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Enter the LFR! (Local Fish Room) - Sundance

PostPosted: Sat Oct 04, 2008 12:40 pm
by Sundance
Please do not leave comments/suggestions in this Journal

I welcome comments, questions, and suggestions posted on another thread you can access by clicking here.

Team,

Welcome to Northwest Arkansas, USA, where we've begun work on a room dedicated to fish keeping. After being diagnosed with pronounced MTS (multiple tank syndrome) and working at my LFS (local fish shoppe), I've decided to name the project my "LFR" (local fish room).

My wife and I moved into our first home on my birthday in August 2008. The house was built in 1977. No overhead light fixtures, ceiling "popcorn", and quality building materials were in style. One out of three isn't bad. :)

The foundation is "on blocks", meaning we have a crawlspace. Good for new plumbing, bad for supporting thousands of pounds of water weight. But, we'll get to that.

The room is a 3rd bedroom measuring 11' x 11' with a good sized closet that borders the laundry room, so I can patch into the water line fairly easy. A wall light switch controls a wall outlet, one of four. Another fix for the list.

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We live at the top of a hill and have a 3/4" copper water line coming into the house. Our water pressure tested at 50 PSI. We're on city water, private septic. Water changes will be set up to drain independent of the septic system. City water in our area is sourced from Beaver Lake, treated with chlorine (no chloramine, thankfully), and has flouride added. You can learn a lot from a water supply report from your area.

I welcome comments, questions, and suggestions posted on another thread you can access by clicking here.

For more, less formal, behind-the-scenes updates, visit my fish blog: Wet Socks

The best way to start any project is research. I had in my mind what I wanted with the room. I consulted the wisdom and experience of this forum, my local fish club, my local fish shoppe, fathers, uncles, et al. I measured, shopped around, and budgeted. I OBTAINED BUY IN FROM MY SPOUSE. :D

I want to create a fish room that is a showcase for the fish I keep. I plan to use techniques I've learned to balance form, function, and a bit of flash so that the room is a positive aspect to the house. I want to avoid the wife being embarrassed to let company see the room. I also need to keep in mind that someday, we'll most likely want to sell this home.

So, let's begin...

Carpet, though fairly new and clean, has to go. Removal took less than 15 minutes. The pad was cleaner than I expected, the trim popped off easily. I took the time to pull each staple from the floor that held the carpet pad in place.

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Popcorn. Ceiling texture, whatever. It hadn't been painted over, so it came off easily with a painting edger. I wore safety glasses and a dust mask. This step was the messiest. Dust everywhere. Ex post facto, a co-worker recommended spritzing the texture as I went to reduce the dust. After shop vac'ing, I taped for painting.

My first choice of color was black. I was severely dissuaded by EVERYONE. Hint taken. I compromised with deep green walls and coordinating lighter green ceiling.

Specifically - Walls: Hazel Woods, Ceiling: Wethersfield Moss, Trim: Deep Finish Wood.
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I bought Kitchen & Bath paint as one of several defenses against humidity.

I started with the ceiling, using a roller with broom handle extension:
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The first coat on the ceiling marked the end of day one. Six hours labor in the project with a run to Home Depot.

Throughout the following week, we spent time in the room after our day jobs. The wife helped paint the walls while I did the second coat on the ceiling. The next day we did the second coat on the walls and touch ups. I highly recommend
the Shur Line Paint Edger. Add four hours into the room.
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My cousin Nick was visiting from KY and I put him to work with the floor. We chose Allure vinyl tile because of what it says on the box:

"Super durable and completely waterproof. Perfect in high moisture areas… basements, kitchens, and bathroom.
Simply lay overlapping GripStrip™ of one plank on adjacent plank and press together. No other adhesive required.
Minimal trimming involved. Just score and snap!"

It performed exactly as described. Super easy. Add five hours to the project.
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And that's where we're at for now. I'll post more as we go!

