Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
bigspoon17

In-wall 210 gallon, above grade subfloor - anyone done it?

28 posts in this topic

Good afternoon! New to aquariums, but always wanted one. Like the title says, I'm interested in putting a 210 gallon aquarium in the wall, but I foresee some challenges so I thought I'd reach out to you fine folks. I've attached a picture of the proposed location:

b52e8c9a16499a610e01f7061730ec32.jpg

What I have taped off in the above pic is the dimension of a 125, so a 210 would be a little taller. Directly behind this wall is a closet in the office.

I don't know yet if this is a load-bearing wall, but I do know the subfloor directly under this wall is above grade. Given the sheer weight of a full tank I'm operating under the assumption that the subfloor would need to be reinforced before starting any such installation.

Have any of you tackled such an installation, where the tank would take up such a large area of the wall with an above grade subfloor underneath? I *really* would love to have an aquarium here, but I'm a little suspicious that it may not be possible or will be too much effort to be worth it.

Sent from my Nexus 6P using Tapatalk

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, the correct answer would be to call an engineer :)  But, if it's not on slab is it on an easily accessible crawl space? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Well, the correct answer would be to call an engineer   But, if it's not on slab is it on an easily accessible crawl space? 


I definitely plan to call an engineer if I decide to go through with it, I just thought I would reach out to everyone here to see if anyone has done anything similar. :)

The crawl space is easily accessible, so subfloor reinforcement shouldn't be a problem (for all I know). Thanks for the reply!

Sent from my Nexus 6P using Tapatalk

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You should be good then :)  They can specify what you need, and you may ask them to over-engineer, but they should be able to easily add more support and even add some concrete pads and posts if needed.  The wall shouldn't be a big deal though, although if not load bearing would be much easier.  Being a corner like that it probably isn't, but never know.

I had a 195g in-wall, but was in a walk-out and on the lower level and on the pad.  Since we built the house I even had them add two extra footings in that area, but likely way overkill.  In Wisconsin those went down 8 feet.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Since you will call someone in anyway, here's a few things to expect.  If the tank is perpendicular to the joists they will need to worry about deflection, and distance from load bearing posts or footings.  They can easily add a cross support beam, or two, to fix that.  If parallel to the joists they will need to add cross supports for sure.  If the tank is perpendicular, and right near the main beam you'll have less they'll need to do.

As for the wall though, it's pretty simple.  No different than adding a patio door and need a header up top most likely.  Looks like a great spot for a tank to me!!!  Never having had one before though, please research, a LOT as you move along.  Would hate to see all that structural work and then you give up when it turns green :(

 

Edited by ScooterV

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you so much for both great replies! I have a lot of research to do for sure, and not the least of which is the continuing effort to keep it clean, healthy, and functional.

Thanks again for all of the great info. I plan on keeping this thread informed of the progress and decisions.

Sent from my Nexus 6P using Tapatalk

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As you move forward, please ask your questions. You will find lots of help and when you are ready to stock the tank, you will find lots of us ready to help. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
As you move forward, please ask your questions. You will find lots of help and when you are ready to stock the tank, you will find lots of us ready to help.


Thank you! I'll be asking questions as I learn more about what I don't know I don't know. :)

Sent from my Nexus 6P using Tapatalk

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Scooter gave you some good points. When I talked to you in the store yesterday you didn't mention it was on an above grade floor.

Also today the 210g did come in. I don't know how long it will be there. That one was ordered for a cutomer. I will not be there tomorrow, but come in and see the 210g and talk a bit with one of the others there. If you've been doing half the research you talked about doing you probably have new questions and might understand the answers lol.

