divider.

I guess a few of my questions are:

Do I need to rip anything out of the existing wall? Can I just build the new wall in "front" of the old wall and patch up the seam and paint over it, or is it better to tear down the wall to the 2x4s and add on to the actual frame?

Is there a website or resource that anyone could point me to that would show me the basic structural form of a wall (ie. the 2x4 stud, floor and ceiling layout) so I can sort of "copy" that for my new wall? I guess I could sort of wing it (studs - then insulation - then sheetrock - then patch it up and paint), but I'd like to do this the RIGHT way.
 
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  #2  
Old 08-22-03, 09:13 AM
ejmeier
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To give you a little better idea of what I'm trying to do, here is a link to someone else's site that did something similar.
http://mikesreef.homeip.net/Room%20Construction.htm
I want to construct something similar to this, only in his project, it was more of an enclosure with a room behind the tank, whereas mine will be in the wall, viewable from the front and back.
 
  #3  
Old 08-28-03, 09:30 PM
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Though it is pleasing to the eye, this tank set-up is unhealthy for any fish. Think of it, the walls (in general) are to be based on 2x4's. It's like watching a tiger in a cage that is small. There are people out "there" that can sell you tanks that incorporate a coffee table, TV, lamp and I have heard clear platform shoes with live fish in them! It's just not good practice, you could have a leak and service to the tank would be a task.
 
  #4  
Old 08-29-03, 04:03 AM
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Here are some basics on wall construction.

http://www.doityourself.com/wall/fwalllayout.htm

It seems that what you are doing will be to enclose a tank above and below with a wall. Some concerns to address are support for the tank, means of servicing and maintaining the tank, and managing the moisture from the tank.

The overall weight of the tank and how it is positioned over the floor joists might dictate framing under that tank to distribute its weight properly. Operating the tank's equipment will mean planning for drains, water, and electric power. Managing the moisture will warrant a look at water proof coatings and ventilaiton.

Hope this helps.
 
  #5  
Old 08-29-03, 07:08 AM
ejmeier
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Originally posted by cuda clan
Though it is pleasing to the eye, this tank set-up is unhealthy for any fish. Think of it, the walls (in general) are to be based on 2x4's. It's like watching a tiger in a cage that is small. There are people out "there" that can sell you tanks that incorporate a coffee table, TV, lamp and I have heard clear platform shoes with live fish in them! It's just not good practice, you could have a leak and service to the tank would be a task.
Not sure I follow you on this? What is the difference between a tank sitting on a stand, and one built into the wall. Basically it is just going to be a regular fish tank, only a nice facade is going to be built around the tank.

I plan to incorporate a swinging door on the back side of the wall where I can easily get at the tank - making this no different than a regular fish tank.
 
  #6  
Old 08-29-03, 07:35 AM
ejmeier
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Originally posted by chfite
Here are some basics on wall construction.

http://www.doityourself.com/wall/fwalllayout.htm

Thanks for the link, though I must say that the tiny black and white pictures didn't help much. I think I have the general idea as to how to go about building the wall, but my problem is with attaching it.

There is going to be a bottom wall (surrounding the tank's stand) and a top wall that is above the tank. I just don't know how to go about attaching this top wall - it will sort of be "floating" above the tank.

No worries about the "fishy" side of it though: I can build aquarium stands and equpiment in my sleep, and the tank is going to be in the basement on ground level.

I just need a little extra help when it comes to the walls as I've never tackled a project like this before.
 
  #7  
Old 08-29-03, 09:12 AM
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Here is a clearer cut away photo

http://www.mjsd.k12.wi.us/map/staff/...nstruction.htm

You attach the wall to the ceiling joists at the top and to the floor joists at the bottom. It is better to cut away the ceiling sheetrock to work. Cutting away carpet to work is better, too.

I could not find any good diagrams or photo on the internet. There are lots of good books on framing readily available.
 
  #8  
Old 08-29-03, 10:18 AM
ejmeier
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Chris,
Thanks for the help - I'm off to the library!
 
