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FAQs about Stands, Supports for Aquariums: Leveling 2

Related Articles: Aquarium Stands, Marine Tanks, Canopies, Covers & Lighting Fixtures,

Related FAQs: Leveling 1, Leveling 3, Leveling 4,
Aquarium Stands 1, Aquarium Stands 2, What to Use, About Floors Underneath, DIY, Finishing/Coating, Commercial, Modification, Repair, & Tanks, Tanks 2, Tanks 3, Tanks 4, Aquarium Repair 1, Acrylic Aquarium Repair, Used Aquarium Gear,

warped stand    2/9/12
I have to start by apologizing as I have sent a question on the same issue a few months back, but I still haven't found a solution.
I have a custom 120 gallon tank with the common "All Glass" type plastic trim. It will be placed on a steel stand. The long horizontal beams of the stand sag slightly, about 2-3 mms in the centre, and the 3/4 inch plywood that's going on top has become quite warped...
<I see this. Trouble>
you can see this in the photo. The other side is only slightly better. Last I wrote it was advised for me to place foam board between the tank and ply.
<I'd replace (and seal... see WWM re) the ply>
The problem is that the thinnest foam board I can find is 1/2 inch, and this raises the tank to a level where the lower black trim sticks out above the maple skirting that's going around the stand.
<See Home Depot, Lowe's or such re thinner foam, though the 1/2" would be fine... squished>
Finding perfectly flat plywood is almost impossible, and I am thinking that the weight of the tank will flatten the warped plywood, and then I can place something thin to shim between the ply and long steel beams to fill in the 2 mm gaps, and forego the foam.
<Mmm, again... I'd seek out another piece of plywood... even IKEA table-jointed wood... and seal>
However, since the plywood will still "want" to warp, and according to my Google searches warped plywood is nearly impossible to truly flatten out again, if this will still stress the tank even if to visual appearances everything looks okay. It takes 40 lbs of textbooks on each side to flatten it, so that's a fair bit of upward force.
<Too likely so>
Should I proceed?... or perhaps if I get thinner ply of 1/4 or 1/2 inch it will flatten out more easily under the tank and have less "spring back force". As mentioned I would still shim the small 2mm gaps.
<... the new...>
Interestingly, the plywood on the lower level that forms the sump cabinet floor, is also warped, but I digress. Please advise on how I should proceed.
<Only three times, not four>
Thank You,
<Welcome. BOb>

Re: warped stand    2/9/12
Hi Bob,
Thanks for the prompt reply.
I need clarification. I'm not sure what "table-jointed wood" is, but I will do a search.
<I've bought these... for table tops... is it "butcher block" or such designated? Taking a while to load here at the airport...>
 Is it ok to go with a thinner Plywood so that even if it is slightly warped it will flatten out more easily?
<IF all edges of the tank are otherwise supported, level, planar... s/b fine>
 If the plywood is flat and I shim the small voids between the plywood and steel, then I no longer have a need for foam board, correct?
BTW, I have checked ALL the big hardware stores in my city, and 1/2 inch foam board is the thinnest to be found, not including the strips of the flimsy door draft stopper stuff.
<Thank you for this input>
Thanks again,
<And you, BobF>
Re: warped stand
Thanks for your patience Bob, have a safe flight.
<Thank you Dave. Did on this leg... am up in San Fran talking to the BAR group... and hoping to find a bar this eve! BobF>

Re Acrylic aquarium crazing? And now leveling 2/20/12
Salty Dog (or other Crew),
<Hello Dave>
THANKS for the help here.
<You're welcome.>
I ended up buying and setting up the tank. I compared pictures of the top of the tank to pictures on your site, and can see it has slightly rounded edges on the cutouts, fortunately. I also see no signs of stress. The crazing seems to all be cosmetic, which has been confirmed by the aquarium mover (also has acrylic tank manufacturing operation here in town). As it turns out, it is only 3/8 acrylic, but as there are no signs of stress for this tank (135g, 60" x 20" deep x 24" wide), it seems I am ok.
My final concern with the setup is whether the leveling could be an issue. From front left to front right, the water line drops 1/8". From front left to back right, the water line drops 5/8" (or could be 1/2".
Seems I have an issue that must be resolved by draining the tank and shimming (sigh). The concern I have with shimming is that the acrylic stand does not have 4 legs, but a uniform base that contacts the floor at all points.
<That's not a big problem. Use full length shims under the base. If you have, or know someone with a table saw, you could rip full length shims to the thickness desired. I would not use plywood for this, especially if on a carpet. The glue could transfer to the carpet and stain permanently.>
Would you agree that this leveling is an issue, and if so - do you have any suggestions with managing it?
<My main concern would be if the tank has a slight twist in it due to not being
plumb. It's always a good idea to put 1/2" Styrofoam sheeting between the tank and the stand which
helps prevent any twisting. Another issue is that if this tank has a built in overflow and with the water level being low at the rear, your front water level may be at the top of the aquarium. If not, I'd leave it alone barring any twist in the tank. James (Salty Dog)>
Re Acrylic aquarium crazing? 2/21/12

Salty Dog: Thanks...huge help...
<You're welcome Dave.>
I did some more tank inspection and WWM research to make sure I understood tank twisting issues you had concern about.
I measured the stand, and see that it has the same exact level issues as the tank. Taking level measurements around the carpet areas surrounding the tank seem to be close to the tank/stand measures. So, seems that I have a floor (concrete slab under carpet) leveling issue. If I understand your comments, this may not be as much of a concern at these difference (i.e., biggest slope causes 1/2"-5/8" difference between back left (higher) and front right corners of tank), therefore it may be wisest at this point to just observe for signs of tank stress (such as pronounced further crazing in front right corner) but not drain/shim?
<By your comments it does not sound like there is any twisting going on here.
If the water level isn't visually objectionable, then I'd leave be.>
Also, water level does not touch the top of the front right corner of the tank. It i 1/4" below top (which I took into consideration in leveling measurements).
<Good. James (Salty Dog)>

Leveling out a tank, with wheels on the stand. 1/11/12
Hey WWM!
<Hey Aimee>
I recently came into the possession of my Dad's tank as a temporary home for my goldfish.
The tank is roughly 110 litres in total, with 90 litres useful volume, it measures 3 foot x 1 foot and around 1.3 foot high.
The tank and stand are 25 years old, but are still in very good condition and the stand has wheels, which I believe it has always had.
Since moving the tank to my house and filling it, I noticed there was a slight angle.
The gap between the wood finish and the water line, was 1mm on the left hand side and 5mm on the right hand side.
Concerned it would cause a crack or some other problem, I have completely emptied the tank of water and decorations, until I am sure on what to do.
Since purchasing a spirit level, I came to find the culprit was the floor, which makes sense as the tank and stand have been fine for a number of years at my parent's house.
A few people have suggested to me, to put styro foam in between the tank and stand, not sure what the purpose of this is? As surely an un-even layer (in a bid to even out the tank) will do more harm than good? I would much rather have 100% contact between the tank and stand, than mess around with this, for the sake of a few millimetres.
<The Styrofoam will do nothing to level the tank.>
Unless I misunderstand and then they mean to put an even layer of styro foam in between the tank and stand? Again, what would be the point in this?
I have also had someone suggest I put something under the wheels to straighten this out. I didn't know if you had any suggestions on what possible things I could use?
I was considering a plastic dish of some kind, that I could place the wheel into and then place things under neath but I am un sure how it would deal with the pressure when the tank is filled?
Or would I just be best leaving the tank alone, filling it again and ignoring the slight slant?
Any advice on this matter would be greatly appreciated! Thank you for your time.
<My advice would be to look at how the wheels are mounted to the stand. If they are removable (with screws) you could place the correct size shim between the wheel frame mount and the stand.
James (Salty Dog)>
Kind Regards
Aimee Taylor
Re Leveling out a tank, with wheels on the stand. 1/12/12

