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FAQs about Designer Tanks, Stands, Covers for Marine Systems 2

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All Acrylic Flat Back Hex Tank, Stand and Canopy by Advance Aqua Tank

Re: Aquariums: Creative Design Elements for Home or Business      12/2/14
I have attached an article for your review. Let me know if you have any feedback and if you would like to publish the article.
<... this is less than four hundred words w/o the promo... and no graphics? No thanks.
Bob Fenner>

Title: Keep Calm, Swim On | The Calming Aquarium       12/2/14
Client: Fintastic Aquarium
Host Site:

Author: Greg Sowers, Owner of Fintastic Aquariums

Bio: Fintastic opened in 1992 as the Carolina’s first full-service aquarium retailer, specializing in freshwater and marine fish. Our new high-tech store showcases over 10,000 square feet of aquariums, fish, plants and corals. We have 425 aquariums displaying over 18,000 gallons of unique living nature. The store is filled with new products, including a custom design center where you can create the system of your dreams.

Site: http://www.fintastic.us/

There is nothing quite like water. Being around it transports us to a calmer, more peaceful state of mind. The way water looks; the way it sounds; even the way it feels has a profound effect on our mindset.

In his book, Blue Mind, Marine Biologist and Ocean Conservationist, Wallace J. Nichols highlights the healing power of water. "[Water has] a mildly meditative state characterized by calm, peacefulness, unity and a sense of general happiness and satisfaction with life in the moment."

For those of us who don’t live beside an ocean or lake, an aquarium provides many of the same soothing qualities of a water feature. The calming sounds of water and the hypnotic motion of swimming fish is instantly uplifting.

In an office or lobby setting, an aquarium can help guests unwind and get their mind off daily worries. This is especially useful in places where people may be feeling anxious or stressed, such as a dentist office, a doctor office or a law firm. Of course, it’s in a business’ best interest to keep its customer base calm and comfortable. This is the same reason you may have seen aquariums in retirement communities or hospitals.

If you’re considering buying a tank for an office or lobby you should consider your options. An aquarium is a commitment. You’ll need to choose a tank-size that fits your location. If you’re new to keeping fish or just don’t have the time to establish a new aquarium it may be useful to hire a professional aquarium builder and maintenance crew.

Aquatic professionals can help you customize and set up an aquarium that is safe, accessible and attractive. An aquarium is a delicate ecosystem. You need to think about temperature control (even in a power outage), tank safety, electrical hook-ups and your water source. Nobody wants to open up on Monday to a tank-disaster.

An experienced team can help you choose your aquarium size, set you up with proper equipment and choose the best fish, plants and coral to match your vision.

Whether you decide to install a freshwater tank or collect exotic fish, an aquarium is a soothing aesthetic compliment and living conversation piece for any space.

* Blue Mind: The Surprising Science That Shows How Being Near, In, On, or Under Water Can Make You Happier, Healthier, More Connected, and Better at What You Do, Wallace J Nichols

Re: Aquariums: Creative Design Elements for Home or Business      12/2/14
Hi Bob,
I had no idea you wanted a particular amount of words. I wanted to get feedback on the content and then we can talk more about what type of graphics would fit best for your site.
<Real good... 800-1200 or so words, and whatever images serve best to promote your client's aims. BobF>

Custom Aquariums, NY svc. co.      7/4/12
While doing some research online I came across your blog and took a few minutes to look around. I enjoy the beauty of aquariums.
I manage a blog, Okeanos Group, that recently posted an article on "5 Pieces of Useful (and Beautiful) Aquarium Furniture." Our blog is full of info on caring for many types of fish, both saltwater and freshwater. We also deal in custom aquariums. I believe that the information we cover in our blog would also be a great fit for your readers. To get a sense of what our blog is about you can visit us at http://www.okeanosgroup.com/blog/.
Please let me know if you would be interested in informing your readers about our informational blog,
<Already have>
 or if you might use us as a resource for one of your future posts.
Kind Regards,
<Keep blogging! Bob Fenner>

DIY Aquarium Center – 06/22/12
Hello Crew,
<<Hiya Phill>>
First thank you for all your advice on my 29 tank. It is greatly appreciated.
<<I’m sure whomever that is was happy to help>>
I am now setting up a 40 breeder tank and ran across some pictures online of built-in aquariums.
<<Ah yes…I have done this a couple times…currently have an 8ft built-in display viewable from the two long-sides>>
I am trying to maximize space which is what brought this up. I am fairly handy with woodworking and have built aquarium stands before so thought I'd have at it.
<<Indeed…why not!>>
Of course they don't detail all the finer points or things that could go wrong so came here first.
My idea is to use a 2x4 frame with the tank close to the ground, storage areas on sides of tank, TV above tank on shelf, and bookshelves built on each side. There would be a wooden door hiding lighting and filter much like regular canopy.
<<Sound good so far…though I would isolate the cavity the TV sits in from the rest of the space to cut down on moisture collection there. Probably not a big worry, but still…>>
Bookshelves would hold surround sound to avoid stress to fish.
<<Unless you’re hosting nightly dance parties this isn’t likely to be an issue, in my experience>>
Area behind tank would not have any wood paneling to allow air flow.
<<Excellent… I use bathroom exhaust fans mounted above my system to vent air within the space ‘outside’ using ductwork through the attic going to a roof vent. I also utilize small fans (can be quiet and inexpensive 12v ‘computer’ fans) to “move” air within the cavity>>
My concerns:
1. I like open top tanks to maximize light penetration.
<<Me too!>>
Is this a bad idea considering the semi-enclosed nature of the tank?
<<With adequate ventilation it will be fine. I have 500g en toto totally enclosed within a wall and have not had any problems with trapped moisture…utilizing the air export system mentioned>>
Would the wood mold or warp?
<<This has not been my experience. But again…air circulation/ventilation is key>>
2. The TV would be on the shelf 10 inches above water and with aluminum plate under shelf to protect it.
<<Mmm, I would forgo the aluminum if it will be openly exposed to the ‘open’ tank…too much likelihood of contamination from dripping moisture (splash…condensation). Also better to let the bottom of the shelf “breathe” to keep it dry>>
Would this prevent condensation issues for TV?
<<No…if there are to be any. Adequate airflow/circulation to keep moisture collection down is what is needed…and/or isolating the TV cavity, though this may be extreme and likely not necessary here with the “open back” as you describe. If the room/rooms is/are air-conditioned in the warmer and more humid months, this will also help to remove moisture>>
3. If the front and back of the tank are opened as mentioned do you see any issues with heat if I am running dual 36" T5HO bulbs at 39 watts per bulb?
<<Depends a lot on the surrounding room temperature…but probably not to be a problem>>
Thanks guys. I really appreciate your input and thoughtful advice.
<<Happy to share, Phill… Eric Russell>>
Re: DIY Aquarium Center – 06/23/12

<<Hey Phill>>
You have been so very helpful.
Thank you.
<<Quite welcome>>
To your comments, it will be located in the living room where it can be properly displayed and enjoyed.
I actually watch the aquarium much more than the TV lol. Room is heat controlled at 72 degrees and humidity is stable. I have plans to add nice doors and decorative molding and thanks to Neale (whom I greatly appreciate and respect for his countless patience and emails) it should be a very nice South American biotope build.
I will send pics in a few months and thank you again Eric. Though thanks to you guys my "hobby" is becoming more of an obsession than a hobby lol.
<<Indeed…is much the same for me too>>
All the best,
<<And to you… EricR>>

AHHS: NY Times article  8/19/10
The NY Times has an article today on six figure aquarium tanks. It also has a slide show with 11 photos The link is:

Re: Acrylic Cast Sheets for Aquariums  - 4/10/07 Hi Bob <Moritz> We may be putting up a public aquarium on Hawai'i's Big Island... and be chatting with you a few years hence. Cheers, Bob Fenner> Sure, no problem. Hawaii would be a great project. BTW, You are based in Hawaii yourself? <Have some properties here, so visit a few months every year (and Nurn/Nurem-burg/berg every other for the Industry's Interzoo...)> All the best from chilly central Europe (Berlin),     Moritz <Did add your link/URL to our General Links and the Custom Aquarium Bibliog../Further Reading... And looked at your site... Very nice... Like the upcoming works in Sharm and Fiji. Cheers/Choos, Bob Fenner> -- hydro sight corp.