  #9  
Old 08-29-03, 04:09 PM
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This tank does not seem to be the "run of the mill" size. This will be a custom tank & install I presume. In order for it to fit in a wall, the tank will have to be in proportion to the wall. If this is a standard size tank it will protrude on both sides. This is OK for the fish but not safe. Is this wall 1 ft thick? The tank will be too thin (narrow) for fish to survive. You are limited to very few species of fish that can survive under these conditions.
 
  #10  
Old 08-29-03, 04:52 PM
ejmeier
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Originally posted by cuda clan
Is this wall 1 ft thick? The tank will be too thin (narrow) for fish to survive. You are limited to very few species of fish that can survive under these conditions.
I was planning on making the wall, and so the tank also at 1' thick. Probably rough dimesions are: 6'l x 2'h x 1'w giving me an approximate volume of 90 gallons. I will be building the acrylic tank myself, and... eh hem..... I know what I'm doing when it comes to fish...

There are several tanks, even standard glass tanks, that are only 1' wide, a 55 gallon tank (48"w x 21"h x 12"w) is a perfect example. There are TONS of fish that will be able to not only live but thrive in these conditions.

BTW, I went to the library and found all kinds of books on framing and building walls. Best of all, they had nice big color PICTURES. I feel fairly confident that with a bit more study and hands-on practice that I should be able to tackle this project!
 
  #11  
Old 08-29-03, 04:56 PM
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big color PICTURES
You gotta love pictures. They really are worth many words.
 
  #12  
Old 08-29-03, 07:30 PM
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fish tank

Ejmiere,
I recenty worked in a building which had exaclty as you are planning to build...

Below is how I figure it was installed.......


install a two by six top and sole plate the entire wall length
install studs however do not install studs in the area of the fish tank


"Important" also deduct 2.125 inches from each side...so if the fish tank is 60"....leave open an area of 64.25"
IIIIIII___IIIIIIII
IIIIIII___IIIIIIII

Make two headers using 2 two by sixes with .5 plywood sandwiched between..........(check your books and you should see a few pics of how to construct and install a header.)

Install a jack stud under each side of the header.....
ie://two walls/ two headers/four jack studs

install cripple studs above the header......(arrange them approx 16 on center though you can move them around a bit to allow spacing for storage or equipment......

Install the lower part of the fish tank area with half walls using two by sixes
with sheetrock.....the wall will measure 12"

using screws Install a piece of 3/4" plywood over the top of the half walls which will tie the top of the two walls together and serve as the fish tank base.

secure the half walls to the jack studs......

Drill holes in the two by sixes if you need to run hoses or electrical through them for pumps, heaters, etccccc......

install 1/2" sheetrock on your framing....

install corner bead

tape and mud seams


cut out openings for doors and/or hatches


paint the walls in the tank area with a color which will blend/contrast with the water/fish.....and/or .....as you want....


fabricate the fish tank

install the plumbing/electrical.

install the hatches, doors, and finish trim.........

feel free to ask specifics through a reply or private messaging...
 
  #13  
Old 08-30-03, 07:25 AM
ejmeier
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Stephen,

Thanks for the in-depth reply!

However, the layout that I had in mind was a little bit different than what you described (I think).

What you described was making an aquarium in the middle of a wall, so you could possibly view the tank from either the front side or back side of the wall. What I was thinking of was to install the tank on the END of the wall, so you can view the tank from 3 different sides (front, back, and one of the sides at the end of the wall).

IIIIIIIIIII
----IIIII
IIIIIIIIIII

I was thinking, I would need to make SURE that the top plate was mounted into floor joists above, because there will be no support coming from below. Is this feasible?

The only other thing that I thought of was, if I mount the "top wall" to the floor joists, then if the wall happens to run parallel to the joists, then I would have to make the wall 16"+ wide. But if it runs perpendicular to the joists, I could then make it any thickness I want. Does this make sense?
 
  #14  
Old 08-30-03, 10:17 AM
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You can bridge between the ceiling joists to hang whatever size you want.
 
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