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FAQs about Stands, Supports for Aquariums: What to Use, How to Use it, Where to Put it...

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

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

Mmm, naught but cinder blocks. Not recommended

Glass aquarium on an acrylic stand?    4/25/20
Hello and thank you in advance!
I have an old, scratched up (I believe* 75 gallon) acrylic tank with a matching acrylic stand (Tenecor). If I bought a glass aquarium do you think it would be safe to use the acrylic stand for it? The acrylic stuff seems
so perfectly paired, with so much even contact. I worry the heavier glass aquarium with its stress points might not match up. Any thoughts? Thank you again.
<It should work; that is, all the commercial acrylic, made for acrylic tank stands I've encountered have been sufficiently strong, level and planar to accommodate the same size (base) glass tank. IF you're concerned re the contact points, do consider first testing to see if (with filling the new tank on the stand), that there are no gaps twixt the face of the stand and tank itself. IF there are small ones (like a credit card width), insert a
piece of foam (Lowe's, Home Depot...) between the two. IF there is/are large/r gaps, put a cut piece of plywood between them. Bob Fenner>
Re: Glass aquarium on an acrylic stand?     4/25/20

Thank you for your prior answer! I have one more related to tanks. Is it abnormal for a glass aquarium to bow out, or should it be perfectly straight?
<Glass does bow... not often perceptibly... but yes>
I have a common 55 gallon (48”x12.5”x21”)
<Okay... I recall the width as 12.75">
that is half an inch wider in the middle (13”, measured on top) than it is on the ends. And the middle plastic support brace is almost disconnected now on one side.
<Mmm; well; you DO want that plastic bracing (or a retrofit, like a Euro-brace) in place. Manufacturers do offer, sell replacements>
I am kind of freaking out, now that I know this. That’s what prompted my prior question, and am frantically looking to replace this tank out of fear that it is about to go. It’s an old tank, with a 17-year-old Ocellaris clown as one occupant. And she’s my baby and I want no harm to come to her.
<If practical I would drain the water down 5... 6 inches at least for now. Bob Fenner>

A few questions on acrylic      6/11/15
I recently purchased a used 135 gallon acrylic tank and stand. The dimensions are 60x18x30. The front, back and sides are half inch, the top and bottom are quarter inch.
<I see your pix>
Attached is a picture of the stand. I had always thought that an acrylic stand needs support across the whole bottom but I see here that the middle area has no direct support. Should I add something or leave as is?
<I would leave as is likely... is the tank drilled to accommodate plumbing et al? I see through puts that have been drilled into the stand for such>
Also, if the tank is not perfectly level where I set it up, how can I go about shimming it if there are no legs but only acrylic around the bottom?
<The whole stand (from the bottom) should be shimmed... Use the search tool on WWM to find the pertinent input here>
Thank you very much!
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Top and bottom

re: A few questions on acrylic     6/12/15
Hi, yes the tank is drilled for 1 drain and 1 return....I had thought there should be something for the middle area. Is it possible there was a removable piece of acrylic that was removable so a sump could be put inside? The guy I got it from bought it used as well.....
<A removable piece I don't expect here... for structural sake, the space for the internal struts. More likely the sump et al. was located outside the stand. BobF>
re: A few questions on acrylic     6/12/15

Hi, is it safer to just get a piece of acrylic to place here? Or does it really not matter?
<Would not matter unless it is solvented in place. Again; I would leave as is. B>
re: A few questions on acrylic     6/12/15

Ok thank you!
re: A few questions on acrylic     6/12/15

I think I might have stated this wrong. This pic is the top of the stand, not the bottom......the tank will rest on the 2 sheets of acrylic on the sides. The whole middle area makes no direct contact with the tank
<... yes; this is what I understood>
re: A few questions on acrylic     6/12/15

I'm sorry to bother you again, but everywhere I read online it says that acrylic aquariums require support along the entire bottom.....why is this case any different? Thanks!
<Please use WWM, search and read on our site RE>
re: A few questions on acrylic    6/13/15

Thanks. I did and this is what it says " A tank stand for acrylic tanks should have a solid top - a flat surface to put the tank on." my stand has a 2 foot gap in the middle with no surface for the tank to sit on......
<Yes; and what have I repeatedly stated? I would use this stand as is. B>
re: A few questions on acrylic    6/13/15

Ok thanks. Will do.

2x4 Structural Strength / Steel Rack – 06/18/14
I recently purchased a steel rack to hold a couple fish tanks vertically (http://www.uline.ca/BL_3867/Wide-Span-Storage-Racks-Particle-Board)
<<I see these>>
My question is regarding the leveling/base of the unit. The legs are "L" shaped with no flat feet... just a steel L-shape.... like this photo here:
(http://i262.photobucket.com/albums/ii108/Collegenano/IMG_5006_zps41bcd6ff.jpg )
<< I am unable to access this page, but I understand what you are saying>>
I was going to place 2x4's under each corner and then level with shims...however my concern is the weight of the unit may eventually "dig into" the wood causing it to split. Should I worry?
<<”Splitting of the wood is not a concern unless ‘enormous’ weight is applied. The ‘L’ shape of the leg means that no matter how the 2x4 is oriented under the feet of the shelving, one “leg” of the ‘L’ feet will always be perpendicular to the grain of the wood and unlikely to be bearing enough weight to “shear” across the grain. But…the small footprint presented by the legs/feet will very likely “dig in” to the wood over time and render any previous leveling moot. I would suggest obtaining a small flat piece of metal to go on top of the 2x4 under each foot to help “spread the load.” Small pieces of flat stock in the 1/8 to 3/16 inch thickness range should suffice. Use pieces big enough to extend an inch or two around the feet>>
I'm going to run two 40 gallon tanks on the rack... so roughly 900 lbs or so split into the 4 pressure points/legs.... let's say 250lbs per post correct?
<<Close enough>>
Don't know if the 250lbs per L-shape leg is enough to start cracking the flat 2x4 it would sit on.
<<Add the steel flat stock under the feet as suggested and you will be fine. I do want to mention I would not use the particle board that comes with the shelving as any moisture/spillage will cause this to swell and even compromise its structural integrity. Replace with exterior plywood…use ¾ inch material and depending on the spacing of the shelf supports, you may want to consider “laminating” a couple sheets together to keep everything ‘stiff’>>
<<Happy to share… EricR>>
RE: 2x4 Structural Strength / Steel Rack – 06/19/14

I appreciate the reply.
<<Quite welcome>>
Not getting much help from online forums for some unknown reason.
<<Does seem odd>>
I will buy 3/4" plywood for the base, wrap it in plastic
<<The plastic is not necessary (or even desirable…will trap moisture), just use some exterior grade plywood (CDX)>>
and also attach the metal to the corners of the plywood (Loctite glue I guess is good enough to keep it from sliding?)
<<Should do, yes>>
The particle board is of course weaker yea.
<<And much more susceptible to water damage versus plywood>>
The tank I have rests on the cross support beams. The stand is 18" wide and the 40 gallon breeder is 18" wide as well, so no weight is resting on the particle board. Do you still think the plywood is needed for the shelves?
<<Fill the tank and check the board for any deflection. If none, then the board is likely suitably supported…but if it doesn’t stay flat and planar with the weight of the filled tank upon it, do consider beefing it up/replacing with something stronger>>
I coated the particle board in Kilz and then was going to cover in Polyurethane or something like that.
<<Ah! Okay…just use a couple coats of water-based enamel over the Kilz and it should be fine…barring a real soaking. And should the shelf need beefing up, you can just put a sheet of plywood atop the particle board>>
I do have one BIG problem though. The lousy center brace for the structure is higher than the side beams. (see attached photos)
<<Uh-oh…not good>>
It's not much... just a fraction
<<All it takes to create a problem>>
... but what happens now is the middle of the tank is higher than the ends - so it's a tiny teeter totter.
<<Indeed…and creates uneven support/pressure points under the tank>>
The tanks are glass with plastic trim, so the only true weight support needs to be on the 4 corners/edge.
<<The tank needs to be ‘evenly’ supported around the entire bottom perimeter>>
I thought of a couple options.
1) Cut the board in half and leave a gap for where the center brace is.
<<Could work>>
2) Notch out a groove on the underside of the board to allow it to sit flat.
<<This too>>
3) Put shims on the ends of the particle board
<<But then, depending on how you shim, you could have long unsupported gaps under the board. I would go with option 1 and cut no more off the boards than necessary for a very close fit>>
I'd like to do #1 or #2.
<<Me too>>
Notching out the wood wouldn't affect strength in this case, since the weight is sitting on the frame itself and not the particle board
<<Not true for the ‘ends’ of the tank>>
... the board mainly just for looks.
<<Again, not true…the tank needs support around the entire perimeter>>
What do you think?
<<As already stated>>
I don't have a router though
<<Option 1!>>
.... but I do have a miter saw
... so I could saw it in half and leave a small gap... the tank would still sit on the steel cross beams and the board... minus 1" in the middle.
<<Should work fine. I don’t think the 1” gap is a big concern here but I like to “over-engineer”…if this were me I would cut the boards as you describe and then place a piece of plywood (cut to the full size of the shelf) atop the cut boards. This will eliminate the gap, provide a continuous flat surface under the tank, and…beef-up shelf strength>>
Have a good day!
<<Good luck with the project! EricR>>

Aquarium stand deformed      2/5/14
Dear crew,
I have 20 gallon hexagon aquarium with stand for about 7 years. Today I noticed stand is deformed on the back. There is a wide space between the peaces of plywood. I tried to make picture. It's not great: to dark. Do you think it's emergency and it can fall any time?
<I don't like what I see here. I would either substantially shore up where the stand is broken or use something else. Yes; to draining the tank in the meanwhile. Bob Fenner>
Thank you for your help,

Tank Stand, will it work?      5/13/13
Since you kindly offered to give your opinion about a tank stand here is what's going on:
Firstly I would like to apologize for my English... :)
<No worries. I understand you perfectly>
Secondly I will use the metric system. I hope you are familiar with it...
<I am... I grew up overseas and taught chemistry and physics... and write in metric units>
I bought at a second hand furniture store 2 tables at a very cheap price (5 Euros each)
Each table top is squared, having each side 62 centimeters  long.
My idea is to put them both side by side to form one structure with 124 centimeters long by 62 centimeters wide.
<Okay... I take it this will be a glass tank, with a plastic frame... and a floating (inset) bottom>
On top of this I would like to have my new tank:
120 centimeters long X 60 centimeters wide X 50 centimeters high (preferably) Or 120 centimeters long X 50 centimeters wide X 50 centimeters high.
<All right>
The bottom structure of the tables is made of welded iron tube (with a side of 3 centimeters ).
I already drilled 1 hole on each of the middle/center legs to have them attached with 2 screws so they can act as just one leg.
The tables:
Bottom view of one of the tables:
The tables, I think, have an MDF top, which is quite solid so I would guess is massive wood ....
<Will do... I would paint/seal this wood... to prevent rotting, swelling when it gets wet/ted>
Some details on the welding points of the iron tubes:
The screws I used to attach the center/middle legs are very similar to this ( 6 millimeters diameter):
<I would add split washers to the nut ends>
So, my question is, do you think this structure is able to hold safely a 360 liters tank with some rock on it ?
( I pretend to have a Malawi tank with some rocks)
<Likely so... though I want to point out this system will likely weigh some 409 kg.s or so... that I would add a sheet of plywood cut to fit under all the stand legs... and level the tank there... unfilled, and check it as it is being filled... AND add a sheet of 10-20 mm Styrofoam between the tank and the top of the stand... to even out slight imperfections>
I intend to put  2 centimeters roofmate between the stand top and the tank bottom.
<Oh, good>
I can also put 2 centimeters maritime plywood between  the roofmate and the stand top. Would that be necessary ?
<I would do so... can't tell if it's necessary w/o being there, measuring (with a level and straight edge) once all is in place... checking the stand and tank w/ the floor all is being set on>
If I choose to go with a 120(l)X50(w)X50(h) centimeters tank instead of 120(l)X60(w)X50(h) centimeters would there be a problem ?
In this case the stand top would be 6 centimeters wider than the tank (in the front and in the back)
<Not a problem>
So, these are my doubts ...
Thank you very much for your patience to read all this :)
<Certainly welcome>
Best regards
<Nos vemos. Bob Fenner>

Re: Tank Stand     5/13/13
OK Bob,
Thank you so much for your advices.
I plan to buy a glass tank with no plastic frame  and no floating bottom.
So the bottom glass will be directly/totally in contact with the stand|plywood|Styrofoam.
But despite this, maybe it's not a cause of concern.
<NOT if the surface is level and planar...>
I am going forward with this project and add split washers to the nut ends.
And I will fill the tank very slowly to see how it reacts, trying to level it the best as I can.
Once again thank you so much.
"Obrigado" Bob
<Por nada mi amigo>
Best regards