Re: Acrylic Cast Sheets for Aquariums  - 4/10/07 Ah, lucky you.  We had hits on our website from Hawaii yesterday. I heard about plans for an aquarium on one of the Hawaiian islands, but I think it was canceled.  Which would be a good starting point for any private initiative...good luck! <Is still in process... As you likely know, such projects are long-term, tentative...> >     Moritz > <Did add your link/URL to our General Links and the Custom Aquarium Bibliog../Further Reading... And looked at your site... Very nice... Like the upcoming works in Sharm and Fiji. Cheers/Choos, Bob Fenner> Thanks. The Poseidon Resorts have been stalled though, because of the political situation in Fiji. I will recommend the management to relocate to Hawaii :-) <Heeee! The nature of the U.S. "environmental interests", and inclination/steepness of the shore here will likely prove to be stumbling blocks...> BTW: I am always looking for new projects. If you know of any public aquaria construction I'd be happy to work together with WetWebMedia. All the best from sunny, but chilly Berlin,     Moritz <Danke sch? mein freund, Bob Fenner>

Check out this RESTAURANT   4/4/07 Hi Bob, Thought this was cool, hope all is well,
<Neat! BobF>
The World's First All-glass Undersea Restaurant Opens Maldives | 15 April marks the day that the first ever all-glass undersea restaurant in the world opens its doors for business at the Hilton Maldives Resort & Spa. Ithaa* will sit five meters below the waves of the Indian Ocean, surrounded by a vibrant coral reef and encased in clear acrylic offering diners 270-degrees of panoramic underwater views. <Thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>

Starphire Aquarium  3/28/07 Howdy friends, <Scott!> We're looking for a wholesaler to make a custom starphire glass tank for us on the west coast.  Could you recommend anybody reputable to do it for us? <Mmm, am cc'ing about the best lead I have here, Jeff Turner... If he can't do this, he is the one (that I'm aware of) who is most likely to know who can. Bob Fenner> Scott

Houston Tank Setup   1/24/07 Crew members, Would you suggest a Company in Houston, Texas that could build and set up a residential Reef System. <Mmm... is this a "really big" system? If so, there are some national companies that will gladly bid, do this install... If not, or even so, I'd look into the local reef club members input re who they suggest, interview some of the service companies, retailers that do such in the area (can search through the Net, but I'd use the phone directories). I personally don't know the area well-enough to "plug" anyone... but others may chime in... Do keep your eyes on the Daily FAQs for a few days. Bob Fenner> Kindest Regards, Brian Jones

Excessive Humidity Concerns With An In-Wall Tank Installation- 01/19/07 WWM Crew, <<Hello Marc>> I am new to the hobby and have found your website and Bob and Anthony's publications (The Conscientious Marine Aquarist and Book of Coral Propagation) a wealth of knowledge. <<Indeed>> A while back I bought a 47g reef tank for my 3 year old, because ever since he saw Saving Nemo he asked for one all of the time (OK...I always wanted one too and it was more for me). <<Glad to see your involvement/interest here, along with your apparent willingness to read/research/learn>> I set this tank up in his room, which is the highlight of his day and any other youngsters we have over too. <<I imagine so>> I am using LR and a Bak-Pak 2R skimmer as filtration and all things seem to be great, other than the system is pretty loud. <<An AquaC Remora skimmer would likely be quieter, as well as more efficient>> It doesn't seem to bother my son, but if it were in my room it would be a nuisance.  Anyways, on to my real question...  My fascination with the reef tank and as much as I can read about it has almost become an addiction for me and now I want to do more. <<Ah yes...a common affliction>> I am currently remodeling my basement and am very interested in adding an in-wall tank adjacent to my TV area. <<Neat...I have an in-wall 375g reef between my living and dining rooms>> The tank would sit into the storage and HVAC room, which is probably 500 sq. ft. <<Excellent...some room for ancillary equipment/systems>> My thought was that this is a perfect spot because I could plumb a dedicated sink for this, there is a floor drain nearby, access to plumbing for future crafty projects like auto top off, etc.  I have 4 feet of available width to use on the wall, so I was thinking about doing something like 48l x 24d x 36w. <<Hmm...for clarity I'm assuming the 24" dimension is top-to-bottom and the 36" dimension is front-to-back...which in the hobby is commonly (more commonly?) described as "height" and "depth" respectively>> I have been surfing many of the forums to decide if this is a good idea. <<If/when installed correctly, an in-wall display has quite an impact/is quite the visual treat.  I have done this type of tank installation twice now and it is my preferred method>> The one thing that keeps coming up that scares the hell out of me is the humidity concern. <<And a valid one it is...but it "can" be dealt with/planned for in the design stages>> There are more than enough examples of the consequences...i.e. things rusting in the room, mold in the walls, etc. <<Agreed>> But, the levels of concern and/or recommendations are all over the place.  For example, one of the posts on your site dismisses the issue for a 90g tank.  Other forums, people are talking about everything from adding a bathroom fan to fresh air intakes and dehumidifiers, etc and still others are posting things to the contrary. <<Differences of opinion/experiences>> I value your opinion and recommendations as I weigh the decision to do this or not.  The last thing I want to do is spend a bunch of money on this to find out it was a bad idea 6 months from now.  I am especially not interested in rusting any of the HVAC equipment or anything else in the storage room for that matter. <<Understandable>> Is this a big enough problem that I should be so concerned? <<Concerned, yes...but only to the extent that you take the necessary steps to mitigate the humidity issues>> Is there a size of tank this becomes a problem? <<Not really, any tank can be problematic in a small enough/tight enough confinement...much has to do with the volume of water vs. the size of the "space" and associated air flow/exchange>> I don't notice any humidity from my 47g, i.e. moisture on windows, etc. <<Indeed, the room/air flow where it is kept is adequate to preclude such>> Would a single bathroom fan vented to the outside be sufficient? <<Is quite probable, though a pair would be better for this size space in my opinion (go for the highest "CFM" rating available).  Along with a small room fan or two to move the air about "within" the room...perhaps positioned to push the humid air from the tank to the exhaust fans>> Any other advice on the topic would be greatly appreciated.  Thanks Best regards, Marc <<Well Marc, about the best I can do is share my own experience/observations re...  I have about 500-gallons en toto built in to a wall confinement roughly 11' x 8' x 30".  The system has been in place for more than three years, and aside from evidence of rust on some objects in close proximity to the sump and refugium and due to splash/salt creep, I've yet to observe any problems associated to "excessive humidity"...either within the space or the surrounding living areas.  I attribute this to several factors...The installation of a "bathroom" exhaust fan to pull warm, moist air "from" the space...the installation of several small fans to keep air moving "within" the space...and the installation of a vent from the central heating/AC system to "condition" the air within the space according to the season.  I think if you apply these same principles and considerations to your installation you will find the excess humidity issues to be quite manageable.  Good luck with your project.  Eric Russell>>

No question. just a scary new product!  12/20/06 http://www.fishnflush.com/about.html <Hi Kristen, Mich with you today.> I just received this link and thought I would forward it on to you all.   <Hehehe!  Yes, I have seen it before.> I can't even imagine how gross and unsanitary this is for the poor fish in the tank!   <Actually it isn't.  The way it's plumbed the fish are in no imminent danger.  It just appears as they are.>   I can't figure out whether to laugh or be appalled...I think I sit somewhere in between. <Well, sitting is the most appropriate use of this product, though all eyes will be on you! Hehehe!>   Kristen <Thanks for sharing.  Mich>

