From the age of 12 i decided to have my first aquarium, a small 2ft tank with a couple of T meeki in there. I've always liked central american cichlids and dreamed of having a large tank. 21 years later i was able to fufill that dream.
The problem with large tanks is that you need a suitable place to install one, there is nowhere in my house that was suitable. So i decided to build a heavy duty shed and install the tank inside. First job was to isulate the shed, this was done with thick sheets of polystyrene which i attached to the wall and roof of the shed with silicone.
Electrics were next, these were run from the main box in the house. So far so good, building the stand was the next job.
As the shed had a wooden floor i knew that this was a problem, how would the floor stand the weight of the tank and concrete stand. The shed was built on a reinforced concrete pad, at least 7" thick, so the best thing to do was cut a hole of the tank dimensions in the wooden floor. This would then allow me to build the stand directly on to the concrete pad. I knew i wasn't going to have a sump built, so i decided to build a very sturdy stand from concrete blocks.
This would then have a sheet of marine plywood laid on top and a thick sheet of polystyrene to cusion the tank.
The background is made by a company called "back to nature". These can be very expensive to buy, but IMO they're worth it. These backgrounds allow you to hide everything behide them, so as not to ruin the illusion with a heater or filter pipe. You can also create a filter from the background, saving money buying a filter or building a sump.
My tank is 8ft long, the longest background is 6ft. To get round this problem i ordered two types of background, this would then allow me to cut and hopefully splice the two backgrounds together. I carefully cut the backgrounds to the correct size and then siliconed the joints together. This can be quite difficult, so i had to match it the beat i could.
I dont think it turned out to bad, i tried to hide the joins by pressing sand into the wet silicone.
The background was then installed. I decided to use the background as a filter, this works in a simular way to a sump. A inlet hole and an outlet hole is drilled through the background. Water is drawn through by a pump through the inlet through all the media then back out the outlet. The tank is filled and ready for adding fish.
These shots were a couple of hours after filling.