150 Gallon Aluminum Stand ?     10/10/12
Hello Crew!
Hope all is well.  Would you please check out my aluminum stand I have constructed .  Now The basic concept was I was going to have the whole thing welded well that only happened in part due to the fact my welder quit the job in the middle of the project.  Thankfully I own an aluminum company, however we don't weld we mechanically screw everything together like screen rooms for instance, so.  I combined the best of both worlds I think. The stand dimensions measure 62" long x 26"w x 36" Height. The bottom of the stand has 8 - German Steel Heavy duty leveling legs 1" elevated over tile floor.  The entire stand is constructed of 1/8 inch load bearing 3x3 posts, headers, etc.  The top plate is marine grade 1/8 aluminum
plate, welded to top 3x3's,  The upper deck and lower deck are welded through and through on all corners, at least he got that done critical!!.
I reinforced all the posts with internal aluminum shoes the top and bottom also 1/8 thick, we alternated the direction of the shoes internally left then right, front to back to avoid any potential sway.  we then internally screwed the brackets with 3/8 x 1" super Tek screws and externally braced on the outside of each post with 2x2 load bearing angle and screwed that through everything in lieu of gussets and knee bracing. The bottom deck where the filter will sit we have the marine aluminum plate as well but screwed to the frame to allow open access to leveling legs.  Again Hopefully the pictures help.
<They do>
 The tank measures 60x24x24 acrylic custom made with a 6"x20" center overflow  (2 returns, 2-drains all 1' bulkheads).  The cut obviously was to allow for plumbing, I was not confident that cut out with a 20" spacing would not sway or flex so half way up I added the 20" cut out piece centered at 18"  between the top and bottom decks screwed down with all the above stated fasteners/internals.
Now a couple of key notes you may be thinking, may not.  The leveling legs are rated at 440 pounds per leg I have 3 on each side and 2 in the middle totaling 8.   I added some cork sheets under them so their would be no chance of sliding on the tile.   The spacing in the rear between supports is 15x20x15,  The front is 8x34x8 to allow for cabinetry I added a 1/4 hot dipped galvanized bolt top and bottom through these two posts just in case.  The entire structure will be wrapped with custom cabinetry which will also add a layer of security.
Now with all that said.  I appreciate you hanging in their with me.  Here are my only concerns.
1.) Do you agree this stand is correctly designed and reinforced for the application
<I do>
2.) The screws are not stainless they are 2000 hour salt spray rated ceramic coated screws but very thick, stainless too soft internal bracing and external
<I'd "paint" over these w/ something water resistant>
    bracing as stated previously all aluminum. (rusting/failure)
3.) Should I use the 1/4 foam under the tank as the fish store instructed, it's level without but sounds like a good idea
<Not likely necessary unless the surface proves to be non-planar or badly unlevel... the latter should be easily remedied w/ the legs>
4.) Leveling Legs should I trust them or add some 1x4 pt underneath around perimeter?
<I'd trust them. Likely the "finished" weight of the tank will be somewhere around 1,500 pounds... Should be fine.>
I feel confident in my design, but I appreciate any advise you may have.
Thank You.
<Welcome. Our company fabricated glass and acrylic tanks of size (up to 2"), and had stands made of wood, bead-blasted steel, and for a time Al... Our commercial units had issues w/ the Aluminum sagging at times, but we did not build as stout units as you have here. Bob Fenner>

75G Metal Stand    9/18/12
Hello Crew at WWM,
<Howsit Mike?>
  I have been a long time reader and found answers to all my hobby related questions here since at least 2005.  Thank you for all the fantastic advice.
<Just stating what we might/would do given the same/similar circumstances>
I have a question I haven't seen yet though.  I recently moved my 75G glass aquarium to another room in our house.   We had the tank on a wooden 75G stand on a rug, but it was leaning slightly and I didn't trust the stand to continue holding all that weight.  So we moved the tank to a wrought iron stand on a wooden floor.   I included pictures of the stand here.   I've  had
the stand for a while and it's been in the shed.   When we took it out, it had a few rust spots on the rails (not in the welds) which I sanded and painted.  The weld joints all look good.
<Mmm... do you live in a part of the world where the ground shakes?>
  I'm not worried about the aquarium just standing there, but I do have concerns when I'm cleaning the front with a Magfloat magnetic cleaner.  
The tank and stand wobble a bit back and forth as I move the magnet back and forth across the glass.  Is this normal? 
<No; not normal>
And should I be worried?
<Yes; I am>

  I'm considering buying a wooden stand because I'm just not sure if this one is safe. 
<It is not>
 Have you heard of catastrophic failures in stands like this?
<Unfortunately yes>
  I don't really want to have to tear down just to move it to another stand.
Can you give me any advice?
<I would either buy a sturdy stand, or build one... out of wood... at least four by construction, if not four by four inch on the corner uprights>
  Thank you very much,
Mike D
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Re: 75G Metal Stand    9/19/12
Thank you again Bob for your quick and Frank response.
<Welcome Mike>
Fortunately, I like in Denver, so the ground rarely moves here. :)
I've decided to take your advice to heart and replace the stand.
  I'll be picking one up this morning and work on the move this afternoon.
The last move wasn't too bad, only my Foxface Rabbitfish "freaked out,"
<Watch your hands around Rabbitfishes... very spiny dorsal and anal hard spine rays... painful to get poked>
 but he was fine within a few hours.  I'll let you know how it goes this afternoon.
Your email was much appreciated!
Mike D

Re: 75G Metal Stand     9/21/12
Hi Bob, I finished the move to the new stand yesterday and today everything looks great.  Best of all, I can clean the glass with the magnet and the tank doesn't move a bit.
<I am much relieved...>
Here are a few pictures of the tank on the new stand.
I'm very appreciative of all the info on this site.   I would've given up on this hobby long ago without this resource of info.
<Am glad we've been of help/assistance>
Many many thanks,
Mike D
<As many welcomes. Bob Fenner>

Large Tank Stand – 06/09/12
Hi crew,
<<Hey Kevin>>
I'm looking for some help designing a stand for a 300 gallon tank.
<<Okay… I built the stand for my own 375g tank, so let’s see if I can help>>
I couldn't find much information on large tank designs. The dimensions are 72 in long by 36 in wide and 28 in tall. It is an acrylic tank. I was thinking of doing something like the following picture shows but using 2 x 8's instead of the 2 x 4's.
<<Doubled 2x6 (glued and screwed) would be my choice…stronger and more importantly, more stable/less prone to twist and bend>>
I also was thinking of notching out 4 x 4's for the corners but after researching, a lot of people say they twist and warp so it's not a good idea?
<<They can, yes…go with the doubled-up 2x lumber>>
Also I would have two vertical supports in the front and back middle
<<Ah okay, good… As such, “doubled” 2x6 beams front and back sitting “atop” the support legs as you show will be fine. If you decide to forgo the middle support for any reason (access, etc.), then use triple 2x6 beams.>>
and would have front to back bracing on the top every 12 inches
<<2x 6 again…and consider using galvanized joist-hangers for strength here>>
and 3/4 inch plywood on top of that.
Just wanted to get your input to see if this would work or if you have a better suggestion.
<<As stated…and you’re off to a good start. You might also think about using “hurricane connectors” to strengthen all joints. You can find these at places like Lowe’s and Home Depot. And lastly… If you have any doubt, have your plan/stand looked at by a structural engineer. In fact I recommended you have one come out and take a look under the house where you plan to place the tank and make any needed suggestions re extra support for the floor (can be as simple and inexpensive as a few concrete blocks and pipe-jacks…also found at HD/Lowe’s). The couple hundred bucks spent to have the engineer come out will provide much peace of mind>>
<<Happy to share… EricR>>

Tank stand advice     6/1/12
Hi crew. Hope you're all well.
<Yes; thanks>
I've a query about using the 3ft tank stand in the attached pictures if that's O.K.
I bought it used and very cheap. Apparently there was some amount of superficial rust on the legs, but the previous owner has just re-painted it. Having scratched away at some of the 'bubbles' of rust, it would appear that there is non-corroded metal underneath the surface rust that is in good condition. The rusting is also hardly ubiquitous, only obviously appearing in fragmented patches, some non-weight-bearing.
The tank to go on it is a used 3ft X 1.5ft X 1.5ft, 45 Gallon (180 Litre), that is into its 36th hour of leak testing (so far no leaks) in the bathroom (I've no outdoor space to test water-tightness).
1) Would you concur (based on the limited info) that this stand is safe to use (I have two small children, 6 and 3 years old).
<I would make such an assertion... but do commend you for asking for a/ qualified opinion/s. The whole set up will weigh in at about 450 pounds... and the stand needs to be stable (as to not tip or fall over if jarred)>
2) When placing the tank on this stand, should I put plywood underneath the tank (on the top level), or will a sheet of Styrofoam do?
<Either/both will likely be a good idea>
3) Should I place a sheet of plywood underneath the legs to help distribute weight, or is this unnecessary?
<If the floor is level/planar, this should be unnecessary>
As you can probably see, the stand will sit on a marble floor, not carpet.
Cheers crew, and thanks for your help again,
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Re: Tank stand advice     6/1/12
Hey Bob,
Thanks so much for this, and so fast!
<Glad to help>
I really have taken a cautious line to aquariums since reading a lot of your stuff on WWM - I want to recycle and save money in this hobby, but would never forgive myself if in this pursuit I caused injury or worse to others, especially those nearest and dearest. It's just not worth it, hey?
<We are in agreement; closely>
Just to confirm, the 2cm-thick sheet of Styrofoam padding I have will suffice for padding between tank and stand, without a plywood sheet as well?
<IMO, yes>
Also, is there any way to check if a metal stand is losing its structural integrity, outside of visible rusting, before it's too late?
<Mmm, there are likely some sorts of structural engineering tools (like those non-invasive ones used on jets, airplanes et al.), but I'm unfamiliar w/ them. My usual pitch involves a test by stacking some extra weight on the stand (sans tank, water) to see if it will not deform>
Cheers and thanks so much,
<Again, welcome. BobF>

Cabinet question    5/20/12
Hi crew,
Short and sweet tonight.
Will a cabinet designed for a 4ft tank accommodate a 3ft safely, assuming the width of both is 1.5ft? I believe the margins of cabinets bear the majority of tank-load, hence my question.
<Should; yes>
Cheers all and thanks,
<And you, Bob Fenner>

75 gal. stand choices     4/29/12
I am thinking of getting a 75 gallon tank.
<A great size.>
My husband was going to try to build a stand for it, but we calculated that the cost of materials is the same as just buying one at a big box store that would look better. We found two different ones. One is for a 75/90 gallon and the other is for 55/75 gallon. My question is would the 55/75 gallon stand be more likely to be a problem?? I am assuming that the 75/90 gallon stand would be sturdier than the other?
<If both stands are rated for 75 gallons of water, then both stands should be adequate. Yes, a bigger stand will be intrinsically stronger, and if you planned on using a lot of heavy materials like rocks or a deep gravel bed for plants, I'd probably go that way just for piece of mind. But here in England at least any stand sold as being adequate for X gallons of water has to meet certain safety standards, and I'd assume that's the same elsewhere.>
Thank you!!
<Cheers, Neale.>

Stand for 55 gallon is too short, glass tk., improper stand support    4/5/12
<Hello Kathy>
My question is this, I got this 55 gallon glass aquarium and the stand is 1/4" too short on either side. One side is maybe 1/8" more than 1/4 barely although I realize the picture makes it look worse, probably the angle.  I had filled it and put everything in it and then (I know stupid thing) realized this. I've had it up for 2 days now and think that it might be causing stress probably, which could cause a crack. The bottom is secure and touching everywhere and the stand has plenty of extra front and back. I figured the amount of shortage on each side is so small and it's a glass tank so I believe it's already raised up underneath not like an acrylic so that it wouldn't really matter. The trim is definitely supported, but now I'm worried maybe its not good. I've attached pics so you can see. Please let me know if you think it's fine like this. I would really like not to stress the fish out by taking them out again after my other acrylic one sucked. I already lost one fish and that's enough, but if you think its going to stress it I will.
<I wouldn't feel comfortable with this, especially the left side.  The bottom of the side glass panels must be supported.>
Thanks so much.
<You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>

Re Stand for 55 gallon is too short 4/5/12
Hi James,
<Hello Kathy>
Thanks so much for getting back to me, I guess I will have to bite the bullet and do this again. I was afraid you'd say that but I guess it is what it is huh.
<Yep.  Is much easier fixing now than cleaning up a huge mess.>
Thanks for your help. Have a good day.
<You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>
Re Stand for 55 gallon is too short 4/5/12

Thanks, I just got done transferring it to the proper stand, thanks for your input much appreciated.
<You're welcome.  Sleep well tonight.  James (Salty Dog)>

Stand for 55 gal acrylic -- 12/5/11
<Hi Angela>
I've looked and can't find the exact answer I'm looking for. My tank is 48" long and 13" deep. The stand that came with it doesn't have a solid top.
It's open but only leaves about a 6" gap the length of the tank unsupported. I know acrylic tanks are supposed to have a solid base for support. The LFS said that small of an opening is fine. What's your opinion?
If I need more complete support what do you recommend?
<You'll be fine here. This gap won't present an issue>
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

6 foot aquarium stand with no center brace on front 11/13/11
I am building a stand for a 6 foot 125 gallon FOWLR saltwater aquarium.
Under the aquarium I am wanting to incorporate an enclosure for my Greek tortoise that is on drawer slides-in effect, a 6 foot long kitchen drawer. So, I need to make the stand without a front center brace. What size lumber should I use for the rail that will support 1400 pounds over 72 inches?
<Three times to each two by fours.... nailed or better, screwed together every six inches or so... set on their side to support a half or 3/4" piece of plywood that is in turn screwed into the three made four bys...>
I have been unable to find any solid advice online. I was going to use 2x8 to be safe, but wanted to ask your advice. the top, back, and sides will be sheathed with plywood, and I plan on using a center brace in the back.
<Ah good... the 2 by fours will do, but wider would be better. Whatever used, two of each boards screwed together per support... Three supports total under the plywood... It In turn screwed to the supports that are arrayed on their sides>
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Advice, stands 10/27/11
This is Ana, from Guatemala, Central America.
I would like some advice in using a metal or a glass support frame when building an aquarium 125cms=50inches height.
<Better to use neither of these. Definitely NOT glass>
The tank will be 225cms long, 60cms width and 125cms height.
I've build many tanks in the past years, but usually, the height is no more than 90cms.
Thank you so much for your advice.
<Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/aqstdleveling.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Tank Stand Strength (not enough info) -- 07/12/11
Hey crew!
I have a 40 gallon tank with a wood stand I bought about two years ago. I was thinking of upgrading to a 70 gallon tall tank of the same width and length of the previous 40 gallon tank. I reinforced the stand with a 2x4 on its open backside after putting my sump in. It's on a level and solid floor, but I'm still wondering if the near 1000 lbs weight of the tank would stress the stand too far? Any input would be great! Thanks!
<<Well Nate, you really haven't given us much to go on here'¦ If the stand is the veneer covered pressed-wood/particleboard variety I would say no, almost doubling the weight on the stand (regardless of any add-on bracing) is probably not a good idea. If the stand is built from solid timber (2x4 or larger) then it may well be fine. But without a detailed description of the stand (wood type/sizes) and its method of construction (nails/screws/bracing, et al), this is mere conjecture. Cheers, EricR>>

Tank stand height 5/10/11
Weird question but I inherited an armoire which I will put a tank on what is an optimal stand height in inches?
<There isn't an optimal height as such. But tanks about 60-90 cm/2-3 ft above the ground are generally easiest to observe and maintain. Closer to the ground and the fish will be hard to watch, and higher up things like doing water changes become significantly harder to do. HOWEVER, do bear in mind that furniture not designed to hold an aquarium generally won't be able to hold large tanks safely. One litre of water weighs one kilo, so a 100 litre aquarium will weigh 100 kilos in terms of water alone, let alone rocks, glass, gravel, etc. In US units, one gallon of water weighs 8.35 pounds, so a 20 gallon aquarium will weigh 167 lb, about the weight of the average adult male. Personally, I would not recommend EVER placing tanks above 37 litres/10 US gallons on ordinary furniture designed to hold nothing heavier than clothes, books or knickknacks. A good aquarium stand doesn't cost that much, and will provide a lifetime of safe usage. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Tank stand height 5/10/11
Agreed, armoire is made of mahogany. Guy here at work said it is solidly made. If it doesn't hold I'm dead meat
<Indeed. As stated, would not risk more than 10 gallons, 20 gallons tops.
Partly it's the sheer weight, but also the moisture and heat cause wood to warp. I've been stung by this, and been woken up by the sound of cracking glass and splashing water as the wood panel under the tank gave way. What's "solid" in terms of well made cabinetwork means little in the context of holding large amounts of water. Cheers, Neale.