Keeping an Aquarium Over the Fireplace...Don't! - 09/16/06 I wanted to get back into keeping tropical fish since I enjoyed it as a child. <<You'll likely enjoy it even more now...but do "brush up" and do your reading/research before acquiring your system/livestock>> I've been trying to make a decision where to keep the aquarium.   Right now, it looks like the best place to keep an aquarium that would be focal in my house would be above the fireplace. <<Mmm, no...not recommended unless you don't plan to ever use the fireplace>> The stone goes all the way up the wall of the living room.  We haven't cleaned the fireplace and used it yet, and I don't know how hot it would get. <<Hot enough...would be akin to placing the tank next to a heating vent.  And there are other issues besides heat here...any smoke escaping to the room would rise/be circulated around the tank where it could/would contaminate the water/poison the fish>> The heat naturally concerns me the most.  It might get used from time to time in the future, and I don't want to bring up the temperature to an uncomfortable amount inside the tank. <<Find another location>> The other concern is stability. <<A moot point>> I guess I would use a long, metal shelf across the fireplace, supported on the ends going down to the floor, with support in the middle using screws drilled into the stone.  There are already numerous holes from the prior owners, so the aquarium could cover more holes than it would create.  To counter heat issues, I imagine Styrofoam sheets underneath the aquarium would insulate this. <<No, would not be sufficient...ever tried to stand close in front of a burning fireplace for any period of time?  Just imagine the amount of heat that is "rising up"!  And heat would also be generated from the stone chimney>> It would have the second benefit of  helping to level the aquarium.  Does this seem reasonable? <<Not at all my friend...would result in misery for both you and your fishes.  Do please find another location for your tank.  Regards, EricR>>

Tanks with rounded corners, avail. , shark sys.   9/4/06 Thanks for your info on this subject. I've decided on the Brownbanded Bamboo Shark. Do you know of anyone or any website that sells circular or oval-shaped tanks? Chad Howell <Mmm, yes... a few fabricators... that will ship most everywhere. CASCO/Tradewind/SeaClear, San Diego Plastics, Tenecor... could use the Net to search, look at the back of hobby mag.s for listings. Bob Fenner>

Built-In Tank/Moisture Issues - 08/10/06 I can't seem to find any information on this so I was hoping you could help. <<Okay...let's see...>> I am planning to build a bar in my basement with a 90 gallon fish tank built in. <<Cool!  When should I come over for a drink?!>> I was wondering if I will have to worry about moisture inside the bar. <<Mmm, possibly...depending on what type of fish tank, the design of the bar, materials used, and how "air-tight" the construction is>> If you think this might be a problem can you recommend anything to help control the moisture? <<I would design/build-in some way to ventilate the tank to the outside of the bar.  Can be as simple as some 3-inch flexible duct with a small 12v fan pushing air through it from above the tank to a disguised/hidden vent in the side/back of the bar>> Thanks. <<Welcome.  EricR>>

2 Reefs In-Line    7/13/06 Evening Bob, <So late it's now the AM!> Scott From Blue Marlin again.... <Howdy Scott> I have a quick question about two separate reef tanks using the same filtration system.  I have a client that wants two 300 gallon reef tanks on either side of a doorway in his new house.  Because they will both be reefs, I thought that it would be beneficial to have them utilize the same sump/refugium as it would double the actual volume of the system because both tanks would be connected. <Mmm, actually...>   The filter room would be located in the basement with both tanks directly above it on the ground floor.  I've been trying to run various scenarios in my head to try to figure out why I SHOULDN'T do this.   Do you have any suggestions or thoughts as to why this wouldn't work out?   <Well... mostly an issue (for me) of being able to easily NOT mix/match various types of livestock. I'm thinking, "Wouldn't it be great to have mostly "softies" on one side and stonies on the other? Or more/less compatible LPS in one, contrasting with SPS... or predator/non-predator mixes. Really... what does the customer/client want? Have you helped them be aware of their choices?> Also, because I don't have a limit on space, I was thinking of a sump/ref of about 150 to 200 gallons in size, which would probably give me an additional 75 to 90 gallons of additional water volume when running, does that sound reasonable? <Mmm, yes> Any thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks again. Scott C. Wirtz Owner Blue Marlin Aquatic Creations webpage: www.bluemarlinaquatics.com <I'm leaning heavily toward two separate systems/sumps... The volume in both would be stable... Bob Fenner>

Re: 2 Reefs In-Line    7/13/06 Thanks for your reply. <A pleasure to share, proffer my input> One thing that I failed to mention was that both tanks will be room dividers, visible from both the Great Room on one side and the Game Room on the other.  The live rock will be stacked in an island format, allowing fish to swim around it completely.  The right tank will be used solely for Angels and Butterfly and will not have any corals in it (I'm trying to talk him out of a shark). <I thoroughly agree...>   Both tanks will have the same lighting and rock work so they look similar, but only one will actually have corals.  And at this point, we are planning on SPS corals only for the left tank. Thanks again. -- Scott C. Wirtz Owner <I'd keep the filtration et al. separate... BobF>
Re: 2 Reefs In-Line    7/13/06
Excellent! Thanks again. <Welcome> P.S. Looks like most of what was Marineland is moving to Germany.  I wonder how Bob Sherman feels about that. <Me too... and more to regard, Tim Hovanec... RMF> Take Care. Scott C. Wirtz

The Best Vendor For Large Tanks - 05/09/06 Hi All, <<Hello!>> I'm planning to upgrade from a 90-gallon to a 270-gallon tank.  I was thinking of an acrylic bow-front tank.  Can you provide recommendations on qualify manufactures of such tanks? <<Several about, but you might get a broader perspective by polling one of the fish forums (RC, Reefs.org).  For my money...Envision Acrylics ( http://www.envisionacrylics.com/) enjoys a very good reputation...and my personal experience, Tenecor ( http://www.tenecor.com/), provided excellent service and quality when I bought my current acrylic tank (375g)>> Thanks again for all of your prior help. Michael <<Regards, EricR>>

Custom marine system in India  - 5/8/2006 I am someone who has a house in India and I want to convert one wall into a wall to wall marine aquarium about 12 ft long 7-8 feet high and projecting out. <A big project!> The front will be glass/acrylic. the rest will be brick cement wall with the top open with colored toughened glass to keep out heat and excess light. At night the aquarium will be lit with lights. Where can I get a consultancy to design please? Menon <Mmm, though there are international agencies... you might try the internet with "India", your local geography in the search title with "Marine Aquarium", and "Design", "Engineering" in the title... or contact a near institution, Public Aquarium, University with a Zoology Department and ask re... Do know that the taller systems are the much more expensive... they double in cost for about every foot height increase... And exposure to the sun can be a "double edged sword" proposition... with benefits/shortcomings. Do contact me/us with specific questions if you'd like as your project progresses. Bob Fenner>

Unusually shaped tanks 5/6/06 Question: I am odd. <Me too> I know this. <Me too> And I accept my oddities with childlike glee. <Good for you!> I don't like corners. <I don't like bugs, but that's another conversation> At least not 90 degree ones. I got to thinking and tried to find info on odd shaped tanks. Not much other than octagonal and round. etc. What about tear dropped shape? Or the tank I really think would look cool as a table or in a central viewing area, what about marquis shaped? Curious to know what the glass or acrylic requirements would be for such. Thank you mighty! <Welcome> CW <As an owner of a bowfront and pentagon tank I can say I'll never buy a tank other than a plain rectangle again.  They are hard to clean and are prone to viewing distortion.  But if you have your sights set on a "odd" tank check out some of the custom acrylic manufactures like http://www.tenecor.com/ and others, they do some really incredible things.> <Chris>

