Turtle Tank Build – Planning, Planning, Planning

One of the reasons I take on projects like this turtle tank, is to forget about work.  Building something from raw materials makes me feel less like a computer geek.  Unfortunately, it seems that all I am doing is planning for this tank, making me feel more like a computer geek.  The planning, the researching and the brainstorming is usually fun.  I just keep running into figurative walls on this tank.  Had I not bought the tank and sump, I might not be feeling this way.  Unfortunately, I did and I will have to deal with it.

The Disappointment: Running Water Lines to the Turtle Tank

I climbed up into the attic this weekend to start running water lines to the tank location.  I am not a little guy, and have no business being up in the attic in the first place.  With that said, my attic has a weird configuration that you have to climb a wall to get down to the lower section where the tank resides.

So you can picture the situation better, in the living room, we have vaulted ceilings.  They are tall enough that it requires scaffolding equipment to paint the wall the aquarium goes against.  On the opposite side of that vaulted wall is the master bedroom.  The master bedroom does not have vaulted ceilings, so the ceiling is about half way up that wall.  The wall that needs to be climbed is the adjacent vaulted wall.  So think, “climb wall to crawl vaulted ceiling, to get to master bedroom,” where the tubing would have to be run.  As I mentioned earlier, take a big guy like myself, 370+ lbs and you have a real chance of disaster in the attic.

The New Plan: Run Water Lines Externally To Internal Wall

When we bought the house, there was a nice tiled bar out by the pool with running water.  We demolished it to have more room for the kids to play.  The result is that we capped the water lines.  Bingo, there is my starting point to run more line on the exterior of the house following the perimeter until it reaches the wall in question.  Yes, yes, yes…I am back in business.  I then proceeded to count out the lengths and number of elbows I would need to run water to the aquarium.

What I hadn’t considered was drain water.  I have no idea how or where to drain the water.  The drain exists in the laundry room, so it is easy to identify.  Foiled again, so no go.

The New New Plan:  Go Get Ice Cream

Okay, the plan was not to get ice cream, but that is where I ended up.  After realizing I wasn’t going to run the water to the aquarium with out some professional help, I decided to focus on the cats.  Part of the tank build is to also place a few cat shelves and walkways on the wall above the aquarium and entertainment center for the cats.  Vaulted ceiling and all will allow for not having a cat condo sitting on the floor.

The plan is to go to the pet store and see what they might have and then go to Ikea and buy some shelves to make into literal cat walks.  The pet store did not have anything imaginative, so that was a waste of time.  A cat even bit Megan making the trip that much worst.  Instead of going to Ikea, we ended up getting ice cream.

Back to Planning the Turtle Tank

I’m not sure if I am going to run water or not.  It all depends upon whether I want to pay someone to run the water lines.  For now, I will keep building this tank in my head.  I am getting antsy about the tank, and I have a vacation day this Friday.  I think I might have to at least start building the canopy.  Let’s see what happens!

Below is a possible cut list for the tank stand base.  You know the saying measure twice and cut once.  I know it, but I rarely follow it.  This time, I am going to try to budget out the project.  I see the great stands everyone else builds, and I wonder what they cost to build.  I am going to try to compile the financials around this build so people have an idea what the costs are.  There are a load of resources out there to help with the planning.  I found one site that helped me figure out how many 2×4 i would need based on the cuts.

You can check it out yourself at: Cut List Helper



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