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.>

FOWLR stand: Aluminum Stand Compatibility in Saltwater 9/15/2010
Hi Crew,
<Hi Sam.>
I've read through your stand FAQs and know wood would have been better and was just wondering if you could double check my situation?
I'm starting/planning a 30 gallon FOWLR tank; it's going to be stocked much further down the line with a pair of Ocellaris Clownfish and a Bicolor Blenny.
<Sounds good so far.>
For the moment I've just got the tank and the stand but it's just dawned (stupid I know) on me that saltwater is corrosive.
<The term murderously corrosive comes to mind.>
The stand is made from aluminium supports and glass sides which slot in between.
It's quite sturdy and I'm sure it would be fine for a freshwater system but I'm concerned about the salt.
<Rightly so.>
My question is: will it be fine as long as I keep it clean from the salt creep, minimize splashing, and wipe down if I splash etc? Can I expect it to last years? When I was buying it I asked and was told it would be fine, but I don't take their word for it and would like a erudite second opinion.
<It would not be my first or second choice, unfortunately. There are several variables - Is the aluminum coated, and what is it coated with (Anodized or powder coat\Paint.) Can saltwater get inside the aluminum tubing (where in all likelihood, it isn't coated?)
This is my exact tank if this helps any: http://www.aquascapedesign.com.au/products/CADE-Tank-Set-CB600%252d1.html
<I see that it is coated, with what looks like a powder coating.>
Can you see any drastic problems with it for a FOWLR system?
< You will always have a risk of corrosion, even more than those with steel stands; but with diligent care, you should be okay.>
Thanks so much for your help.
<My pleasure.>
I'm really worried in case I spent a heap of money on something unsuitable and you lovely people have helped me in the past so I though I'd double check.
<You will have to be extra diligent with the care of the stand. but it is certainly workable.>

fish tank on a half wall, stand f' - 6/11/10
Hi, great site - lots of info. I am a first time tank owner - I just received a used 40-gallon tank (48" L x 12" W x 16" H) from my co-worker and am in the process of determining where to put it. She (previous owner) mentioned that she used a half wall to support the tank when she had it set up. If possible, I would like to use a half wall in my house to support the tank (tank weighs approximately 500 lbs when filled with water & decorative stones). I do not know how the half wall is supported internally (e.g., # 2x4s, spacing, etc.) -
<Mmm, I'd test it at least... by placing more than this amount of weight on it... if not cutting the dry-wall from a side... beefing up the uprights>
from my research most half walls aren't very structurally sound and aren't designed to support much weight. The half wall dimensions are approximately: (72" L x 7" W x 48" H), and the top is a 9" W granite surface. Will the granite crack from the weight of the tank?
<Should not if the under support is sufficient, level and planar>
I am attaching a picture for you to look at. The tank will overhang the granite by 1.5" on each side
<Is this a glass tank?>
- should I support the tank underneath with a 3/4" piece of plywood?
<Yes; or thicker. Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/aqstands.htm
and the linked files above>
If I use plywood to support the tank on the bottom, do I still need the flimsy black plastic frame or can I remove it and just use the plywood?
<The trim? In your photo the black area? This last is not likely structural; can be removed>
Also, the black plastic frame on top is damaged (the middle horizontal support is broken off) - this likely needs replacing/fixing>
is the middle support critical on top, or is the damaged frame still functional as is?
<See here: http://wetwebmedia.com/glstkbraces.htm>
Many thanks in advance,
<Do write back if you have concerns, questions, after reading where you're referred. 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.>

How to Calculate Max Weight Limit? Using furniture as an aquarium stand: Not really recommended 4/17/2010
Good day!
<Hi Dennis>
I am hoping to use the ff furniture as an aquarium stand for a 100g tank (72" x 18" x 18"):
http://www.baysidefurnishings.com/products/home-office/BVRD.html (bayside furnishing Bellevue room divider)
<Looks like a nice piece of furniture.>.
I am wondering if there is a way to calculate how much weight it can hold?
A completely setup 100g tank will be at least 1000lbs, so that should be the minimum, correct?
The furniture dimensions are 70" x 18" x 40", the panels are 2.5" thick, and the wood is made of solid ash and ash veneer.
<With those dimensions, the wood itself is more than adequate to support that weight; a properly braced 2 x 4 can support over 1000 pounds......BUT....>
It's not intended as an aquarium stand, but it looks pretty strong and massive compared to some other commercially available stands (but that's probably just my opinion).
<It isn't intended to be a stand or support that much weight. - It isn't so much the wood, as it is the fasteners holding the pieces of wood together.
As the stand is built, the top is supported by the four vertical sections, which are in turn supported by the bottom. With that much weight on the top, the overall structure is very top heavy, Any significant lateral force would likely cause the fasteners to fail. While the wood itself would not break, the end result would still be 100 gallons of water washing through your living room.>
<Further, the stand is 18" wide; with that much weight the stand would be extremely top heavy and unstable.>
I did check with the manufacturer and they said the max weight is 300lbs.
<That sounds about right for most furniture.>
The number just seems too under-rated for the furniture (then again, it wasn't design as a tank stand). I like the contemporary look of the furniture, so I want to ask if this is even feasible?
<I personally wouldn't try it with anything bigger than a 30 gallon tank.>
I could probably setup the tank on the stand in the garage to test it, but if there's a way to calculate it first, that would really help.
<The wood itself would support it just fine, the pieces and parts holding the wood together is another story. Take a look at an aquarium stand there the pieces supporting the tank that are directly in contact between the platform and the floor. This enables the structure to be much more stable with a smaller piece of wood - Leaving the fasteners only really needed to facilitate moving the stand, as once the a full tank is in place, the resulting tension keeps everything in place. - Overly simplified, but somewhat similar to an arch - the keystone keeps everything else in place.>
For the 2" difference in length (1" on each side), I plan to create a base made of wood to compensate for it. I read somewhere here that a 1" thick marine plywood should be good for this purpose. But will the 1" extension on each side be an issue?
<Wouldn't help in this circumstance as spreading the weight across more floor isn't the issue. I do recommend you check around online - there are several stands available that do look like furniture and are designed to support tanks.>
I appreciate any help on this.
<I would suggest doing a Google search for "furniture quality aquarium stands" One site in particular is: http://www.rjaquatics.com/home.html
I've actually seen their work and it is quite good.>
<My pleasure.>

Broken 135 gallon glass Hagen aquarium 3/6/10
Hello Mr. Fenner,
I recently woke up to my 135 gallon aquarium pouring water onto my basement floor.
<No fun!>
I caught it with just about 4 inches of water left on the bottom. When investigating the cause, I discovered a large crack in the back glass running from top to bottom. The crack went all the way through, separating the back panel into 2 sheets of glass. I managed to save all the fish, and transfer them into a 40 gallon until I get a new setup sorted out. My insurance company is willing to pay for contents, but is refusing to cover the cost of the tank, because they are claiming that the crack was due to regular wear and tear on the tank. I would think that wear and tear would be a valid excuse if the tank had failed along one of the seams, but this doesn't appear to be the case. In your opinion, does this kind of fracture occur as part of normal wear and tear, or would you consider another factor at play here?
<Mmm, not what I consider "wear and tear", but am surprised that the Ins. co. is covering anything here period>
The tank has been up and running for a year and a half, with no issues at all. There were no leaks anywhere, just a sudden crack and burst of water. I am an engineer by trade, and built the stand myself, out of 2 x 4 's and 3/4 inch plywood coated in fibreglass resin for waterproofing. The stand was anchored to the foundation by 6 1/2 inch anchors along the length and 2 1/2 inch anchors along the width. It sits in a corner in the cinder block foundation of the basement. Everything was perfectly level, and the tank was recessed into the wall, so there was nothing that could have fallen on it, or impacted the glass to crack it. I had a local aquarium store owner come in and take a look, and he suggested that the cold air outside may have caused a shift in the foundation, and the back of the tank to crack.
he thought the stand was more than sufficient to support the weight of the tank and all of the contents. I have attached some photos of the stand and dimensions to give you a better
understanding of the situation.
<Looks to be a very solid design. I do want to comment re the stand construction... Is there a missing upright in the back middle? This could be big trouble. All six of these uprights I would make of 4 by 4 rather than 2 by 4" stock.>
Anything you could tell me would be appreciated, I highly value your opinion. The red line shows where the tank fractured, and the blue line in the 2nd picture shows where the base of the tank sits on the stand.
<Mmm, well, considering the shape and placement of the crack, it appears there was some sort of torsion and/or loss of level on the right side of the stand/tank...>
Ps the insurance company would have covered it if I had put a hammer through the front glass....
but not if it was due to a defect within the tank itself, or wear and tear on the glass. (unfortunately it's too late for the hammer idea...)
<It may be worth your while to contact the tank manufacturer here. Bob Fenner>
Thank you in advance,
Dave Jones
Windsor, Ontario Canada

Double tank stand -- 02/22/10
Hello WWM Crew,
Due to space limitation, I need to set up two small tanks and would like to utilize one space for the stand. Do you think this double stand is sturdy for a 10 and a 20 gallon? What improvements would you make to it to make it
more sturdy. I welcome your advice?
<If the stand is designed to support 30 gallons of water, then you're fine.
But do bear in mind 30 gallons weighs 250 lb. (one-eighth of a ton, or 113 kg). That's a lot of water. I wouldn't recommend using household furniture to support aquaria larger than 10, maybe 15 gallons. I learned this the hard way as a teenager, being woken one night by the sound of an aquarium cracking open because the oak chest it was on had finally warped to such a degree the bottom pane of glass was being twisted. I do have a 15 gallon tank on what is basically a TV stand, and it works fine. But I wouldn't risk anything larger without confirming the loading that furniture can take. Cheers, Neale.>

Not likely. RMF
re: Double tank stand (RMF, second opinions here?) -- 02/23/10
Hi Neale,
<Hello again,>
Thanks for the input. I don't recall seeing it stated anywhere that this wood stand could actually hold two tanks. Maybe this is why I have been holding off buying it.
<Wise. But it's the cumulative weight that's the issue, rather than how that weight is subdivided.>
Are you a fan of the wrought iron stands?
<Haven't used them.>
I have had these before where they are already welded together. However, I've never put two tanks on one stand before so I'm nervous about that.
<Provided the total weight was the same as the one big tank it was designed for, I can't see this being an issue.>
Through research on your site, I have learned that placing plywood under the stand legs will distribute the weight across more evenly.
<Yes, this can help. But that's more about the way the weight impacts the floor, especially the joists if the tank is not on the ground floor (in the US, the first floor, I believe). Most aquariums break, in my experience, because of failure of the wood or whatever under the bottom of the tank. I have lost two this way. The bottom pane of glass needs to be evenly pressing against the wooden top of the cabinet. Some tanks are designed to fit inside a plastic trim that does this, others sit on cork or polystyrene underlays. The danger comes if the wooden top warps, as often happens when wood is exposed to heat and moisture, and then only bits of the bottom glass pane touches the wood, and the uneven pressure allows for stresses and eventually fractures.>
I welcome your thoughts on buying a wrought iron stand versus building a double wood stand? I have a carpenter on standby.
<I don't know very much about either options. I would direct you to the articles Bob has written/collated on these, re: marine aquaria cabinets, here:
I'd have thought these would give you some idea of what the deal is here.
Me personally, I'd not risk economising in this regard because of the potential for expensive catastrophes if you get things wrong. Your house insurance may or may not cover water damage to carpets and so on, so why scrimp on a cabinet if the saving is just a few 10s of dollars?>
My other tanks, a 55 and two 30 gallons are on wood stands.
<I have seen some outstanding home-made aquarium stands. Do you have a local fish club? If you do, you'll likely find many members who have fish rooms, and they will have built their own racks and stands. In my experience, such folks are only too pleased to invite other hobbyists around for a look-see, and that might be a great way to get some practical advice.>
If I had my way, I'd have a fish room instead of finding space in my apartment for each tank I have :)
<Wouldn't we all!>
<Cheers, Neale.> <<I would contact the stand maker or distributor barring the former, and ask for a statement in writing re the capacity of this stand. I would "static test" the furniture in a safe place with weights, bricks... to four hundred pounds distributed... and even then... re-coat, strengthen (w/ "L" brackets, fasteners) this wood stand. RMF>>

