Mike's Last Build

Discussion in 'Tank Journals' started by sfsuphysics, Aug 6, 2018.

  1. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics Supporting Member

    So I'm talking too much in Mario's tank build thread about stuff not related to his tank, so figure I'd start up (another) thread on my tank. I've resisted doing this for so long because as some of you who've known me know I tend to get very verbose about topics, like almost writing essays (this one post too!), and as much as I joked about doing a thread like Jim's (where are you Jim?!!!) I really didn't want to.

    So first warning, there is no tank pictures yet, tank is not on a stand, there is no stand to put tank on, when this changes the topic title will change to reflect the size of the tank... hope I can edit this post in a month or more.

    So a brief, I hope, history. Everything is in a basement area, I've had tanks there before, the existing floor was build substandard so had noticeable bounce to it, I wanted to rip it out for a larger tank and just put directly on concrete slab, there were issues galore with that idea as well, so I decided to rebuild the floor in there... and tear out some drywall, and... yeah.... so this is where it's taking some time. While I might be handy, I don't have the stamina (both mentally and physically) just work on stuff all day long to get it done in a hurry. Oh yeah a kid entered the picture, and while many people I've known have gotten out of the hobby as a result, I did not want to do that so was able to leave my temporary setup in place for a while, just didn't have much time/desire to do much of anything

    So in addition to all this, here's the problem(s)... the room itself is (was!!) full of junk, I'm not going to point fingers (wife) but our house has become more and more like an episode of Horders due to her finding this thing called a "Buy Nothing Group" and her inability to say no to free stuff for our child, I mean hypothetically speaking... (I'm not guilt free either but I'm willing to just throw EVERYTHING out). Now this is compounded by the San Francisco square footage rule... which basically states "You don't have much, don't plan on having empty space" (paraphrased), so I got a bunch of stuff I can't just call bulk item over, I have very little space, so this entire build largely became a shell game of moving stuff out of the way just to do some work, and when that was done moving it all back and doing another part. This is compounded by the fact the room is about 15' x 25' is still partially a laundry area, and there's a 300 gallon tub on the floor housing my current fish (this is the my part problem), so the idea of gutting the whole thing making a big pile of debris on the floor and calling a junk company to take it then rebuild everything up in a clean open area, while absolutely the easiest course of action, unfortunately was not possible.

    So here's a taste of said junk, some lamps from the Lincoln administration, a weight setup that I used for all of about 2 months before it started collecting dust then moved from one area to another. Luckily she found someone willing to take the weight machine, and the lamps went to the garbage dump since no one wanted that old crap (along with a few other things).

    The Plan
    Do half the area, set things up, and when that is done I can gut the other half of the area (I can probably temporarily set up a laundry area while I work so I don't need to rush) and make the whole room presentable and get the wife seal of approval!

    The first half is the man cave/fish cave side which is my ultimate goal, the minor goal is to make the other side look good too :D. Unfortunately in the history of my reefkeeping career when setting up new tank I have one nasty habit, and that's to have a fairly good plan of what I want but once I get water, fish, lights on the tank I tend to have a "good enough" mentality and leave it as such, it can be anything from an unfinished stand, a fish room idea that never materializes, or tanks on the floor because hey they hold water there too. That mentality stops here, so if it takes a little (lot) longer then it takes longer.

    I haven't taken a lot of pictures, but hopefully some that "highlight" what's going on.
    Along the way, both before and during, this I've had a lot of "depression" moments, where things just seemed overwhelming. And while it could have been easily fixed with money, I'm a teacher, so money is not in large supply. Plus I've hired contractors before, and while yeah some are good most all of them I've had the "pleasure" of working with have dumped off the work to very low paid employees who do have some level of skills but they aren't craftsmen, and they do a level of work that I can do often better, so it becomes a moment of saying say "$8000 or 8 months which is more important to me" , and usually money is more important than time for me.

    So here's the floor joists, the problem is that they span about 10 feet of length, but were only 2 x 4s, which if you know anything about flooring is not wide enough to support a floor over that length, now the problem is the concrete slab is very close to the joists so proper sized ones literally don't fit (without the floor being higher) now I didn't want to make it higher so I did with they originally did and put in supports every 2-3 feet under the joists, the difference is I used pressure treated wood when I have concrete contact which the original people did not and over time they rotted to the point where none of them were actually touching the concrete, hence the bounce in the floor.

    The mess is back... well not really, just a zoomed out version, my little debris pile was getting large, but that area was already done and level. The hard part here was putting just enough in the garbage can so that I don't raise any suspicion to the garbage man about throwing away "contstruction debris" which apparently they don't like (because they charge more for it at the dumps...) and unfortunately the pile is too small to make a trip to the dump worth it, although before this image I did take a crap ton of drywall and stuff there paid the minimum fee of $25, which was less than a quarter ton to give some idea of how much stuff is needed. There is something new added in this picture though...

