Building A Fish House
Building a fish house is quite an undertaking. You need to be very organised and also have an open and flexible mind as the project takes shape. The cost of a fish house is difficult to generalise about, but in my experience most projects go well over budget!
Shed or Permanent Building ?
If you have a garage or outbuilding empty then these are ideal for a fish house. Sheds are OK, but fish houses are humid places and wood will eventually rot.
Planning is Key
Planning the project is paramount. You have to consider provision of water, drainage, electricity, insulation and so on. How many tanks you want, will it be individual tanks, a system or a combination?
Our Fish House
Over the years we have had several systems. Our latest was finished in April 2007, so I reckon the easiest way to explain it all is to show you what we did.
Tanks and Racking
After years of large tanks we decided to install as many small tanks as we could so that we could separate our fish not just into different strains but also separate the sizes. Water capacity is important in heavily stocked systems so to achieve both aims we decided on 30" x 15" x 15" tanks but installed them end on so as to maximise space. The racking is second hand pallet racking with ply-board shelves. On the other wall I have installed a single row of medium tanks 48" x 18" x 15", these sit on top of 2" box steel section supported by concrete pillars. There is also a rack of 2 litre fry tanks.
It is essential in an aquatic set up that you use suitable pipe work. By this I mean pipe work that is non toxic to fish. There are several suppliers of this, but we use TMC pipe as it is second to none in our opinion.
We use Sequence pumps to return the water to the tanks via 1-1/2" inch pipe. Each tank is serviced by a dedicated tap. The water passes through a 2kw heater and during the colder months the fish house has two radiators to help heat the space.
Pros and Cons
The larger the volume of water you have to work with the easier keeping Discus is. A system can be as small or as large as you like, you can add to it or reduce it as you see fit. Systems are not cheap to run and must be maintained properly to ensure they work properly. Over all with years of experience I feel the benefits of a systemised set up far outweighs any disadvantages that may exist.