Window Well Aquarium

RanDX14

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I was finally able to start my new build this week. After a remodel in the basement, I've been brainstorming all winter about a new plywood aquarium. I was planning something a little unique, and potentially problematic since it would have been 8ft long, 5ft of that length would have been 4ft high and then the remaining 3ft would have been 3.5ft high to fit under the egress window. The biggest problem with this plan was that it would have had a footprint almost 4ft from the wall, which would really take up a lot of space, plus it would have potentially "swallowed" up our wood (gas) burning stove.
So, one evening my wife said, kiddingly, why don't you just make a tank out of the window, lol.... I said that is a brilliant idea!!!! So, this week the fun has begun. I ripped out the window and cleared away the framing to maximize the "aquarium" viewing area. I am now trying to source the best price for the glass, which will be 38" x 43", with a 2" overlap on each side for sealing.
 

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RanDX14

RanDX14

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Does anyone have any thoughts on tempered vs normal glass? I've heard pros and cons for each. The online glass calculators put me just under 3/4" glass with a safety factor of 3.0. I assume they are calculating normal, non-tempered glass?
 
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RanDX14

RanDX14

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I was finally able to find a local source for my glass, should be here in about 2 weeks!!! (saved about $600 in shipping) Until then I am starting to work on my filtration. I am going to try an experiment, replicating filtration on my koi pond.
Here are some pics from my prototypes. The filtration will be in a separate room from where the display tank will be. Basically, I am trying to skim the surface in the main tank, with slots cut in pvc pipe, gravity fed to my 90gal tank. This will drain at the bottom of the tank through a pcv pipe with holes drilled to spread out the flow throughout the entire length of the tank. I will also be adding plants to this tank to help with natural filtration. Then have the overflow through the skimming pvc at the top, flowing to a garbage can, through filter pad, over lava rock, and then pumped back to the main tank.

My goal is to evenly spread out the flow throughout the tank and also skim the top of the tank. the return pump also has a surge feature which I am interested to see how the fish respond compared to a constant flow.
 

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NannaLou

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@RanDX14 - WOW!! What an amazing idea and how very clever to be able to do the building/plumbing yourself. Please keep the photos coming ?
 
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RanDX14

RanDX14

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This project is going much slower than I had anticipated. I think I was finally able to secure an order for my glass last night. Had a very hard time finding anyone locally that carried 3/4" glass and really didn't want to spend the extra $500 for shipping for an online order. Now I have to wait about 3 weeks before it will be ready for pickup.
In the meantime I can finish my framing, I was able to get the first piece of 3/4" plywood frame screwed and glued yesterday, this will be the viewable size, 39" x 45". I am hoping to get the 2nd sheet of 3/4" plywood in place tomorrow, this piece will have the center cutout 1.5" larger on all sides than the 1st piece and will hold the glass.
Once the plywood is in place I can start working on the plumbing. I was planning to paint the pvc pieces but even the weather has not been cooperating with me, to blasted windy to spray paint outside. Hopefully, I can get that completed this weekend also.
 

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NannaLou

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This project is going much slower than I had anticipated. I think I was finally able to secure an order for my glass last night. Had a very hard time finding anyone locally that carried 3/4" glass and really didn't want to spend the extra $500 for shipping for an online order. Now I have to wait about 3 weeks before it will be ready for pickup.
In the meantime I can finish my framing, I was able to get the first piece of 3/4" plywood frame screwed and glued yesterday, this will be the viewable size, 39" x 45". I am hoping to get the 2nd sheet of 3/4" plywood in place tomorrow, this piece will have the center cutout 1.5" larger on all sides than the 1st piece and will hold the glass.
Once the plywood is in place I can start working on the plumbing. I was planning to paint the pvc pieces but even the weather has not been cooperating with me, to blasted windy to spray paint outside. Hopefully, I can get that completed this weekend also.
Look on the bright side, you’ll have three weeks to plan, re-plan and re-plan again the different mixes and numbers of fish...?
 
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RanDX14

RanDX14

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Worked on some plumbing this weekend. One downfall with this plan is that some of the plumbing will be exposed in the room, but I should be able to get creative and hide it with some furniture and decor. Now I need to wait for a calm day so I can spray paint the plumbing and continue working on the back room filter plumbing.

I also picked up the wood I need to build the cover over the window well. Crazy prices for wood, good thing I only have a small 5'x4' cover.
 

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itiwhetu

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I wish you well, remember the fewer holes the better. I hope you are using plate glass rather then toughened.
 
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RanDX14

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There were pros and cons for tempered or plate glass, I did decide to use plate glass based on the recommendation of my supplier. He said for glass 3/4" think there would be some distortion with tempered glass.
I should only have 4 holes in the tank, 2 for the drain, 1 for the return, and 1 to get electric cords in/out. Standard bulkheads will be used so hopefully, that won't pose any issues. (that was one stipulation my wife gave me... "it better not leak!!!" :)
 
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RanDX14

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I was able to finish building the window well cover. Used 1x6 tongue and groove cedar. Just need to get it stained and then attach it to the house. Also need some hinges and a handle yet but I can't attach it to the house until I get the pond liner installed.
I was also able to get a first coat of paint on my plumbing that will be exposed in the room and the tank.
 

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RanDX14

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Had a day off today, spent it completing the filteration portion of the plumbing. Just need to make the final 3 connections from the display tank into the filteration room.
I'm planning to replicate the filteration on my koi pond, plants and Lava rock. I'll be putting some aquatic plants in the 90 gal tank, which will be skimming and draining into the top of the brute, from there it will pass through the drip plate onto a filter pad, over a bag of Lava rock and then pumped back to the display tank.
I added a value for water changes and an over flow bulkhead on the brute that would drain to my basement sump pump incase of any failures.
I do have a check valve on the return line to the display tank so that in case of a power outage the tank will not empty into the filteration system.
When I was testing this setup in my garage it was actually very quiet, I doubt I will even be able to hear it once it is up and running since it is in a separate room.
 

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