Spare bedroom to fishroom? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-01-2010, 02:23 PM Thread Starter
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Spare bedroom to fishroom?

So I'm considering converting a spare bedroom into a fishroom, and I'm looking for people that have successfully (or not) done so themselves. I know that the standard challenges of dealing with humidity generally cause people to recommend the garage over a bedroom, however my garage space is fairly well allocated already whereas I've got two spare bedrooms that are just collecting dust and random stuff.

The room is currently carpeted, but I really want to pull up all the flooring in the house and acid stain the concrete slab which will solve that issue.

Being on a slab means weight from tanks isn't an issue, but installing a floor drain is. I'm considering some type of sump tank sitting on the floor to handle waste water, likely manually emptying it or pumping it out through a window. I'm not sure how feasible that is though.

The bedroom shares a wet wall with a bathroom, so I'm thinking I can tap in there for a free standing utility sink.

I'm hoping that someone can give some advice/suggestions on things I might be overlooking or minimizing. One specific area I'm not sure on is the drywall. Do I need to tear it down and put up greenboard or is that unnecessary?

Any help or ideas you can provide would be awesome, thanks!
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post #2 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-01-2010, 02:55 PM
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Re: Spare bedroom to fishroom?

Great idea! Green board is for wet locations like a bathroom, or sink backsplash. I would say if you think the humidity will reach bathroom like levels, or you plan on getting water all over the walls, then go green. If not, a good coat of paint on the drywall should be fine. I would worry more about the drywall wicking water up from the floor. If you can, check behind the trim and see if the sheets are resting on the concrete floor. If it is, you can cut it with a nice sharp utility knife about 1/2 inch off the floor. If you install new rock, make sure to keep it up off the floor. As far as drainage, is there any way to tie into existing drainage in the room with a shared wall? Would seem easier than pumping out a window.

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post #3 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-01-2010, 03:23 PM
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Ventilation to lower the humidity would be good too. If you plan to have a lot of tanks, greenboard/concrete backerboard would be good if you have the time/money.

If you're good with pluming, tapping into the water and drain from the bathroom would be good.

If you're good with electronics too, you can set up an automated system for water changes, lights, co2 etc... using a microcontroller/computer or an irrigation controller.


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post #4 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-01-2010, 03:47 PM
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Re: Spare bedroom to fishroom?

Instead of floor drain, why not drain into the slop sink, and tie that into existing plumbing?

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post #5 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-01-2010, 04:14 PM
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I have a fish room here at my shop. For several years it was all SW and everything that could rust, did. Razor blade on the work bench would stick to the work table overnight. lol

Two sides of the walls are cinder block and two sides regular drywall. I've had tanks in there for 8 years with no signs of damage other than the rust. Floors are bare concrete with some indoor outdoor carpet used as runners to soak up the spills.

I drain the tanks via a flexible hose out the back shop door. Refilling is all by gravity from 60g barrels on 2 x 4 pedestals.
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post #6 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-01-2010, 04:17 PM
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My spear bedroom is my Fish room. The humidity is great, the house plants love it. And I live in the desert so its nice to have some humidity.
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post #7 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-01-2010, 05:20 PM Thread Starter
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Just to clarify on the drain issue, the current plan is to drill the tanks to make water changes easier, fully auto changes would be nice, but initially I want to at least be able to open a valve on the tanks to drain some water, then either gravity feed or pump clean water in. Tying into the bathroom drain for the tank drains presents another obstacle as I'd have to cross either the entry door or closet doors. The wall with the window is the side of the house, and I've considered just running the drain outside, but I don't know what building codes say about that. Also I'd like to minimize the amount of work to change it back into a bedroom when I eventually want to sell the house. A hole in the wall here and there is no big deal, but a drain in the center of the floor is harder to reverse.



Additional info I forgot to add before:

The room is roughly 10' x 10' with standard 8' ceilings. I'll be starting with just 4 20 gallon longs (thanks to Petco's $1/gal sale) and a 33 long from glasscages.com that I've got laying around. The initial plan is breed shrimp and dwarf cichlids. All tanks will have some type of flora as well, and I've got/will have community tanks throughout the house for various species as well. Assuming I can succeed in breeding with any regularity I'm sure that I'll vary the fauna to give myself new challenges.
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post #8 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-01-2010, 08:11 PM
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You have the best possible situation, because the water and drain plumbing is already in one wall of that room. It is pretty easy to add water outlets in the bedroom, off the plumbing to the bathroom, and just a little harder to add a drain near the floor, off the bathroom drain. As long at the drain is close to the floor you can drain a lot of water flow with no problems. I suggest getting a plumber or a knowledgeable friend to run the pipes into the fishroom, with shut off valves on the water lines, but just an open drain with trap. Then you can use easy to install PVC to run water lines to the tanks for either a semi-automatic or automatic water change system, with the drain water going to the newly installed drain. You could put a "laundry sink", a plastic sink on the drain to make it even easier. While you are at it, if you buy a shower control valve, one of the type that holds the water temperature constant, that will let you set the incoming water at the correct temperature, easily. Then add a big, whole house filter on that line, with a solid carbon filter on it, and much of your chlorinated water problem is taken care of. It's the chance of a lifetime to really do a nice water system, easily.