Re: Enter the LFR! (Local Fish Room) - Sundance

PostPosted: Tue Nov 04, 2008 9:00 pm
by Sundance
Not the most exciting update but important progress nonetheless. The photo shows a bead of Kitchen & Bath caulk along the trim and tile seam. It applies white but dries clear. The hope is that in the probable event of a significant spill, the caulk and trim will create a "bowl effect" that will help me manage how the water leaves the room. Preferably through the emergency floor drain I plan to install. I'm caulking the nail holes in the trim as well.
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I finished ("finished" used loosely) the layout plan for the room. It is to scale, allowing a two foot radius for "me" to move around the room.
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The sink will be in the closet along with a work surface. I've allocated space for a rack of 10 gallon tanks closest to the work area, anticipating them to be fry and rearing tanks. The upside will be that the most work will go on near sink and work surface. The downside is that the work area will be the first thing visitors see. Ah well. I'm telling myself that's just motivation to keep it clean. :whistle:

The centerpiece of the room will likely be the 120 ga High. I hope to house Clown Loaches in this bad boy.

The green square is a 75 gallon planted with CO2.

I have a rack of three 15 gallon tanks in the corner and have squeezed in a 10 gallon wherever there was free floor space.

The tank marked 10S will be a saltwater nano. All other tanks are to be freshwater.

Of course, we can't forget about one of the most important pieces of equipment - a chair!

Something I found strange is that I also factored "curb appeal" into the layout. I was in the front yard painting a tank stand when I noticed how the fish room looked from the street. I know it sounds strange, but when I realized how cool it could look from the curb, it played a part in my design.

I've moved most of the tanks into the room. They sit dry. I still have plenty of work to do with the room and I know that once a tank is filled my focus will shift away from what really needs to be done.

More as we progress...

Re: Enter the LFR! (Local Fish Room) - Sundance

PostPosted: Sat Nov 29, 2008 3:26 pm
by Sundance
Did I say "finished layout"? :shrug:

I am thankful this holiday that my brother-in-law dropped off a 130 gallon tank!

This prompted some rearranging.

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I moved the 75 planted out. I've got another project for that tank in mind. I don't mind the trade up for space in the room.

The space under the 75 was cabinet, the rack for the 130 gives me 6 ft of 18 in wide space for tanks. I haven't decided what size tanks I'll put there, as indicated on the floor plan...5 ga's or 30 Breeders.

I also opted to use the 55 double rack for two smaller tanks up top rather than two 55's. I've decided that I want to have more smaller tanks so that I can do more different things.

I should note, I don't own most of the tanks in the floor plan. I'm just planning ahead now. It's really difficult to move large tanks. The 30 Breeder is my favorite size, so I've planned around buying those in the future, but making space for them now.

The window space will now work for houseplants and hopefully humidity management. Speaking of, I scored a good deal on a dehumidifier at an estate sale.

The wish list now includes a 45" papasan chair. It's easy to move and seems like it would lend itself to extended periods of tank viewing.

I've been dragging my feet on finishing the closet work. I need to pick it up, I really want to fill some tanks and I don't want to do that until the sink is in the closet.

Re: Enter the LFR! (Local Fish Room) - Sundance

PostPosted: Sun Nov 30, 2008 10:18 pm
by Sundance
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Today took me into the crawlspace. The LFR is designed to hold over 5,000 pounds of water, plus equipment.

My floor joists are 2x12's on 16 inch centers. I've decided to reinforce the floor with two 4x4's running perpendicular to the existing joists, seated on cement block posts.

In the diagram below, the brown overlay represents the existing joists. The orange overlay will be the new 4x4's, and the yellow dots are the 8 cement block posts.

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I took my measurements, marked the lines and post locations under the house. I'm working in a range of 18 inches to 24 inches. Literally crawling around in the stale air in the nether regions of your home makes one question what one is getting into. I'll sleep better with the reinforcement. I plan to do the cut work outside and bring the materials in.

I also finished stripping out the closet, shaved the popcorn off the ceiling, and slapped on the first coat of paint.

