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Jacob's High Tech Fish Room Build

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So my wants finally got the better of me and i decided that i needed to build myself a Fish Room and to do it properly to avoid disappointment in the future.

First of all i have limited time for my hobby and while i love my fish, i wanted to ensurer that i kept things manageable. Six tanks + fry grow-out is the initial aim with the ability to add another two tanks (and only two tanks) in the future. The room is to be heavily automated to minimise maintenance and maximise viewing pleasure.

Stock

I'm Tropheus mad so that room will be designed for 5x2x2 tanks which i have come to believe is the perfect size for a colony of around 20 T's.

Heating & Cooling

Living in the western suburbs of Brisbane means that both heating and cooling are a necessary part of keeping African Cichlids. Knowing that the room will be heavily insulated once complete the obvious choice is a highly efficient reverse cycle inverter A/C. After much research i settled on the Daikin Ururu Sarara - One of the only 7 star energy efficient split systems on the market and with WiFi control to boot.

Insulation

I really didn't want to skimp in the insulation department so i ensured i had lots of wall depth and ceiling room and went with Bradford R5 batts (240mm thick) in the ceiling and EarthWool R3.5 batts (140mm thick) in the walls. There's a bit of capital cost involved in decent insulation, however i truly believe it pays for itself in both energy bills and room comfort.

Internal Cladding

Being a fish room i wanted to sheet the walls with something a little more moisture resistant than plasterboard, so went with Villaboard (fibro cement) on all four walls with plasterboard only on the ceiling.

For paint i went with Dulux Wash and Wear Kitchen and Bathroom for it's anti-mould and anti-bacterial properties.

Automation

I'm hoping to completely automate water changes using a Neptune Apex and a few solonoid valves which i recently purchased from one of the brilliant sponsors here of QLDAF. I also purchased a 1,000L tank to stand in the corner of the room for pre-mixing water to ensure adequate hardness and temperature prior to water changes.

Power

I ensured that i had a least two GPO's on each wall with data wired through to where the Apex will be positioned. I also had an Isolator switch wired up outside to allow easy installation of the air-con when it comes time.

So things are progressing fairly well, however as always there is still lots to do. A few progress photos below:

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Wall Insulation in and villaboard being installed with a little help from the father-in-law

More sheeting installed

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Top-hat going up to fix the ceiling:

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R5 Bradford batts going in:

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The all-important power and data:

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Isolation switch for Air-Con:

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The AC unit that i am eagerly wanting to install ASAP:

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Water tank to go in corner of room:

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Paint - for when the time comes:

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I'll try to post some updates once the ceiling is in and the plastering complete. Then it's paint time and i can start moving in the tanks :-)

Edited by jcumpstay

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Very nice, what's the plan for filtration?

Sumps are the plan - either as side sumps in tanks or individual sumps under tanks. Depends if I decide I'm comfortable having two colony's on one sump. Just means more meds if they get sick...

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I wouldn't mess around with solenoid valves and data sensors. To automate water change simply plumb a drip line from your water tank into your sump and use gravity feed. Add an overflow drain so your sump can't overfill. That's it! So if you want to change say 20 % every week, set your drip line to that drip rate and it's done. I keep my dippers out of water for easy visual monitoring. 24/7 dripping has other advantages as well which I won't go into since it's your thread.

Are you worried about humidity and condensation in such an insulated room?

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I wouldn't mess around with solenoid valves and data sensors. To automate water change simply plumb a drip line from your water tank into your sump and use gravity feed. Add an overflow drain so your sump can't overfill. That's it! So if you want to change say 20 % every week, set your drip line to that drip rate and it's done. I keep my dippers out of water for easy visual monitoring. 24/7 dripping has other advantages as well which I won't go into since it's your thread.

Are you worried about humidity and condensation in such an insulated room?

Good point in regards to water changes. I'll be sure to check out the drip method when it comes to it.

One of the reasons I picked the Daikin is that it has humidity control so I'll be able to easily ensure room doesn't end up a sauna :-)

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Sumps are the plan - either as side sumps in tanks or individual sumps under tanks. Depends if I decide I'm comfortable having two colony's on one sump. Just means more meds if they get sick...

Its not worth the risk mate. Keep each tank on its own filtration, side drops/sumps or under tank sumps.