Thanks for your quick response!
<You're welcome.>
It may be possible to remove the wheels and put something under the stand.
I'm not sure where I can get shims from, so I may have to improvise a little there.
<What I was referring to is to place the shims between the wheel mount and the stand, kind of sandwiched in between.>
Although I'm not sure how to place shims, will it not cause a gap in the middle between the tank stand and floor? Or is the point to place shims in certain areas?
<As above.>
I'm a little hesitant to mess around with things too much, when you consider the tank has been fine for all these years.
<Can it be move to an area where the floor is level?>
I just wondered how necessary it is to level out the aquarium?
I have read in places that if the difference between the water at either ends, is no more than an 1/4 of an inch, it should be fine?
<If it were me, I wouldn't fool with it unless you want it level for aesthetic reasons. A 4mm difference is not quite 1/8th of an inch and will cause no problem.>
Thanks again,
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Kind Regards
Aimee Taylor
Re: Leveling out a tank, with wheels on the stand 1/13/12

Thanks James!
<You're welcome Aimee>
I have spoken to my Dad and he says I could remove the wheels if I wanted to, and the possibility that he could <make> the correct wedges from his work place for me to use.
But he also said, like yourself and a few others I've spoken to, that the tank would be okay with just a 4mm difference. So I am correct in thinking that 4mm isn't enough to cause any cracks or other leak issues?
So it's really the decision with me I guess, of whether I want to level it or not. I know the wheels on the stand can hold the tanks weight, they'd been on the stand for many years now. Plus I wonder if taking them off, would make the angle worse? Is that possible? Or am I over thinking here?
<Tough to say without seeing it. If it's a commercial tank stand it should be level without the wheels.>
Once more, thank you for your time. I might go ahead and set up the tank on Saturday, as I'm growing more concerned for my goldfish being in such a small tank at the moment!
Thanks ever so much =)
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Kind Regards
Aimee Taylor

question about tank leveling and types of foam 9/6/11
Hi gang!
<Howsit Shawn?>
I got a 36 gallon acrylic Bowfront tank recently, and I set it up on a sturdy, antique industrial table. When I filled it, I noticed that the front two corners of the tank don't rest on the table. I'm assuming that the
table is not perfectly flat and level. This has bothered me, and your great advice here tells me that it should!
My question is, is piece of Styrofoam enough to correct this? And just in general, will a dense flexible foam work as well as a rigid Styrofoam as an under-tank support?
<I'd place something more sturdy under the whole frame and maybe a thin sheet of Styro twixt this and the entire tank frame
Thanks a bunch!
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Location for new aquarium 8/6/11
Dear Knowledgeable ones,
>Ohmmm... former measure/unit of electrical resistance... sounds better than micro-Siemens per cm.>
I wonder if you would be kind enough to advise me. I am hoping to purchase a larger aquarium and I would like to know if it would be safe to site it on a built in area that I have in my home. The area is 2ft 4" x 2ft 4" and it has a solid wood top which is supported by masonry underneath (including the centre) and it is set into the walls on two sides. My problem is that it is slightly uneven to a max of 3mm.
<Not too bad...>
The aquarium I am thinking of purchasing is 90 litres and it has a floating base. What do I need to do to ensure that the unevenness of the top of the area won't cause my aquarium to crack or strain?
Do I need to put something between the surface and the aquarium?
<Ah yes... a simple piece of foam... 1/4" or so thick, that will go underneath all edges>
I would be most grateful if you would advise me as to what to do.
Thank you so much,
J Cooper
<Please read here also: http://wetwebmedia.com/aqstdleveling.htm
Bob Fenner>

foam and floating bottoms, uneven metal stand/s, floating bottom glass tanks 7/25/11
Hello there,
I have a custom steel stand and aquarium of 120 gallons. The bottom of the tank has a plastic trim purchased from All-Glass, and the common floating bottom design where only the trim is suppose to rest on the stand. I also have plywood that is to be placed on the steel construction. Unfortunately, EVERYTHING is somewhat non-planar/warped...umm..slightly.
<Mmmm, trouble>
The steel beams that make up the top of the stand sag about 2-3 mms in the middle along each length, the plywood is warped, and the bottom trim of the tank has a slight arch of 1-2 mms in the middle of the long sides.
I know that foam is often recommended under both acrylic tanks and glass tanks where the bottom glass rests against the stand. However when it comes to aquariums with the common "floating" bottoms like the AllGlass/Aqueon and Perfecto tanks, it seems there is a lot of disagreement with some saying it can actually lead to a failure, and that manufacturers won't warrantee a tank placed on foam, etc.
<Nor will they warrant them on anything other than their commercial stands>
I was thinking of scrapping the plywood in favour of the Home Depot pink insulation foam,
<Not this>
or maybe placing a thin foam under the plywood, which should then flatten out under the weight of the tank...
<I'd place a piece of Styrofoam of small thickness twixt the Plywood and tank itself>
all with the goal of evenly supporting the tank. So what do you think, is it okay to place tanks with floating bottoms on foam, and is it the way to go in my situation.
Thank you very much in advance!
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: foam and floating bottoms 7/25/11

Hi Bob,
Thank you for the quick response!
Am I correct to interpret that you don't believe it's problematic to place a tank with a floating bottom on foam?
<In your case/circumstances, is better than not, by far>
Can you tell me why you said "not this" to using foam only?
<The type of foam you mentioned is not really useful>
To me it seems it "kills two birds with one stone" as it helps compensate for both the sagging steel and the arched plastic trim of the tank by compressing between
both slightly.
Thanks again,
PS When you say foam of "small thickness", is 1/2" OK?
<It is. Cheers, BobF>
Re: foam and floating bottoms
Really sorry to bother you again, but I need to understand what to do. Why is that foam not useful...since I think I have seen you recommend it on your site in the past, though I may be mistaken?
<Maybe I'm not clear w/ what you're referring to as "pink insulation foam"... I think of thermal material here>
Is there some other type of foam you can suggest instead?
<Yes... as stated, Styro>
Even if I had different foam, would you still suggest it over the plywood versus abandoning the plywood?
Thank You,
<... as prev., between. B>
Re: foam and floating bottoms 7/25/11
I was referring to those solid 2' by 8' sheets of 1/2" thick pink foam...very similar to Styro but doesn't fall apart so easily...not the cottony stuff!!
Thanks again
<Ahh, thank you. B>
Re: foam and floating bottoms 7/26/11
Forgive me Bob,
Just remeasured my stand and realized that with a 3/4" plywood plus 1/2" foam the black trim of the tank will be just visible from behind the wooden lip meant to hide it...assuming I can find 1/4" foam, would that still be adequate?
<Likely about the same benefit. Cheers, BobF>