    Here's a cleaned up version, brooms work!

    So the plan is to have a sink for the tank because my wife gets bent up over me using the laundry basin for fish stuff... seriously she will not hand wash clothes in it because I've emptied the skimmer cup in there regardless of how well I clean it up too! So needed to run plumbing, but there's also something else there... look right near the broom, that's what's referred to as a french drain, I did not want spills to be an issue. The slight problem with this though is there's no way to make a p-trap out of it so I can't tie it into the sewage so I'll have to run it outside which is fine, might have to worry about cold air... we'll see.

    Plywood down! Plywood down! This took some time to start, the first two pieces on one end were easy enough, but getting that tongue into the grove did prove to be tricky and time consuming, a lot of grunting whacking with a hammer, and other things... and that plywood ain't light, but after it was done, even these two pieces, the floor felt so solid it was nice.

    Really should have put this plastic sheeting up earlier, but when I started putting in drywall, and sanding then I wanted to contain the dust.

    Drywall goes up fairly easily, the green/purple is where the fish room is going to be. Tried to figure out the difference between green and purple drywall and it seems they both serve the same purpose. Had that half sheet of green still so installed that, went to the store they had green and purple, the purple was 1/2" and the green was 5/8" yeah I went with purple if anything because it was lighter. Fun fact, 4' x 8' sheets of drywall do not fit in a 2006 Toyota Prius, however being as that area is 34" tall, a 34" x 8' piece of drywall does fit in. A drywall square + utility knife and I was cutting my drywall into a smaller size in the Lowes parking lot.

    Then some chatter on Mario's thread about primer... drywall primer/sealer for the new stuff, regular primer through everything else. Well I should have used drywall primer on the old stuff too, because it sucked up the primer like crazy and still saw the under color which did not make me happy. Well 3 coats of primer and things for the most part are covered up. I did see a bunch of "goofs" I did with sealing screw holes in the ceiling (from an old tank), they bulged out like I didn't sand them down enough when I applied joint compound. Might whack them with a hammer to create a divot and fill the divot in with compound, I'll have to see how much it bugs me, because the new drywall looks flawless with no screw holes visible, no idea where the mud is... I'm very proud of myself for that job :)

    And we're white! It looks brighter on this side because I'm not taking a picture into the light from the window. Having decided on a color, but the window is going to be covered up with fish room, and I'm thinking of a dark color just to make the tank the focal point of the whole area, unfortunately looking at those little color cards can be about as useful as... don't have an analogy. Started to put primer on the door, but figure I'll just remove it from the hinges and sand it outside and prime it flat without any hardware on it.

    But there ya go, room is ready for paint (well as soon as this last bit dries), going to remove most of the debris from the center of the room though before paint. Then get a stand up and cry for help moving a 200 gallon glass tank into position. Have a couple ideas for a stand, one is cheap, about $40 for the structure, using wood that I can build myself, the other is using extruded aluminum which is not as cheap, $300+ for structure, which I still would love to do but part of me wonders how much of a waste it will be if it's covered with wood panels for doors and what not and the only aluminum I see is maybe the legs, before anyone suggests I can't make it an open stand without doors, possibility of my kid running around there means I need some locking mechanisms to keep him away.

    So promised no tank, check, promised essay level proportions, check. Bravo if you stuck through and read all of that :) More in due time.
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2018
    Rostato, bondolo, rygh and 3 others like this.
  2. Coral reefer

    Coral reefer Past President

    kinetic likes this.
  3. Ibn

    Ibn Guest

    Good progress, Mike!
  4. tankguy

    tankguy Supporting Member

    Following this epic thread
  5. rygh

    rygh BOD


    But you need to change the title of the thread. Last -> Latest?
    "Last" just seems depressing.
    And realistically, what are the odds that it will be.
  6. Reefatosis

    Reefatosis Guest

    Two thumbs up for DIY. You could screw it up twice and still be less expensive than most contractors; and without the gratification.
    There are many who live by the saying: “Well begun, half done”.
  7. MolaMola

    MolaMola Supporting Member

    That was a good read. What a transformation - that last white picture is awesome, but you did a TON. Drywall work is hard to get right - nice going. I think I see where you added more outlets. Where is the sink area? What is in that dark square in the lower half of the wall?
    You can't dump stuff into a dumpster at work? Maybe you don't want it in the Prius. Or you take transit. That can be a big perk, as long as you time it right.
  8. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics Supporting Member

    Thanks to all. Sink area is in the corner near the window, you can see plumbing in the corner, red/blue pex for water, little black hole (abs plumbing for drain), and then a couple more pipes near the bottom for an added surprise later :)

    Yeah all the outlets are new, there's only one in the picture and that was disconnected a long time ago, old home with like 1 outlet per wall so I put it more, upgraded the wiring, added grounding, but those aren't for powering the tank... another surprise on that front that I can barely see and I know where to look!