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post #9 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-01-2010, 10:25 PM
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Fixing a hole in the concrete floor would also be quite easy if you ever sell. Plug drain, cement into the hole + trowel = fixed floor. It's not as hard as you might think. As far as a drain through exterior wall, it's not against code unless someone is looking, Lol. Again it would be fairly easy to reverse.
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post #10 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-01-2010, 11:21 PM
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Make sure to make an access panel/door to the water valves & carbon filter

And you wouldn't want lots of water to drain out the house onto the ground. It'll cause issues with your foundation over time. It's best for water to drain down a drain.


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post #11 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-02-2010, 01:34 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by monkeyfish View Post
Fixing a hole in the concrete floor would also be quite easy if you ever sell. Plug drain, cement into the hole + trowel = fixed floor. It's not as hard as you might think. As far as a drain through exterior wall, it's not against code unless someone is looking, Lol. Again it would be fairly easy to reverse.
I would normally agree with you, however everything I'm reading about acid etched stained concrete says that patches almost always show through, plus the patch would be put in after the initial staining so I don't know if it'd be possible to make it look normal.

However ( sorry, I like to argue even with myself ) it would be possible to just carpet it again, which, depending on the market at the time, might actually improve my chances of selling. I personally love the look of stained concrete, but I think it's still considered a possible detractor when trying to sell.

I imagine that breaking up concrete to install a drain would add significant cost though too. Perhaps it's time to go play the lottery
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post #12 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-02-2010, 01:37 AM Thread Starter
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Make sure to make an access panel/door to the water valves & carbon filter

And you wouldn't want lots of water to drain out the house onto the ground. It'll cause issues with your foundation over time. It's best for water to drain down a drain.
Yeah, I wouldn't just drain out onto the ground, if I end up not tying into the existing plumbing for drain water, it'll have to go to some type of reservoir for a sprinkler system (that also doesn't exist yet...) or I'd probably get nasty letters from the HOA before it actually did damage to the slab.
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post #13 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-02-2010, 01:42 AM
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I have an exhaust fan in my fish room. It deals with the humidity just fine! I don't even have air conditioning in my house, and I keep my computer in my fish room and while I'm having a gaming marathon, I never break a sweat! haha! I love having a whole room of fish tanks though, it's much better than my old prison... The shrimp shack. Which was a 10x10 concrete slab shed. Stayed hot in the summer and cold in the winter, and was a huge pain! Garage/shed fish rooms are not much fun in my experience, I was sequestered out there since I moved into my house, now that I finally got my lazy bum brother out of my spare room, I have an office and fish room! It's so much nicer than the shed :P
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post #14 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-02-2010, 02:14 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Hoppy View Post
You have the best possible situation, because the water and drain plumbing is already in one wall of that room. It is pretty easy to add water outlets in the bedroom, off the plumbing to the bathroom, and just a little harder to add a drain near the floor, off the bathroom drain. As long at the drain is close to the floor you can drain a lot of water flow with no problems. I suggest getting a plumber or a knowledgeable friend to run the pipes into the fishroom, with shut off valves on the water lines, but just an open drain with trap. Then you can use easy to install PVC to run water lines to the tanks for either a semi-automatic or automatic water change system, with the drain water going to the newly installed drain. You could put a "laundry sink", a plastic sink on the drain to make it even easier. While you are at it, if you buy a shower control valve, one of the type that holds the water temperature constant, that will let you set the incoming water at the correct temperature, easily. Then add a big, whole house filter on that line, with a solid carbon filter on it, and much of your chlorinated water problem is taken care of. It's the chance of a lifetime to really do a nice water system, easily.
Thanks Hoppy, I hadn't thought about the whole house filter with carbon, that's a great idea. I definitely am planning ahead as far as fully plumbing the room, even if I just do the laundry sink to begin with.

The drain is the one potential hitch, looking underneath the bathroom sink it looks like the drain goes into the wall about 15" off the floor. I suppose I might be able to manage something where the main drain goes around the room and into the closet, that way I don't have PVC sitting out trying to trip me. Hrm... guess it's time to find a good plumber.
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post #15 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-02-2010, 04:47 PM
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In my opinion it is a mistake to plan for a center of the floor drain. Your goal, as with any aquarium setup is to never have a drop of water hit the floor. Having the floor drain could just lead you to carelessness. At most I would consider a catch basin under each tank, which could hold perhaps half the water in the tank. I set up such a system when I had a 120 gallon tank, but with far less capacity, and with it plumbed to drain out the garage door. Only once did I have an incident that caused water to appear in that catch basin, and it worked perfectly - for the very small amount of water that leaked into it.

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