An Endorsement, tank leveling 3/4/11
Hey guys
I realize not everybody can read the daily FAQs regularly, but I wanted to share a story as to why trying to check them often is a very good idea indeed. When reading the email today on the acrylic tank and leveling, I was made aware of a *massive* problem in my set-up. After filling my tank in October (65g, my first), I noticed that the it was not level, leaning a bit to the front and the left. There was about a 1/2" deviation between the low corner and high one.
<Yowzah! Too much!>
We live in a 90 year old house, with carpeting, and all of our bookshelves lean forward from the wall too, and need to be anchored to keep them level (and also safe. $5 for L-brackets and screws is a good investment in personal safety). I assumed it was the old-fashioned tackless strips under the carpeting and didn't really worry; the tank weighs so much, it would take a lot to topple it. It never occurred to me, and I never ran across this fact in any reading (that I remember) until today, that it put a huge strain on the lower joints! Thankfully I read the email and linked articles, and immediately started draining my tank. We tried moving it out a bit (to get it off the tackless strips), but that didn't help (I guess the floors are just slanted from the walls), so I grabbed some shim material and we got it leveled out. I still need to add some across the bottom to give it full weight distribution, but I'm thinking I've dodged a pretty serious bullet. I'm pretty sure my renter's insurance won't cover flood damage due to a broken aquarium....
It also was an excuse to do a big water change to help get some annoying nitrates down (immediately after my last WC they were still at 10ppm).
So thanks, and trust that I will continue checking the dailies as often as I can!
<Bonus! Bob Fenner>

New Acrylic fish tank help, stand leveling reading 3/1/11
<Howsit Eve?>
I am hoping you will be able to offer a bit of insight. I had a 40 gallon glass aquarium that housed two common "carnival" goldfish. Nothing fancy, but it looked nice. The glass tank held for about 10 months and one morning we woke up to find the tank leaking like crazy from a bottom seam that had failed.
<Mmm, the stand... level and planar? And the floor it's on?>
Needless to say there was a heck of a lot of damage to my house, as there is a finished basement below where the fish tank sits. A lot of drywall and heating duct repair is in order. That tank went right to the trash, and I ordered a SeaClear 30 gallon 36" L X 12" W X 16" H acrylic tank. It came FedEx this morning and I was very excited, unpackaged it and put it on the stand. That is when I noticed that it is wobbly,
<Yikes! Unacceptable>
so it is not perfectly level on the stand. I stopped right there and began searching to see if an acrylic tank needs to be perfectly level,
<It does>
I know that it will need a solid support underneath (which we have, the cabinet it sits on was designed as a tank stand and has a solid top) and the cabinet is in good condition. I am totally at a loss because the problem cannot be corrected by shimming between the stand feet and the floor, the problem is where the bottom of the tank rests on the stand itself. My husbands idea was to purchase some wood shims and shim the back of the tank to keep it from being wobbly.
<Mmm, no... needs to be "shimmed" all along the bottom...>
I am not sure I like this idea, as I know that somewhere underneath that tank there is a lack of support from the shim to the tank bottom. I stuck a very thin "Time" magazine underneath it, but of course it is the same idea.
We are already sore from the damage to the house and I am scared to death to put another tank into the house, but my husband refuses to entertain the idea of having a fish tank in the garage. (ha) Anyway, so my question is this: even though when I get the rocks and the water in the tank without shimming I know that the weight of the fish tank will not allow it to flop around. Should I try to level the tank between the tank bottom and stand or should I just leave it alone?
<Best to check the stand itself... have it be level and planar... IF it is not level, it MUST still be planar before itself is shimmed (on the bottom, legs)>
And if it was you, in your house, would you trust an acrylic fish tank that is a little off level?
<W/in reason... but not a magazine width off. Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/aqstdleveling.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
I appreciate any help or advice you can offer.
Eve Lynch

Re: Should I worry about a sagging cast iron stand? 2/8/11
Thanks for your e-mail.
I don't see how plywood would provide any support to the tank in the middle of the long sides. Even thick plywood is not rigid enough to support hundreds of pounds across a 4' span.
Can you explain how this will support the tank
<It is not simply about support, but distributing the load. Even with a perimeter framed tank it does do the trick.>
<Scott V.>
Re: Should I worry about a sagging cast iron stand? 2/8/11
I found this web site that shows the calculation for the maximum load on a piece of tempered glass :
Does anyone know the thickness of the bottom glass of a Perfecto 110 gallon tank and whether it is tempered?
<Typically 3/8" and tempered.>
<Welcome, Scott V.>
Re: Should I worry about a sagging cast iron stand? 2/8/11
Thanks for the email. I am kind of hoping you're wrong on the 3/8".
According to the website (whose engineering seems sound,) 3/8" tempered glass would support a maximum load at the center of the span of only ~840 lbs with no safety factor. (1/2" tempered glass would bring that to 1500lbs.) I saw 12mm and 16mm glass mentioned on another aquarium site -- I don't know if this meant tempered. 12mm is almost 1/2" and 16mm is almost 5/8".
<Well, Perfecto makes Marineland (or vice versa) and this particular Marineland tank has no tempered bottom: http://www.marineland.com/sites/Marineland/Documents/Standard%20Aquarium%20Specs.pdf. They may not be exactly the same, but likely are. Also keep in mind that this is the current specs for their tanks. Depending on when your tank was actually made it could be different. I really would not worry about the strength of the bottom. This company makes fine tanks that work well. Any tank manufacturer, even if they use thicker bottoms for extra strength, will recommend a level and planar stand!>
<Scott V.>

Leveling a 75 gallon on carpet Aquarium setup 9/7/2010
Hello Wet Web Crew,
<Hi Dave.>
I have been looking over your site and Bob's book for awhile for answers and the ones I have gotten have been greatly appreciated.
<I'm happy that you've found the information useful.>
I just bought my first 75 gallon saltwater tank and am concerned.
<Welcome to the hobby. It can be one of the most satisfying while simultaneously being one of the most frustrating things you will do.
By reading\planning ahead of time, you are minimizing the frustration.>
I put the tank as close to a load bearing wall as the HOB filter would allow.
<Make sure you've given yourself enough space to reach back behind the tank if necessary - an extra inch or two won't make much of a difference for supporting the load, but will make all the difference in the world if you need to get back there for something and it is just a bit too narrow for your hand\arm.>
Unfortunately, it is on carpet and seems to be sitting kind of low on the front end.
<Not at all uncommon.>
The bubble on the level is just a 1/16" outside the line on one end and right on the line at the center and other end.
<A slight slope in two directions.>
The stand has a lip that sits flat on the floor about an inch wide all around the bottom.
I want to keep it flat on the floor all the way across the front so I bought enough shims to go all the way across the
Is this the best way to go?
<You will find that on a carpeted floor, the shims will sink into the carpet as well, especially after you've added water.>
I also have a piece of high density foam I considered putting underneath the stand to possibly level it out while also protecting the carpet.
<It would have to be pretty high density foam. If you can damage\dent it with a dropped object, it probably isn't strong enough>
Do either of these ways seem sufficient or would you suggest something else?
<Going on the assumption that your foam probably isn't dense enough, I would suggest a piece of 0.50" (12.7mm) thick plywood that is 1 - 2" (25 - 50mm) larger than the base of the stand - at least on the three sides that are visible. The plywood can be of any grade you like, if you get a nicer piece, it can be finished like the tank\stand so it blends better and
protects your carpet. This will give you a nice stable surface and will help keep the shims in place. Depending on how fancy you want to get, you can add decorative molding between the bottom of the stand and the plywood so the shims\gaps are hidden from view.
This is my first saltwater tank and I want to do this right.
<You are on the right path. You can't go wrong with reading and planning in advance>
Thanks in advance.
<My pleasure.>