Best support for 60 gal window tank... as "in" place of the window!    4/16/06 My name is Don I recently built a 55-60 gal tank with 1/2" glass. The dimensions are 9 1/2  deep  X  37 wide X 38 height. <Wow... hope you have long arms Don> It will be placed on a 1 x 10 x 37 pine board that sits on top of a  masonry wall. <I'd put a thin piece of foam twixt this tank and the pine...> This opening used to be a window  that was removed  to provide an opening between two rooms. For the most part,  the board is level ....but one corner is not.....without the tank in it I can see about 1/8 inch drop. <... I'd level this out for sure... with masonry> I guess my question is,    besides Styrofoam, which I do not think will solve my leveling problem what other  type of compressible material could I use for this application??   <Yes... perhaps an epoxy-based repair... this is too much gap> I'm not sure yet how much it's going to weigh with everything in it. ( Gravel and other things. ) <Count on about ten pounds per gallon total> The other question is should I build a flat steel plate frame and shim it with something like automotive  Bondo that's not compressible and then use 1/2 inch or thicker Styrofoam to separate the glass from the metal ? <This is one approach, yes> The top edges on both sides of the wall will have supports so no one can accidentally push the tank out of the opening, once it is level...          thank you for your input                    Don <Mmm, what else to mention... This tank is going to be a proverbial "bear" to keep clean... and thermally stable... with exposure to the elements, sun... It may well be that you'll want to make this container into something other than an aquarium here. Bob Fenner>

Aquarium Room Divider - 03/28/06 Dear Sir, <<Just call me Eric <G> >> I'm planning to build an aquarium as a room divider. <<Neat...is what I did with mine...>> My LFS told me it isn't wise to do so, because it will make the fishes stressful. <<Mmm, as long as you have adequate/plentiful hiding places I disagree...no more so than a tank viewed from only one side...in my opinion.>> Is that true? <<Not if the tank is aquascaped properly.>> Been looking over the net with plenty of designs like so. <<Indeed>> Or is it true for fresh water fishes and 'ok' for marine fishes? <<Shouldn't make a difference my friend.>> Thanks a lot! Regards, Yohan <<Quite welcome, EricR>>

Looking for Help in San Diego   03/07/06 Hello, Recently moved to San Diego, could you suggest a local club that could provide some info in constructing a large acrylic tank? Do you have any stores in this area? Thank You Sean < Go to sandiegotropicalfish.com for the local tropical fish club. Hope they can help.-Chuck> <<Sean, we have a few good stores here (I live in SD as well)... Octopus' Garden, Aquatic Warehouse, Fountains... and some good fabricators... SD Plastics... See you about. Bob Fenner>>

03/01/2006 In wall aquarium concerns     3/2/06 First, thank you for your help in advance.  I am considering building my 90 gal reef tank into a wall in 1 of 2 rooms in a finished basement.  I have 2 basic questions: << Very nice.  In wall tanks are some of the nicest looking in my opinion :) 1)1   room is adjacent to an unfinished part of the basement.  This room also contains HVAC and 2 air intake ducts.  Should I be concerned about the proximity of the tank and sump with the HVAC and air intake?  I don't want to push salt air through the house or hasten rusting of the HVAC equip.  The room is approx 20 ft long by 6 feet wide with the HVAC at one end and the 2 air intake ducts at the other end.  The tank/sump would be about 4-5 feet away from the intake ducts, (1 is 1 foot off the ground the other is 10 feet off the ground). << I really do not think that you will see a huge problem here.  The one thing to keep in mind is a cheap Bathroom Exhaust Fan.  Is this feasible in your setup?  They are relatively cheap and easy to install on a timer or with a humidistat.  Also is there a window in the room that you could use as an exhaust when the humidity is high in the tom? >> 2)1 room is adjacent to a big closet.  This room has no venting in it at all.  Is this a better room to choose or will I have issues with moisture? << Same concern.  Can you get a bathroom fan on a timer in this setup?  If so you are on your way.  Other things to keep in mind are that the tank is really not that big.  A small dehumidifier may help some but really the bathroom exhaust fan is a better choice. Have a good one.. Eric S >> Jay P. Marzullo Aquariums By The Sea Inc. I'm considering an acrylic aquarium from Aquariums By The Sea, out of Ocala, Florida.  The cabinetry is by BRI. Do you have any information on this company and its products?  Thanks. <Mmm, I don't, and no one else here has picked up/responded... but I do know how I would proceed. Write your query to the major BB's in the field (Reefs.org, ReefCentral...) and see if someone responds with first hand experience, AND ask the folks at the manufacturer/fabricator for a list of references and contact them directly. Bob Fenner>

Dealings with theculturedreef.com (aquarium fabrication on the west coast) Hi, <Hello there> I would appreciate your help regarding my future purchase of a custom acrylic tank. I happened upon a website called  theculturedreef.com and received a quote on a custom aquarium from the owner Dick. He seemed to be very friendly and knowledgeable; nevertheless, I am still leery about just sending a large sum of cash (via Paypal) to someone that I do not really know much about. Have you heard of anyone's experiences with theculturedreef.com? Or can you recommend a good and reasonably priced manufacturer of custom acrylic tanks in the Orange County/LA area? Thanks for your help, Nate <I don't know these folks well-enough to render an opinion, but do know how I might go about securing a sample of such input... by querying folks on various marine aquarium BBs . Ours is: http://wetwebfotos.com/talk/, and I would check with folks on reefcentral, reefs.org as well... no doubt if these folks have been around a while they have several customers who will respond re their experiences. I do want to give a "plug" to San Diego Plastics, and Tenecor of Arizona... they are not so far away and do excellent, consistent acrylic aquarium fabrication... and would have them bid your job if it is of good size/cost. Bob Fenner>

Acrylic Tank Good morning Crew! <Hello Thomas> Am sorry to bother you with this, but I've looked all over the FAQ pages and searched for hours and still a little confused. <Let's see> I am considering buying a 125 GAL Wide Acrylic tank from www.glasscages.com.   The price is really right ($275) but I emailed them about their manufacturing process and now am a little worried. <Me too... on their site they list the dimensions of this tank as 72 x 24 x 17... seventeen inches high...> For the walls, they will use 1/4 inch acrylic and 3/8 inch for the bottom. It does come with a molded frame all the way around it and on all 4 corners and has 4 top braces, but is this really still too thin?  The tank dimensions are 72LX24WX17H <Ah, see you looked as well> It would be going "in-wall" between the living and dining room and be plumbed to the sump in the basement, but don't really want to wake up to an indoor wading pool one day.  As cool as swimming with the little fishies sounds to my kids, the wife would NOT be very impressed! <I think they actually WOULD be impressed... just not the direction you and I would like!> Just looking for some input before I commit to anything and I value your opinion above all others I have come across so far.  You all seem very impartial and not afraid of "telling it like it is". Thank you, Tom <I suggest you write these folks and ask them for a price for "upgrading" the thickness of the sides, front and back... to 3/8... and if it were me/mine, the bottom and to half inch. If they are the fabricators or not of these systems they should be able to give you a bid/quote for this change. The thinner material would not likely break, but will very likely bulge/distort too much... and the thicker material will be worth the cost for the long haul and preserve trade-in value. Bob Fenner>

Re: Acrylic Tank WOW!  That was a fast response!  Thanks for the input. After reading your response, and further consideration, I also think the 17 inch height might not be enough.  Will email them and see if they can upgrade the thickness(es) and possibly raise it to 24 inches. Would the 3/8 inch still be thick enough for a 24 inch height?  (Or possibly even 30 inches tall) <If not these folks... there are many fine fabricators... Tenecor in AZ, San Diego Plastics here in southern Calif. to mention just two... that will gladly bid, build, ship...> While I have you on the line, I would just like to thank you for taking the time/effort to put together this site.  It is a wonderful place with (almost) too much good information.  I have learned SO MUCH since I started out 2 years ago.  The main thing I have learned is that I have MUCH more to learn!  I am hoping that, one day, I will be able to help you and your folks out in some aspect to try to repay you for all that you do. Keep up the good work and Happiness and Blessings to you all. Tom <Outstanding. I look forward to our ongoing growth, enjoyment. Bob Fenner>