Re: Double tank stand (RMF, second opinions here?) -- 2/23/10
Thank you. I'm waiting to hear from that carpenter for a quote on a wood stand and will definitely get something in writing from the stand maker on the wrought iron stands.
<Ah, good... falling stands (and tanks!) are one of my personal nightmares.
Cheers, BobF>
Re: Double tank stand (RMF, second opinions here?)
Thanks for everything, Neale.
One last question, please. I'm considering breaking down my 55 tank and moving it. The tank and pine stand are AGA. The tank bottom is totally not supported (not touching the stand) but the tank trim sits firmly on the aquarium stand around the edges. Are the tank bottoms suppose to be exposed like that?
<Some tanks are designed so that that plastic trim (usually with an L-shaped section) sits on the top of the cabinet, rather than the glass itself. This is absolutely correct for those types of tanks, and you do not, indeed should not, place anything else, like polystyrene, underneath the bottom pane of glass.>
Would you recommend I put plywood and foam under the tank when I finally break it down.
<Absolutely not if the tank was designed to sit inside a plastic trim/frame. However, what I will mention is that it's a good idea to place a layer of gravel or sand on top of the bottom of pane of glass, maybe 1 cm/0.5 inch, and then a gravel tidy (inert plastic mesh) and then the rest of the gravel or sand. Why? Because this trapped lower layer of substrate acts like a cushion, and stops rocks hitting the bottom pane of glass. This isn't a big deal if you have a planted tank, but if you have a tank with lots of rocks, it's easy for the rocks to slip and tumble onto that bottom pane of glass. I've done this myself while cleaning the tank, and needless to say this was at night so I couldn't go buy another aquarium! Now, I take extra care whenever I set up a tank with heavy rocks.>
Looking at the tank from inside the stand is nerve wrecking.
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Double tank stand (RMF, second opinions here?)
I have about 1 inch on the gravel on the bottom of the tank, but I'd feel more comfortable with something like an egg crate to keep the gravel from scraping the glass when syphoning.
<Should be fine, if comparable to, for example, modular undergravel filter plates.>
<Cheers, Neale.>

New aquarium... stand reading 2/1/10
hello I just bought a new 55 gallon perfecto aquarium. It is just a regular rectangular black strip aquarium. And it has a black support beam on the bottom just like on the top. And I was wondering do I have to support the
bottom one from the bottom, or is it just to hold the sides in. Please Help. Thanks Garrett
<... The whole base needs to be supported. Read here:
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
New aquarium
Can you use foam under your aquarium if it has a center brace? 2/1/10
<Yes, always a good idea. The center brace should be on the same plane as the rest of the tank perimeter (does not extend down farther).>
Thanks Garrett
<Welcome, Scott V.>

Re: New aquarium... stand leveling 2/3/10
Ok I filled my new 55 gallon aquarium with just water, cause I wanted to see the foam as it settled, the foam is 1/2 inch foam its the stuff from Lowes between the aluminum foil stuff, And its touching the bottom of the aquarium is that ok?
<This is fine, the foam will compress where the aquarium is bearing weight down on it. Don't worry, all is fine.>
PLEASE HELP Thanks Garrett
<Welcome, Scott V.>

Stand design for 250 gallon deep dimension -- 1/21/10
Hello Bob and crew.
I was wondering if you might be able to look at a DIY tank stand that my friend has constructed for me. I am not, by any means, a carpenter so I am really nervous about this project. I have done a lot of research online, and keep coming across really contradictory opinions about a couple of different issues.
<Mmm, I see some things I definitely don't like here>
Firstly, I have attached some low rez photos of the joints (where the top and bottom frames meet the legs). There were some gaps, so some shims were put in place to try and fill the gaps. Is this an issue?
<Not so much if the shims are "hard">
250 gallons is going to be a lot of weight,
<Yes... more than a ton>
and I don¹t want to take any chances... So my concern is that shims will not provide the same even strength that a better cut piece of wood will. Will this stand hold a 60x36x27 tank?
<It probably will, but...>
My second concern is in regards to the top part of the stand. A lot of emphasis has been put on getting the top level and flat. I used a belt sander and a six foot level and tried to get it as flat and level as I could.
<I'd place a thin piece of Styrofoam over... a half inch piece will do... be squashed>
For 95% of it, it is flush with the level. I am confident that you could not slide a credit card between the level and the top of the stand.
There is however, one area where there is a space of about 1/8th of an inch (back left corner).
<... too much w/o the foam if this is an all-glass tank>
The low spot runs over a span of about 10 inches. When the level is on the back of the stand running the length of the back, there is no low spot, but when you run the level on the left side, there is a small dip near the overflow area. I have 3/4 inch foam in place around the edges of the stand (where the tank lip will fit).
I thought this technique was to compensate for slight issues like this, as well as absorb any hard areas in the wood (like knots) that would put stress on the edge of the tank.
I read in your book, as well as the Reef Aquarium (Delbeek and Sprung), that doing this was a good idea. However, there are guys on the internet saying that you can¹t do this with tanks that have a plastic rim around the bottom and that it will cause failure.
I am confused. Am I missing something here?
My last concern is about leveling the stand to the floor. I have attached (as per your book) 3/4 inch plywood at the base of my stand. I have put shims under the plywood. (see photos). The stand currently sits perfectly level. I have hardwood floors (with concrete underneath. I live in a condo).
Do I need to shim in all the gaps between the floor and the plywood?
<No... the plywood/base should not have shims under it at all... the support inside of, on top of the plywood base should>
Or just in the areas under the legs and corners? My tank arrives Saturday and I am terrified. I went the route of DIY so I could build an extra strong stand and to save a few dollars. But what good is saving a few dollars if I am going to cause an enormous amount of damage to my fellow condo owners. Do all these little issues add up to danger? Can you please tell me if this stand will work?
Thank you.
<Well... I would have made the uprights out of 4 by 4's rather than the apparent 2 by 4's here... and the corners? There are gaps twixt the doubled 2 by 4's adjacent to each other... AND the elements all need to be braced in three dimensions... It appears the top of the stands laterals are simply sitting on top of the uprights... I would at minimum get some large "L" brackets and stainless or brass screws and put them at all inside corners. Bob Fenner>

Re: Stand design for 250 gallon deep dimension -- 1/21/10
Thanks for your input Bob. I think I am going to abort on this stand and buy the stand that came with the tank. Put plywood on the floor, and shim between the plywood and the bottom of the tank. Does this sound like a decent plan of attack?
<It does Jason... I'm much relieved by your decision. Cheers, BobF, swimming in San Diego!>

Re: Stand design for 250 gallon deep dimension 1/22/10
Hey Bob,
I have actually been thinking about this a little more and I am considering having a metal (steel) stand built. I was going to have it constructed out of 2x2 square tubing that was 1/8th thick. Would you mind having a look at
these renderings and let me know if there are any flaws? The stand would be 61 inches long x 37.5 inches wide x 31 inches tall.
I would appreciate any input you have.
<Mmm, have consulted w/ friend Peter Catterick, whom, with his brother produced farm implements (tractors and such) in Swaziland for fifteen years... The two inch square stock of 1/8" thickness is strong enough and am glad to see the corner cross bracing, but I would like to see this stand made from three inch stock instead. Do make sure it is bead-blasted, coated with anti-corrosive... and do set this tank on a piece of ply on the top. Bob Fenner>

Re: Stand design for 250 gallon deep dimension 1/23/10
Thanks so much Bob!
<Welcome Jason. Our olde business (Nature Etc., Inc.) did acrylic and glass system design, fabrication and installs... and we placed quite a few steel stands over the years... These can give very good service... and more than adequately support large systems (perhaps a note to "anchor" the tank on top if this is in an area where the ground shakes a good deal (earthquake zone). Bob Fenner>
Re: Stand design for 250 gallon deep dimension
And I am guessing the Styrofoam is still a good idea also?
<Yes... and perhaps a "wrap around" border on the bottom, hiding it and the plywood base, doing the "anchoring last mentioned. Oh, do run a thin finger-smoothed bead of Silastic twixt the border and glass to keep water out. BobF>

Re: Stand design for 250 gallon deep dimension 1/24/10
Thank you Bob. Started the build today!
<Ahh! Please do send along some pix of the finished project. 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>
Re: Stand design/strength -- 01/12/2010

Thanks Justin!
<Glad to help Jason! Let us know if you have any further questions! -JustinN>

Tank Stand Size 9/23/09
I have a 125G perfecto tank, and just finished re-leveling it. This time, I decided to put 1 1/2 inch Styrofoam between tank and stand, and now tank is perfectly level even when filled.
I wasn't sure which Styrofoam to use, so I went with the white one used for insulation, and I thought the bigger the better. Now that it's filled I think 1/2 inch would have been better. Should I get a different one, or will this one be fine?
<It should be fine.>
The main problem is the stand that the LFS sold is half an inch shorter than tank. The frame attached below the tank is about one inch, so there is still half inch covered by the stand. Will this be a problem long term or even short term?
<If you are referring to the footprint of the tank being larger than where it meets the stand, you have a problem. The rim of the tank needs to be fully supported underneath. However if you are referring to some of the bracing being visible above the trim of the stand due to the height of foam that is just fine.>
Thank you
<You're welcome,
Josh Solomon.>

Stand issue? 9/22/09
Hi guys, love the site, very helpful.
<Thank you.>
I just bought a new 75 gallon Perfecto tank and accompanying pine stand. The problem I'm having
is that the tank doesn't seem to on the rim of the stand, it sits more on the inside of the rim where
the bottom is only supported in 3 spots(both edges and by the center brace)Does this sound safe you?
<No, though I have seen tanks supported by much less in service well over 20 years. But this is a concern. The entire perimeter of the tank should be supported.>
I always thought that the whole bottom rim of the tank should be supported.
<It should.>
Would it be a good idea to put a piece of plywood under the tank to evenly distribute the load?
<Yes, or return the stand. Do fill the tank up, see if the stand does flex, evening things out.>
Thanks for your time and insight!
Michael McLaughlin
<Welcome, Scott V. Fresno, CA.>

Tank Stand Questions: 8/28/2009
<Hi Rose.>
I always keep up with your wonderful site since discovering it, but I still have questions about aquarium stands. If you buy an aquarium that you have to assemble and it happens to stink of varnish when it comes out of the box, can it be used right away under goldfish or should it be aired out?
<I would air it out for a few days, more for me than the fish.>
I assume aquarium stands are built with extra strength in key areas, geared to the dimensions of the specific aquarium size for which they are made.
Would it be compromising the strength of a stand if a person were to, for example, place both a 10 gallon shallow water crab tank and a full 20 gallon tank on a 55 gallon stand? Even though the total gallons would not be more than 22 gallons of weight, I wonder if weight distribution would be a problem.
<If the base of the stand is wide enough it should not be a problem. Obviously, neither of the tanks should have any part of them hanging over the edge.>
I ask because I think it would be nice to have room on top of the stand beside the aquarium, but it seems like they are all made to fit the bottom of the aquarium exactly. I think it would also be much more convenient for possible upgrading in the future
<<With the cautions I listed above, what you are proposing should be fine.>
Thank you, happy fishing!

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>

Tank on a stone countertop 1/13/09 I have an Oceanic 45 Gallon Tech series aquarium. It's tall for it's size, L 24.5 x W 18.5 x H 25, and constructed of very thick glass. <These are nice tanks...they do actually have enough overflow throughputs too!> It is heavy, without water. I don't much like the stand it comes with, which is made of MDF and is surprising unstable due to it's height and lack of cross-bracing. It's quite easy to get rocking forward/backwards, and it's ugly. I have recently had my kitchen countertop redone, and I made provisions for the aquarium to sit directly on a section of stone countertop. Now, right before I fill the tank, I'm having momentary second thoughts about it, and I would appreciate your thoughts and guidance. <Sure.> The aquarium is sitting directly on a 1" think slab of cultured stone. The cultured stone is for all intents and purposes perfectly flat and smooth. I can slide a piece of paper under the aquarium frame in a few spots, but not a business card. On the Oceanic stand I can easily slide a business card under in many places, so I figure that the countertop is a more true surface than the OEM stand. <The tolerances on these engineered stones are very tight.> I've had a frame of 2*6 lumber installed to support the section of stone that the aquarium in on, and I have no concern about the weight bearing capacity of the structure. The aquarium is on it's own piece of stone, so that if there's any slight deflection vs. the rest of the countertop it's free to move and thereby avoid any twisting load on the stone. The counter is perfectly level to the standard of construction -- a high quality 24 inch quality carpenter's level shows the bubble dead center on in all orientations. However, there's nothing like a partially full aquarium to show the slightest off-level condition. How far out of level across the 24 inch front of the tank would you suggest is tolerable? 1/16th of an inch? less/more? <1/16 is livable, double this and you start to get into uncomfortable territory.> Also, do you see any problem with the aquarium frame sitting directly on such a hard surface? <Not one that is so planar.> Any other concerns with this setup? <No, I would give this project the green light. I have actually played the same scenario out quite a few times.> Thanks for the great resource. <Thank you!> Matt <Scott V.>

Support for 30 Gal Aquarium (RMF, agree/disagree?) ~ 01/12/09 I current have a 29 gal tank (30" wide) on a sturdy dresser. I would like to get the extra width of a 30 gal (36" wide), but the top of the dresser is only 32 inches wide. I'm wondering if a 36" sheet of plywood under the tank would be enough support to safely deal with the two inches of overhang that would be on each side? If so, what thickness of plywood do you recommend? thanks, Herm <Hello Herm. To be honest, I don't recommend tanks above 20 gallons be placed on any furniture not designed expressly for the purpose. When I was a teenager, I had a 30 gallon tank that was placed on an oak dresser, and everything seemed fine for months until one night the top finally warped enough that the glass base cracked, and of course all the water came pouring out. Putting the fish into the bathtub saved them, but it sure gave my dad a surprise when he came downstairs in the morning! One Imperial gallon weighs ten pounds, so a 30 gallon tank is going to weight 300 pounds (US gallons are a bit smaller and weigh a bit less, but not enough to make a difference). I surely doubt that any dresser is really designed to support that sort of weight permanently, and certainly not with much of a safety margin. Other folks may have other opinions, but me, I'd recommend against what you're doing. Cheers, Neale.> <<Important to pay heed to what Neale states here... the "average" sort of weight per gallon... There is substantial furniture... that can/will take a good deal of weight... keep a system planar, level... but the majority of desks, tables are NOT strong enough IMO/E. RMF>>