Leveling tank stand for 9g Bi-Ube, off-center tank placement 8/2/10
Greetings! Thank you for the rich website and detailed information.
<Thanks for the kind words.>
I have a handful of questions I hope you can assist with that I couldn't find addressed on your site.
<Fire away.>
I have had a 9g Bi-Ube cylindrical acrylic tank set up for about six months now, complete with a small school of black neon tetras (5) and a couple of emerald Cory cats.
<I hate saying this, but this aquarium is not suitable for these fish. In fact this aquarium is arguably not suitable for fish at all. But Black Neons and Corydoras aren't at all suitable. They may live for a while, but they won't be happy. Corydoras are schooling fish and should be kept in groups of five or more. Both species ultimately get quite big, and the Corydoras should reach about 7 cm or so, and such fish will be far too big for such a small tank.>
The tank and the stand it rests upon are off-level 1/2" back-to-front, likely due to my carpet (tack strip). Because the tank is so small, and of acrylic construction, I've tolerated the level discrepancy perhaps a little too long. This tank has never been level, and it's high time I remedy this issue... I had a 75g AGA bowfront fail for similar reasons before, and while a 9g tank failure would be decidedly less dramatic, I refuse to be responsible for any further livestock losses (sadly 40 plus fry perished with the aforementioned tank failure). So, with the background out of the way, here are my questions:
1) Can I get away with a partial water removal (say 50%) versus a total tear down since the tank is so small? I hate to put my fish (or myself!) through the trauma if I can avoid it.
<Ordinarily, yes, you'd have to near-empty a tank to safely move it. You might get away with lowering the waterline 66% because of the size and construction of this unit, but I can't recommend it, and don't want to get
the blame when the thing starts leaking!>
2) Can I shim just the stand or do I really need to place a plywood substrate? Again my indecision stems from the small tank size. If the latter, the answer to #1 above becomes an obvious "yes!". If plywood is needed, how much larger than the tank stand should it be? Is 2" on all sides adequate?
<Honestly, if this amount of sloping is just 1 cm or so, I wouldn't lose any sleep on this at all, and I'd leave it be. With that said, a tank this size isn't heavy, so shimmying the stand with slips of wood should be fine.>
3) Is it safe to place the tank off-center on the stand? The stand is rated for a 75g AGA tank, so the 9g Bi-Ube is peanuts by contrast, in terms of weight. The tank has a 13" diameter footprint, while the stand is 15" x 33"... Since it's probably relevant, please note that the stand is composite material with three load-bearing supports (sides & center). The front/back at least don't appear to me to be load-bearing (doors on front and half-panel composite for electrical access at the rear).
<It should be okay having the tank off-centre, but in this situation we can't offer anything 100% certain; you really must check with the manufacturer.>
4) Finally, how important is Styrofoam with an acrylic tank? I don't see any obvious gaps between tank and stand, but I haven't performed the "sheet of paper" test I've read so much about.
<Styrofoam sheets tend to be less important with acrylic tanks and indeed modern glass tanks with plastic load-bearing trims around the edges. My 180-litre Juwel aquarium actually came with a sheet of paper stating NOT to
use Styrofoam. I know it isn't helpful, but again, you really should check with the manufacturer. If the instructions say to use a Styrofoam sheet, then use one.>
Thank you in advance for any advice!
<Cheers, Neale.>
Ps - I think I accidentally fired off a blank email to you all prior to this one. My apologies!! I'm on a cell phone, and sometimes generate unexpected results with an errant button-push.
<Didn't see anything!>

Tank cushion? 5/26/2010
I've been visiting your site for some time and I have a quick question.
What do you recommend putting under a 125g tank as a cushion to a custom stand made of 2x4"s
<Mmm, maybe. Such are worthwhile if the stand surface is off "a bit"... a sixteenth, 32nd of an inch of being planar... must be level. Read here:
and the linked files above... Bob Fenner>

Help on leveling - Stand Selection for a very warped floor. 4/24/2010
Hello Crew,
<Hi Maurizio>
After going through your leveling pages, I still feel I'd better ask about this:
Very old house, first floor, heavily bend: I lose ~4cm/m. Please see picture, where I show also the electric. plug (red) and two possible positions (blue) for my (future) ~250 l tank (~100x50x50 cm). Note that it will be half empty, since the plan is a paludarium for mudskippers.
<I see the problem.>
Living in a small Danish town, apparently my choice of tank&cabinet is limited to the Danish Akvastabil (www.eldorado.dk) or Eheim.
<Looking at the Akvastabil catalog, those look like very nice stands.>
The former's cabinet have extensible legs (up to ~2.5 cm), which might be enough to level the front-to-back problem (around 2.5 cm) if in place 1.
The alternative (place 2) would be at the bottom of the curve of the floor, where - within 1 m span - the floor is almost even, but in this case the problem would be side-to-side (i.e., the worst, I guess).
<I would agree.>
Again, with the extensible legs of Akvastabil I should be able to level, but this implies full weight on 4 spots only, on a very old wooden floor, already quite bent. Eheim provides instead wooden cabinets without legs, so weight would be more evenly distributed, but surely leveling would be a more empirical (and so less reliable) procedure, entirely up to my manual abilities (shimming...).
<All valid observations.>
Can you help me take a decision? Flat or legged cabinet? On position 1 or 2?
<Personally, I would use position 1 with the adjustable legs, perhaps with a larger piece of wood underneath to spread over a wider area - that should give you the best opportunity to get a good level surface and minimize any potential problems.>.
Many thanks
<My pleasure.>

Aquarium leveling... "only off by this much" Yikes! -- 1/27/10
I have a 120 gallon aquarium, and I leveled it the best I can with shims.
and its all level accept the left side is 1 inch higher than the right.
is that bad for a 5 ft long aquarium?
One more question is 3/4 inch foam to thick for under a aquarium? its just plain white styro foam. Thanks
<... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/aqstdleveling.htm
and the linked files above, BEFORE adding water to this tank on the current stand. Bob Fenner>
Re: Aquarium leveling
Thank You
<Welcome. BobF>

Re: Aquarium leveling 1/29/10
What kind of foam would you recommend for between the tank and stand?
Re: Aquarium leveling
What would the best thickness be. Thanks
<If the stand is level, planar, about half inch. B>
Re: Aquarium leveling
Ok I will go with that, Thank you very much your site is amazing.
<Welcome. BobF>

