180 gallon custom build, initial planning
Hopefully this is the right area to post, please remove if not. Planning on doing most of this DIY. I used to be an avid planted tank keeper before adulthood and kids, and I'm just getting back into it. After ten years, things have changed...! We are in the planning stages of building a house on some acreage, getting ready to plan my dream tank. This is the first custom/built in tank I've done so I figure the earlier I seek advice, the better!
Our dining/living area starts right after the entry way, the plan is to separate it with a partition wall. We would like to build in cabinetry on both sides for storage, and have a 48" long tank visible from both sides. On each side of the partition/cabinetry, to the left and right of the tank would be some countertop space. On the entryway side, this would serve as landing areas for us (keys, mail, whatnot) and on the dining/living area side, this would be a future mini bar/buffet space. The whole run is about 12.5 feet long.
My initial thoughts are that since non-custom upper cabinets tend to come in either 12" or 15" depth, I need to plan with those dimensions in mind. Including the support structure in between, that would mean somewhere between a 4'L x 2.5'D x 2.25'H (pretty tall because I want to keep altums in there) and a 4'L x 3'D x 2.25'D tank. Either way, there's going to be some counter space in front of the tank, because I want to use regular depth base cabinets. I'll use an internal overflow, beananimal setup. Sump lines would come in and out of the short sides and would be covered up with some extra panels. Tank is likely going to be DIY plywood. We will be having the area plumbed and with its own circuit.
Here are my questions:
1. Underneath the tank, would RTA plywood base cabinets work just fine if they were reinforced inside?
2. What would other folks do here in terms of cabinetry and size of tank? IKEA wall cabinets sound appealing for cost and modular nature (except under the tank of course, I know that's not enough support!). But IKEA wall cabinets are 15" deep and I'm not sure about having a 3 foot deep tank.
3. Haven't gotten this far in the planning but wondering if that extra 6" on the footprint (2.5' vs 3' deep) would make lighting difficult. (In terms of lighting needs, I don't want to do CO2, would plant fairly heavily.) I'm open to DIY LED, as I would like 24/7 capabilities without breaking the bank.
I seriously have been out of the hobby for so long, I am feeling really unsure! All thoughts appreciated.