For our main display we chose a 150 gallon tall aquarium. This decision was based on aesthetics (tall tanks are always impressive to me) and our need for an aquarium that could realistically fit in smaller spaces. Due to our careers, we move quite frequently, so a 4′ long aquarium was the best choice.
The aquarium itself is a Marineland single-overflow 150g. We opted against Starphire glass since we decided to make the aquarium a peninsula (3-sided Starphire glass tanks are very expensive compared to regular glass.)
Planning an aquarium of this magnitude requires more forethought than for smaller aquariums. No matter what the size aquarium, start by listing your requirements. Our main requirements were to have as large of an SPS-dominant aquarium as possible that would fit into about a 4′ x 2′ space and fit under normal height ceilings. We also wanted an aquarium that we could place against the wall or use as a peninsula depending on our house layout. Lastly, we decided for aesthetics that all equipment must fit in the stand.
From those requirements we determined our budget and tradeoffs. The aquarium we chose is a Marineland single-overflow 150g. We opted against Starphire glass since we decided to make the aquarium a peninsula (3-sided Starphire glass tanks are very expensive compared to regular glass.) The lower cost of regular glass was a tradeoff so we could use the saved money toward other equipment.
The height of the aquarium was 31″, and typical stand height is 30″. By the time there’s a canopy on top of the aquarium, the canopy could interfere with the ceiling. So, the canopy has to be the right height to not have the lights burn corals but also not interfere with the ceiling. The aquarium height is set. The stand height could be lowered to allow more room for lighting, but the skimmer has to fit under the stand. These design constraints determined what brand/size of skimmer to buy: the Octopus Extreme 250.
Since we decided all equipment (auto-topoff system, media reactor, dosing pumps, electrical systems, etc.) must fit under the stand, we chose to design/build our sump before the stand to make sure everything would fit.
We decided the aquarium stand should look like a piece of furniture, so we used red birch and big leaf maple burl wood. Since the aquarium was designed to be a peninsula, we designed it with doors on all four sides (6 doors total). Also, with an aquarium of this magnitude, make sure the stand you design will actually hold the aquarium. Luckily (or unluckily, however you look at it), my husband and I are both engineers, so this stand was designed to hold an elephant.
Once the stand was fully built, the marble was taped over, and the stand was stained. We stained the doors off the stand to help prevent runs and missed areas.
Due to the very limited space under the stand, we built a small removable shelf out of acrylic.
Tips for installing an aquarium on carpet:
1. Make the stand have a flat bottom (piece of plywood, etc.) This will allow the weight of the aquarium to evenly distribute across the entire floor surface instead of a few legs. The carpet and padding will not crush as much with the flat bottom.
2. Cover the carpet with plastic and then cement board on top. This will help prevent water damage to the carpet…and thus help prevent mold damage. Additionally, wet stained wood can transfer the stain to the carpet…leaving an impossibly hard-to-remove stain.
3. Ok, this isn’t about carpet, but nonetheless, place some sort of plastic material behind the aquarium to protect drywall. Salt creep and moisture can do some serious damage to drywall with constant exposure.