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post #1 of 100 (permalink) Old 09-27-2006, 04:15 AM Thread Starter
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crshadow's Fishroom Journal *56K Warning*

Hello, and welcome to my fishroom journal. This project officially began in 2004 as a means to corral my rapidly reproducing fish tanks. It has progressed slowly over the last couple of years, as time and money has allowed. I hadn't originally planned to create a journal of this, so it may not be quite as detailed and step by step as my other journals, but it should be fun nonetheless. Also, the fishroom is pretty much done already, so unfortunately it might not have that same anticipation of "What's next?" Nevertheless, I figure after I post all the construction details, it can eventually serve as a means to share any new fishy fun stuff that graces my fish room. I hope you all enjoy it.

Backstory and Details:

We had an enclosed/screened porch behind our apartment. In a past life, the porch structure did not exist and it was only a concrete patio. Thanks to it's previous incarnation as a patio, it featured a water spigot, a security light, and an external power receptacle. Why is this important? Well, this offers a great potential for a fishroom. The water spigot provides an easy way to bring water to the room. The security light, offers a source to tap power for the fishroom. Finally the power receptacle offers a way to utilize a secondary electrical circuit for the fishroom. Seeing all this, I couldn't help but feel that this porch was perfect for conversion. The dimensions of room are approximately 16' x 9', so it wasn't a bad size either.

This photograph was taken around 7/26/2004 and shows the exterior of the room. I had just began work on it at that time. You can see me on the ground cutting some wood or something.


Here's a pic of the north side of the room. We used to use the porch as a workout room, hence the equipment.


This is a bad shot of the opposite side of the room. However, it does show the security light I mentioned earlier. Again, this is one of the locations I will bring in power from.




Well, it's getting late, so I will add more tomorrow.

-Jeremiah

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Last edited by crshadow; 09-28-2006 at 05:40 PM.
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post #2 of 100 (permalink) Old 09-27-2006, 02:06 PM
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that has some serious potential. is it finished currently, or are you still in the process?


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post #3 of 100 (permalink) Old 09-27-2006, 02:46 PM Thread Starter
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I would have to say it is about 90-95% completed right now. It's completely functional and up and running though. I'm only missing some of the final components such as a tall water storage tank or two. Maybe some shelving, and other tidbits. Also, I can still fit a couple more tanks in, as soon as I can afford to.

-Jeremiah

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post #4 of 100 (permalink) Old 09-28-2006, 03:10 AM Thread Starter
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My wife had one stipulation about building a fishroom.... It had to look nice. So, that meant it would have to be fully drywalled, painted, etc. This added quite a bit to the cost, but in the end I'm happy with the results.

Anyway, with some of the basics in mind, I sat down to plan everything out. The room is 16' wide, but one of the 16' walls is broken up by the entrance door to the room. So I figured the best idea would to place all the tank racks against the full length 16' wall. With numerous tanks planned, I figured it would be spiffy to have numerous receptacles along the wall so that I could plug in equipment without having to worry about powerstrips. This turned out to not be such a good idea as it was a lot of trouble to wire so many receptacles, as well as cut all the holes in the drywall, etc. If I had to do it again, I wouldn't put so many... Oh well.

The room would also feature a small 5000 BTU Air conditioner, to keep the entire room at the appropriate temperature. (No need for individual tank heaters.) I live in deep South Texas, so I need to cool down the room instead of heating it... Winter is pretty much doesn't exist down here.

Here is my preliminary sketch of the room:

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post #5 of 100 (permalink) Old 09-28-2006, 03:29 AM Thread Starter
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With so many receptacles it is important to properly plan the electrical usage of all the devices that are to be used so that the circuit(s) are not overloaded.

To do this we must determine how many amps each device draws. To determine this we take the wattage of the item in question and divide that by the voltage of the circuit, resulting in the amperage used. Household voltage averages between 110-120V, so we can use 115V as an average. Here's an example for a 60 Watt Light bulb:

Watts/Volts = Amps
60 / 115 = 0.52 Amps

We would then repeat this process for all devices planned, and add the amps of each together. The total should be kept below the maximum rated amps of the circuit in question, as shown on the appropriate breaker. (Most household circuits are rated at either 15 or 20 amps)

I was lucky enough to have two 20 Amp circuits that i could draw my power from. No other devices were on either of these circuits, so again I lucked out in that both circuits would be solely dedicated to the fish room. I made a spreadsheet to help me calculate power usage of all the devices I planned to use and spread out the usage between both circuits. Below is pic showing everything.



As you can see, I kept the amp usage well below the maximum rating of each circuit just to be safe.

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post #6 of 100 (permalink) Old 09-28-2006, 03:45 AM Thread Starter
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I couldn't resist doing a 3d rendering of the layout to get a better idea of the final look.






On the left (West) side of the room you can see the tank racks. On the right are a couple of water storage tanks, a utility sink, and a crate where our dog sleeps at night. The final layout turned out a bit different on the right side, but it remained pretty close.

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post #7 of 100 (permalink) Old 09-28-2006, 04:17 AM
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Ahh, the suspense is building... You're pulling a "scolley" on us! Looks great, well the 3D rendering sure does. How big are the tanks going to be?





