Update #12 - Building the mega wall…
Public service announcement: I’m not a structural engineer and encourage you to do your own research regarding weight considerations for larger tanks.
I’m enjoying this build but have I’ve realized just how big of an undertaking this particular project is. Back in January when I purchased my tank I thought that 3 months would be more than enough time to get the tank up and running. Obviously COVID-19 changed everything and I also grossly underestimated the amount of work. I think the silver lining is it has given me a lot of time to research and think about my design.
I know that weight is an important consideration for large fish tanks, particularly if you want them on the second floor. I wasn’t concerned that the tank would go crashing through the floor. If you place a tank against an exterior wall perpendicular to the joists it’s unlikely (unless your house had other issues). I would, however, be concerned over time that the floor would sag under the weight which could cause seals to fail. Imagine that mess!
Fortunately my garage is underneath where I intend to place the tank. Being able to “easily” reinforce the second floor was a big factor in my decision to upgrade. I considered a few options to build “mega wall” (steel beam and column, 2x4s, etc) but was most familiar with framing. I built the wall 30" out from the exterior wall which should allow me to place the tank 4-6" off of the interior wall above. The floor in the garage wasn’t anywhere near level so I have to stick frame each piece in. You’ll also see I’ve got shims everywhere.
The good news is everything is square, plumb, and nice and tight. Gaps or anything that isn’t true could cause issues. If you’re not familiar with construction this is the design for a load bearing wall in your house so it’s probably overkill but gives me piece of mind. I also added two doorways because I’m going to put my salt reservoirs and other gear behind this wall. I also don’t plan to add dry wall or do any other finish work. It’s strictly utilitarian for now.
This was a pretty big milestone for the build. I couldn’t move the tank upstairs until the wall was done and was in a holding pattern until I could get the lumber from Home Depot. It was a little frustrating. Now I can start moving forward again. My rocks have been curing for about a month, most of my gear has arrived in the mail, and I can start putting all the pieces together.