Sent from my SM-J700P using Tapatalk

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have a partial slab and thought that wall was on the slab, that's why I didn't mention it. Once I got home I realized it wasn't. Bummer, because that would've been ideal. :)

Sent from my Nexus 6P using Tapatalk

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey no big deal. It can be done with just a little reinforcing. Just got to remember you will have over 2500 pounds covering 12 square feet. But the tank stand won't be touching that entire 12 square feet. You can't go with a metal stand with elevator legs. If you do say have 6 legs each base is only about 1 1/2 square inches at the most. That will be close to 350 pounds per square inch on a piece of 3/4 inch thick plywood. You'll need a tubular base to spread the weight out. You'll most likely have to shim to get completely level. Weight distribution will be better. With 2 inch metal you'll go from? about 9 square inches of contact to near 32 square inches of contact and with luck you'll also go across a few floor joist. That should bring it down to about 80 pounds per square inch of contact.

Sent from my SM-J700P using Tapatalk


Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Hey no big deal. It can be done with just a little reinforcing. Just got to remember you will have over 2500 pounds covering 12 square feet. But the tank stand won't be touching that entire 12 square feet. You can't go with a metal stand with elevator legs. If you do say have 6 legs each base is only about 1 1/2 square inches at the most. That will be close to 350 pounds per square inch on a piece of 3/4 inch thick plywood. You'll need a tubular base to spread the weight out. You'll most likely have to shim to get completely level. Weight distribution will be better. With 2 inch metal you'll go from? about 9 square inches of contact to near 32 square inches of contact and with luck you'll also go across a few floor joist. That should bring it down to about 80 pounds per square inch of contact.

Sent from my SM-J700P using Tapatalk






Thank you for the info. I'm hoping to swing by the shop today and check out that tank if it is still there.

After toying with some ideas to avoid the hassle (I'm big on automation) of having to do weekly or bi-weekly water changes I've come to the conclusion that to do it properly I'd like to have some containers of already mixed saltwater (I don't know the proper term for this) available in the crawl space and run the exchange plumbing through the floor. Does this sound like something that is feasible? If so, is it a good or bad idea?

Sent from my Nexus 6P using Tapatalk

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Many of us have automated water changes, to one degree or another.  Having the reverse osmosis and saltwater bins in a crawlspace doesn't sound easy though with such limited room to work.  An equipment room behind it works perfect if there is enough room .  You'd need a stronger pump but it could be done over a good distance to a garage. Back when I always had a basement I LOVED those for putting things down under the tank :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Many of us have automated water changes, to one degree or another.  Having the reverse osmosis and saltwater bins in a crawlspace doesn't sound easy though with such limited room to work.  An equipment room behind it works perfect if there is enough room .  You'd need a stronger pump but it could be done over a good distance to a garage. Back when I always had a basement I LOVED those for putting things down under the tank


When I say "crawl space," I mean one I can stand and walk around in. :) There will be a closet directly behind the tank but probably not enough room for the water bins, which is why I'm thinking about the crawl space.

Sent from my Nexus 6P using Tapatalk

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh, if you can stand there's probably all kinds of things you could come up with to just put down there :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Oh, if you can stand there's probably all kinds of things you could come up with to just put down there


I'm open to any suggestions for such things! Remember, I'm totally new to all of this. :)

Sent from my Nexus 6P using Tapatalk

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

LOL, we could spend LOTS of your money for you :)  As you continue to research and decide on what all you even want, just look at if it could go down there then though.  Even a small room behind the tank though gives you a lot of flexibility compared to only having the stand to work with.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
LOL, we could spend LOTS of your money for you   As you continue to research and decide on what all you even want, just look at if it could go down there then though.  Even a small room behind the tank though gives you a lot of flexibility compared to only having the stand to work with.

Yea we could.
But it all boils down to how hands on you want to be vs what you are willing to spend. There are always things you'll need to do daily, weekly, biweekly, monthly, and quarterly. And they will vary depending on what's needed.