Re: Support for 30 Gal Aquarium (RMF, agree/disagree?) ~ 01/12/09 Hi Neal, Thanks for taking time to offer your thoughts. I was concerned when I first put the 29 up there, but felt better after the first few days when nothing bad happened. I had no idea it might last for months before failing. <Yes indeed. What I didn't mention in my anecdote was that I was asleep, and at first the sound of water merely changed my dream to one involving rain. And then as I slowly awoke, I thought the rain was outdoors. Only after a good few minutes, perhaps a quarter of an hour did my mind wake up enough to realise the "rain" wasn't imaginary and it wasn't outdoors: it was in my bedroom.> On the one hand, the dresser in question seems quite sturdy and has a thick top, and I'm tempted to appreciatively ignore your warning. On the other hand, it would definitely suck to come home to a flood and pile of dead fish! <The fish were fine because the leak was slow. What normally happens isn't an explosive disaster where the tank flies apart, but rather the support underneath the bottom pane of glass distorts with time. This gradually causes the weight of the water to fall against the silicone sealant in an uneven manner, essentially twisting the tank. Silicone is very weak against twisting forces, compared to its great strength against pulling forces. Anyway, part of the silicone peels away, resulting in a leak. That's what has happened to me on two different occasions, one as described above, and the other when trying to move a tank while it still contained some water. Ah well, we learn the hard way, and try to share our failings here at WWM so others are, at least, fore warned.> You've at least convince me not to expand to a 30 gal, the extra length would probably stress things even further. <Whilst I doubt one gallon won't make much difference, by the same token I don't think it's worth the risk either. If your system is stable and safe now, I'd tend to leave things be. At the same time, I'd keep a very close eye on the wood at the top of the dresser, in particular looking out for any signs of buckling or unevenness.> I think I will get that sheet of 1/2 plywood to go under the 29 gal, and see about shoring up the back side of the dresser, which is totally open. <Sounds wise.> regards, Herm <Cheers, Neale.>

Stand Reinforcement (Conversion)'¦Going From Glass to Acrylic -- 10/12/08 Sorry I forgot to put my name!! I'm Guillaume. <<No worries Guillaume, but thank you 'is always nice to know who we are 'talking' to>> And the title of my message was wrong: it should have been "stand" reinforcement, not tank. <<Duly noted and corrected>> Hi Everyone! <<Greetings!>> I really love your site: so informative! <<We are happy you think so>> However I didn't find a specific answer for my issue; perhaps you can help me. <<I shall try>> Just bought a used bow tank 46g with a basic stand in pine wood. I wanted to upgrade my 15 gal tank for my goldfish. <<Very good...these fish really do require more space than most folks realize>> Because I didn't realize it would be so big in my bedroom - and because I'm a bit nervous as some of the seam starts to peel off a bit (the tank is six years old)- <<Mmm, yes 'the seams 'peeling' is not a worrisome sign. This tank may well be unsafe to use. At the least, I would fill this tank with water (outside the house) and let it stand for a few days to see what develops>> I'd like to get an acrylic 36 gal aquarium instead. <<A good idea I think>> But I wanted to keep the stand (I repainted it). <<Okay>> Because the stand doesn't have any platform, (it's empty in the middle, a bit like a crown) <<Yes, a typical 'glass' tank stand supported around the perimeter of the tank>> is it safe to put a board over it? And if so, what material should I use and what thickness? <<Although this stand is not 'made' for this tank, considering this volume of water, and as long as the stand is larger than the perimeter of the new 36g tank by no more than a couple inches on all sides then yes, you can make do with the existing stand. I recommend you use a DOUBLE layer of ¾' plywood cut to fit on top of the stand to support the new 36g acrylic tank. And though not a 'necessity,' I also recommend a piece of ¼' Styrofoam atop that for some additional cushion>> As the stand was originally built for a glass bow tank, I presume only the four corners are strong enough, right? <<The stand itself is strong to support the weight of the smaller tank as long as the top you add is strong enough to support this weight>> And should the board be attached or nailed to the frame? (I'm not an expert with tools!!) Thanks! Guillaume <<Permanent attachment is not necessary 'simply rest the plywood panels atop the stand and place/center the tank on top of these. The weight of the water will hold all in place. Regards, EricR>>
Re: Stand Reinforcement (Conversion)'¦Changing From Glass to Acrylic -- 10/13/08
Thank you Eric R. for replying to my message! <<Quite welcome Guillaume>> Your expertise is really awesome and very much appreciated! <<I'm happy to assist>> Just one more question: <<Okay>> Instead of getting a Bow 36 gal acrylic, (which is 30''L x 15"W x 21''H), should I get a rectangular acrylic 30 gal that is 36'' L x 12"W x 18''H (since the stand was made for a bow 46 gal that was 36'' long)? <<If this is more appealing to you then, sure>> Would it be better for the stability or worse? <<Shouldn't make a difference in this situation>> It seems the two lateral sides of the stand are really holding the weight... <<The double layer of ¾' plywood we discussed will spread this burden over the entire structure 'no worries>> And is it better for goldfish to have a longer tank versus a higher one? <<Maximizing surface area for gas exchange is desirous, yes 'but the difference between these two tanks is nominal (assuming the 15' dimension on the bow tank is its 'widest' point). I say choose whichever of these tanks is the most to your liking>> Thanks again! <<Welcome>> (I'm so glad I found that site!) <<We are too!>> <<EricR>>

R2: Stand Reinforcement (Conversion)'¦Changing From Glass to Acrylic -- 10/13/08 Thanks again EricR! <<Always welcome Guillaume>> The 36 Bow Tank looks obviously nicer... <<Okay>> My only concern is that the double layer of plywood (I only found double 1") <<For safety sake I need you to be more detailed/specific here 'what do you mean by this exactly? Are you are using two layers of 1' plywood? Or are you using two layers of ½' plywood? If it is the latter 'this can work as long as you bond (glue) the two sheets to make them as one (doing so increases the strength of the stacked panels). actually only touches the two lateral sides. <<This will not do Guillaume'¦the plywood needs to be supported around its entire perimeter>> There is a small space all around. (the plywood doesn't touch the front "bow" part of the wood frame, nor the back side.) It still feels very stable. <<Perhaps I did not explain in enough detail before'¦ The plywood sheets need to be large enough to completely cover and rest atop all four sides of the stand else the plywood will bow under the weight of the filled aquarium. If space is not an issue, you can cut the plywood (or have it cut) to the width of the widest part of the stand without having to follow the 'bow'>> But should I compensate with Styrofoam all around? <<Not a necessity as stated, but it will provide some cushion to the bottom of the tank and will allow for 'very slight' variations in the surface of the plywood>> (sorry for all these questions! just want to be sure!) Guillaume <<No worries'¦I want you to be sure too! Eric Russell>>

R3: Stand Reinforcement (Conversion)'¦Changing From Glass to Acrylic -- 10/14/08 I'm sorry Eric for the confusion. My English is not always good! <<No worries my friend... Your English is actually quite good'¦I just want to be sure I understand what you are doing to ensure my advice is accurate>> Let me explain with more details (I also took pictures): <<Excellent>> I found two 1'' plywood boards (1" each) that I placed on top of each other (together they are 2") covering my stand. (pics 1 and 2) <<I see these'¦ If these are true 'laminated-ply' boards then one is probably strong enough for what you have planned. But'¦ If these are 'composite particle' boards as they look to me in the photo then I would use the pair of them as you have them shown>> These plywood boards are slightly larger than the frame, which means that viewed from the top, you won't see the stand. <<Ah, very good then>> However, the way my stand was built, the two collateral sides are slightly higher than the rest of the frame. (I'm not sure why, if it was to prevent the 46 gal tank from moving...). <<Hmm, maybe so'¦ What you can do is to use the boards as you show in the picture and 'shim' the gaps to provide total perimeter support>> I remember that on glass tanks, the bottom panel is usually not touching the floor because of the frame. <<Yes>> So I assume those two higher lateral boards were touching the bottom of the glass tank transversally. <<You wouldn't want those pressure points on the glass itself'¦and probably not the case if the stand was made for a particular tank, but would depend on the height of the uprights versus the thickness of the frame >> That is why the two plywood boards are currently held mainly by these two side boards, leaving a small ¼ " space all around beneath. <<I see this'¦ While the end panels are the primary structural members, laying the plywood panels across these and placing a few wood shims along the front and back rails should be enough with those beefy panels and for the smaller 36g tank you have planned>> In addition, there are two small lower horizontal panels on each side, inside, near the top as well as another one on the bow side. (pic 3) <<Yes'¦these 'stretchers' are the rails where you would add the shims>> I started to put some plywood boards there too in order to reach the level of the two higher sides. Not sure if this is the best idea....(pic 4) <<If you can match the height of the vertical end panels, essentially 'filling-in' the top and bringing it all to level, and then lay the larger panels atop this, then yes'¦this is a very good approach>> Let me know if my descriptions make any sense. <<It does!>> Once again I appreciate greatly your help! Guillaume <<It is my pleasure to assist. EricR>>

Re: New system design critique & questions 10/9/08 Hi Scott, Thanks as ever for the reply. <Welcome Chris!> I'm pleased to report no problems with the tank drilling - far easier than I anticipated! <Great!> The rest of the tanks were ordered yesterday so I'm just starting to get excited! I had concrete block delivered today & I just wanted to check that my plans will give the required structural integrity - Please see attached pic For the Main tank (5 feet long, 26 inches wide & 20 inches tall with a water depth of 18 inches) I am planning to put 2 courses of concrete block at either end, 3 blocks high, this will give a "wall" at each end of the tank, 26" long (tank width) & a smidge over 8" wide. This will be topped by 3/4" plywood with 4 4"x2" timbers screwed under this base (on edge) & sitting on the concrete walls, then 25mm polystyrene then the tank. All block work will be cemented to the concrete floor. The block work will clearly not have any problem supporting the weight here, but how about the "span" (around 42") between each end? <Four 2X4's will be plenty strong for this span.> I figure this will be plenty strong enough to not flex but I'd like a 2nd opinion! <Your plan is fine!> Cheers Chris <Good to hear of your success, keep in touch, Scott V.>
Re: New system design critique & questions
<Oh Chris, one more thing. I would take a piece of 2X4 and screw your spanners together at their ends also to prevent any twisting here. Scott V.>

Question regarding tank stand capacity inside cabinet. 6/4/08 Good Afternoon Bob (or the other kind individual answering this) <Hello Hans, Scott V. with you.> First off, an apology. I had e-mailed you a while back regarding a write-up on the Lifegard CustomFlo system, but my computer ended up dying and took all my photos with it. <Bummer.> However, I will be finishing that up shortly, as I recently tore the plumbing apart for cleaning and a significant modification... so a new batch of the critical photos has been taken and work progresses again! It's probably for the better anyways, as I've learned a lot more about using the system in the interim both good and bad. <Great!> Now for the actual question. My current tank setup is a 90 gallon AGA tank, on their "Modern" series oak stand. It is my first salt water tank, having only done freshwater in the past, and while I learn the differences I have it stocked very lightly, with just a single clown, two damsels, a pair of hermit craps and a peppermint shrimp. Filtration is currently a Penn-Plax Cascade 1200, and about 50 pounds of live rock and sand (slowly adding more rock every few weeks to avoid cycling issues). I've also got a Remora Pro due to arrive any day now and plan on adding a pair of Koralia 3 power heads in the near future. The tank has been running for 5 months now, and is starting to suffer from a red-slime algae buildup. The initial lack of skimmer and water flow is being rectified, but I also honestly admit that my water changes got lax as well. <Happens to all of us at times, sounds like a nice setup.> The one thing I didn't fully appreciate is the differences in water changes between fresh water and salt.... pre-mixing 10 gallons in buckets at a time, and having to lift it up over the edge of the tank got very frustrating and messy. So the extra plumbing I've been adding is to put a 29 gallon tank with heater and powerhead under the stand as a sump for pre-mixing and warming the water in anticipation of the changes, I have a loose hose plumbed into the intake line of the filter with appropriate valving that allows me to drain the main tank as well as pull water into the tank through the filter. <A good idea. We are all more likely to be true with our water changes if we make it an easy affair.> Functionally it has tested out successfully and I am excited about future variations on the theme. This should, in theory, make the water changes much easier on my back and floors. But the real worry I have right now is weight. Are these commercial stands built to hold that much water on their bottom shelves? <Most in general are.> None of the documentation I've found, nor their customer service line, were able to answer the question one way or another. The stand has no way to view the underlying structure either. Worst case, I can cut out the shelf and put in a sufficient support structure, but I'd rather not do that if I don't have to. <If you are concerned, just cut a piece of plywood to fit inside. This will distribute the load of the tank to the perimeter of the stand, where it is strongest. But, I would not be concerned with a tank this size inside the stand.> Thank You -Hans Haase <Welcome, have fun, Scott V.>

Will the desk hold? 8/24/07 Good morning! How are you? Great site By the way. Tons and tons of info. I recently bought a 20 gallon long. I will be putting on a desk that has held a 5 gallon and an 8 gallon tall (not at the same time). I weigh like 170 pounds and I sat on the desk with the 5 gallon. The desk did not wobble and it was level with all the weight on it. Should I do any more tests or would you say it's okay? One more thing, can I use a pad of carpet as the cushion between the tank and desk? Thanks, -Edward <Hello Edward. Thanks for the kind words about the site. Anyway, in my opinion/experience, the upper limit for putting tanks on anything not designed for supporting one is about 10 gallons. Above that, and you're asking for trouble. While furniture may hold a bigger tank for a while, eventually the wood or whatever sags, and then the stress on the glass bottom of the tank gets skewed, and the tank leaks. Result: poor fishkeeper gets woken at 4 in the morning by the sound of splashing water and has to quickly carry fishes to a bucket and then mop up the floor. Been there, done that, bought the t-shirt. So no, I wouldn't do this. Cheers, Neale.>

Questionable Tank Stand -- 07/24/07 Hey Crew, Awesome Site!!! Anyway, I just thought I'd ask you guys a quick question. I bought what seemed good at the time: two small, matching nightstand/dressers for my L36" W14" H18" 40g aquarium. I thought these would be good for $20 instead of the $180 stands they sell at my LFS. What I think I might regret about these things is that they don't meet in the middle, and there's about an inch of space between each and that means the tanks not supported about an inch in the middle. I have had this tank for three yrs., and nothing has happened, but I fear something will. Is there too much stress? Should I get a new stand? Any suggestions would be helpful. Thank you, Nate <Hello Nate. Let me tell you a story. One night I was asleep and for some reason I was dreaming about rain. But then I realised I wasn't dreaming about rain, I was listening to rain. And the rain wasn't outside the house, but inside my bedroom. Only after a few moments did it dawn on me that my aquarium was leaking. The bottom pane of glass had cracked during the night because the wooden top of the dresser I had sat it on had finally sagged too far and the pane of glass couldn't support the weight of the water any more. The moral of the story is that you shouldn't assume [a] that any old piece of furniture will support an aquarium safely; or [b] that said furniture will be safe tomorrow because it is working fine today. If you're going to rest an aquarium on two separate cabinets, you have the risk of one of them moving relative to the other, placing stress on the bottom of the tank as one end sags lower than the other. As you probably realise with most aquaria they are very strong in terms of resisting the static forces of a body of water but they are incredibly poor at resisting twisting forces because the silicone has poor resistance to this and the glass has none at all. At the very least, you need to have a single piece of strong wood forming a base upon which the tank rests, plus polystyrene tiles on top of that for cushioning. I'd also recommend some sort of bracing to keep the two cabinets from moving apart from each other. But really, this isn't something I'd consider safe. Your own mileage may vary of course, but I've been stung by the "DIY tank stand" disaster and would never try it again. Cheers, Neale.>

