Disaster in the Cichlidarium

By Willem Heijns
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Willem Heijns
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Disaster in the Cichlidarium

Post by Willem Heijns » Fri Apr 11, 2008 12:34 pm

my garage has never been home to my car but to aquariums instead. for about 20 years my "Cichlidarium" has been in operation. the current setting is:
tank 1 (600g) with Amphilophus amarillo, Amatitlania nigrofasciata, Archocentrus centrarchus, Neetroplus nematopus & Theraps wesseli
tank 2 (600g) with Amphilophus chancho, Amphilophus zaliosus & Parachromis managuensis
tank 3 (300g) with Amphilophus flaveolus, Astatheros alfari, Astatheros rostratus, Chuco microphthalmus, Hypsophrys nicaraguensis & Tomocichla tuba
tank 4 (200g) with Parachromis dovii

visitors to my Cichlidarium all agree that it is a hot and damp place to come to. but that fact is turning against me now. the moisture has affected the roof of my garage so much that there is a real danger for it to collapse. I had to support the inside like this:
ramp-01.jpg

right now we are trying to decide on a solution. :shock: :shock:
Last edited by Willem Heijns on Fri Apr 11, 2008 2:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Slàinte mhath!

Uilleam

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Juan Artigas
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Re: disaster

Post by Juan Artigas » Fri Apr 11, 2008 2:00 pm

Of course the first thing that comes to mind is an acrylic coating of the roof to prevent moisture to damp the ceiling materias and make them loose strength, the material I presume is some type of wood. Now the problem of the already damaged materials is another matter, have the water affected their stabilty to a no return point? If so a replacement may be in order. The truth is, in my view, there is no coming back for the damage caused, just a way to stop it from extending.
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Re: Disaster in the Cichlidarium

Post by Dan Woodland » Fri Apr 11, 2008 10:11 pm

Call me crazy but is there no cost too high to protect and keep a group of outstanding fish as you listed?? I think not! :D


Seriously, forgive my attempt at humor, I've been traveling since 6am this day and I'm tired. I assume if the structure is about to collapse you'll have to affect repairs but where to put your fish is the problem. I think working around your tanks will be very difficult but not impossible. Hopefully you have enough time to make and execute a solid plan.

Keep us posted...

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Re: Disaster in the Cichlidarium

Post by Pam Chin » Sat Apr 12, 2008 6:40 pm

Willem,

Are your tanks covered?? Do you have a de humidifier?? Do you know a structural engineer??

The amount humidity that I have in my fish house now with my tanks covered is very low. Before when my tanks were covered with egg crate and no barrier, my dehumidifiers were sucking the water right out of the tanks. I am thinking you are going to have to do some repairs, but you are also going to have to address the cause at some point.

Willem, and dang it, if it is not one thing, it is another. Murphy's law ... you know! I would send out crew for you, but you are just a little bit too far away!

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Re: Disaster in the Cichlidarium

Post by Dan Woodland » Sat Apr 12, 2008 10:36 pm

Willem, I know it won't help now but once you've affected repairs install a Humidistat and a "bathroom ventilator or Blower" to control the humidity. It's much cheaper, energy wise, and won't remove water directly from your tanks like a humidifier.

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Re: Disaster in the Cichlidarium

Post by Tom@geckolounge » Sun Apr 13, 2008 12:49 am

I could temporary house some of your fish.
Just drop me a note.
Videos of a 3600 liter Central America tank and a 1440 liter Central America tank:
http://www.youtube.com/tommulders

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Re: Disaster in the Cichlidarium

Post by Willem Heijns » Sun Apr 13, 2008 6:47 am

thanks for your response so far. in addition: here's the way the roof was constructed

roofconstruction.jpg
roofconstruction.jpg (64.75 KiB) Viewed 8806 times
the problem is where the wooden beams are attached to the wall. apparantly that's where the insulation has its weakest spot.

the cichlidarium is well ventilated (two openings in the roof and two in the back wall):

roofnow.jpg
roofnow.jpg (150.62 KiB) Viewed 8808 times

all the tanks have covers. relative humidity is 65%.
Slàinte mhath!