Stand design/strength -- 01/11/2010
Hello Bob and crew!
<Hey Jason! JustinN here!>
I hope everyone had a great holiday season.
<I did -- I hope the same for you!>
I have had a wonderful Christmas
as my lovely wife as offered to upgrade my 120 gallon reef to a 250 gallon (within a budget of course!)
<...I guess it was a good Christmas!>
To make sure I come within my budget, my friend (who is a carpenter) and I are building the stand.
<A good method for saving money in most cases.>
I was wondering if I could get your advice? The tank is a Marineland deep dimension 250 (60x36x27
<Ahh yes, have a friend who has this exact tank... quite a sight to see! The depth really is amazing.>
I have attached a graphic design of the stand that I created. It¹s basically made out of 2x4 framing, 3/4 inch plywood (top not pictured) and bottom. I am also adding 3/4 inch Styrofoam on top. The back will also be braced across with 3/4 inch plywood. Does this design look sound to you?
<It does look secure to me -- looks almost identical to the stand my friend built for his. For extra security, I would double up on the 2x4's in the corners -- frame both sides of the angle.>
So far the top seems quite planar. When I run the level across the top of the plywood, its practically flush everywhere (and within less than a 16th on an inch at its worst area). Once I put 3/4 inch foam on top, will this be acceptable?
<In my opinion, yes -- the foam will allow settling to occur in a level fashion.>
Thank you so much for your help!
<Glad to provide it! -JustinN>

72 Bowfront Stress 8/13/09
Hi WWM Crew,
<Hello David>
FAQS: 2nd floor of an old house ...tank upgrade ( 55 > 72 Bowfront) ...DIY "over-built" stand on a load bearing wall. I actually built a second wall behind the existing wall and attached the stand to both! Tank is new and I placed it on a Styrofoam pad. The stand is out of level by just under 1/4" front-to-back, but dead on level side-to-side. Because of the complexity of the bracing I couldn't get the stand to tip back any further : (
My question is: IYO is it likely the added stress on the front glass will cause a crack or tank failure?
<No worries my friend.>
Thx for your thoughts.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
<<RMF is of a different opinion here... a quarter of an inch is too much of a variance, front to back. I would definitely drain most water out, shim up the front supports of the stand to level>>

Re: More re: 72 bowfront stress 8/13/09
Over the years I had a few tanks that leveled out with no water, then filled, and bingo, 1/4" out of level front to back. Usually happens in older homes when the tank is placed abutting a wall. Anyway, I've never had the glass break/shatter and I believe that is what the querior was concerned about.
I'll make note of this for future reference.
<I do think you've done your bit answering per your personal experience; as have I. If it were a sixteenth or even an eighth of an inch over this run, this given set of circumstances, I wouldn't be concerned... But a quarter? This is too much for my comfort. C & B, BobF>
Thank you, Bob..
<Thank you James>

Re 72 bowfront stress 8/13/09
Hi James,
Thx for the follow up. The response to my question has run 50/50 on my local forum ...consistent with WWM : )
I'm going to drain the tank and remove rock. Level/planar the tank and restock. IMO, peace of mind is worth the effort here :
<Good, as I am now in agreement with Bob, and my wrist is still sore. I have had a few tanks that were not quite level and have experienced no cracking/breakage, but to be on the safe side and have peace of mind, is best to level.>
BTW, tell Bob that the Scopas he saved a year ago is thriving in his a new tank : )
<Will do, and great news to hear.><<Ah, good. RMF>>
Thx again for your time and thoughts - WWM is a great resource.
<You're welcome, David. James (Salty Dog)>
On Aug 13, 2009, WetWebMedia Crew <crew@wetwebmedia.com> wrote: <<RMF is of a different opinion here... a quarter of an inch is too much of a variance, front to back. I would definitely drain most water out, shim up the front supports of the stand to level>>

Tank Leveling, ala JoshS 7/26/2009
Hello crew,
<Josh here.>
Short and not so sweet... I have two matching 75 gallon tanks and stands.
Both with pine stands. One is on hardwoods and is level, the second is on thick carpet and is not.
<The carpet is likely the culprit here.>
The bubble in the level is touching one of the lines.
<Hmm, it should certainly be in the middle here.>
The water level is off left to right by about 1/4 inch. The tank has been up and running for about a year and a half full of live rock and livestock.
<The carpet likely settled over time, so you could have been fine when you set it up, but be off now.>
Is this an issue?
<It could be.>
And if it is, is there a way to fix it with the tank full.
<I'm afraid not.>
I measured the height all around the stand and it is the same. The house is a newer construction (7 years) I believe it is coming from the carpet.
<Well Mike, I Suggest you drain the tank and temporarily move livestock to correct this problem. Glass tanks have notorious stress problems when they are not properly leveled. If the tank is in a permanent location, many people actually cut up the carpet underneath the tank, so the stand can sit directly on the cement or wooden flooring. If that is not an option, than I suggest you shim the stand while the tank is almost completely emptied, You can likely leave the sand in place. Try to use shims that will run the entire length of the stand for more support.
Also please consider placing some foam between the tank and the stand, unfortunately this would require completely emptying the tank, but it will be helpful in the long run.
Please read up on this page of FAQ's
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/aqstdleveling.htm >
<Your welcome,
Josh Solomon>

Tank Leveling, ala ScottV 7/27/09
Hello crew,
<Hello Marc.>
Short and not so sweet... I have two matching 75 gallon tank and stands.
Both with pine stands. One is on hardwoods and is level the second is on thick carpet and is not. The bubble in the level is touching one of the lines. The water level is off left to right by about 1/4 inch. The tank
has been up and running for about a year and a half full of live rock and livestock. Is this an issue?
<Oh yes, can be dangerous, affect the integrity of the tank.>
And if it is, is there a way to fix it with the tank full.
<Not correctly, the stand needs to be placed on one continuous piece of wood, such as 3/4" ply. Then you will need to shim it to level, ideally with shim pieces cut to run most of the length of the side you are
I measured the height all around the stand and it is the same. The house is a newer construction (7 years) I believe it is coming from the carpet.
<Carpet can make it a pain to see how level a tank is until it is full and the carpet compressed. But in the end, the foundation is likely unlevel or has settled in this spot. See:
<Welcome, Scott V.>

