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Old 09-15-2013, 07:09 PM   #1
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Question fish rack!

Sooo, I originally planned on turning a spare bedroom into a fish room. Bad idea, it was a hardwood upstairs bedroom.

But now I have a huge room in the basement to turn into a fish room

I want a wood rack system, but I have no woodworking/ construction skills. I need ikea style instructions to assemble anything...

Has anyone built their own rack system? I'm not sure on the number or size of tanks I want to include yet though.

Here are some examples of what I'm talking about:


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Old 09-16-2013, 03:40 PM   #2
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Well, ok. I did it myself...

it's a 6'x4'x20"

but, I've run into a problem. I only have 4" clearance for my hands to get into the tank. I assume I'll need more. Should I make the rack 6' high instead of 4'? If I do that I feel like I should change the length to 8'...

also, do I need a center brace at 6'? I think i'll need one at 8'
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Old 09-16-2013, 03:57 PM   #3
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Tweaked it a little bit... took out center brace, raised the center shelf by 2", now I have 6" of clearance, and figured out how to evenly spread 6 10 gal tanks on the bottom. Any input is welcome, I've never built a stand before...
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Old 09-16-2013, 06:13 PM   #4
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Looking good, and if i may ask what program are you using? For some reason autodesk comes to mind.. But many look the same.
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Old 09-16-2013, 06:14 PM   #5
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Looking good, and if i may ask what program are you using? For some reason autodesk comes to mind.. But many look the same.
I wish! It's the free version of Google Sketchup
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Old 09-16-2013, 06:25 PM   #6
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I wish! It's the free version of Google Sketchup
Oh ok. Makes sense. My school has a student version of autodesk inventor that we get for free... Any autodesk software, actually.
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Old 09-16-2013, 06:26 PM   #7
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Check out Ted Judy's video. It makes it fairly simple. Haven't built them myself, that is next week's project.

TedsFishroom - Racking - YouTube
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Old 09-16-2013, 06:59 PM   #8
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Check out Ted Judy's video. It makes it fairly simple. Haven't built them myself, that is next week's project.