Add three hours to the project. :D

Re: Enter the LFR! (Local Fish Room) - Sundance

PostPosted: Sun Dec 07, 2008 9:33 pm
by Sundance
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Not the prettiest picture but it represents three hours under the house. I braced off the floor as pictured in the previous post. Well, I did have some help. Major thanks go to the wife for loading the "cart".

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We turned a two wheel dolly on it's back and tied a rope to each end. I crawled the twenty or so feet to the other end of the house, my wife loaded the cart and I pulled it to me. Then my wife would pull it back and load another concrete block on it. Eleven blocks and two 10 foot 4x4's later I had an intimate knowledge of my crawlspace.

Thank goodness for shims. I obviously couldn't have done this without them and they've made those connections solid. I'm worn out but it should be worth it in the long run.

Re: Enter the LFR! (Local Fish Room) - Sundance

PostPosted: Mon Jan 05, 2009 9:03 pm
by Sundance
The next big item for the room was bringing in water. I picked up a 20 gallon laundry tub along with a "pull out" faucet. The spout came threaded/Python ready and can extend.

Here's a photo of the wife painting the exterior black. I don't want the original white to reflect in the tank glass.
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After much internal deliberation and coaching from fellow forum members and family, I decided to do the plumbing myself. While I was shopping for the pipe, the clerk talked me into a compression fitting called "Sharkbite". The tee fitting lets you patch into existing copper and add new CPVC. (Apparently CPVC is safe for hot water, PVC = cold.) I did some web searches and feel confident about the compression fittings.

The existing plumbing went from a main line of 3/4" to 1/2". Not that it matters terribly because the faucet piping is like an 1/8". I may have to bypass that. Someday.

Here's a shot of my step-father and me taking turns trying to turn water off at the street.
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Being a novice to plumbing, it took me a good 10 hours. It shouldn't take that long, but again, novice. Most of my grief was my own fault. I tried to build my own faucet connections to save a few bucks. What it cost me was having to do the work three times. I'm sure I'll look back at the memory of sprinting through the house, outside, and into the crawlspace to turn off the water because it was spraying from a bad connection in the closet - and laugh. :D

Fortunately, I had previously laid a bead of silicone along the trim and it contained the spill.

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All said and done, I saved a bunch of money doing it myself (with help from the fam). To think, I was going to "sweat" this! :rofl:

The drain line still needs to be run. But, hey, one step at a time.

I scored a great deal on this new 1.3 cubic ft mini-fridge/w freezer tray. Black, of course, to minimize reflection.
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Do you think there are Blackworms in that yogurt container? :think:

I repaired the one outlet that was controlled by the light switch. I need to bring in another circuit for power and to run the industrial sized bathroom fan I've got my eye on.

More as we progress...

Re: Enter the LFR! (Local Fish Room) - Sundance

PostPosted: Sat Feb 28, 2009 8:36 pm
by Sundance
I've decided to take the advice from the discussion thread and rework the floor reinforcements. Winter and syncing up with help has delayed this next major step. At least the materials are bought.

I have, however, finished running the drain for the sink. I thought I was doing myself a favor by drilling a pilot hole for the larger hole I would need to make for the PVC drain. What I didn't realize was that hole saws and drill bits have a built in pilot functionality. This kept the drill from coming down straight which was bad. More tips from the discussion thread came in handy as I drilled smaller holes and punched out the gaps with a hammer.

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As you can see in the first frame the hole was not pretty. I cut a scrap piece of flooring and siliconed it in place.

While I was running the pipe in the crawl space I took more advice and ran a 3/4" secondary drain. This national forum is worth it's virtual weight in gold. It's sunk just below level in the floor and is threaded. I drop in a standard gravel vac line in, or screw in a garden hose for larger jobs. In the event of a flood it can help drain it off. Speaking of, I picked up an electronic "screamer" that sends 3 decibels out if the floor gets wet by the door.

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Both lines drain to an outside wall. I plan to have the secondary line fill a plastic 55 gallon drum that I can then reuse the nutrient rich WC water to water our small vegetable garden this season. The sink drain will drain to the ground. I don't want to eat water test kit cocktails.