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post #8 of 100 (permalink) Old 09-28-2006, 03:30 PM
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if it really looks like your 3D-rendering, then you've got one heck of a room!


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post #9 of 100 (permalink) Old 09-28-2006, 05:38 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Betowess View Post
Ahh, the suspense is building... You're pulling a "scolley" on us! Looks great, well the 3D rendering sure does. How big are the tanks going to be?
Thanks Bob! It's much more fun with a little suspense. Tanks are various sizes: 2 55 Gallons, 2 25 Gallons, and a bunch of 10s' and 5's.

Quote:
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if it really looks like your 3D-rendering, then you've got one heck of a room!
Thanks! Well, a few things did change as the project progressed, but it is mostly the same. You'll be able to see as I post more pics.

-Jeremiah

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post #10 of 100 (permalink) Old 09-28-2006, 05:51 PM
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With so many receptacles it is important to properly plan the electrical usage of all the devices that are to be used so that the circuit(s) are not overloaded.

I was lucky enough to have two 20 Amp circuits that i could draw my power from. No other devices were on either of these circuits, so again I lucked out in that both circuits would be solely dedicated to the fish room. I made a spreadsheet to help me calculate power usage of all the devices I planned to use and spread out the usage between both circuits. Below is pic showing everything.



As you can see, I kept the amp usage well below the maximum rating of each circuit just to be safe.
I'm not a licensed electrician (though I have done some of my own home electrical work), but a couple of things strike me here: What does the national electrical code and your local building inspector have to say about:

A/C on its own circuit breaker? (I know some household devices are required to have their own circuit - not sure about AC)
Maximum number of devices per circuit breaker? (I thought 6, but maybe 8 - you seem to be above)

Neither of the above really matter if you and your heirs never plan to sell the place . . .


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post #11 of 100 (permalink) Old 09-28-2006, 06:10 PM
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Yeah nice project. The model looks great. I do like the idea of having my fish in plain view in the house, but your purposes are different than mine. Good luck! We will be watching this closely....thanks
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post #12 of 100 (permalink) Old 09-29-2006, 03:42 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by KevinC View Post
I'm not a licensed electrician (though I have done some of my own home electrical work), but a couple of things strike me here: What does the national electrical code and your local building inspector have to say about:

A/C on its own circuit breaker? (I know some household devices are required to have their own circuit - not sure about AC)
Maximum number of devices per circuit breaker? (I thought 6, but maybe 8 - you seem to be above)

Neither of the above really matter if you and your heirs never plan to sell the place . . .


Kevin
Great points Kevin, I appreciate the input. I'm very open to input and suggestions. I'll try and answer your questions as best as I can. I did my research for a lot of this quite some time ago, so I'm a little rusty on exact details.

As far as the A/C goes, it's a small Window Unit consuming only about 5 amps. The electrical code does specify that major appliances should be on their own dedicated circuit. However, IIRC, for a smaller A/C like this one, it can share a circuit with other minor appliances so long as the amp usage of the A/C is less 7.5 amps.

As for the maximum number of devices per circuit, I double checked and code specifies a maximum number of duplex receptacles per 20 amp circuit of 13 receptacles for commercial applications, and does not specify a maximum for residential applications.

Now that being said, having that many receptacles could pose a dangerous situation for future residents if they unknowingly overload the outlets. So I decided early on that if we ever move out that I would dismantle the excessive outlets.

I'll also take this opportunity to make a disclaimer and point out that I am by no means an expert in carpentry, electrical, plumbing, etc. At best I am a tinkerer and DIYer. Therefore I don't recommend anyone doing what I've done unless they are comfortable in their own DIY abilities, have done proper research, etc, and/or have a professional do the work.

-Jeremiah

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post #13 of 100 (permalink) Old 09-29-2006, 03:49 AM Thread Starter
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Yeah nice project. The model looks great. I do like the idea of having my fish in plain view in the house, but your purposes are different than mine. Good luck! We will be watching this closely....thanks
Thanks! I also enjoy having fish in the house, but I'm just going to limit it to one display tank.

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post #14 of 100 (permalink) Old 09-29-2006, 11:25 PM
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well i think im not alone wanting to see more pictures,.....

- fish newb -
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post #15 of 100 (permalink) Old 09-30-2006, 12:07 AM Thread Starter
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well i think im not alone wanting to see more pictures,.....

- fish newb -
Your wish shall be granted.

The following pics were about a month and a half later, I think in September of 2004.

After covering the former window openings, I began with framing and electrical. I added studs so that there would be a stud every 16" on center. Also, you will notice that there is a 4" wooden shelf/rail that runs across the walls about 3 feet off the ground. I decided it might come in handy, so I did not remove it. Unfortunately it made it more difficult to drywall later on in the process by having to work around the shelf. By the end, I wished I had taken the extra time to remove it, but it did end up coming in handy after all. More on that later...



For added safety I added these nailing plates at every location where electrical cable passed through a stud. They serve to prevent accidently nailing or screwing into the wires. You can also see the NM cable secured by cable straps.


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