The first step to a beautiful aquarium or pond display is a great design. There are many things to consider as you plan your indoor or outdoor water feature. Not only is it important for it to look the way you envision it, but it must also be functional and easy to maintain. We can work cooperatively with your Interior Designer, Architect, Builder, Contractor or you personally to create the perfect feature for your home or office.
Let the Aquarium Illusions design team assist you in your planning process.
AQUARIUM DISPLAY PLANNING AND SPECIAL CONSIDERATIONS
The creation of an Aquarium display in a home or office adds an element of tranquil beauty like no other. Aquariums are a feature that can be designed any size or shape. They can be incorporated into any room or space. Features can be Tropical (freshwater) or Saltwater displays. Keep in mind, the Saltwater displays have the most colorful fish in the world. The majority of aquarium features are of the Saltwater variety for this reason.
A living display has certain requirements in order to sustain its inhabitants. It is important to design the space with these requirements in mind. Requirements are: Lighting, Water Movement, Temperature Control, and Filtration. We need to supply the lighting (like the sun), the water movement (like the ocean current), the temperature control (like sea water temperatures), and the filtration to remove the waste from the fish & corals.
The following outlines special considerations required for aquarium equipment and aquarium installation:
Tank Construction: Most aquariums are constructed out of glass and can be any size or shape. The standard glass used is a high grade Float Glass. Consider using ‘Starphire Glass’ for the viewing panels. Starphire is ultra clear and gives the best clarity. If you are considering an Acrylic Tank, please be aware of the pros & cons. Acrylic is highly susceptible to scratching and great care is needed when cleaning it. Acrylic will also discolor over time. The acrylic tank may weigh less, but does not have the longevity of glass. The only time acrylic is the only option, is when a cylindrical tank is wanted.Otherwise, glass can be used in all applications and shapes (including bows). Glass is also the most economical choice.
Placement: It is best to position the aquarium display away from direct sunlight. A certain amount of indirect light is acceptable. In high light areas, Ultra Violet Sterilizers are used to eliminate water borne algae. There are many different placement styles to consider, such as: built in, room divider, stand alone, or theme tanks. Aquarium Illusjons can design, build and supply tanks of all shapes and sizes. We can custom design one for that special spot, or supply you with a self contained aquarium package.
Space Requirements: It is common for aquarium systems to be very large,consequently the filtration space requirements are also large. If the filtration is not remote, the entire space below the aquarium will be required for filtration. Sometimes an adjoining cabinet or closet is also required for additional equipment and/or supplies. (See Filtration below for more on space requirements).
Filtration: It is important to choose a filtration system that is well equipped to handle the biological load of your aquarium. Large aquariums or Saltwater aquariums commonly use ‘sump’ style filter tanks. These Sump Style filters can be made in custom sizes to house pumps & equipment as well as service all the biological and chemical filtration needs of your tank. There are also options of having Refugiums, or combination Biological/Refugium tanks. You may also want to incorporate water make up tanks or mixing tanks, depending on the space you have allotted for the filtration. The size of your sump tank should allow for a percentage of flow back from the main tank in the event of power loss. Small sumps may fit in the space but be careful not to undersize your filtration. Standard filtration configuration is to place the filters & equipment underneath the aquarium. Give consideration to the amount of room you will need to house your filtration, equipment and supplies. If your tank is a built in model, you may decide to allow some side cupboards to be utilized as equipment storage. If your tank is large, you may consider having the filtration placed remotely (IE: basement, adjoining room or closet, laundry room, or garage) Remote filtration rooms are very doable and provide ease of maintenance like no other. The main consideration with remote filtration is the sizing of the pump. It is important to calculate the pumps performance at the appropriate head heights of your installation. Other common types of filtration are the ‘closed’ styles (IE: filtration canisters and/or inline pumps) The closed style filtration methods are commonly placed beneath the aquarium or within a few feet away. Closed systems can also be used in conjunction with sump systems to provide extra flow or filtration.
Power Consumption: Each aquarium installation has different power requirements based on size & type system. Ground Fault Insulated outlets/breakers should be used as per your electricians recommendations. It is recommended that the power servicing the aquarium is on its own designated Breaker. It is common to have power outlets above the tank to service the lighting and light timers. Power outlets are also required below the tank to service the equipment.
Common Saltwater Reef installation will have approx. 4-6 outlets above the tank and approx. 6 outlets below the tank. Power bars will work in many installations, but 2 separate circuits work best.
Ventilation: Equipment & lighting create heat, especially in enclosed areas. Ventilation will be required around cabinetry top & bottom. Ideal ventilation design is to have cventilation fans installed at the underside and top of the tank. The air should be vented into an air space or vented to the outdoors. Slats or vents are required in the millwork to allow good air circulation. If the filtration is remote, ensure the room has proper ventilation (IE: temperature controlled fan that will exhaust outside the room)
Noise: The circulation pumps, and the chiller compressor fan do create some noise. We recommend putting buffalo board or other sound barriers on the inside of the cabinet. If the filtration is remote, consider installing sound boarding in the filtration room.