Wrought-Iron Tank Stand...Is It Safe? -- 06/04/07 I have a 29-gal. saltwater tank with 10 lbs. of live rock on a wrought iron stand. <<Okay>> I am kind of worried about the weight on the stand. <<Shouldn't be...if the stand was 'made' to support the/a aquarium>> Do you know how much weight these stands can handle? Thanks. <<A few decades back I remember these inexpensive (at the time, anyway) wrought-iron stands being much the 'norm'...I even had one that I put 'two' 55g tanks on (a saltwater tank above a freshwater tank). Barring any defects in materials or craftsmanship, if the stand was intended to hold the tank it will be fine...though they do tend to be a bit 'wobbly' by nature. EricR>>

Need more options... Something for underneath a large acrylic tank and DIY wooden stand? 5/17/07 Hi, Crew, please help! (some more) <Okay> My eyes are burning and I can almost recite most posts within tank\stand posts !!! <Perhaps you're ready to write an article re?> I would like to use something else besides pink Styrofoam under my 125 gallon 1\2"acrylic tank(48x24x24). <Comes in other colors... or you can paint it yourself, make/use a border about...> I have done extensive research on your site and cannot find other "giving" underlayment options. My tank will be set up in my living room on a custom stand that I have polyurethaned and thought that a weight lifting mat may also work, 1\2" dense rubber. <Oh yes> Or possibly a dense neoprene material at 1\4"-1\2". <Ditto> I would like a two inch over tank size border around the tank to also protect my wood stand <Best to make sure this wood is sealed otherwise> and for aesthetics. I would like it to look like a "mouse pad" , if feasible. <Such material is available as well> My stand is a massive, overbuilt and engineered DIY with 1 1\2" hardwood ply solid top. I planed the top imperfections until level and planar until the tank felt real solid and would not slide easy and with no " rock" . I would like the mat to disperse any imperfections of a max 1\16" inch in middle of 48" section of tank. I figured once the weight is added it may settle and may have been o.k. without a mat but just want to do whatever is best. Question time: Is there any reaction between acrylic and different rubbers? <None appreciable> Is the cost why most people use the pink Styrofoam? <Don't know... more likely easy availability is the principal determinant here> What are other options that are used? <Many... see above... Most anything that is largely inert, "giving" can/does work> With my tank at around 1250 pounds full, what thickness should I use for the different materials? <Depends on the issues of level-ness and planarity here... Do you have concerns that given the load with the tank full that there will be some asymmetry imposed? If not, I would not be concerned, NOT use something twixt the stand and tank... not necessary, and a mess in time> If Styrofoam should be used, what color and thickness do you recommend? <Likely a half inch will do in this case> Thanks in advance for a great site. I refer to your site before making any purchases now, after I feel confident in making the "right choice" for my given situation. Your knowledge is invaluable. Thanks again, Mark. <Glad to share, kibitz... Do check out the foam offerings at the big-box stores Home Depot and Lowe's. Bob Fenner>

Sump and Return Pump, and Stand Questions - 02/09/2007 Dear WWM Crew, <Scott> First, thanks for establishing this informative forum. It has been extremely helpful and I am a frequent visitor. I conducted some research but didn't find a good response to the question I have. I have a 180 gallon acrylic aquarium. Prior to receiving the aquarium as a surprise gift from my lovely wife, I had purchased a 180 gallon All-Glass stand. I know that an acrylic tank must have support across the entire bottom of the tank. If I were to place a 3/4" - 1" piece of plywood on top of the entire stand, would this be enough support for the tank or do you have additional recommendations? <This thickness plywood should be fine... I would go ahead and fasten it (with screws... brass or stainless would be best... and coat over these...) to the outside edges (every six inches or so) to give added strength to the "inside" of the support> I could attempt to sell the All-Glass stand, if necessary. Also, while I was conducting research on return pumps, additional concerns came to mind. The acrylic tank has a 16" X 5" overflow in the center. The sump I have ordered from the LFS has arrived and it has two return holes drilled on the end of the tank. In hindsight, perhaps I should have had the holes drilled in the center side of the sump versus the ends. Your thoughts? <Mmm, not a big deal... I'd use the one on hand with the through puts on the end> The overflow has (2) 1 1/2" dual drains and (2) 3/4" returns. I was planning on purchasing a Iwaki 70RLT (1500 gph @ 4' Head) or 100RLT (2000 gph @ 4' Head). Iwaki seems to be the pump of choice in Michael Paletta's "Ultimate Marine Aquariums". <Is a good product line... amongst a few... though there are some quieter> Anyway, in determining what the return rate of the pump should be, I'm not sure how many gallons of water will drain out of the tank, and as such what the rate of my return pump should be. Also, I was contemplating using 2 pumps instead of one, but believe that I would be better off with the one pump (with a 2nd as an emergency back-up). <I agree> Now, for my sump, it is 60 gallons with a refugium in the center. I probably should have planned this out a bit better because of the overflow being in the center. I know it is best to have the overflows drain into the first compartment which houses the skimmer. Would you recommend that I route the drain water to the first compartment with PVC? <Yes> Should I connect both drains using a "T" connector or just have each of them continue to drain separately. <I would have drain separately... a bit more flow, not as much noise from the separate fall...> An additional concern I have is that I will have to use additional PVC to route the returns from the pump (housed on the end of the sump) to the center, which I'm sure will affect the amount of water that is being returned. <Yes, but not much> I was planning on turning the water over 10X+ times/hour, but I'm not sure how feasible this is with my current set-up. Have you ever known anyone to have the sump drilled in the center side and have the return pump housed there? <Oh yes> If you feel it necessary to modify the sump, please let me know. There aren't many quality resources in Tucson for me to turn to. I sincerely apologize for the lengthy email, but I know that you have the resources and expertise necessary to provide good advice. Thanking you in advance. Scott <Well... the principal concern I have is the rate of flow of water to/through the refugium portion... I would devise your plumbing to have this reduced considerably, by bypass. Bob Fenner>

Using Treated Wood For Aquarium Structures - 02/04/07 Dearest Bob and Friends, <<Greetings>> Wishing good health to all; I have been on a very strict diet for 3 weeks.. Argh!) <<I hate diets...>> I have finished building a very strong stand for a new 90-gal I will be setting up. <<Cool!>> I am quite sure that I made a mistake in my wood selection. <<Oh?>> I used 5x5 treated wood. Afterwards I found out that treated wood has a poison biocide stain (green) on it. <<Mmm, indeed...is why it is called "treated." The use of arsenic (chromated copper arsenate) was banned for residential use in 2004, the treated wood available to homeowners (hobbyists) today contains either alkaline copper quat or copper azole. While much less toxic to us than the arsenic based treatment, you'll notice the common ingredient is copper...sometimes as high as 96%. Obviously you don't want this leaching in to your tank>> This is a problem right? <<It can be yes...and is why I chose to not use treated lumber when building my in-wall reef display>> Can I simply varnish over? <<I don't recommend this...it just won't last in this environment, and the wood is still likely too "wet" anyway. Your best option is to use a penetrating oil stain to seal the wood that can easily be renewed as needed>> Another problem is that the wood I used was not 100% dry when I got it. <<Ah, yes...treated and kiln-dried wood is sometimes available, but more often than not the wood at the home centers (Lowe's/HD) is not "dried" and is only hours/days old after the treatment process>> Now it seems to have finished drying since it was built and now the areas where the tank sits on the stand is no longer planar. <<Not unusual...treated wood is usually meant for "rough" construction and is not the best "cuts"...couple that with the extremely high moisture content and bowing/twisting is inevitable. Another reason for using untreated and kiln-dried wood>> Off by 1/8 inch at some places. I tried to level off using a hand sander and files but I think I made it worse. <<You're best option here is to start over with better wood I think>> The wood has also cracked in some areas but I doubt that is of any worry. <<Mmm, I don't agree...there will be an awful lot of weight on this stand>> I honestly think my stand could hold a train car. (5x5 wood, secured using 7 inch 3/8 wood screws, and wood glue, structure is all boxed in) <<Ah...but is all "moot" if it is not level and planar>> At this point I'm thinking that I could simply place a 1/4 inch thick rubber strip under the perimeter (this is a perimeter trim tank) of the tank to compensate for my non-planar mess! <<Mmm, I don't think this is a good solution here>> I think I remember reading your advice against this but I think at this point I'm ready to accept a non-ideal solution. <<Are you ready to accept having the tank burst?>> I think the odds of me bringing this planar using hand tools is slim. <<Likely, yes>> It is not as easy and is actually quite easy to make worse. <<Indeed...and reason enough to chalk this up as a "learning experience" and just start over>> Thank you very much for your time. <<Happy to share. EricR>> Tristan

Re: Using Treated Wood For Aquarium Structures - 02/06/07 <<Sorry for the delay in making a reply, I've been down with Sinusitis>> Even if the gap is only a 1/6 to a max of 1/8? In my mind; the rubber will make up enough?? Is 1/16 enough to make my new tank crack?? <<In my opinion it is, but don't rely on my opinion alone. The final decision is up to you, but I would at least seek other's thoughts re...perhaps even contact the tank manufacturer for their input. Or just rebuild the tank stand...>> Thanks so much, Tristan <<Regards, EricR>>

Using large buffet as aquarium stand 8/11/05 I am planning on buying a 90 gallon tall tank (36x18x31) or a 70 gallon (36x18x25) and a custom refugium (15x18x31 or 15x18x25) that would sit side-by-side on the same stand. Would the refugium need to be higher in order to flow back into the tank without a pump? <Yes> Maybe it can be done at this height if the tank is drilled? <Water seeks its own level...> Anyway, my main question: The "stand" I am planning on using is an antique buffet. It is "strong like bull", but I am not sure it could handle the weight of the tanks. <Mmm, the tanks et al. weigh about ten pounds per gallon filled up... I would at least try placing this much weight on the piece of furniture... to try it out...> Considering the different weights on each end of the stand, would this set up be unstable? <Only way to tell is to try...> Would it be better to get a tank with a 48" length (centered on the buffet) and forget using the refugium? How do I determine whether this piece of furniture can hold these aquariums? <Experiment... not with the tanks, but equivalent weight> Do the supports need to be a certain distance apart--or certain thickness? <Likely you will want to place some four by pieces of wood every two feet... under the buffet, to support... on the principal members> I would really rather not get another stand if I don't have to. It will be on carpet on top of slab foundation, and the legs are large and flat. If I decide on the 90 gal, there will be about 180 lbs of LR and 110lbs of substrate. If I go with the 70, it would include 130 lbs of LR and 110lbs of substrate. <And the water at about 8.2 pounds per gallon... about ten pounds per gallon...> The refugium would hold an extra 30-40 lbs of live rock and 20 lbs of substrate. The main tank is to be a coral tank and the refugium is to serve as a typical refugium (algae, copepods, shrimp) and a seahorse tank (I am planning to use a breeder box in the refugium to further protect some of the shrimp and pods from the seahorses). Thanks for your time, Angela <Do want to mention that you consider the probable damage to this piece... from moisture, spills... a good, strong stand can be made for not much money... see Ozreef.org for DIY plans here... IMO, leave the buffet for future "Antiques Roadshow" programs. Bob Fenner>

Aquarium stand question 9/26/05 Hey guys I don't know if you remember me but you helped me out a lot in setting up my 1500 gallon reef tank 3 years ago. (sorry I never got you any pics will send them right away) My parents are moving to New York and I am taking the 75 reef that they had in their living room. I'm moving it from an all glass 75 to a modified SeaClear system 2 (replaced bio filter with refugium its cool) and the tank is going to be on a dresser (the dresser has had this tank on it before and more than supports the weight) the concern is the dresser is on carpet and wobbles a bit with just the weight of the empty tank on it. Will this problem correct itself with the weight of the tank and rock or become worse like I have a feeling it will? <Mmm, doubtful> Also would a piece of 1 inch plywood maybe 4 inches wider than the base of the dresser correct this issue? Thanks for your help you guys are great! <I would fill it otherwise empty of gravel, gear and see how steady, stable (and level, planar) this tank is... I suspect it will solidly settle in with the weight of the water. Bob Fenner>

Tank Stand 9/26/05 Hey guys I don't know if you remember me but you helped me out a lot in setting up my 1,500 gallon reef tank 3 years ago. (Sorry I never got you any pics will send them right away!) My parents are moving to New York and I am taking the 75 reef that they had in their living room. I'm moving it from an All-glass 75 to a modified sea clear system 2 (replaced bio filter with refugium its cool) and the tank is going to be on a dresser (the dresser has had this tank on it before and more than supports the weight). The concern is the dresser is on carpet and wobbles a bit with just the weight of the empty tank on it. Will this problem self-correct with the weight of the tank and rock or become worse like I have a feeling it will? Also would a piece of 1 inch plywood maybe 4 inches wider than the base of the dresser correct this issue? Thanks for your help you guys are great! <I like the idea of a piece of plywood under the stand, level it, then give it a test fill to see if it stays level or requires some shimming. Wobbles scare me, it might correct itself with the weight but I would sleep better knowing it is level and sturdy. We look forward to some pics of the 1,500 gallon reef; I'm getting jealous just thinking about it. -Gage>