Aquarium Tank Leveling 7/14/09
<Hello Rick>
I have constructed an aquarium stand for my 90 gallon glass tank using 1" thick oak for the top. I noticed when I set the tank on the top, there is a gap between the bottom of the tank and the top of the stand, along both sides, angling from the front to perhaps 1/8" in the middle.
<Is the top itself true. Try laying a long straight edge or level across the top and see if you get the same results as with the tank.>
I have a feeling that the weight of the tank, when full, will cause the top to flatten out as it is simply four boards glued together.
<Will definitely flatten out.>
I am, however, reluctant to fill the tank and end up with a problem. Any suggestions?
<Ensure the stand top is reasonably flat by verifying it as I mentioned above. Do add a center brace to support the mid section of the stand top if you haven't already done so. If the top is reasonably flat, you will have no problems. It isn't unusual to see a slight gap between an empty tank and stand, and will certainly self adjust when the tank is full.>
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Re: Aquarium tank leveling 7/15/09
<Hello Rick>
I have constructed an aquarium stand for my 90 gallon glass tank using 1" thick oak for the top. I noticed when I set the tank on the top, there is a gap between the bottom of the tank and the top of the stand, along both sides, angling from the front to perhaps 1/8" in the middle.
<Is the top itself true. Try laying a long straight edge or level across the top and see if you get the same results as with the tank.>
I have a feeling that the weight of the tank, when full, will cause the top to flatten out as it is simply four boards glued together.
<Will definitely flatten out.>
I am, however, reluctant to fill the tank and end up with a problem. Any suggestions?
<Ensure the stand top is reasonably flat by verifying it as I mentioned above. Do add a center brace to support the mid section of the stand top if you haven't already done so. If the top is reasonably flat, you will have no problems. It isn't unusual to see a slight gap between an empty tank and stand, and will certainly self adjust when the tank is full.>
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

120 Gallon Tank Leveling and Floor Construction 5/26/2009
<Hi John>
Thank you for hosting such an informative website! I've ended up on your site quite a few times during my many Google searches.
<Thank you, We're glad that you found it helpful.>
Last year I moved into a townhouse, and was planning to combine my smaller tanks into a 6 foot 125 gallon tank. After being test filled with water, the tank rocked very easily when touching the top. It was pretty scary.
This particular townhouse happened to have water damage directly underneath where the washing machine hookup is located. I had no choice but to return that particular size tank. Everything was so chaotic during the move, and the big tank was supposed to simplify things. I needed another tank with more depth for stability, and decided on 120 gallons (24" x 24" x 48"). I moved it to the left of the floor damage, but it still wasn't perfect. For
that, and many other reasons, I moved to another townhouse community a year later, which happens to have almost identical design, and 1978 construction.
I can't tell from the garage, because of the drywall in the ceiling, but if the HVAC/water heater room behind the garage is any indication, the floor support consists of 1 1/2" x 7" beams, topped in plywood. The tank is centered between 2 large perpendicular metal beams that are in the garage.
It's 34 1/2" to the left and right, and 7" from the wall itself. If the 1 1/2" beams run the length of the house, 2 of these beams run underneath the middle of the tank, and they're closer to the front. The floor is more stable than the previous address, but I can see the water ripple when I walk by. I can only assume that the plywood between the beams causes this.
There's nothing I can do. It's just strange that I've kept a 75 gallon tank in 4 different homes since the early '90s, and never had a single issue with leveling or what seems to be cheap construction.
<Not so much cheap construction as I don't think they considered large aquariums back in 1978. Back then, 55 gallons was a big tank.>
After I set the tank up without shims, remnants of water in the bottom of the tank settled in the back left corner. According to brand new 24" and 48" levels, the tank especially needed to be shimmed on the left side. I read some good things about plastic shims, and also like the fact that they're uniform, and stuck together in 12" wide sheets for more surface area that the stand can rest on. The base of the stand is 26", and I put down 2 of them on the left side. The tank is almost perfectly level measured in the front and back, using the 48" level, but the left and right
side measurements show that it's slightly tipped toward the back, and a bit more on the left. The bubbles are still within the inner lines, though. I attached multiple labeled pictures. Would you mind taking a look at them?
<Certainly I have the exact same stand in the 150 gallon. Do yourself a favor before you fill the tank and add a thin foam strip (thin weather-stripping works well) where the tank contacts the stand. This will help level out the irregularities in the stand itself.>
Is this level enough?
<For all intents and purposes, yes.>
In order to make the left and right bubbles perfectly centered, I'd have to overlap some of the shims in the back left corner. Would you do this, or leave things as is? Your help and advice is really appreciated!
<One thing I did notice is that you have the aquarium on carpet, which will not add stability and contribute to leveling problems. You may find it easier if you place the stand on a large piece of plywood rather than on the carpet. Also, it you put a piece of molding around the lip facing up, you can seal the seam and it will catch any drips or spills before it soaks into your carpet.>
Thank you,
<My pleasure>

Re: 120 Gallon Tank Leveling and Floor Construction 5/27/2009
Hi Mike,
<Hi John>
Thank you for such a quick response!
<No problem>
You say "For all intents and purposes" the tank is level enough, but aside from your other suggestions, does this mean I should leave well enough alone, and not shim anymore?
<Yes, the bubble is between the inner lines on your level, so that should be fine.>
I do remember that PetSmart had your 150 gallon on sale a year ago for about half of what I ended up spending on the 120 gallon. They're Perfecto tanks, but they sell them as Top Fin. It was tempting, but would've been dangerous to have such a tall tank, and working on it would be difficult for anyone under 7 feet tall. It's a nice tank, though. Are you that tall, or do you hire little people to dive in?
<Heheh. No, I'm 6' tall. I have a small step stool I use when I need to get to the bottom of the tank. In a pinch, my son is 6' 4" and I send him in after things. Aqua-Tongs are good things as well.>
The tank and stand have been used for about a year, and before doing the shimming and leveling, I filled the tank with water to compress the carpeting. I guess it's tough to tell in the picture, but the tank is currently filled with water.
<Ahh, yes, I thought it was empty.>
You mentioned adding weather-stripping before I fill the tank, which is something I read about on your website, and I wish I read about this before
moving the tank!
My friends are really sick of me burdening them with my constant moving, despite being paid in beer and pizza. Adding weather-stripping would be difficult for one person. Since you have the same stand, you know the lip makes it impossible to slide the tank, and I never lift the tank from the top. I'd have to crawl inside the stand, push the glass up, then quickly slip the weather-stripping in between. I'm wondering if this is worth the chiropractic adjustment costs, considering that the pine has probably been compressed by the weight over time?
<If you are already filled, I would leave it at this point.>
When I read previous comments about putting plywood underneath stands, I assumed this was for those with metal stands. Forgive my ignorance, but doesn't this stand have pretty thick pine around the perimeter, with a thin piece of plywood attached to the bottom?
<Yes it does. Plywood works really well for metal stands, but I have found it also works well on wood stands, particularly on carpeting which can have its own ripples, bumps, etc. . It helps spread the weight out over a wider area (more stability) and water is more likely to end up there rather than soaking into your carpet.>
After I moved from my previous address, there was a solid square indentation left in the carpeting. I suspect the carpeting in my new place is really cheap, considering that every new tenant here gets brand new carpeting, and the carpet memory is really poor. Excellent idea to put a piece of molding around the lip! My fish always splash me when I feed them, and I need to be quick with a towel. If you have a picture of this, it would be extremely helpful.
<Don't have a picture, as my tanks now sit on a tile floor. but if you visualize the top part of your stand (where the tank sits) you get the general idea. One more question, since you have the same stand...I was told to push the tank forward on the stand, so that the front wooden edge touches the tank's plastic frame. It looks better this way, because the gap is hidden in the back. Is this how you set your tank up?
<Exactly how I have it set up.>
Thanks again,
<My pleasure>