Sent from my SM-J700P using Tapatalk

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Alright, guys. I have some potentially promising information about subfloor atructure. Take a look at this picture of my crawl space:

7692214ed919ae10aa9ff6f2d1fd1658.jpg

Judging by the direction of the 2x(16?) atop the columns, my assumption (without pulling all the insulation board down just yet) is that the floor joists are perpendicular to these, which would make them perfect for the tank, since it would be perpendicular to the joists. This picture is the approximate (term used loosely) location of where the tank would be:

7a31054d3b3800ae15baf89116f19ae8.jpg

Notice just slightly right of center is a concrete pad. Looks to be the original intended location of the columns that support the subfloor that were moved for some reason. If the stars align, this pad may be able to be used to add extra support to the subfloor.

Anyway, my thought is to use this crawl space for automating water changes. Of course, I'd need pumps to get the water up, but the location of the tank would make it trivial to have punch-throughs for the tank lines. The thought of having to haul 50+ gallons of water through the front door every couple of weeks is a deal-breaker for me, so anything I can do to automate that process is worth the extra cost and effort.

Thoughts?

Sent from my Nexus 6P using Tapatalk

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Actually the only issue is see is how to get the salt mix down into the storage containers. Cuz getting an rodi unit to pump water into the containers is easy, getting the water to the level above easy. There might be a way with some creative plumbing. Have one container with ro water the pump it into what will be your saltwater container. Then have the salt container pump up into a small 15g or so mixing chamber where you'd add the salt mix and gravity feed back down to the salt container. Making it recirculating mixer unit. You'll need a pump in the ro to transfer to the salt. In the salt container I'd recommend a heater, powerhead and a DC controllable pump. On the line to the mixing container you'd need a "y" and a couple of ball valves. One to tje mixing container and one to the display. Im the mixing container you shouldn't need any pumps if the lines are well placed. Maybe a power head at the most. I've got a spare AC head that I won't be using shortly that you can have. And on the line back the salt container avoid hard 90 degree angles, if you do have to do a 90 use an electrical 90. The are A LOT cheaper than plumbing sweeps. One other thing, you'll need some way of knowing the water level in the containers below. Either a camera, or some sort of float guage.

Sent from my SM-J700P using Tapatalk

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

looks like you have around 5 feet of head room.  You will need to get power down there and probably go with the horizontal barrels to give you more room to add salt to mix.  Personally I don't want to go under a house very often so I would avoid it.  What you are wanting to do can def be done with some careful planning though.  With a controller and some floats you could easily setup some trigger floats in the barrels to notify you that you need to make more water or whatever.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The floats and and what not would work great on the rodi barrel, infact I'd go one step further and go with the Barrel Tender by Avast. The trick i see is not over filling the salt barrel. If he goes the way of a mixing chamber on the level above, the only time he'll need go down there is for inspections or (hopefully never) problems.

Sent from my SM-J700P using Tapatalk

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was thinking,  3 floats, full, mid, low - the high float could be used as a shutoff for a solenoid on the RODI when a refill program was activated.(this is basically how I plan to setup both my mixing and rodi barrels in the new house)  The Low and Mid floats could be used as alarms/notifications for refilling

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you both for the great suggestions! Now I have to go research just exactly what you're both talking about!

Sent from my Nexus 6P using Tapatalk

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Thank you both for the great suggestions! Now I have to go research just exactly what you're both talking about!

Sent from my Nexus 6P using Tapatalk



Lol you'll catch on to the jargon in no time. Heck there are a couple of people in the club that look at corals and call them "Pretty rocks" and they have nice looking tanks.

David you are assuming that he's running a controller, I'm that he's not. $400- $1000 is a tough pill to swallow, when you're still looking at $1500- $4000 just to get into the hobby. I think the way you discribed is the best one if you have a controller, but is almost unworkable without one.

But I have to give bigspood a lot of credit, doing all this research and doesn't even own a 5g nano. Think of all the people that might still be in this hobby if they did just half of what this man has done sofar. It gives me chills when i think of the people I've seen walk out of a pet shop with a 10g tank, HOB filter, and a Hippo Tang.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0