TedsFishroom - Racking - YouTube

I've been watching it. He gives a good basic overview, and I'm trying to follow what he says in my modeling, dado joints, etc. Here's an updated model:
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Old 09-16-2013, 08:37 PM   #9
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That's awesome. I'll definitely be following. I'm going to attempt my first build this weekend or next week. We're going to do the racks for the smaller tanks lengthwise and probably raise the bottom tanks this time. Draining low tanks has been a major pain.
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Old 09-16-2013, 09:31 PM   #10
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thats exactly how mine looks. i have 2- 55s in the middle 3-30s on bottom and all 10s on top. i used the 30s for breeding and 10s for hatching and 55s for grow out
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Old 09-16-2013, 09:55 PM   #11
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If it doesn't have to be all wood, I have the plans for a wood with cinder block rack system that I have used for many different sizes of tanks. They are cheap to build and last forever.
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Old 09-17-2013, 06:49 AM   #12
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That's awesome. I'll definitely be following. I'm going to attempt my first build this weekend or next week. We're going to do the racks for the smaller tanks lengthwise and probably raise the bottom tanks this time. Draining low tanks has been a major pain.
Yeah, my only concern is water changes with the lowest tanks.
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Old 09-17-2013, 04:28 PM   #13
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Its hard to see exactly what you have planned based on your sketches. It really does depend on what you are planning to do with the system long term. For example, right now, you have 10 gallon tanks, in the future is that going to turn into bigger tanks? a few 10gallon tanks are no big deal as far as weight, so if that is all you are doing, then the system in your final design is major overkill. On the other hand, if down the road you are going to start swapping out smaller tanks for bigger tanks, then shelf adjustments and dadoing and such becomes a much bigger deal. We built a three tier rack out of 2x4 without dadoing and put a piece of 3/4" plywood on top of the each of the spaces and had multiple 20 gallon longs sitting on it without issue. For most 4' stands, middle supports aren't needed. On a 6' stand they are usually recommended. Again however, if you are only talking about 10 gallon tanks, you are talking a max of 60gallons of water, if that, so no big deal. Keep in mind that a 3/4" piece of plywood set on end will support a 65 gallon tank. Lumber is expensive, so you want to minimize or you will have a lot more in the lumber than in the tanks. On the other hand, you don't want to sell yourself short down the road and have to rebuild a rack for a bigger system.
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Old 09-17-2013, 04:41 PM   #14
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Its hard to see exactly what you have planned based on your sketches. It really does depend on what you are planning to do with the system long term. For example, right now, you have 10 gallon tanks, in the future is that going to turn into bigger tanks? a few 10gallon tanks are no big deal as far as weight, so if that is all you are doing, then the system in your final design is major overkill. On the other hand, if down the road you are going to start swapping out smaller tanks for bigger tanks, then shelf adjustments and dadoing and such becomes a much bigger deal. We built a three tier rack out of 2x4 without dadoing and put a piece of 3/4" plywood on top of the each of the spaces and had multiple 20 gallon longs sitting on it without issue. For most 4' stands, middle supports aren't needed. On a 6' stand they are usually recommended. Again however, if you are only talking about 10 gallon tanks, you are talking a max of 60gallons of water, if that, so no big deal. Keep in mind that a 3/4" piece of plywood set on end will support a 65 gallon tank. Lumber is expensive, so you want to minimize or you will have a lot more in the lumber than in the tanks. On the other hand, you don't want to sell yourself short down the road and have to rebuild a rack for a bigger system.
Thanks for the info. I plan on keeping this as my 10 gallon stand. I don't really see the problem with "overkill" support. This is an 8ft stand, I believe the measurements are on there. I added up the cost of my lumber, and it's not that much IMO. I just always like to be on the super safe side
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Old 09-17-2013, 05:47 PM   #15
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Thanks for the info. I plan on keeping this as my 10 gallon stand. I don't really see the problem with "overkill" support. This is an 8ft stand, I believe the measurements are on there. I added up the cost of my lumber, and it's not that much IMO. I just always like to be on the super safe side
Absolutely! Nothing wrong with overkill to be on the safe side. Its all about what you are wanting to spend. When we built ours for a store, it came in over a couple hundred dollars, which was more than the owner wanted to spend, so we had to figure out ways to build it cheaper.

The reason that I brought up the future is just because it is something to keep in mind. When we built our rack, it was built for 20 Longs, the owner was using it to display saltwater fish and that was all he wanted. A few years down the road, the saltwater side of his buisness had picked up significantly and he wanted to up grade to larger tanks. Unfortunately, they wouldn't fit. So his options where to stick with the same tanks or reinvest money into building a bigger rack.

If you build the racks right, you can put 10 gallon tanks on them now, and in the future if you want to, you can upgrade to larger tanks. Just some food for thought.
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Old 09-17-2013, 06:18 PM   #16
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I like your idea but I would definitely go with something that resembles a similar setup to the first picture you posted. I have a few tanks with a small amount of clearance and I absolutely hate working on them.

Have you thought about filtration on a setup like this? I was looking at plumbing a similar setup together and running them all to one sump where I would do a trickle water changer to cut down on maintenance
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Old 09-17-2013, 06:37 PM   #17
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I like your idea but I would definitely go with something that resembles a similar setup to the first picture you posted. I have a few tanks with a small amount of clearance and I absolutely hate working on them.

Have you thought about filtration on a setup like this? I was looking at plumbing a similar setup together and running them all to one sump where I would do a trickle water changer to cut down on maintenance
I will not be doing any plumbing, all tanks will be separate.
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Old 09-17-2013, 07:10 PM   #18
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Have you thought about filtration on a setup like this? I was looking at plumbing a similar setup together and running them all to one sump where I would do a trickle water changer to cut down on maintenance
The hard part of that is balancing all the drains with the returns. It can be done, but it takes a lot of fine-tuning.

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I will not be doing any plumbing, all tanks will be separate.
Are you going with air, powerheads, or HOB for filtration?
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Old 09-17-2013, 07:15 PM   #19
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The hard part of that is balancing all the drains with the returns. It can be done, but it takes a lot of fine-tuning.

Are you going with air, powerheads, or HOB for filtration?
Sponge filters running from one pump
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Old 09-17-2013, 07:20 PM   #20
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Nice - are you running one of those industrial air pumps?
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