    Dark square is a fan to pull moist air out of the enclosed behind tank area, hooked to a humidistat, I've already accepted the fact the humidity will be high, I just want to keep it on the low side of the high end, as it stands it's something like 65% now but being as I don't have it enclosed I don't want to pull air out quite yet until I have a drier are to pull air from.

    There is a dumpster at work, but it's for work related stuff, and it does have a sign that says no dumping, and I'd rather not get in trouble to save a few bucks. But that's an idea, big pile of stuff take on BART or something an "accidentally" leave it there when I leave :D... nah. Each week I simply double bag the stuff and put it in the trash can just chopping away at it.
  9. rygh

    rygh BOD

    Why not run a small exhaust fan 24/7.
    I run a small bathroom fan for main tank area and garage sump area.
    Some are almost dead silent.
    You end up pulling in fresh (hot/cold) air from outside, but our climate is so nice, who cares.
  10. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics Supporting Member

    Well the fan is an exhaust fan, the problem with that general area right now is a) there's a 300g rubbermade tub on the ground with water at 76°F and a good amount of surface area, b) the door to the outside isn't exactly air tight so even if I did pull the moist air out it will most likely get replaced with humid SF air and c) the whole house is pretty much all one continuous air column, except for the bathroom and the bedroom at night no doors are closed, I doubt a fan will do much good in those circumstances, however when it does get enclosed as a "fish room" area then it will be much more effective.
  11. xcaret

    xcaret Guest

    Great to read all the progression of the fish room!
    A picture is worth a thousand words; that is quite a project and worthy of a future tank tour!
    Do you think the steel stand you have can be cut to the size of the 200?
  12. Rostato

    Rostato Supporting Member

    I’m with you on contractors. Most do terrible, over priced work.
    Newjack likes this.
  13. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics Supporting Member

    Yes and no, it's 3 feet wide and 8 feet long, so basically chop it in half and weld the other side and make it 4 feet long and call it day, however the tank would be lower than I want, I think the stand sits at 30 inches, I want 6 more inches of height which I'm sure you can chop up the rest and butt weld however I'm not a welder and while I'm sure I can pick up the basics I'm not quite certain I can pick up enough to be good at it for that kind of application. Plus I'm not sure who made the stand but additional welds would be needed for me to be happy about it's strength.

    Other than that, the biggest issue(s), because I did think of using it to save a few bucks, is the tank is currently resting on it so I'd have to call people over to remove it (and then literally a ton of other crap put there by the person we won't be pointing blame towards), but most important at the size that I want, I'd would quite literally need to build it on sight since it wouldn't fit through any doors, and again I'm not a welder but something about welding ontop of plywood that just feels like a wrong thing to do, and even if I didn't make the stand as high as I want I don't have a space that's flat and enough to weld it together (again assuming I could pick up enough to do a decent welding job, which is anything but a certainty). I mean I'm sure I could do some hybrid design and have legs that bolted on, but that's a whole different level of thinking about strength/strains.
  14. bee505

    bee505 Guest

    I always enjoy reading your post. You really made some great progress there.
  15. Flagg37

    Flagg37 Supporting Member

    Too bad I can’t help you with this part of your project.
  16. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics Supporting Member

    Well it's been what, nearly 2 years since you originally offered? That would have been a long time in my garage and then to only realize I can't get it through the door frame, and then inevitably I'd take the door frame off because lets be honest tank is more important! :D

    Damn has this tank been sitting in my garage this long? Ugh... oh well, decided to not teach summer school for a reason, didn't want it to be 3 years, and I have a reduced teaching load this semester so hopefully things will progress a bit more timely... but not too fast, I waited this long no need to rush things.
  17. rygh

    rygh BOD

    Can you put 2x6 boards on the top of the stand, and put tank on that.
    It would make it higher, and add to strength if done right. But it does take up extra room.
  18. xcaret

    xcaret Guest

    I was thinking of something similar but a steel add-on either on top or bottom fastened with bolts or welded in place.
    I bet the union training yard would be a great place to find someone to do it on the budget side of things for mutual benefit of welding time they need to get the certification.
    My brother has a small wire-fed welder, I have an angle grinder and cut-off wheels... One day I’ll weld something just to try it.
  19. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics Supporting Member

    Yeah my uncle has offered to let me use his welding stuff too, and I'll admit I've seen enough youtube tutorial videos that it doesn't look terribly difficult but I'm not that arrogant to think it really is as simple as it looks... ok I may be, but I also realize there's a lot of tiny things that need to be taken into account that can make a job either good or bad.
  20. Wlachnit

    Wlachnit BOD

    Ok...let's see some welding in action

    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

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