A Reader Shares His Concerns Over Aquarium Manufacturer  As an unrelated item, but something you might want to share. Do NOT get a reef ready tank from Oceanic and do not get a glass tank for 300 gallons or higher. Oceanic built it without telling me that the tank would weigh over 700 pounds empty. According to a construction friend, they only move something of that size with a crane! Professional movers almost serious injured themselves moving the tank.  <Something to consider when contemplating the purchase of any large tank from any manufacturer...>  Also, the overflows are totally under-plumbed. They built 4 1" intakes and 2 3/4" returns, which is inadequate for a tank this size. Even with Durso standpipes, I have had to build an additional intake and manifold return to get a proper flow outside of the two overflows.  <Hmm.. that is surprising, as this company has a reputation for building a quality product. I'd have a serious discussion with the people at Oceanic regarding your tank...>  If purchasing a 300, get acrylic and don't waste time with built in overflows. They take up too much space with inadequate plumping that could be accomplished by drilling holes in the back of the tank.  <Important to consider, indeed>  Alas, I read your articles on acrylic tanks too late!  <Well, you certainly can make the best of things with a bit of DIY skills. However, I would certainly have a discussion with the manufacturer regarding your concerns. Perhaps they can work something out? Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Cube Quest (looking For A Cube Tank) I was wondering if any of the Crew knows where I can get a large cube tank. Something 80 gallons plus. Most online shops carry the 60 gallon. I want it predrilled (reef ready) or capabilities of setting up a closed loop system. <Most of the acrylic tank manufacturers, such as Clear For Life, Tenecor, etc., can custom-build one for you. I'd either contact them directly, or contact your local fish store to see if they can order you one...Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Acrylic Thickness I have a friend that wants to have me help him build a aquarium that is 72"x12"x24" it would be about 120g give or take. <I would make this tank much wider... at least eighteen inches or two feet if you have the space... much easier to aquascape and better for your livestock> I was told that we would need to use 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch acrylic. I was wondering if we could use 3/8 acrylic and cut a support around the top about two inches width with holes cut out of course to do maintenance. <You could, though it would bow considerably in the middle of the front and back panes... DO make the top and bottom out of half inch material if you go this route> Would having bent corners be better then having cut welded corners? <More a matter of looks here... and harder to bend, make accommodations in the top and bottom pieces with the heat bends at the front corners> Would that add strength to the tank or would it not matter? <Not matter (much) in this case> I am trying to help him save a little money as 1/2 inch is more expensive then 3/8 and there is a small difference in thickness. Any help the WetWebCrew could give me would be great.                                 Thanks in advance,                                     James Wesley <Welcome. Bob Fenner>

- Tank Designs - Hello, I am trying to get some advice about a custom tank that I am thinking about having made.  I would like to have either a 60x30x24 (LxWxH) or a 72x36x24 (LxWxH).  My goal is to have mangroves at one end, sea grass, or open oolite sand in the middle and live rock at the other end.  It would sort of simulate an area off an island, going from a mangrove swamp to a reef area.  The sand would be six inches deep to accommodate the sea grass or a blue-spotted fantail ray.  My problem is how to get circulation around the tank.  If the tank is made so that you can walk around it to look in through the sides and also look down from the top, since the canopy will be suspended a few feet above the tank, how do you put overflows and returns in the tank and it still look good? <Well... center overflows for starters. But as neat as this setup sounds, I do think you will have some issues in the execution of same. Think your mangrove idea would look neat, but you'd be challenged to actually have more than one 'zone' in this tank - not even that easy in tanks over 1,000 gallons. If the concept is something you are dedicated to, you might also consider making two separate tanks with one biotope in each.> Also, I has trying to determine whether to use acrylic or glass.  I has seen large acrylic tanks with tops that just have small holes in the top to add stuff.  That wouldn't work in this case.  Both will be expensive, but I just want a good looking tank that will last. <Either is suitable - you'll find that whichever you choose, it's going to be pricey.> If it is glass I think I can hide a flexible ball and socket tube by running around the rim attached to the trim to circulate, but should I have the tank made reef ready and ignore the ugly boxes in each corner? <If you are having the tank made, you can request that they install the overflows in the center of the tank... looks very good on tanks that are viewable from all sides.> Also how many should I use? <One very large one.> I would like to simulate a wave and the undertow if that is possible. <Think you will need much more space to actually make this work.> Maybe I am just wanting too much! <It's ok to dream - it's just sometimes the plans don't always execute the same.> Can you help me? <Keep working on it - start talking with tank builders. Start budgeting for plumbing and other equipment for the system.> Thanks, Daniel <Cheers, J -- >

Unusual tank design 1/5/03 <Hi David, Adam here today.> I don't know if any of you have ever been to Sea World in Florida, but I dined at a restaurant there called Sharks. In the lounge their bar had a saltwater tank placed inside of it, not like you would think to where you can see it from the bar front, but your drinks actually sat on top of the glass top of the fish tank.. Needless to say I want one. I am building a new house and am determined to figure out how they did it. <My best suggestion is to contact the restaurant and ask them who installed and/or maintains the tank.  You should be able to get some solid answers if you can track them down.> It appeared to be only about 8 in deep by 20 in wide and then the full length of the bar top.  The water was all the way to the underside of the glass bar top  They must have had a hinged side somewhere but I need to know how to pull this one off. <I don't know that I would want to trust the seal on a hinged top.  My guess is that they had access from an open part of the tank hidden at the end of the bar.  In any case, cleaning and maintaining this would be a nightmare.> Any body that can help me? <I have actually built acrylic aquariums, and wouldn't want to tackle this, and I reeeealy wouldn't want to maintain it, but if you have your heart set on it....  good luck finding out more from the source, and be sure to invest in a good cleaning magnet!!  Best Regards.  Adam> DMcneal

Re: unusual tank design 1/10/03 Hi Adam, You are the only one who has responded to my question and I really appreciate it. Isn't my idea on the same premise as a aquarium coffee table?  How do those work, and why if they do won't one being inset into a bar top work.  Davida <Sorry you got a slow response to your question.  It isn't that anyone is ignoring you, but sometimes questions get passed around for a couple of days until they reach someone who is best able to answer them.  Anyway...  The tank you saw is probably similar to a coffee table tank, but I really don't know how such tanks are designed.  Creating a seal that was good enough for me to be able to sleep at night would be very difficult.  My best recommendation is to contact the restaurant and ask them if they can lead you to who built the tank.  Adam>

- DIY Acrylic Aquarium - First let me thank you and your team for the wealth of information you provide us. That said, I'm about to begin a DIY project of building a tank. I have experience working with plastics in other applications that did not have considerable stress requirements, but I think the principles are the same - so here it goes. Plans for the tank consist of 120Lx24Wx36H using 1" clear acrylic. The front face of the tank would be a continuous sheet measuring 168"x36"x1" with a 90' heated bend at the 24" and 144" points in the sheet. The back of the tank would be a single sheet of 120"x36"x1" black acrylic. The top and bottom sections of the tank would be 120"x24"x1" clear acrylic with two of the four corners having a ?" circle cut to match the 90" heated bends that make the face of the tank. Calculations show that this is about 440GAL. I guess the question I have is this...? Does this plan sound feasible? <Yes... although I'd swap the width and height - 36" is not a practical height for maintenance, aquascaping, but often one of those things that will make sense the first day you begin to work with it as a functioning tank. Additionally, a wider tank would be more friendly to the larger fish that you'd be prone to keep.> And further, what recommended filtration system for something this size? <A sump as large as possible - same thing with the protein skimmer.> I'm thinking algae scrubber type set up (e.g.: eco-wheel), but I'm in the dark when it comes to making something this size. <That would work as well, although would be much work to get established - I'm a big fan of keeping things simple. Live rock and a skimmer along with large particulate filtration, something akin to the Berlin system should do well. Really depends on what you are going to keep in there.> Cheers! -Paul <Cheers, J -- >