300 gal tank stand 12/30/2005 Hi, Bob: <Phil> I've been reading the WWM site for info as I prepare to finally set up my 130 and 300 gal tanks as reef tanks. They were in storage for 23 years until I bought a house and know I do not intend to move soon. <I'll bet!> I built an aquarium room in the single bay area of a three bay garage to get the aquariums on a concrete floor. I have many questions, but will concentrate on my current area of concern. They are both All Glass tanks. The 130 has about ¼ inch space between the bottom of the tank and the bottom molding that I think can be resolved with ½ to 1 inch Styrofoam sheet, <Yes, should be fine> but the 300 has about 1 inch space between the bottom glass and the outside bottom edge. I was thinking of filling this rectangle with 1 inch Styrofoam and then the whole tank set on a stand with 1 inch Styrofoam. <Mmm, likely a good idea... the "floating" bottom (this is what they're called in the industry) is fine, but the edge/frame is best situated on the foam> I thought of using 4 x 6 beams, with the 6 inch in vertical under the tanks. Do you think I could get a 4 foot opening under the 130 or 300 gal stand using this wood, as the sump will be used for both systems and is wider than both aquariums? <Yes, as long as the rest of the structure is sound> There is limited amount of space in this room because my wife asked me to reduce its size. The sump is 41 x 46 x 30High. The garage floor slopes ¼ inch every two feet in a north to south orientation and the 130 will be in this orientation, creating additional problems in building a level tank stand. <Do shim the stand to being level...> I have Googled DIY aquarium stands finding some info. <Try Ozreef.org?> I was going to use a plenum system for NNR in the 130, but my LFS recommends against this and recommends using live rock in both tanks and the sump, which I was going to do anyway. <Up to you... ultimately... not me or the LFS... But I would put a DSB in this sump... with or w/o a barrier/plenum> I also plan to use a refugium for macroalgae and critter development and was told that I should get plenty of critters in a system this size with the live rock that will be in place. The stands are a critical step in the process. Neither tank has been filled with water since their purchase. I am not in a hurry to make a mistake, but am so close to water in the tank that I can hardly wait. Please help with your suggestions/input any way possible. Thank you. Phil <Welcome. Bob Fenner> Acrylic Tank Support in ASCII? - 12/05/05 Hi Bob, <<EricR here...Bob is off in a warm and sunny place keeping his diving skills finely honed...>> I was researching what the web says about supporting an acrylic tank, and found your article: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/tksstds.htm. I am replacing a 20-yr old 65g (48x18x18) glass tank with acrylic. It is going on top of a wrought iron stand which has a horizontal support, 6 inches from the back. The tank is sitting on a plastic frame with center support 24 inches from end. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ 0 + + +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ 6" + + + + + + +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ 18" Do I need plywood to go under the tank, or is the iron cross brace sufficient to support the almost center of the tank? <<Plywood is advised here, the bottom will flex/bulge under the weight otherwise. Many acrylic tanks are made with thinner acrylic on the bottom than the sides as it is assumed it will be "fully" supported...and...manufacturers will not honor warranties if the tank is not properly supported.>> Thanks. Neil Frank Raleigh, NC <<Regards, EricR>>

Looking For An Oceanic Tank Stand - 03/15/2006 Hello, My name is Joey and I love your website. <Thank you Joey.> I wanted to know if you can direct me to a place or number to find a stand for an Oceanic tank for a 84x24.5 x 25 a 200 RRE BO. Please help as soon as you can because I am moving and the shop that I go to all the time for some reason can't find a stand before the first of next month. This would mean a lot to me for your help and I Thank You for all your help that I have got from the site. <Well Joey, the best I can think of is to try contacting Oceanic here http://www.oceanicsystems.com/ . They should be able to offer some help.> Thanks, Joey Harper <You're welcome. - Josh>

Re: Looking For An Oceanic Tank Stand - 03/16/2006 Thank you very much. <You're welcome.> I have just one more question for you please, I want to set up the 200G on the second floor of a house that I'm moving to and the floor is all wood and when I walk around the second floor apartment it makes no sound and it feels pretty strong. <It really depends on the construction of the house. I wouldn't put this on the second floor though. We're talking well over 2'000 lbs. here.> Do you think it could fall through the house? <A very real possibility.> Do you think 200G is to heavy? <Don't know for sure, too many factors.> Please let me know and I thank You so much. <You're welcome Joey. - Josh>

Oceanic aquarium, custom stand - 07/26/06 Hey guys. <<Hey, Kevin. Tom with you.>> I had delivered to my house yesterday a 215G Oceanic aquarium. <<If this were in color, you'd see me as green...with envy. :)>> I built the stand myself so I could tie it in with a wet bar that it sits behind. I have experience in furniture making, so the stand is really well built, and is perfectly planar and level. The stands top is a piece of 3/4 ply board that is larger than the aquarium itself, with the supports being right under the aquarium as well as having the plywood supported on its edges that are not under the aquarium. I hope this makes sense? <<Does to me. Got a basement full of sawdust-creating equipment myself.>> When the aquarium was placed on the top, which I had marked off for the exact placement, I later noticed a gap between the front, long edge of the aquarium and the stand. I can snugly slide about 5 playing cards within the widest part of that gap. <<1/16", from my quick measure, Kevin.>> The back edge of the aquarium also seems to not fit snugly, but with only room for perhaps two playing cards to fit. The two short edges and the four corners fit perfectly tight. <<Good.>> Because the top is larger than the aquarium itself, I'm still able to place my 6 ft metal level right in front of the aquarium and it still shows no gaps between the level and the stand. I checked my level against a few other flat surfaces around my home and it is fine, so this gap is due to the construction of the aquarium itself, and not my stand. I'm positive on this fact! <<I'm still with you...>> I was recommended to not place a foam or rubber matting between the aquarium and the stand, as the store that I purchased it from said that as long as the stand is flat and planar, it was unnecessary, and there was always a chance for the mat itself to become kinked in the placement of the aquarium. <<Agreed.>> After watching them place and slide the aquarium into position, I can see why this would be true, at least in my particular case. What would be your opinion on this situation? <<My opinion is that there will be some "flex" in the aquarium as weight, i.e. water, is added, bringing the bottom completely to rest on your stand. Based on what you've shared here, it can't go any farther than dead, flat level.>> Could I slide playing cards between the tank and the stand, along the length of the gap, so that this gap is thus filled, or would this itself perhaps cause a problem if the tank then wants to settle once full? <<Don't "shim" anything. The frame members and tank bottom need to "settle" equally. Shimming the frame alone will create stress points on the bottom plate of the tank that could pull the bottom away from the lower-front and, lower-rear, frame members, particularly at the highest shim points.>> I went with Oceanic due to their reputation as being a very good maker of aquariums, but I also know that they will not guarantee the aquarium if it's not placed on one of their stands, so I'm more than a bit concerned. <<Understood. Why not call the outfit out that delivered and placed the aquarium? Express your concerns to someone who knows what he/she is talking about. I'm willing to wager that the 1/16" of "deflection" is not going to be a problem but, then again, it isn't my money, is it? :) Worst case, so to speak, have it returned and have another delivered. A pain in the backside, to be sure, but for the kind of money you're spending, you deserve to be confident that all is well.>> Thank you very much. Kevin Jackson <<Good luck, Kevin. Tom>>
Re: Oceanic aquarium, custom stand
- 07/26/06 Tom, <<Hi, Kevin.>> Thank you so much for your timely and well thought out opinion. What you said is what I basically expected to hear, and yes 1/16" is the correct measurement. <<Great minds, Kevin. :)>> I do have a call into the store from which it was purchased, which is a marine store with an experienced staff. <<Excellent.>> I also have an email into Oceanic Systems themselves, but thought I would get an experienced 'outside' opinion since the last thing I'm sure they want to do is come back and pick that brute up again! <<I'm sure you're right, Kevin, but this is going out to all of our readers. Oceanic, indeed, has a fine reputation. You'll be more than satisfied with the results of their efforts as well as those of your own. >> Thanks again. Kevin <<Any time. Be talking... Tom>>

Keeping an Aquarium Over the Fireplace...Don't! - 09/16/06 I wanted to get back into keeping tropical fish since I enjoyed it as a child. <<You'll likely enjoy it even more now...but do "brush up" and do your reading/research before acquiring your system/livestock>> I've been trying to make a decision where to keep the aquarium. Right now, it looks like the best place to keep an aquarium that would be focal in my house would be above the fireplace. <<Mmm, no...not recommended unless you don't plan to ever use the fireplace>> The stone goes all the way up the wall of the living room. We haven't cleaned the fireplace and used it yet, and I don't know how hot it would get. <<Hot enough...would be akin to placing the tank next to a heating vent. And there are other issues besides heat here...any smoke escaping to the room would rise/be circulated around the tank where it could/would contaminate the water/poison the fish>> The heat naturally concerns me the most. It might get used from time to time in the future, and I don't want to bring up the temperature to an uncomfortable amount inside the tank. <<Find another location>> The other concern is stability. <<A moot point>> I guess I would use a long, metal shelf across the fireplace, supported on the ends going down to the floor, with support in the middle using screws drilled into the stone. There are already numerous holes from the prior owners, so the aquarium could cover more holes than it would create. To counter heat issues, I imagine Styrofoam sheets underneath the aquarium would insulate this. <<No, would not be sufficient...ever tried to stand close in front of a burning fireplace for any period of time? Just imagine the amount of heat that is "rising up"! And heat would also be generated from the stone chimney>> It would have the second benefit of helping to level the aquarium. Does this seem reasonable? <<Not at all my friend...would result in misery for both you and your fishes. Do please find another location for your tank. Regards, EricR>>

Supporting A 20 Gallon Tank 9/9/06 Greetings all, My first (and most -pressing-) question has to do with the position of my tank. My boyfriend and I live in a small one room apartment, we came across a 20 gallon tank out with the trash one day and decided to give it a new home. Currently, we have it set up on a sturdy dresser (there is also a piece of cardboard beneath the tank), the dresser faces towards the door but we have the tank set up so the "front" of it faces our all-purpose eating-sitting-sleeping area. However, the tank is about two inches longer than the dresser is wide, and so is unsupported for about an inch on either side. It has been full of water for about two weeks now, and so far so good, but the visual thought of the seams giving out from stress are really cringe inducing. Do you think this is an "okay" setup, or should we really reposition it so that the entire tank is supported? (I know of course the latter would be preferable, but that would put the tank at a really crummy angle for observation of the fish.) If you think this isn't "okay" could you say whether it's an inevitability or just a not entirely remote possibility? < Remove the tank and place a piece of 3/4 plywood under the entire tank and than place in back on the dresser. This Tank with water will weight close to 200 lbs. The tank should be OK as is but I would feel better with a little extra support on the end pieces. The plywood will also help protect the top of the dresser. Some dressers are made of particle board and not solid wood. I would start looking for another stand if your dresser is made from the particle board.> Finally I would like to thank you guys for your wonderfully informative site, and also your time in reading (and answering) this letter. It is greatly (greatly) appreciated!-Krisi < Thanks for your kind words.-Chuck>

Caster Wheels on an 180 gallon Aquarium Stand 1/5/07 Hi guys, <Joe> I am currently setting up a 180 gallon tank behind a false wall for an Albino Oscar breeding tank. I'll be pushing it up to the wall inside a small unused room. Would it be OK to mount heavy duty caster wheels with breaks on the bottom of the stand to allow it to roll back from the wall if and when needed? <Mmm, possibly> The wheels I have are the heavy airport anvil case wheels with breaks on each. If so, how many (4 on the corners, or add 2-4 on the sides to balance weight? <Good idea> As I have never seen it done, I'm a little worried that it shouldn't be done. I'm placing a Plexiglas divider on the outside wall (pool table protection) is the only reason I need to be able to move it (if I need to clean water streaks, algae, etc.). Don't want a surprise of 180 gallons pouring into the house when I stress crack the tank or break the seals. Let me know what you think. Thanks as always, Joe <This much weight can be moved... slowly, deliberately, on a level floor... I would feel better if this were an acrylic tank rather than glass... takes shearing force/s much better. Bob Fenner> Stand Dear Rob, Thanks for your help! Here is another question: Can I do a stand in stainless steel that has been galvanized? <Mmm, yes... if you can arrange for none of the galvanization to rust, drop into the systems water... A good idea to coat over this coating... perhaps with an epoxy paint.> What is galvanizing? <A process for... use your search engine: "galvanizing"> My LFS uses them for his stands, seems to be working fine without any hint of rust. <Eventually... all ferrous materials oxidize/rust... it "never sleeps" as the saying goes> I am thinking of this route as wooden stand is rather too expensive. I heard that metal stands are good for really big tanks, mine will have a weight of 800kg/m2 <Mmm, please read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/tksstds.htm Bob Fenner> Thanks in advance, John

Juwel Aquarium Stands I am a small aquarium maintenance company and I picked up a new client that has an old Juwel aquarium. I am needing a stand and can not seem to find one wholesale in the States. I have checked out the web sites and can only find the German site in which only has German prices. Have any suggestions? Rocky Hawkins, Thank You! <Mmm, well these are great tanks... and their stands are nice, but you can likely find someone in the U.S. to make something comparable for less money locally. I would check the "Yellow Pages" under "cabinet, furniture makers"... give them the dimensions, and ask for a price for a custom fit, color, finish... Bob Fenner, who managed, worked in the service part of the trade for nineteen years>

Tank Stand Hi Guys, I have a 55 gallon acrylic tank, dimensions 48" x 13". I purchased an Iron stand for it and the tank rests perfectly on top of the stand. The stand is hollow in the middle. I just completed filling the tank up with substrate and salt water and I was wondering, is it ok to have the tank sitting on the stand with a hollow opening? I looked under the tank and it seems that the only support for the tank is at the two sides (four corners). Should I be concerned with this. Also, I noticed the front of my tank is "bowing" slightly. Should I be concerned with this? Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance. Greg <Hey Greg, if the stand was designed for a 55gal tank you should be fine. IME the iron stands seem a little tipsy, if you live in earth quake country like some of us you might think about finding a way to anchor it to the wall. Acrylic tanks will bow a little bit, how much is it actually bowing? We have some FAQs on acrylic tank repair. Best Regards, Gage>