Re: New stand setup -- 03/22/09
Hey crew I contacted you guys last week concerning a 75 gallon glass tank set up on a metal stand. All your help and great advice has gotten me to the point where I am now and would like your opinion again if it's not too much trouble. Since my last email to you guys I went out and purchased a new iron stand which I noticed supported the tank in all four corners but the center pieces were not touching the trim on the stand.
<Mmm, with the tank filled?>
So I brought that stand back and replaced it for another one to my surprise that one had the same problem but it was a little less rather than return it I decided to work with it being this is the 3rd iron stand I had problems with I didn't want the store to think I was some kind of nut. So again I placed 3/4in plywood on top of the stand (I feel more comfortable this way) and I put the tank on top of it then I noticed that there was a small gap about an 8th of an inch between the tanks trim and wood. I was able to shim up the plywood with stainless steel strips to close the gap evenly to the bottom of the tank trim. The plastic trim around the bottom of the tank was pretty sung to the plywood I was not able to get my driver's license under it without forcing it. One or two spots were not as tight but it was still snug and the tank no longer was wobbly on the wood.
After checking everything in all directions with a level, measuring with a ruler and driving myself nuts with this for the past few days I decided to see what would happen if I put some water in it so I filled the tank up
just above the trim (on the bottom) and the little bit of weight that the water added seemed to even it all out I could no longer get my license under it anywhere even if I attempted to force it under I even used a piece of paper that is a little bit thinner and that did not fit. Should I continue to fill it up and make sure it stays level or is the solution I have come up with not good?
Thanks again you guys are a big help.
<I would fill this tank and try not to worry. Bob Fenner>

Re: New stand setup, level, what to use... 3/23/09
Hey Bob thanks for your reply.
<Hello Thomas; welcome>
To answer your question Bob. No the tank was not filled when the center braces of the stand were not touching the trim on the bottom of the tank and it was a pretty decent sized gap and I didn't think it would be safe to put any water in it at this point because I was unsure it if the tank need to be supported in that area and I was concerned that it might flex to the stand and cause stress on the glass or silicone. So I decided to play it safe and try to minimize the gap before adding weight to the tank.
<Sounds good>
According to the manufacture the most important thing is that the corners are supported do you guys agree with that?
<Yes; though, all the outer edge needs be supported to only a slightly lesser degree>
They gave me some advice before (regarding the tank being able to flex a certain amount) and when I
checked with you guys I realized that is was not good advice.
I know this sounds like a stupid question but maybe you can help me understand how the iron stand are designed to work because I can't understand why if the center braces were important they did don't put a
brace for support to keep them from bending and sagging or are those center braces just not that important?
<Seems to me that this is largely an instance of "social/industrial inertia"... That such stands have been produced as the one you have presently for so long... there's not been perception that such change is
warranted. I do want to make a comment re these stands though... I am not a fan, and the stores that I had a hand in putting up, managing, owning did not offer them... in S. Cal. the ground shakes too much, too often to give me enough sense of security that the tanks/stands wouldn't "go over" should there be a big lateral push>
I will try to get around to filling it up today and keep an eye on it to make sure it stays level.
Thank again Bob.
<Welcome again Thomas. BobF>

Extreme system leveling, more here than just a torqued stand, Tank leveling woes 3/3/2009 Hello Crew, <Hi Jeff> I would first like to thank you for your service. I am relatively new to the hobby and setting up my first "big" tank. I recently acquired a very nice "All Glass" brand 72gal bow-front tank with a matching oak stand, for a great price on Craigslist. Before I go headlong into this hobby I've been doing as much research as I can. Much of this has been on your site and it has been an indispensable resource. <Glad to hear you find it educational.> I have read through much of your pages on leveling stands and believe I have the basic idea. My big concern is the amount of space I need to adjust. The oak stand is supported by 6 main vertical legs that sit on a plywood base all shelled in by finished oak trim. <With you so far, my stand is similar> I will try to include a small picture. My tank is off 1/4" back to front, and 1/2" side to side. There is no twist in the tank as it is the same increment on each of the parallel sides. At least this is my observation with the tank only filled 2". <So that narrows it down to the stand or the floor; most likely the floor, as tank and stand that was this torqued would never have survived. How does the stand measure up on a known level surface?> Now, to get the tank to perfect level the left rear corner would have to remain at 0, while the front right corner would have to be raised to 3/4". I would need to continue at an evenly decreasing angle across the front of the bow ending at 1/4", thus taking the 1/2" inch out of the long side and the 1/4" out of the short. I would continue shimming around all sides until even. My question being, is 3/4" a realistic depth for standard cedar shims? <I've never seen one that thick commercially available in wood, anything over 1/4 inch steel shims are normally used, and those are used for shimming structural steel.> I assume there are several size options but most often I have seen 1/4" (at thickest part of the wedge), which means I would need to stack/glue 3 of them together to begin with. <Stacking\Gluing wouldn't be recommended, adding more potential points of failure - glue, cracking\crushing, etc> Also, this seems like a strange question but, how do you slide a shim behind a tank that's sitting flat against the wall? <Removing the plywood base and shimming from the inside-out, which can cause problems of its own....> I am not worried about the weight of the tank at this point as it is sitting on a load bearing wall, across several floor joists that happen to be 100 year old rough-hewn oak. The main support beam only spans 10 feet between the outside foundation and inner brick column. <Assuming your stand is level, you are getting a huge amount of sagging in the floor. The minimum acceptable sag to be unnoticeable is 1/360th of the span, so in this instance, 120 inches\360 = 1/3 of an inch over 10 linear feet, you have more than that within 18 linear inches of the wall. Adding 700+ pounds is only going to make it worse.> I've had it suggested to try to jack up the house.....not really my idea of a good afternoon project. <Heheh, I don't think it would be anyone's idea of a fun project at any time. That said Jeff, I really think that is your safest\best option at this point. I cannot foresee any way to do what you are proposing without the potential for more problems down the road. If you shim the tank now, and the floor deflects any more, you will be trying to re-level a 700+ lb object filled with water. That is not a risk I would be comfortable with.> Hope I'm not asking the same question you've answered several times. <Not at all.> Hoping to have fish sometime in the next 2 months.....and by then some of my hair may grow back. I seem to be pulling out handfuls. <I can sympathize. Is there any other location in the house you could put this tank?> Thanks for all of your help. <My pleasure Jeff, I'm sorry I can't give you an easier answer> Jeff <Mike>