A Workable Tank (Designing For Efficiency) Dear Crew, <Scott F. at your service!> I'm hoping to leverage your experience today for a room design question. <Ahh...Putting On My "Surprise By Design" pose...> I'm in the process of converting a storage room in the basement into an aquarium sitting room.  I am dividing the 20'x9' room in half with storage, sink, pumps, etc on one half, sitting room on the other half, and a 96"x38"Lx40"H acrylic aquarium (supplemented by floor to ceiling drywall) separating the two spaces.  Because the aquarium (almost) spans the 9 ft distance between the walls, I should need a modest amount of framing and drywall around the aquarium to completely separate the two rooms. <Sounds like it's gonna be sweet!> My question is, should I build the drywall enclosure to the front or back of the aquarium?  If I build it to the front so that the aquarium is 'framed' within the wall as seen from the viewing area, I won't have to worry about the aesthetics of light fixturing, etc - but it will be more difficult to feed the fish and enjoy the process from the viewing area.  On the other hand, a wall to the front will simplify access to the aquarium for maintenance activities by facilitating quick access to the sink when removing items from the tank. <I would take into account ease of access and maintenance. Unfortunately, we never seem to think about this when we design our systems. You will definitely need access to the tank, and you need to make maintenance easy- trust me on this...I'd go with the configuration that helps best accomodate maintenance procedures> It seems to me that having a wall to the rear of the tank might also create a greater sense of depth to the aquarium itself.   I suspect there are other issues that I am failing to consider.  Just wondering if you have any guidance / opinions on the matter. Thanks and regards, Steve <Again, Steve- I'd place the majority of my emphasis on access and efficiency, as well as ventilation (for heat from lights, etc.). I think that you've already determined that you can build a unit that's both functional and attractive! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Looking for acrylic tank fabricator in S. FLA Greetings Mr. Fenner... Am writing to ask if you can provide me with some info. Am looking to buy an acrylic tank of a certain size to fit a specific corner of my family room; nothing really large, just of a certain footprint. Since you seem to have many, many contacts in this "hobby", I would like to know if you can provide me with the name(s) of anyone in the South Florida area who can manufacture / build quality acrylic tanks at reasonable prices and deals with the public directly. <Mmm, not in the area. Jeff Turner, formerly associated with ORA in Ft. Pierce, FLA would try to talk you into a Starfire (tm) glass tank. It may well be "inexpensive enough" to have the tank fabricated distally and shipped (they don't weigh much)> Dealing through the LFS or with the "name" manufacturers tends to drive prices up too much. The dimensions would be reasonable at approximately 60"Lx36"Wx30"H and clearly, the use of glass would make it a bit too heavy and cumbersome. There appears to be individuals in the Dade / Broward / Palm Beach counties area who work with acrylic, but I never seem to be able to get specific names or addresses or... If you have any friends / acquaintances in this area who can help, <Unusual... have you tried looking in the "Yellow Pages" re "Plastics", "Plastic Fabrication"? The larger acrylic dealers in your area will know who builds aquariums> please let me know if I can contact them directly, and how. I know you have heard this a million times, but I'll say it again: your web site is a tremendous asset to this hobby and an inspiration to those who wish to increase their knowledge. I commend you and the others who manage and develop it.   Hope you can help, Henry C. <Do contact Tenecor, Clear For Life, Advance Aqua Tanks... most have .com addresses and request bids, ask them to find out what sort of freight might be involved getting this tank to you. I think you will find a great deal of variance here. Oh, and I would ask the same question on the various BB's in our field (ours: http://wetwebfotos.com/talk/), reefcentral, reefs.org... as other aquarists in your region will know who is who, likely have input re their quality, service. Good hunting! Bob Fenner>

Large "in wall" system Crew Members, <Hi there> Hope everyone had a good Labor Day holiday (although a little soggy in the Mid-Atlantic region). I have some questions about a large built in SW tank (~750 gal) that I want to include in the plans for the house I hope to build in the near future. Of course, the system and fish room will be on the ground level because of weight issues. I am wondering if it would be more practical (both in building/maintenance and financially) to go with a "public aquarium" type construction rather than buying a large custom made acrylic tank to "shoehorn" into the wall (i.e. is there a size where the the use of one is more practical/safer than the other?). <At the size stated, either's merits could be argued over the other. No real savings in cost (some in time)... ease of making water-proof, assembling mechanicals controllers much easier with pre-made... Can/could be set on a block or steel stand (powder-coated)... Much more important is ease of access to the area... I would go with pre-made if you don't have to tear down walls and/or ceilings to get it in> I would like to get an idea of materials involved (fiberglass?, reinforced & sealed concrete?, 12" block and liner?). <What dimensions? Particularly the height... All these construction methods can work, have been used> Are there any books or sites with detailed technical information on how to do this? <None that I'm aware. Best to at least chat with folks who have done these projects (check with your LFS, clubs (fresh and marine) in the area> Is this a DIY type project, or best left to professional aquarium contractors? <Again, depending on mostly the height and your skill levels in the trades involved (and comfort level in turn), I would enlist others help> I looked in the archived dailies, but only found a link to a concrete 2000 gallon system that didn't provide much info. There are also some large glass/plywood designs on the web that were described as safe, but, frankly, they gave me the jibblies (CREEEAAAAKKK!! SLOSSSHHHH!), especially for a tank of the size I'm planning. Thanks, Jeremy Dawson Morgantown, WV <Keep gathering information until you're sure of your options, their attendant plusses, potential minuses. Send along plans and we'll post for others going over. Bob Fenner>

- Acrylic Or Glass - I'm getting ready to purchase a 375 gallon aquarium 96 x 30 x 30 and are debating whether to go with a Glass or Acrylic tank. I've always owned glass aquariums and haven't had any problems with them but I know if I get a glass 375 gallon aquarium it will be very heavy with 3/4" glass but on the other hand acrylic scratches very easily and I don't want my tank to be all scratched up after a while. This tank would be primarily a FOWLR tank. What would you recommend and why ? <This is really your call... there are pros and cons to each. Acrylic is closer to transparent, colors are more true to life whereas glass [and especially the thicker glass] tends to have a blue-green tint to it. One can have tanks made with Starfire glass, which is less green but this will add to the cost. As you mentioned before, glass tanks are very heavy, but on the other hand, they are easier to clean. Also mentioned, is the ability to scratch acrylic which means you need special cleaning tools. And in that same vein, coralline algae has a real affinity for plastics, which means you'll be cleaning coralline off you viewing panels more often in an acrylic tank. Lastly, in tanks this size the acrylic has to be quite thick which means the acrylic tank will be more expensive than the glass one. So... you decide.> Thanks. <Cheers, J -- >

Public Aquarium- Mauritius Hi Mr. Fenner..... May I please trouble you again for some advice...... The panels that we will be using for the shark tank will be laminated glass ( approx. dim. 2m30 x 1m 30 ) of 30mm thickness. Bearing in mind that the depth of the tank is only 1m 30 ( ie to water level) will the thickness be sufficient. <There are different types of laminated glass. Most of the ones I'm aware of would be fine at this depth. I would still install a viewing panel (of glass or acrylic) between the structural laminate and the public viewing areas (it will get scratched by rings etc.)> Secondly.... I am trying to convince the directors of this project that we should adopt a system of filtration using live rocks ( which is in abundance here) and protein skimmer. They wish to use volcanic rock ( pumice type).... Do you think a mix of volcanic rock in the filtration sump and live rock in the display tanks would work? <I encourage you to leave out the volcanic rock entirely... it is too smooth, too chemically inert (mainly silicate) to be of use as a biological filter media or a source of biomineral, alkalinity> Thirdly..... can you recommend anyone who can supply very large protein skimmers for this type of project. There will be approx. 50 aquariums of average 100-250 gallons plus the shark tank measuring 16m x 5m. <Yes. The fine folks at Sanders (in Germany) and RK2 in California can help you here. I am going to cc a few friends in the field and ask that they help direct you> Hope to meet up with you on your forthcoming trip to Mauritius. Thanks for all your help. Mick <Am very much looking forward to the Mascarenes. Bob Fenner>