Water Make up & Drain: Hot/cold taps and floor drain are recommended for ease of maintenance. If the location does not have a Reverse Osmosis or purified water system, consider installation of an independent RO system. It is an inexpensive add-on and the water is the best for aquarium inhabitants. If the location has a purification system, run one line to the filtration area.
Lighting: The light fixture needs to suspend approx. 12” above water surface. A backup structure of some fashion is required to hang the pendants from. If using lighting that has ballast boxes, we require support shelves to sit them on above the tank. If the install does not allow for the ballasts to be installed above the tank, they can be placed underneath. Light ballasts commonly measures: 8”Lx7”Wx5”H and weighs approx.12 lbs each. If the light pendants are attached to a fixed support above the tank, the fixtures should be able to slide out of the way at servicing time.
Chiller: If a system is to house a Saltwater Reef, a chiller is highly recommended to keep the temperature constant and similar to ocean temperatures (approx. 78° F) Chillers require a space of approx. 8-10” surrounding the unit for ventilation.
Ultra Violet Sterilizer: Ultra Violet Sterilizer are used to control water borne algae (algae control) and free swimming parasites in the water (disease control). They are independent units that can be added to the system at time of installation or later.
Stand: Large aquariums are best supported by a tube steel stand. The millwork will conceal the metal stand. The millwork will not have to support the weight. The floorshould be wood, or cement and level. Upon request, we will provide the weight estimate of the tank for your use in determining floor weight bearing specifications. If filtration is to be housed underneath tank, the stand height should be a minimum of 32”H.
Millwork: Millwork will need to cover top trim, bottom trim, and glass edges. Access is very important for servicing the system. Full & free access is required above and below the tank. Cabinet doors should be large and easily opened. Top access doors should be min of 24” H. Top access heights of 30”H+ are preferred. The wood must be finished on both sides for moisture protection, and stainless steel hardware is
recommended. Ventilation slats or holes should be concealed in the millwork.
Specialized Equipment: There is other specialized equipment that can be added to a system to make upgrade a system. They can reduce maintenance time and costs. Examples are: Calcium Reactors, Phosban Reactors, Water parameter monitors, etc.
To book your Free aquarium design consultation, please call our store at 780-483-7027.
POND DISPLAY PLANNING AND SPECIAL CONSIDERATIONS
There are many things to consider during the planning process of your outdoor water feature. Aquarium Illusions operated a sister company called Pond Pros for many years. Pond Pros professionally installed a wide range of ponds from indoor, small outdoor, to golf course size lagoons. This ‘hands on’ experience can be a valuable resource to you, and we offer this in store consultation for free. If you want an onsite
consultation, there will be a small fee.
Aquarium Illusions carries a wide range of pond filtration, skimmers, pumps, lighting, accessories, pond liner, pond underlay, plumbing parts, hose, etc. We provide you with everything you need at a very competitive price. Plus we have a Price Match Guarantee, so at Aquarium Illusions you will get expert advice and products at the best price.
To assist you in your planning process, we have produced a list of questions for you to consider. Bring this information with you when you come to Aquarium Illusions. This will allow us to serve you and help you plan your pond more efficiently. Don’t worry, if these points lead you to more questions … just write them down and we will answer them for you.
Things to Consider When you are Planning a Pond
- Location, Location, Location – be sure of your location before you dig. Have you called “Call before you Dig” This is a good idea early in the planning stages because their markers may change the location you were considering.
- Where is the water feature going to be best viewed: from a deck, the kitchen window, coming around the corner of the house, a walkout basement, from a bedroom window, or all of the above
- Are there any natural grades, capable of creating a natural drop down, waterfall and/or stream
- What portion of the yard are you willing to dedicate to a water feature, and do you know what length and width you want for the maximum opening,
- What are your plans for the rest of the yard
- Are you planting trees, shrubs, flower gardens, placing a bridge over the stream, using wood chip borders etc.
- What finishing materials are you planning to incorporate into your design: natural stone , slate, partially raised with allan block (or split n stack), or a combination of several types.
- Have you considered perimeter and exterior pot lighting to accent your features
- Do you want submersible pond lights
10. How about livestock: will you have, fish or no fish, plants or no plants
11. Are there a lot of trees in the immediate area, what type are they
12. Are you close to roads that may cause excess dust or debris to blow in your pond
13. Is your yard fenced or are you planning on fencing, and do you have 6’ locking gates
14. What type of sunlight does the proposed area get in during daylight hours
15. Where is the nearest power tie in point
16. Do you have good access to move material in and out
17. Do you have small children and do you have dogs that love to swim
18. Have you checked for any special bylaws in your area in regards to backyard ponds