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Jacob, if this fish room is going to be anything like the other projects you have shown us it's going to be a work of art,

Looking forward to seeing the progress of this, you sure are someone who doesnt do things half arsed lol.

love the work.

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Jacob, if this fish room is going to be anything like the other projects you have shown us it's going to be a work of art,

Looking forward to seeing the progress of this, you sure are someone who doesnt do things half arsed lol.

love the work.

Cheers mate - the intention is definitely to keep in theme and do this to the best of my ability as per previous projects. Hoping for just the right breeding room / display tank balance ;-)

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Just a couple of things ? Right or wrong and it might be to late anyway

Whirlybird to let heat out

Clear panel on roof to let sunlight in

Generator switch to flick over in a power out

Uvc to stop all tanks/fish getting sick

Drain in floor

FJ

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Just a couple of things ? Right or wrong and it might be to late anyway

Whirlybird to let heat out

Clear panel on roof to let sunlight in

Generator switch to flick over in a power out

Uvc to stop all tanks/fish getting sick

Drain in floor

FJ

I can tick a few things off the list :-)

Whirlybird - tick

UVC - tick

Waste drain - tick

I decided I'd just stick with a window rather than clear roof sheeting. IMO it let's in/out too much heat.

Thanks for the prompts though - very useful.

I'm guessing the quick switch for a generator could be placed anywhere on the circuit to the room?

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Got the remainder of the ceiling batts installed and completed the ceiling sheeting today with help from my brother. Now to wait for the plasterer to do his thing so i can get this room painted :-)

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Looking good :)

On the note with humidity, me personally I had little luck using the reverse cycle unit to keep it under control (80%+). Installed 2 dehumidifiers & cant be happier, no more water droplets forming on the walls etc & easy to breath lol. I dont use a whirlybird though so that may help a great deal.

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Looking good :)

On the note with humidity, me personally I had little luck using the reverse cycle unit to keep it under control (80%+). Installed 2 dehumidifiers & cant be happier, no more water droplets forming on the walls etc & easy to breath lol. I dont use a whirlybird though so that may help a great deal.

Cheers Squirtle - i'll see how i go with the Daikin first but i'm lucky in that adding a vent or two if needed down the track is quite an easy task :-)

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Very interesting project. Keep with your plan to use to Apex to do your water changes, nothing better than setting Apex up to automate such things. The options are almost limitless with the Apex. You did know that you can easily wi-fi the Apex?

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Very interesting project. Keep with your plan to use to Apex to do your water changes, nothing better than setting Apex up to automate such things. The options are almost limitless with the Apex. You did know that you can easily wi-fi the Apex?

Thanks mate - I didn't know that you could easily WiFi it, but I don't really need to as I have 4x Cat6 ethernet cables running to this room. Should keep things nice and snappy ;-) Good for connecting up IP cameras too.

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Should of sprayed the room , makes it a bit more enjoyable lol well you have a compressor to jam along too!

Hey at least you painted it correctly before tanks went in... unlike someone....:black_eyed:

Have you considered covering the window with a insulated roller shutter? I have done this & during winter nights saves a lot of running time on heating & during summer if it gets too hot also helps keeping things cool. I dont think it will be a massive cause of heat loss.

As for the water changes I would look up aquaholics suggested method first, it will be much more easy & is very fail safe. monsterfishkeepers is good for drip system information everyone and there dog is going that route for a few years now.

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Rather than a roller shutter i was actually thinking of fixing some aluminium U channel internally around 3 sides of the window so i can slide in a 30mm thick piece of EPS on those cool nights / hot days. I reckon this would do the trick quite nicely and also seal well against the architrave.

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It will work fine, originally I had a 2.4m opening x 2.4m high with normally garage shutter, I ordered 2x 120mm panels of EPS cut them to size and used insulating tape for the joins the heat gain was noticeable within a few hours!

Later down the track I wanted a glass sliding door so I could access the backyard (rubbish yard at time) I noticed in winter one could feel the cold air coming in so opted for the shutter, Its much better but also maybe due to the door being a tight fit as garage shutters are leaky!

If you dont want to go down the U channel path, high grade velcro will hold EPS up perfectly also, the only down side I can see is over time you may have a small build up of white snow :)

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