Uilleam

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Juan Artigas
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Re: Disaster in the Cichlidarium

Post by Juan Artigas » Sun Apr 13, 2008 7:56 am

And what is the structural problem? Are the beams fine? Are they bending? what is the cover over of the beams made of? The problem is not apparent in your pictures.
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Re: Disaster in the Cichlidarium

Post by Willem Heijns » Sun Apr 13, 2008 8:27 am

Ah, I forgot. the problem is in the attachment of the beams with the wall. the wood there is completely rotten. you can push your finger right in. :?
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Re: Disaster in the Cichlidarium

Post by Juan Artigas » Sun Apr 13, 2008 8:44 am

I hate to say it but of all the places where you could have a problem I believe that is the worse one, shear may cause a sudden collapse at one point, a collapse in one of the beams attachments may cause the sufficient increase in suden shear effort to the adjacent beams as to cause collapse of one or more of them, so this is really a problem to take into consideration! Probably the damaged beams can be replaced one by one, if so make sure your new beams are coated with epoxy! Alternatively, new beams can be nserted between the existing ones in the area with the most damage. The supports you already installed (and probably more) should stay in place during the entire process. Also, you should check on the state of both the steel supports for the beams and the bolts that hold them to the wall. I take it they are stainless steel and they are fine, but better to check them out in the process. My initial suggestion of coating all the supporting materials remains.

Good luck!
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Re: Disaster in the Cichlidarium

Post by Willem Heijns » Wed Apr 16, 2008 7:36 am

some progress. it looks like the roof is going to be replaced. instead of the wooden beams some sort of light weight concrete is going to be used. the contractor is deciding on what type exactly.

he also thinks the job can be done in one day. take the old roof off in the morning and have the new roof in place by the end of the afternoon. the next day will be used tofinish up.

now the question arises: do my tanks need to be turned off and the fish removed? or will the temperature hold for the day? maybe a 600g tank won't lose its heat very fast. and I can always replace water with new preheated water (which I do at every regular waterchange).

what do you guys think?
Slàinte mhath!

Uilleam

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Re: Disaster in the Cichlidarium

Post by Juan Artigas » Wed Apr 16, 2008 8:22 am

I can not agree on the support beams be left in place and just the concrete roof being replaced, unless you are talking about reinforced concrete, in which case the beams would not be supporting anymore and could be removed if desired, that would be a definitive solution, particularly for a wet room. But certainly the contractor should know what he is doing. The problem in replacing the roof as I imagine it is that it should be more expensive, as they have to demolish the roof, set a new roof, then the water insulation and the protective finishing. hardly a day work.

On the tanks, those are big thanks, I would be more concerned by a mold hitting a tank than by a heat loss, probably the tanks could be protected with styrofoam sheets and a plywood on top?
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Re: Disaster in the Cichlidarium

Post by Bas Pels » Wed Apr 16, 2008 8:37 am

@ Juan,

I get the idea the wooden, rotten support will be replaced, together with the rest of the roof on top of it. This does sound like a good solution.

@ Willem

As I think you will not be able to hire the constructor to do the job within a month anyway, and in May the temps will be much higher, I don't think the heat loss will be a major concern (you could install, however, temporarily extra heating for a day to be safe)

However, I think Juan is right about coating the new roof - and this coating will be the reason why I think you should best empty your tanks, because coating the roof the tanks might suffer.

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Re: Disaster in the Cichlidarium

Post by Melo Salazar » Wed Apr 16, 2008 8:40 am

Willem:

I'm agree with Juan Miguel (we are, both, Civil Engineers) the shear in the supports is the main concern, the sudden collapse can happen, (as Pam said Murphys law), my suggestion is the use of Metallic epoxy coated structure, reinforced concrete beams or new wood beams, if replaced or refurbish it will depend on the damage that the existing beams had, but the supports at the end must be stainless steel or epoxy coated at least. As Juanmi say the existing beams could be left in place and the new ones could be located in the middle of the existing.