Execufish? 6/12/03 Hello, I have an off beat question and story for you guys and since you are so well connected in the industry, I thought you may have some knowledge of this person ...... Going back to 1990, I finally had enough cash to order a long desired jumbo acrylic aquarium. I ordered it from a Colorado business named Execufish. I discussed the tank size (300 gallons) and dimensions and ordered the tank with a colored back, overflows, drilled holes, pumps etc. and sent them a check for the full amount. They took a while to give me any information and I kept calling to get no answer or sales people who couldn't tell me anything. After speaking to a local fish store owner in PA, I heard a rumour that Execufish was going out of business! I kept calling them and finally spoke to a woman who told me there was a slight bubble problem with the assembly and they would have it shipped out the next day. She gave me a shipping freight number and said it would be delivered by Yellow Freight. As a few days passed and no tank arrived, I called them again to get an answer to what was going on. They were gone! I found some local fish store phone numbers in that area of Colorado and asked if they had any info about this place and the guy I spoke to said he knew they were going out of business and he drove by there on that day and the place was empty! The guy also told me there were many people and banks who had unfinished business with Execufish and that I would be one of a long list of people looking for some resolution. Since they cashed my check and disappeared, I never got anything I ordered. I filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau, but that couldn't really do much for my situation. I have since upgraded to a 220 glass tank, but I'm slowly preparing to relocate and eventually purchase a new acrylic tank in the 370 or 400 gallon range. Do you know anything about this Execufish owner? <none at all... but perhaps some of the CO locals will recall specific name(s) that you can use> Is he still anywhere in the acrylic tank business? I don't know if I could get any satisfaction through a refund or new tank or what the legal options are, but I would definitely like to avoid purchasing a new tank from anyone he is affiliated with! Thanks, Rich <very unfortunate to hear! I wish we had primary info to share with you. Instead, we will post this on the dailies and ask you to follow the FAQ page for a few days to see if anyone replies with information. Else, there are many fine and established acrylic aquarium builders out West. Tenecor is but one of many. Best regards, Anthony>

Reply to Consumer concern Re: Execufish of Colorado II 6/14/03 <cheers Rich, a friend and reader of WWM has replied to us regarding your Execufish situation. His message is pasted below (no e-mail though since it was not volunteered). He's a great chap and you may be able to reach him in the public forum of ReefCentral... his moniker is "Stormbringer". Kind regards to all, Anthony... and much thanks Stormbringer <G>> [Anthony, I live in Denver. The person with the *Execufish? 6/12/03* questions should call the Tom Martino-trouble shooters-program on the A.M. dial, 630 KHOW, In the early afternoon. Mr. Martino might be able to help. I've got a buddy that used to work for Execufish years ago, and still tells the horror stories from the experience. Stormbringer.]

Re: conversion I am trying to determine how many gallons will fill a tank 36"x 18"x 48". Would you please help? Thank You. <Multiply these three values and divide by 231 (there are 231 cubic inches in a gallon volume). Bob Fenner>

Re: 14' reef tank with double bows Thought you might want a pic of my new project <Very nice> Say Hi To Bob, Tammy & I miss him.
<Hey I'm still on the planet! Bob Fenner>

Drilling Tank... Good evening, I seem to want to make it hard for myself. I purchased a 300 gallon acrylic tank about eleven months ago and it has the standard overflows to my skimmer, calcium reactor, and return pump. I also removed two temporary power heads and plumbed two external pumps on each side of the tank up and over the tank so no holes were drilled. Well now that the tank has been going for ten months, I would like to drill the back of the tank for two inlets to the pumps on the side of tank. If I remove approximately 110 gallons out of the tank, (here's the punch line) should and could I drill the two holes needed? <It is possible.> Part of the reason to do this is to re-incorporate my refugium back into the line up. One of the pumps would pump water back to main tank and a fraction to the gravity return refugium. As always thank you for your time. <Be sure to use extremely sharp bits/hole saw for this and go slow. -Steven Pro>

LA Salt Water Systems I was wondering if you would have several sources for the best saltwater aquarium designers and suppliers in the Los Angeles, CA area. I am designing a home theatre and my client has requested that I integrate a salt water aquarium in the overall design. Your help would be greatly appreciated. Regards, Sean Miller <So many to chose from. I'd contact one of the local clubs, such as Marine Aquarium Society of Los Angeles County, or Southern California Marine Aquarium Society. These clubs have many talented aquarists in their ranks, including some professional installation/design people, who could offer assistance and services. Good luck, Scott F.>

Large Tank with Center Divider Guys, I'm installing a 10 foot long tank in my restaurant. My idea is to have a Plexiglas divider with a multitude of small holes or slots in it to provide water flow. One 5 foot section would house a live rock predator type ecosystem, with morays, triggers etc, the other half a reef community tank. <If you have not done so already, I would rethink this, if you want to have a reef (corals and the like).> There will be inflows and outflows on both sides, plus a closed circuit line, pulling from one side, exiting in the other side with an in line canister filter. One large sump will be used with system with top line skimming, ozone, pumps etc. Any obvious problems I may encounter? <Tremendous nutrient problems and nuisance algae on the reef side.> Any other suggestions? <Simply keep the two systems separate.> Also, I've installed a 200 mg ozonizer on my home tank, total water volume 500-550 gallons. After a week my ORP has stabilized at 310 even though I have the unit set for 350. Is my unit too small for this size system? <Perhaps, but if holding steady, I would be happy with it. Versus trying to attain some particular number, I would strive to maintain stability and watch the trends of ORP.> The unit is on maximum output. I have not noticed a big difference in water clarity. <Perhaps there is some other aspect of your husbandry that is amiss. Ozone is a useful tool, but is not a remedy for any and all problems.> Thank you as always for your timely answers. Paul <Have a nice day! -Steven Pro>

Custom Aquariums I am a licensed cabinet maker and I have been asked on different occasions by friends to build custom cabinets for their established aquariums. Building cabinets is not my lively hood now, only a hobby, I actually make a very good living in a totally different trade. But, I am considering the possibility of building custom setups, part time. I would like to provide the customer with cabinet and tank.  <better to stick with your specialty of cabinet/stand making... the tank manufacturers are so big and get their prices so low by buying trailers full of glass... I don't see how you could compete with a part time commitment> My concern is keeping the price low enough to make it appealing to a would be buyer.  <agreed> Buying a tank in a store or online from an existing reseller makes the buyer pay twice as much as I would be marking up the item to ensure a profit.  <a 100% markup on the tank is unusual and arguably inappropriate in the industry for staple items such as tanks. Again... focus on the more profitable aspect of your resources, custom woodworking> Or having the customer provide the tank takes from my profit.  <not really... most big stores sell tanks at break even or even at a slight loss. It is a "door buster"/staple item that few people make any money on. It is the ancillary products that are profitable, my friend> I have made agreements with local lumber yards to insure rock bottom prices on wood. This helps on the cabinet side but obviously not on the tank side. How can I locate Wholesale/Distributors to purchase tanks etc. for resale?  <join/subscribe to a trade organization and get the trade magazines with the contact info that you seek. Try PIJAC, Pet Age, Pet Supplies Marketing, etc> What other concerns should I have regarding this? Thanks for your time. LMcEVNS <best regards, Anthony>

Aquarium design Hi Bob, <Hello> I have a friend who works for an Architect. They have been approached to design a house with a room sized aquarium, and they have a bunch of questions regarding design etc. Would you be interested in helping them or know of somebody who can help them? Please let me know....Sunil. <Fire away. Help is available. Bob Fenner>

RE: Aquarium design Thanks Bob. You will hear from either Aditi Shah or Peggy (don't know her last name) tomorrow or the day after. I have given them your e-mail address. <Real good. Bob Fenner> Cheers, Sunil.