- Tank Stands for Acrylic Tanks - I just finished setting up my new 180 gallon acrylic aquarium. It was manufactured by Aqua Clear Aquatics in Jacksonville, FL. The measurements are 72L x 18W x 34H. It's made out of 3/4 inch acrylic on the sides and 1/2 inch on the top and bottom. It seems to be very high quality from what I can tell. However, while we were setting up the stand we made sure the stand was exactly level on the carpet (tank is sitting on a load-bearing wall with a concrete slab foundation). However, when we got all of the live rock and water in the tank the tank itself seems to be leaning forward VERY slightly on the left side. <I want to be sure here - you also have a stand 'made' for this tank, not one made for glass tanks, correct? A tank stand for acrylic tanks should have a solid top - a flat surface to put the tank on. Glass tank stands are often a frame, leaving the bottom glass panel exposed in the middle. You cannot put an acrylic tank on a glass tank stand. Well, ok, you can, but it will have disastrous consequences.> It's not completely level so I wanted to check with you and see if you saw a huge problem with this. <Yes - there will be non-linear stress on the tank once the water goes in - at the very least this will lead to premature failure, at the worst, it will fail very quickly.> The weird thing is the stand itself is still completely level -- just the left side of the tank is leaning forward slightly so I really don't understand what's going on? Would you be overly concerned with this? <Yes. It is very important that this tank be flat on the stand - level with the floor would be nice, but it's more important that the tank and stand as a unit are touching at every point.> Thanks for your opinion. <Cheers, J -- >

- Tank Stand for Acrylic Tanks - Ok, I'm literally having a heart attack at the moment! <Well... take a deep breath.> Here's our plan. . . please tell me if there is anything else I need to do. First of all, I didn't realize that acrylic tanks needed flat, solid surfaces so yes, it is now sitting on a stand that is made for glass. <Bunk!> So, could I drain all of the water out, take the stand off, screw in a piece of 3/4" pressure treated plywood to make the solid surface then, after making sure the tank is level return all of the water/livestock. <Yes, that would work, but you might want to brace that plywood in the center, or even consider using 7/8"> The tank has been set up for 3 days sitting on this improper stand. Has it already been compromised???? <You should ask the manufacturer this question. My guess is probably not...> If I fix the problem tonight after work will the tank be ok you think? <I think so, but again, you should ask the manufacturer just to be sure.> Thanks for any help or extra advice you can give. I appreciate it very much! <Cheers, J -- >
- Re: Tank Stands for Acrylic Tanks -
One more quick question. . . when I empty the water and livestock out of the tank in order to take the stand off and correct it do you think it would be safe enough to leave the live rock and sand in the tank? <I think so, sure.> Everything probably totals 160lbs. with the small amount of water that I won't be able to pump out. <Well, you will need to be able to pick up the tank, so...> Or, do I have to remove everything before taking the tank off the stand? <In the end, you may. Thanks so much! :) <Cheers, J -- >

Tank Stand Dear Bob, I am new to marine systems, with some experience with fresh water. My first step was to buy your book, The Conscientious Marine Aquarist, and I wanted to thank you for this wonderful resource. While I save up my money to set up a nice system, I am looking for a good source for stands. My tank will be beautiful and I want a beautiful piece of furniture to display it on, not some plywood or particle board box. Any secret sources you know of? George <<Actually, do know how I would proceed, but it's not much of a secret... the telephone directory for your geographic area... under Carpentry... call, contact the folks listed there and ask them if they do such work, go visit them, and start drawing up plans of what you have in mind... How tall, how many shelves? Will you have them fashion a canopy for the top as well? Any other furniture in your home/work you're trying to match the color, texture of? Get a few bids... Otherwise, if you're handy... consider building it yourself... Just remember, make your stand, strong, level and planar... Bob Fenner>>

Looking for a stand I'm looking for a stand for a (standard) 55 gal. aquarium that I might be able to get in a henna cherry stain or similar coating whether it be a laminate. Unfortunately I don't know of any companies specifically that manufacture aquarium stands. My last aquarium stand (55 gal.) I needed I made myself and the one before that is actually a kitchen stand for a microwave. I would make it myself but I'm looking for something that has a more polished appearance. Thank you for your help. Jeff Longmore <Take a look in your local "Yellow Pages" directories under "aquarium", "tropical"... and your local higher end fish stores... You may get lucky and have someone nearby who already makes custom tank stands... Otherwise, look under "carpenter", "cabinet-maker" and ask if they would undertake your project... OR consider taking "wood craft" classes and doing it yourself! Bob Fenner>

Tank/stand I have a 120 gal glass tank with 3/8" glass. on the bottom of the tank I have a black trim all the way around in which the glass sets into. the basic floating bottom type aquarium. my question is do I have to set something between the frame and desk that the aquarium sets on? there is a 1/2" suspension (gap) between the glass and actual counter it sits on? but the frame sets even on the counter all the way around. .................. thanks for your time and sorry for the long ? <No worries. As long as the frame itself is well and completely supported, you're fine. Bob Fenner>

Aquarium Stand design - 8/7/03 hello <Good afternoon> I just had my 157g aquarium assembled and now I am thinking of how to design its stand. <Cool. Nice size> Can you give me some illustrated designs? <Unfortunately, No. Not in the scope and bandwidth of our site. Do some research, try your favorite search engine (I like Google) and try "DIY aquarium stand" as your keyword to start. Also, try your favorite fish store and see if they don't know of someone who can build a custom stand. Lastly, depending on what type of resource you will use (wood, metal, steel) you could go to a weld shop or carpenter's shop and see if anyone has a background in building aquarium stands.> My main problem is if the design will be able to support my aquarium. <Yep. I believe that saltwater weighs close to 8lbs per gallon (safe to allow for 10 lbs per gallon) add to that tank weight, rock weight, and substrate weight. This has to be a structurally sound design.> I don't want to take any chances coz I'm Goin to have a marine setup. thanks! By the way, I'm planning to use steel instead of woods and the lower part of the stand will house my 75g freshwater setup for my piranha. <Sounds cool -Paul> Bert

- Tank Stand Designs - Hey I need to see if you guys have or know anybody with any aquarium stand pictures but from the inside to see how they are build? <I'm afraid not.> I need to see how they are build because I have a stand for a 280gallon tank that I bought from someone and need to add more support to it but need some examples. <Start with the four corners - these are really the beef of the stand, and you could add additional legs in the center, but most stands are just boxes, relying on their four to five sides to make the structure sturdy.> I really want to reinforce the heck out of it because I know it's going to be really heavy when water and reef are added and don't want it to break apart. <If the stand was made for the tank, and unless it is heavily water damaged, I'd just go with it... most stands are designed for the duty you describe.> Help, Mario <Cheers, J -- >

He Can't Stand It? (Making The Perfect Stand!) Hi, <Hi there! Scott F. at the keyboard tonight!> I bought an Oceanic 135 tank to make a reef tank. It came with a custom-built stand for the tank, but not for filtering a reef tank (when I bought it, the tank was freshwater). I have a baffled 40 gallon long tank that I am going to set up as an algae scrubber, but it would not fit inside the stand (I didn't have this tank when I bought the 135 and stand). I decided to go with an Oceanic stand thinking that it would be a no-brainer fix, but when I looked at the 125/135 stand, a 40 long would not fit under it either! The two vertical beams on the back of the stand would not allow a 4 foot tank inside at all (the store could get a 30 gallon tank under it). <Grr...Been there!> Do you know of a web site where I could go to design my own stand? I know what I want, but I am not sure how to build it to take the weight. I was wondering if there was a site you could plug in the info on what you wanted, and it would help you with the design. Thanks, Paul <Well, Paul, you might want to try Coral Reef Ecosystems in CA. I know a few people who purchased custom made stands/canopies from them, and have been quite pleased. here is their URL : http://www.coralreefecosystems.com/ You might want to try a local cabinet maker, too? Good luck in your search! Regards, Scott F>

- Tank Stand Designs - Hi WWM crew, <Hello to you, JasonC here...> I need to know where you stand on stand design. <Usually with both feet underneath me...> I have ordered a Tenecor 96x30x36 (400 gallon "dream" tank) which will be see thru, in the wall (dividing two rooms) and on the main floor concrete slab. My contractor was planning to weld together a steel frame and powder coat (dip treat) or water proof the steel with Rustoleum type paint. Is this my best long term (10-20 years) option or should I go with treated lumber or other? <Steel will offer you the best strength and long term use, but you need to be really careful about keeping the salt water off the stand. Even with the powder coating the stand will still corrode so just make sure you keep the salt water off the stand - clean regularly.> I am planning to have a sump under the tank and could use just a little guidance there as well. Tenecor offers a "Reef Ready" set-up with a sump design with heavy bio-ball use or my other consideration is the ETSS Ultra High Flow sump design with optional micron filter bags. The main tank with have (2) 8x8 inch corner overflows. Each overflow will have a 2 inch drain and (2) 1 inch returns. My long term plan is to have a thriving modern reef tank of medium to high bio-load capacity with the easiest maintenance possible. Also, in the works are a Euro-Reef CS 12-2 external protein skimmer (external to help keep temp down during the hot summer months here in Temecula, CA) and a Knop professional S-IV Kalk reactor, though this may not be a large enough model as it is only rated to 300 gallons. <Should be fine for this system.> Thanks for helping me get started right and I look forward to reading more outstanding books from Calfo and Fenner. <Cheers, J -- >

Wrought iron stand; is this appropriate for 2nd floor with a 55 gallon tank? Hello Bob. <James> I picked up the tank. It was used and in good shape. However, the stand is iron with legs that the person says was designed for 2 55gal tanks. This may be true but with only 4 areas of concentrated weight distribution I wonder about using this stand on a second floor. <Me too> Now if the weight is actually distributed and countered by the frame it-self and the cross arms bolted on the back then perhaps this is another matter. <Yes> I (correctly or not) see this as (weight of stand + weight of empty tank + all of contents once full {LR, sand/gravel, water & fish}) all distributed on 4 points of contact with the floor rather than a wooden stand where the weight is distributed over the area of floor/carpet contact. I do like the stand as it will hold a smaller tank and a wet/dry filter with Bio Balls and other materials. Now, I was considering putting board under the tank and it will have to be shimmed as it is very visibly not level. This makes sense as the house is not level (all angles head toward street) from settling. <The board, shims is the best idea... the actual shims should be under the legs themselves... to allow the (piece of ply) wood to distribute the weight> Looks like I have some (more ; ) ) reading to do on the site in the tank section, however, I do not recall anything that was specific to a metal stand. <Not metal, but this is covered re all aquariums, stands> We got a digital camera. I will take some shots of my little 5 gallon as I am very proud of it. I would love for you to see what you have helped me create from your awesome book! <Please send your pix along as attachments, with explanations, descriptions for posting> I imagine once getting the issues of the new tank over it will be about 1-1.5 months before transferring my livestock into it. I am considering adding my tank water and filter bags once I have salt water. I am thinking of sticking with a FOWLR setup since my wife likes some non-reef friendly fish and this will also save a small fortune on lighting. As there is 55 gallons of capacity I may just mix the salt in the new tank at first... too much volume for my present aging setup to handle between fresh and salt mix containers. Dear God there are some hideous materials inside the fresh water containers that settle out over only a few days! Sincerely, James Zimmer Garfield, NJ <Bob F, in HI>

All-Glass Stands Hi Bob, <Ramy> Seeking your advice. I purchased a 150 gal tank, intended to be a reef tank. The question is, do you have any experience with this company, All-Glass ???? <Yes... considerable... was a line I bought for Petco in the early nineties... have seen about for many years> I am a little bit suspicious that their serious of modern oak stands will handle that size. <Will> I have investigated the stand, it is all wood but I am really confused to go with it or with a steel stand. Thank you. Ramy Banoub. Ontario, Canada. <As serious a dichotomy that exists with cool versus warm colour carpeting twixt the N. American coasts, there is a division with stand materials... the west favouring wood, the east, metal... Both will work, have their good/bad sides (strength, rusting...). All-Glass make some fine, middle-cost aquariums, tops, stands... Bob Fenner>

Where to Put That Heavy Tank (10/22/04) Hey WWM crew, <Steve Allen tonight.> I am setting up a new reef tank and I had some quick questions about lighting and filtration to run by you. I am going to set up a 75-125 gallon reef tank on a kitchen counter in my parents house. This is apparently the only space available. It is obviously not ideal because there is no place to put a sump. <That's only part of the problem. Even the 75G will easily weigh well over 1,000 pounds with rock, sand, equipment, etc. A 125 can easily hit 2,000 lbs. Such tanks should only be put on stands specifically designed for aquariums. This counter is certainly not designed to bear such weight. A disaster waiting to happen.> My plan is to buy to of the larger dual skimmer CPR Bak Pak filters, and place one on each side of the tank. <Seems reasonable enough, but a single AquaC Remora Pro could handle the 75G.> If you see this as suitable then my next question would be do I leave the bio material in or take it out since I will have the LR taking care of most of the bio load anyways? <out> I could put the heaters in there or something like that instead. <I do not know if this is safe. You would need to contact CPR about that.> Now on to lighting. I am debating between a 2 x 400 Watt MH/PC hood or a 2 x 250 Watt MH hood. The clams and I would both IMO be satisfied by 2 x 250 watts, but it only costs 40 dollars more to upgrade a total of 300 watts. <Though we don't need to cook the clams either, ;)> I have read that there are issues with this much light though, such as too much heat as well as the lights being too close to the tank and possibly burning the coral. <There is certainly such a thing as too much light.> I have never in my past used MH so I don't know the answer. <MH lights are very useful for many applications. The wise thing to do is to decide exactly what you want in your tank and chose the lights that best meet their needs. Read more WWM lighting articles and FAQs as well as other sources like www.advancedaquarist.com and www.reefkeeping.org> I do not want to have to buy a chiller. My last question is how big should the tank be? <Bigger is always better, but if you are limited to that countertop, you will need to choose a Nano, though this is harder to do. You can count on a marine tank with LR weighing at least 10 lbs per gallon, often significantly more. I calculate that my 80G weighs about 1,300 lbs.> I can't have the tank be too large because of the Bak Paks, and I can't have it too small because of the heat that the lights give off. I want the largest tank that I can have under the limitations given. <I have no idea what is safe for your countertop. A structural engineer or architect may be able to tell you how much weight it can bear.> I do wish that I could set up a sump and a real skimmer since that would be ideal. But, I believe that with adequate care, my experience with reef tanks and water changes that I can make this work. Thanks for your time, Michael K. <I have no doubts about your willingness to take great care of a tank. Unfortunately, you may have to wait until you have a better space available.>

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