Setup Problems with New 350g Tank -- 01/20/09. Someone with the crew.... HELP!!! <<Yikes! What's the problem?>> I spoke with Eric Russell a while back <<Tis I again>> about my future 340Gallon tank and it is now well under way and has hit 400 Gallons. <<Neat!>> I have hit a HUGE issue with it though concerning it being .... level in a sort. <<Uh-oh>> The stand is a concrete block and I-beam setup. (3 - W6X20 I beams supported on each end by a concrete wall, (block with concrete poured in holes)) <<Okay, let's see if I understand'¦ You have 3ea. 6'x20' beams (laminated, I assume) spanning approximately 7-feet and supported by cement-filled concrete block end walls. Sounds like more than enough to me'¦but what did the structural engineer say? [grin]>> The beams were level when they sat without the tank front to back and side to side. (Checked with a 4 ft level, tank dims are 84X36X30) Over the weekend I got some unpaid help to pick the tank up and put it on the stand. During this process we construction glued the beams to the concrete, construction glued a 3/4 inch piece of exterior grade 7 ply plywood, that was sealed with Rustoleum paint, to the I beam, and then a 3/4 inch piece of insulation to level out inconsistencies. All of the gluing and then the placing of the tank on the stand happened within 30 min to an hour. <<I trust you checked to make sure all was level and planar after each stage of the operation'¦>> I started to fill the tank with tap water today to check for leaks, when I left to go out to dinner I threw the water hose back inside the house (it was attached to an outside spigot.). When I did this the water left in the hose began a siphon and sucked all the water back out of the tank. (It was only about an 1/8th - 1/4 full) So while I was frantically searching for a leak (not paying attention to the trail of water that had poured from the end of the hose I threw through the window), I found a 1/4" gap between the Foam/plywood/Tank on the front left corner. <<Not good>> The gap dissipates over the distance of the tank. And the front left is the only place it exists. Someone told me that the insulation foam will not even compress under the weight of the tank, <<'¦!>> and this wouldn't be the reason for the gap??? <<The foam WILL compress'¦but is not the reason for the gap. I wish you had supplied a picture'¦. Oh wait, you sent a link in a follow up email: (http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=1515150&perpage=25&pagenumber=4). Ah okay, I see now>> (I was thinking that the weight of the water that was in the tank would have caused it to compress a bit...maybe not?) I'm at a loss. The tank itself as it sits is still level front to back AND side to side. <<Since this is an acrylic tank, I'm now wondering if the defect is in the tank and not in the stand'¦hmm'¦ Acrylic tanks will take a bit of flexing'¦and this tank may well be fine in the long run. But'¦ I would consult with the manufacturer of the tank before going any further. And if it turns out, I would also get any recommendation from them to press ahead 'as is,' in writing>> Signed, Confused Reefer... :( << Hang in there Adam'¦ It may turn out you need do no more than fill the tank and let it set a bit'¦or you may have to remove the tank and re-check and re-level the stand. But talk to the manufacturer of the tank first, they are the best to advise you here. Especially if you don't want to void the warranty on the tank. Cheers mate, EricR>>

Re: Setup Problems with New 350g Tank -- 01/20/09. As I'm sure you've noticed from looking at the thread the I-beams were steel 6in at 20lbs per foot (3/4" thick). <<Ah! No, I didn't get this from the photo'¦but then I didn't look over the entire thread>> And no I didn't level after adding the plywood, it was slightly bowed from when I painted it and I figured the weight of the tank would flatten it back out. <<Mmm, I see'¦ Then maybe the corner of the plywood is turned down a bit as a result of the bowing'¦I can't tell for sure, but it does look as if the plywood extends a bit to the front past the beam?>> The tank manufacturer is actually a local fish store that made the 120 in my basement now. <<Oh good'¦>> He is coming out Thursday to get the tank back on the stand and work with me to get it right. <<Excellent!>> I did find that taking a four foot level on the bottom of the tank it wobbled back and forth about 1/8 of an inch,... <<Ah, okay'¦ Probably not a big issue (or all that uncommon even), but we'll see what the guy who built the tank says, eh>> On the side that had the gap... <<Well there ya go'¦>> Hopefully we will be able to get things straightened out Thursday. <<Am sure you will>> Thanks for your input. :) <<Happy to share. EricR>>

Defective Stand? 1/11/09 Hello gentlemen, <Hi Dave> I have recently had to exchange a newly purchased tank and stand several times due to various problems/defects such as scratches, cracks(!) etc with Oceanics...and decided to go with a different brand...this time a custom made 120 gallon tank with the All Glass "Mission" stand. I know that glass tanks with trim rest only on their bottom periphery, but this stand takes it to the extreme as there is only a 1/2 inch wide strip to support the tank. Having seen these stands at the store, essentially the tank will be supported by the very edges of the trim, not even the whole trim strip...makes me a little nervous. Anyhow, after getting the stand home (tank will be ready in 2 weeks) I was checking it out and noticed that the bar running across the back of the stand is about 1-2 mm below the side support areas...meaning that the tank will be essentially unsupported across the entire rear. I thought maybe at least the center vertical beam is supposed to support the rear middle but even this is too low and out of contact with a long level I placed across the back. I dread going back to the store and exchanging yet another item...I suspect the manager there thinks I am cursed! This can't be right can it? Is my stand defective? Is there a remedy? Any experience with these stands? <From a safety standpoint, I don't think a difference of .039"-.078" is anything to worry about. We are looking at a lot of weight here when the tank is full of sand, rock, and water and I'll bet then, that you couldn't get a .001" feeler gauge between the tank and the stand. If it makes you feel more comfortable, you could get some wood veneer and cut strips to fill in the difference. I'm guessing this is a knockdown stand and the assembly of it by a store employee may not be up to your standards. You may want to loosen a few screws here and there and see if you can't true it up to your liking.> Thank You,
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Should I Go DSB or No?? 12/31/09 Hello All, I am in the process of setting up a 125 gallon aquarium that I will be moving from my established 80 gallon Bow Front aquarium. My question revolves around my sand bed. I have five bags of the Carib Sea Special Reef Grade Sand, <A good product in my estimation> so far I have added just 2 bags of the sand into the tank and that gives me around 1 1/2" of depth. Now, my question is this, should I leave it be or add the other three bags for a DSB. <Yes I would... unless you intend to place a refugium below this system... in which case, I'd build the DSB there> Additionally the aquarium will rest on a DIY stand <Very nice from your pix> (plans were found on GARF website). The stand is actually pretty planar with a tiny gap in the center so to err on the side of caution, <? for expansion? Settling?> I added 1/2" foam (interlocking tile type). I have added a few photos as well. Any info will be much appreciated. Thank you,
R. Morton
<Thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>

Re: Should I Go DSB or No?? 12/31/08 Thank you for the response. Regarding the small gap in the center, it is the settling that I am trying to keep under control. Since the stand has already been Poly-ed (sp.??) I really don't see any reason why the wood would expand, but I know if I don't expect it to happen it probably will lol. Do you think I am being too cautious? I just don't want the tank crack from stress or worse. When I eyeballed the gap it was very small (could probably just slip an envelope under it). I honestly believed that with the weight of the water and sand etc. that this gap would disappear, but I added the foam just to be on the safe side. What do you think? <Not likely useful nor a worry> Thanks Again, R. Morton <Certainly welcome. BobF.>

Re: Should I Go DSB or No?? 12/31/08 I must apologize for all the emails. I was just on the CaribSea site and it says not to use the Special Grade Reef Sand for DSB's. I have both of your books and they have helped me greatly in the few years I have had my aquarium, and you haven't led me astray yet. Call me just being curious, so I am throwing this little bit of info out there to see what you think. <Well... finer (even smaller than nominal 1 mm diam.) "sand" is better for DSB use alone, but... as you stated, you already had the Caribsea product in place, with more bags to possibly apply... Let me see if I can make this clear/er... You would be better off with the finer material (and placing it instead in a refugium)... but if it were me, mine and I had what you state... I'd go ahead and add the other bags... B>

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