BIG tank Hi,  <Cheers, Anthony Calfo in your service> I am planning to build an aquarium of considerable size out of cement, approximately 8ft by 8ft by 6 ft, with a window facing into my living room, I live on the east coast of Canada, my question is can you recommend a book on what type of equipment I will need for a marine aquarium, I want to make it as real as possible with live rock and corals etc. <hmmmm... this really depends on the bio-load of the display. A lot of live rock is desirable, a good investment and may negate the need for much artificially supported biological filtration. However, If you want a lot of fish... the game changes. So essentially, you'll want to decide if this is a reef tank or a fish tank. Mixing is of course possible but very difficult if split down the middle (as in a heavy fish AND invertebrate load). Aquarium Systems and Engineering is an excellent reference on the equipment side of the hobby. Bob's Conscientious Marine Aquarist is truly the best marine fish book to be found IMO, and for reef corals you have many good choices including Borneman, Tullock and my book for recent references on reef aquariology and of course, Sprung and Delbeek for something slightly older but still quite good> there is such an abundance of equipment out there that when I went to look it was just baffling. any help will be greatly appreciated for I have no idea. I was strictly freshwater hobbyist. thank you for you time and out of curiosity can you keep seahorse in a tank with other fish?  Thank you again Harry Tulk  <this is not recommended under most any circumstance for many reasons. However, a seagrass refugium without other fish on this big tank of yours could very nicely house them. Best regards with this wonderful project, Anthony Calfo>

To Drill Or Not To Drill Bob, I am getting a new tank 180 gallons and want your opinion.... Should I use an overflow (say a lifereef) or get the tank drilled for a corner overflow? <Definitely get the tank drilled.> Wow I think that was the shortest question I ever asked you :) Regards, Robert <Be chatting soon. -Steven Pro>

Canopy question <Anthony Calfo in your service> Hello again, I have a question on how tall should a canopy be?  <that depends on how fat your head is and if you wear a hat> My Tank is 48 long 30 deep and 24 tall, I have 2 400 watt 20,000 k metal halide lamps and 4 660 ice cap vho fluorescents 2 are 50/50 2 are actinic, no I am not making lava.  <hehe.. beat me to it <smile>> The lights are about 12 to 13 inches from the water surface. I did put a screen on top of my tank and also punched holes through it for my acropora. So they get the real intense light.  <does indeed sound like a good/interesting idea> I was thinking of making the canopy much taller and adding another fan in side it, but I am not sure how much taller.  <12" might be OK, although I certainly wouldn't go any lower) and I'm making an educated guess that you might not need to place the bulbs any higher than 18" from water surface> Since I put the screen on my tank I have noticed a big difference in some of my corals, for the better.  <very glad to hear it... you seriously sound game/prepared to intuitive experimentation...kudos to you> If I do build a taller canopy, their will be @ least a day of darkness on the reef, how will that effect them.  <very little trouble at all> My thinking is not that much, right?  <agreed> I am sending you an attachment of my coral stock to give you an Idea of what I have in there right now. Once again thank you for helping me get back in to my hobby, I never thought I could do it but look @ me go now. Thanks for being a great help! <keep on rocking in the free world, my brother. Anthony Calfo>

Fish tank question. Hi! Robert, <Howdy> Well my 1000gal tank is in the house and I have some serious questions for you. When I bought the tank (14.5'x4'wide x 2'high) I was told it would be 3/4" acrylic. I even have the receipt saying that. <Mmm, well... the height is really the important element here... half inch will do structurally (all else being taken care of... e.g. a strong, level, planar stand...), but three quarter would have been better in terms of resisting bowing... you may notice deflection in the viewing panels...> I purchased it from Aquaart. Well it turns out the tank is 1/2". I called Richard Gould and he said they were out of 3/4 and the back order was a year long but 1/2" would be more than sufficient because the tank is well braced at the top. He also claims to have used some polycast acrylic and it is supposed to be a lot stronger. He also claims the product has a warranty of 10 years against bowing. <Okay> Do you think 1/2" is enough for a tank that big.  <Yes... mainly the height that is important as mentioned> Do you think I should ask for some of my money back because I paid for a 3/4 and got a 1/2" tank instead? Please advise. I have over 20K tied into this project and will get a lawyer if I have to. <If such a challenge attracts you, perhaps. You might instead ask for some other sort of compensation from the fabricator... maybe a sump, or salt mixing vat... Bob Fenner> Thanks.

Planning Large Reef w/Water Reserve Hello Bob, I am now in the concept stages of planning my dream reef tank to coincide with the purchase of a new home 18-24 months from now.  <Ahh, good to plan, anticipate> It will be an in-wall ~1100 g 12'x4'x3' tank with LR/LS optimized for SPS corals, 2 mixed shoals of Anthias and some other hard to keep, but compatible, favorites on my list. <Wow, some system!> I read through the large-tank/designer-tank/circulation/plumbing/mud FAQs and still have some questions. I ask these questions, because I would rather spend the money once going REAL SLOW and be happy with the results. <We are in agreement with this approach, philosophy> I received a burst of inspiration to add a very large water reserve to my tank plans. It came from an UK-based hobbyist magazine article on a 2300 g water reserve attached to a 1200 g tank with 300 fish and "wall to wall" corals. This at-home system had lots of attached commercial equipment, but it gave me ideas for 2000-2400 g of extra water. First of all, are you familiar with any similar setup in the USA or the article I am referring to?  <Think I saw the article in a recent PFK issue, and yes... many folks have sizable reservoir, water storage facilities> What is your opinion on the large water reserve concept?  <A good one. My memorialized opinions re can be found here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/water4maruse.htm> With respect to gas exchange, should the large water reserve be a open top container or would an buried water tank serve the same purpose if the main aquarium had adequate circulation installed? I would also like your definition "adequate" as I could not find a similarly configured system in the FAQs. <Should be recirculated, heated... best to use an external pump, pump from bottom, discharge at surface in such a size, type arrangement.> I am leaning heavily towards EcoSystem Filtration (with light skimming as you recommend) with two 200 g mud sumps for redundancy, increased bioload potential, and room to hold water in case of power failure. After the tank is well established with critters, I plan to add a mated pair of Mandarin fishes. With Leng's system, would an additional refugium be beneficial to the Mandarins?  <Yes> If so, would you recommend a sand bed to complement the mud for added critter diversity, or would a 3rd mud-sump/refugium be the better approach?  <Sand> In preparing for the Anthias and Mandarins, would it be wise to start the refugium a year prior to the large tank? <Not so much time, but a good month or two> Finally, I was considering using an actuated ball valve to control water flow on two alternating pathways on a closed circulation loop from a pressure rated pump. The loop would feed a PVC structure hidden behind the rock work. This would be in addition to 4 Sea-Swirls used as returns from the sumps from a non-pressure rated pump. I have two thoughts here. First and foremost is redundancy in the circulation plans in case one pump fails. The second is having the top 8"-12" of the tank as an open water column with chaotic water flow for the Anthias, some carefully selected Surgeonfish, and some Green Chromis dithering about to keep everyone at peace. What are your thoughts on actuated ball valves used for alternating circulation loops? <Generally unnecessary... better/fine to have all the water pressure, flow discharge in a chaotic fashion w/o the expense, restriction of valving. Try the set-up w/o the valves first and see if you still consider them useful is my suggestion.> Would you consider the Sea-Swirls overkill? Am I missing something here (including simplicity)? <Other circulation is worthwhile> As a side note, I am returning to the hobby after 12 years. After reading about 8 or 9 books on the hobby last year, I must confess that I enjoyed the CMA the most. I truly appreciate your ongoing efforts on WWM and the efforts of your colleagues in establishing a treasure chest of information! <Ahh, thank you for your kind, encouraging words. Will share. Bob Fenner> Thanks for your help.- Rob

Re: Larger Aquarium questions, Dan pls take a look, respond Hey Bob/Dan, yes, the tank is mainly intended to be viewed while standing. It's location is the entry lobby into a building, so people can watch it while waiting for their meeting/conference. basically like Dan's waiting room concept. . . <Yes> <I strongly encourage you to fashion/have fashioned overflow wiers/towers in the corners... with the through puts arranged under/in the corners> You mean, having the corner overflows with bulkheads at the bottom of the tank in the corners? We're planning on having three overflow boxes (two in the corners, one in the middle - all fairly large), with all the plumbing to go underneath the tank to/from the sump. Is there something additional or did I just not quite understand what you meant ? <This is exactly what I meant. Likely 1 1/2" through put holes> Again, thanks for the input and for anyone elses' input. Have a good weekend.
<Be chatting, Bob Fenner>
regards, Ed

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