Good luck with that,

Melo

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Re: Disaster in the Cichlidarium

Post by Dan Woodland » Wed Apr 16, 2008 12:19 pm

I agree with Melo and Jaun regarding the beams, one additional point.

What type of roof will be installed? Obviously you have to worry about the beams but also the roofing material used. It should be protected from moisture on both sides, from outside and from within the Cichlidarium. You may solve the support issue but you'll have to make sure what is being supported is protected from moisture as well. Here in the US there is a rubber membrane used to stop ice from backing up under the roof shingles, maybe some kind of coating like this could help inside as well?

Look here for more information on "ice guard":
http://www.mrroof.com/iceguard.html

If using wood sheeting use boards rated for outdoor use, something like bill boards on the highway. Sometimes called Marine Plywood.

http://www.southernpine.com/ptplywood.shtml

Regarding the fish during demolition and construction..... Being an analyst I always figure out how to make things work which includes figuring out how things can go wrong. I would hedge your bet and move either your most prized possession or all easily moved fishes to protect against some kind of catastrophe! I would be concerned about something being dropped on or in one of thanks more than heat loss (provided you can wait until warmer weather is afoot).

I hope it all works out for you.

Keep us posted..... Don't forget to document the whole process digitally.

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Re: Disaster in the Cichlidarium

Post by Willem Heijns » Mon Apr 21, 2008 10:48 am

just as I expected: the longer you think about a problem, the more complicated it gets. or am I the complicating factor?

I do not believe the job can be done in one day. there's too much risk. the builder can get ill, material can be delivered late, etc. oh, btw: the beams will be replaced. as soon as I know the exact construction of the new roof I'll let you guys know.
and there's the risk of things dropping in/on the tanks.

so the fish will have to go (temporarily of course). and the tanks will be taken out. that will give me the opportunity to place built-in filters in each of them, finally removing the old Eheim external filters. no more leaking hoses :lol:

in addition, the 10f tank can be turned around (too many scratches on the glass now).

in conclusion, the whole thing needs careful planning. I'll take the project approach from here (just like the old days at my job :D ) the work will be carried out in June/July (after my vacation in Scotland). I will be practising my other hobby first. 8)
Slàinte mhath!

Uilleam

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Re: Disaster in the Cichlidarium

Post by Dan Woodland » Mon Apr 21, 2008 1:21 pm

At least you have an understanding of what needs to be done and you can begin work on a step by step plan.

Good luck and let us know how things go. Try not to trip on any rocks in the pursuit of your "other" hobby. :D :lol: :shock:

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Re: Disaster in the Cichlidarium

Post by Willem Heijns » Sun May 04, 2008 1:29 pm

Murphy has started to interfere. one of the 600g tanks has sprung a leak. :( gentle dripping has turned into heavy dripping today. I need to empty the tank and find a home for its inhabitants before I leave for Islay. I'm not panicking but am getting close....
Slàinte mhath!

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Re: Disaster in the Cichlidarium

Post by Alex Calder » Mon May 05, 2008 12:31 pm

Many people typically use rubbermaid containers, but they are too small for your needs.
I know around here one can get hard plastic cattle feed troughs which run $150 and up.
They may be big enough to do the trick.

edit: Had another thought.

What about kiddie swimming pools? They maybe cheaper than the feed trough and I know
of several people who use them as summer ponds for their Americans.

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Re: Disaster in the Cichlidarium

Post by Willem Heijns » Fri Jun 13, 2008 2:22 pm

back from Islay. my other hobby has been very satisfying, both for consuming and for collecting. 8)

now back to the evacuation plan. I was very lucky to find some friends who are willing to house my fish during the roof repair. they will me moved in the next few weeks. that problem solved. :) early July my contractor will be back, so we can then start reconstructing the roof. I'll keep you guys posted.

but Murphy is still with me. this afternoon I found the big dovii male (17") dead. no sign of any illness or wounds, just swimming on it's back. so the widow (see my dovii thread) is widowed once again. :(
Slàinte mhath!

Uilleam

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