Setting up an aquarium rack

  • Get the NEW AquariaCentral iOS app --> http://itunes.apple.com/app/id1227181058 // Android version will be out soon!

enrique4jc

AC Members
Original poster
Oct 17, 2006
614
13
18
Russell Springs, KY
Real Name
Eric
Hello. I am working on setting up an industrial rack with several tanks on it. There are 4 shelves, each capable of holding 2,000 lbs, so there will be numerous aquariums by the time it is done. It will be a long term project but I want to start out right.

What changes caring for a rack of tanks like this vs individual aquariums? I want to find reliable and affordable ways to filter, heat, and light. Have any of you set something like that up? Any recommendations for products? Things you wish you had done on the front end that would have made things better?
 

dudley

Eheim User
Feb 9, 2005
1,278
33
51
Medina, Ohio
Real Name
Dee
Congrats on choosing to go with a rack that will actually hold numerous tanks!

Access to the top row of tanks as well as leaving enough space between the rim of the tank and the underside of the shelf beam to add/remove decor, net fish and operate any siphon device to clean the substrate. Also placement of the bottom row of tanks so you can siphon into a bucket easily.

I went with HMF style Poret filters that are air driven using Jetlifters, easy to install, not as obvious as traditional sponge filters, last a number of years, and they work great. The downside is removing them for cleaning as they can be a bit messy and fine debris will cloud up the tank upon removal but IMO, well worth the use.

We chose to make PVC manifolds and a central air system to feed the tanks which required planning on layout, number of tanks, height of tanks and how many air outlets you need per tank or may desire in the future. I contacted John from Jehmco to size the air pump and PVC sizes based on the number and height of tanks I planned on keeping. I bought the air supplies from them.

Lighting was relatively easy as the BF opted for buying LED's on a spool and hooking up each rack to a suitable power supply. The lights were mounted underneath the upper plywood shelf. The downside is we never installed doors or curtains to block the light from spilling over into the room.

If you are installing the racks in a room with access to home heating or AC, you should be OK though that will depend on how warm/cold you want to keep your tanks.

If you are considering installing a drip water system or some type of automatic fill/drain system, you will need to drill the tanks. We did drill all our tanks on the back because it was hidden but if I was to do it again, I would drill on the front of the tanks and install ball valves so I could open/close them to facilitate draining without a hose.

We also installed PVC perimeter drains around the room near floor level that eventually dump into a floor drain in an adjoining room. Stephan from Swiss Tropicals used to have pics on his website on how he designed his fish room but since he moved, I think he deleted them. There may be some links on some of his References or Friends pages to similar designs.

This is a view of the 33L tanks on one side of the room. The air manifold runs across the top of each shelf level and connects vertically on each end of the tank so it looks like a giant letter H with a top, middle and bottom horizontal line. The LED's are visible as well as the electric 10 outlet bar for heaters, timer, etc.

100_1524_zps7d580eb5.JPG

This is the air supply ran around the top of the room and down to each rack section. The air supply has no dead ends and is ran in a continuous loop around the room and to and from each rack all the way back to the air pump.
100_1532_zps3f2163f3.JPG
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: enrique4jc

enrique4jc

AC Members
Original poster
Oct 17, 2006
614
13
18
Russell Springs, KY
Real Name
Eric
Access to the top row of tanks as well as leaving enough space between the rim of the tank and the underside of the shelf beam to add/remove decor, net fish and operate any siphon device to clean the substrate.
How much clearance would you recommend above a tank?
 

dudley

Eheim User
Feb 9, 2005
1,278
33
51
Medina, Ohio
Real Name
Dee
The clearance you need may be different than what I need and will also depend on the width of the tank so you can reach comfortably inside to do any maintenance or remove stuff.

I did 7 inches between the tank rim and the bottom of the shelf beam and while it is workable, more space is always desirable. ;)
 

GraphicGr8s

AC Members
Nov 29, 2010
329
11
18
Tampa, FL
Real Name
George
Nice Dudley. I also would recommend either sponge filters or the Matten. I run a Pondmaster AP 100 for my sponges. While I do like the ease of the metal racks I find with 10 gallon tanks I lose a lot to wasted space so I build my racks from 2 x 3 lumber. I run 6500K lights in black shop fixtures from Lowes. $17.00 each. The strip leds are nice if you are not growing plants.

I am automating my water changes as I redo the fish house. Drilling whatever tanks I can with an auto top off and another pipe for the water change itself. Changing water in the current 40 tanks is doable but when it gets over 100 in a couple of months I need automation. You can in fact do an auto change system without drilling however. It is a simple siphon overflow pipe.

I ran my air pretty much like you did. The drawback is you need check valves on very tank. I failed to do that and after power went out for 5 days I did have issues with siphoning from the high tanks to the low ones. I will be running air around the top of the ceiling with pipes going to the racks. Each level will have a manifold that is just higher than the tanks with a bleed hole at the top to stop any chance of siphoning.

Since all but 4 of my tanks are in their own building I heat/cool the entire area instead of each tank. A heater in each tank would be extremely cost prohibitive. I keep the building at 82 in the summer and n the mid 70s in the Florida winter. When I complete the addition to the building I will wind up adding a ductless mini split heat pump instead of the wall shaker and space heater I use now.

Hope some of this will help you guys. Good luck with your fish room build Enrique.
 
  • Like
Reactions: dudley
zoomed.com
hikariusa.com
aqaimports.com
Store