haha yeah... it won't take me years to get this done! The basement is planned to be finished in the spring. I'm also not going all out, I don't have the ability to spend thaaaaat much. But definitely over time will I be dabbling with the arduino to see what i can automate.
I think I'm planning on the sump... I have a 55. I am worried about gassing off the co2 and am still looking into remedies for that. maybe it just won't be that big of a deal? A sump seems like the best idea though. many more gallons of water and the display tank won't get low, it'll contain all of the tank crap, and give me the ability to have space for juvenile fish. on top of that I was debating with having some emerged plants in it to help filter the water w/ their roots.
It'll be a "sort've" office. I'll be placing my desk in that area, but it won't be closed in. We'll see how well that works out with a 2 year old.
I've wanted so badly to play with an arduino on my tanks, but it seems a little pointless when I've only got low-tech 10-gallons, haha.
A sump would certainly make things tidier up top! And a space for young fish is definitely appealing... Young children, on the other hand... Good luck with that!