A fish tank is easy to buy, but a bit harder to maintain. Building an aquarium into a wall is, bluntly put, fairly hard to accomplish, and mistakes are bound to come your way if you’re unprepared.
Fortunately, there are numerous ways to go about installing an aquarium within a wall. So we’ll cover the easiest, most convenient, and most rewarding ways to install an aquarium. Without any further ado, let’s talk about the things you’ll definitely need.
Classic measuring tapes are precise. However, you can easily over-or-under estimate the measurements by a few millimeters; this is more than enough for your fish tank to not fit the carve-out you’ve made in your wall.
You’ll need to accurately measure your tank and essentially carve its dimensions in your wall. Again, accuracy is paramount. So traditional measuring devices can be useful, but you’ll be much more likely to make a mistake that way. Use a laser measure for more precise measurements.
Drainage Option 1: Rails
Depending on the location of the wall you wish to install your fish tank in, you will need to think about how you’ll manage waste water and refills. As you already know, your fish will gradually pollute the water, but so will plants. So we recommend you change at least a quarter of the tank’s water every 2-4 weeks.
A complex, but very rewarding option is to install a railing system that will allow you to pull the tank from the wall whenever you want.
Basically, the railing system should be comprised of the overhead mounts and bottom-mounted slides. If you’re well-versed in architecture and are confident in your measuring skills, you can also try your hand at installing wheels and slide bars. Although this is generally too complicated for an average person with minimal DIY skills. In other words, you may want to seek out a professional.
Linear overhead slides can be purchased, just like complete railing systems, but the more ‘complete’ the set is, the more it will dictate the measurements.
After installing the railing system, run a few tests to see if it functions properly. After a few adjustments, you’ll have an easy way to clean your fish tank.
Drainage Option 2: Plumbing pipes
If you aren’t too comfortable with the idea of sliders and removing your fish tank every time it needs to be cleaned, there’s an easier way. You can add a plumbing pipe roughly 600 millimeters above the tank, and connect it to your existing plumbing network.
Your plumbing outlet should be connected to the sewer, which will effectively rid you of all drainage-related problems.
Heater and thermometer
You’ll need both heaters and thermometers to ensure that your fish tank has an optimal temperature at all times. If you’ve opted for a railing system, you can use whichever type you want; however, if you’ve chosen to go with plumbing pipes, you’ll need submersible thermometers and heaters.
Bear in mind, submersible devices are typically far less versatile when it comes to controls and settings. They usually work automatically and adjust the temperature whenever needed. It’s recommended to use heaters with built-in thermometers, unless you have the skills to couple them and make them work as a pair.
Vinyl Covers for back and sides
Aquarium covers are not necessary for regular fish tanks while they’re almost a must for wall tanks. Namely, by sealing your fish tank’s top, you’ll considerably reduce the effects of evaporation. Vinyl tends to do a better job than most materials, and it’s generally much sturdier than most. On the downside, vinyl can be fairly expensive, and you’ll need quite a bit of it.
Without a cover, you’ll need to fill your tank with more water substantially more frequently. You’ll be able to save up quite a bit of money on your water bills by the long run by using vinyl covers. Alternatively, you can use hard plastic, but make sure to make extra space for both back and sides of your tank in your wall.
In addition to the filters that you would normally have in an aquarium (biological, mechanical, and chemical), you’ll need an external filter for your wall fish tank.
The external filter is meant to push the water through multiple filters, effectively getting rid of various solids and pollutants while returning cleaned water into the tank. External filters are generally very useful for traditional aquariums as well, although they aren’t as required as in this particular case.
Plants are essentially ‘live filters’, in the sense that they remove unwanted build-ups of the hazardous carbon dioxide. They also absorb nitrates, and ammonia, which are particularly harmful to your fish when left unchecked.
There are numerous plants that you can use, and which are very easy in terms of maintenance, such as hornwort, Java fern, and Anubia Nana. The Java Moss, Red Ludwigia, and Marimo Ball are also phenomenal choices, although they may be slightly harder to come by in certain places.
An air pump is a crucial element of any aquarium, because it provides your fish with optimal levels of oxygen. Traditional aquariums could go by without one, as fish would generate enough water movement, similarly to what an air pump would do.
Wall fish tanks are slightly more compressed, which reflects on the oxygen levels of said aquariums. By adding an air pump, you will ensure that there’s ample oxygen for your fish, especially given the fact that you may not be able to react as fast when you notice a problem.
Lights and outlets
If you set any plants in your tank, you’ll need lights to support their energy. Low-wattage bulbs are generally recommended, as they don’t affect the fish negatively; however, certain plants need more light-based energy, and certain fish may react negatively to it.
Whichever lighting option you decide to go with, you’ll also need to drill holes for power outlets ahead of time. LED lighting is generally best, mainly because planted tanks tend to grow to become much healthier and fish much happier with it.
We hope that this brief guide was useful to you. You now have more tips on adding an aquarium into your wall.
For more tips on incorporating pets into your lifestyle and home check out these posts.