Tank and Equipment Design Service...

Yellow Jacket

Junior Poster
Mar 22, 2011
Hello Tom,

I am interested in professional help designing a new tank and equipment layout for my home.

I have very limited experience keeping aquatic plants - mostly killing them when I was younger, however I did not know this level of expertiese was 'out there.'

I have completed the wood casework that will be the tank's base, and have avoided purchasing the tank itself because of my inexperience and lack of knowledge. I've been staring at an empty base for almost two years now and I'm ready to get this project finished.

Basic tank dims I want are 84" - 86" long x 30" deep x 30" high. Open top, with lights hung from ceiling above.

The area in the stand below the tank is clear, and I have plumbed a small 'fish room' behind the tank that I anticipated using for tank maintenance (water changes, filters, etc.) It has hot / cold water and a drain.

I am looking for expert help to get me from this point to a reasonably planted tank with fish that I can come home from work, sit down and enjoy. I include routine maintenance / trimming / cleaning as part of 'enjoying' a tank. I don't mind taking care of a tank, but I hated the algae infestations, die-offs, disasters I had previous.

I am an architect / amature handy man...I can provide detailed drawings for your use, and can do the plumbing / wiring, etc. for installation.

Would you be interested in offering your services to guide me?

Thank you!

Beaufort, SC

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Tom Barr

Staff member
Jan 23, 2005
Hi Chris, sure.
The engineering aspect can be done a good deal from afar.
The scaping and various tweaking etc, is done on site.
This is more teaching thing and design goal than just the scaping part or whatever expertise the client desires.

So advice is for the most part "Free". Actual on site work is not Free.
I do not mind offering limited advice, but I will not be at anyone's beck and call for Free either.
If they are a paying client, then this changes.

The tank is large, so hiring a plumber to install a drain and refill with hot/cold tap water, + a carbon prefilter for chlorine removal is wise at this stage.
"Oh manure' overflow weirs should be added to sumps and the tank itself, as well as automated float valve for refills. This sounds more complicated than it it is. Autodosing can be done and tweaked fairly easily.

This leaves feeding fish and gardening as the main chores.
It also allows you to leave for a month or 2 weeks without much issue.

As far as plants, most generally like darker species that grow slower with a little touch of red and bright green in the lower reaches.
A lot of all this is balancing the light and CO2, the water changes/dosing are less critical, but nice to have a simple method to do those with the min labor involved.

t5 lighting would work nicely.
Say two Tek 6x 39W hoods suspended.

I use a tad less on on a similar sized tank.

PM me directly from here