Fish Room Basement Build


Active member
Trying to build a fish room in the basement but can't afford to do it all at once.

1) Run floor drain under the cement, out of house or into sewer line? Regular PVC or flexible PVC?

2) Have entire basement epoxied.

3) Best methods for humidity management?

Can the rest come later or am I missing something that needs to be done prior to these steps?


Premium Member
You can run fans (the cylindrical spa type) off a humidistat. You may also need a dehumidifier. Whichever drain method you use make sure it has a p-trap. Even if you're connecting to the yard drains

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New member
Trying to build a fish room in the basement but can't afford to do it all at once.

1) Run floor drain under the cement, out of house or into sewer line? Regular PVC or flexible PVC?
Regular schedule 40 pvc and yes 2" p-trap.
Also you did not bring it up but electrical you will need a couple separate breakers for your fish room


New member
I have a sump room beneath my tank and i used a bathroom exhaust fan for humidity control. I used rigid pvc, and i had my drains connect into the sink with a p trap.

Michael Hoaster

Registered Seaweedist
Premium Member
I was going to try to talk you out of pouring a new floor just to get a floor drain. But this is your Fish Room (and a fantasy for most of us). Being able to squeegee water to a drain sounds sublime! If I ever got a fish room, a floor drain would be #1 on my list.

tom obrecht

Active member
Top four things in my opinion would be:
1. Utility sink
2. Separate electrical
3. If good size system way to disperse humidity. I personally ran a duct directly outside and used an in-line fan.
4. Electrical outlets on ceiling for lighting


Staff member
RC Mod
We installed a basement bathroom. The floor is sandy fill, after you get through about 5-6" of concrete---so you can lay pipe to the 'stack', which will drain it with the rest of house effluent. Patching afterward is a simple thing: just some patching concrete into the narrow channel following the pipe, more like a stripe than a floor job, about 8" wide, following the new drain to the 'stack'

. However, be aware that iron and metals are savaged by salt water, and if you are draining seawater into your sewer, best flush it well. This is not an OMG thing, but just sensible, to avoid having salt water 'stand' in your pipes for a lengthy period. If you are using PVC, much better. Your 'stack' is probably iron rather than PVC, but it also drains straight down, and your waste water will join the waste water from all sources in the house, notably toilets and baths. I say this, but I have disposed of water for 13 years in this house and had no trouble, give what else goes down that pipe. I merely mention it as one of those things you might wonder, tying into the house system.


New member
I used flexible pvc. It has its advantages and disadvantages. Was pretty straightforward to get runs where I wanted them. Nice and long and fewer joints. Downside is it takes a bit more work to make it look nice. Really happy with it overall.

I don't have a floor drain, but will be hooking up a pump to a leak detector that will pump water into my slop sink.

Also, keep an eye on humidity. I have an exhaust fan running 24/7, but humidity still is at 70%. Going to need to run a dehumidifier.

Use splash proof covers for outlets that will allow you to close the cover when something is still plugged into it.

Put in more outlets than you think you need - all gfci/afci. If you put in gfci breakers, I'm told they are less likely to trip for something erroneous. Some folks are against gfci because they trip too easily and could cause problems with your tank. Personally, I'd rather risk damage to the tank than damage to my health.

I put 4 new circuits with 6 duplex outlets each. May be overkill, but I don't need any extension cords. [emoji16]

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Active member
These are all great ideas! I will use them.

Hard PVC for drain either to sewer PVC or outside house
P Trap 2”
Add outlets to the ceiling
Add splash proof covers to GFCI outlets
Fan exhaust spa? With humidistat? Continuous run? Ducted?

I had a 90 pint dehumidifier that died after 2 years. Going to try a fan alone first.

Thank you everyone!


Well-known member
My tanks all drain into the utility sink - the closest "drain" is the sump pit in the opposite corner of the basement. To keep most of the solids from going down the drain, I sanded a piece of 1" or maybe 1 1/4" pvc down so that it wedges in the drain and then push a large but coarse sponge down on top. When I'm done I can easily scrape it over to a side and remove it. A dehumidifier keeps the room at 55%, although because the furnace and water heater are in the same area in the winter it doesn't run much. If I ever redo it I'll run a vent line outside as well.


Premium Member
I was luck enough to have a floor drain in the basement directly below my tank in the living room. Humidity for me has not been too much of a problem as the a/c dries the air in the summer and the furnace dries it in the winter. I do have a dehumidifier and a box fan near the fish room though as added air drying plus circulation. Our basement is more utilitarian anyway however. Having the fuge and sump in the basement has revolutionized how easy my fish tank is to maintain. You will love it!

Kevin Guthrie

New member
I have a floor drain but there is a slight uphill to it from the sump. Wish I had done this in the first place:
Make a drip pan under everything. I had a slow leak, invisible to me, that eventually damaged the flooring on the other side of the wall behind the stock tank. Made a "pan" with a formica sheet, PVC trim stock, and caulk.
Had two separate circuits. Everything is on one, so if the GFCI blows (its always a heater) the return pump stops. You want the return pump on a separate circuit.
Small vent to the outside near the skimmer - aerosolized spray rusted copper pipes in the ceiling and broke a furnace flue fan. Better yet, find a skimmer that lets you pipe all the air outdoors.

What I did right: use a 100 gallon stock tank for a sump, and plumb almost every connection over it so any leak goes back to the sump. Put a foam insulation sheet under the sump to protect it from the cold basement floor.