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FAQs about Stands, Supports for Aquariums 2

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

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

Coating over fasteners is a good idea. Have you visited OzReef.org? Much good DIY info.

Two birds with one stone. Stand/tank minor gap, cleaning old dry LR       9/16/16
Hi WWM Crew,
<Hey Eddie>
As always I am eternally grateful to you all for your patient assistance. Your website is a treasure trove of aquarium knowledge. Every time I visit I come away richer. I have been “dry” for almost four years now, but still considering myself a part of the saltwater hobby. I’m getting ready to get “wet” again, and I have a LOT of questions to ask so that I do it right this time. I’ve been studying WWM (and other sources) for several years, but often with greater learning comes only more finely honed questions. Today I have two sets of such questions. I guess this is a “two birds with one stone” type email.
<Let's see>
It’s been a while since I have asked a question, and I have been busy. I’ve been at work building a stand for my 75 gallon tank.
<I see this in your pic. REALLY like the fastener pattern>
I wanted to do this stand right because my last stand (for my old 55 gallon) was not made right and eventually resulted in the catastrophic failure of the bottom of the tank. I did a ton of research on how to do it, and this (picture) is what I came up with. I’m kind of proud of it. What you see is the finished frame for the stand. I have already treated it with spar urethane. I also have some quarter inch oak plywood and trim that I will use to “skin” it (and I’ll treat that with urethane as well). While I’m working on the skin though, I thought I would go ahead and use the frame of the stand for a water test on my tank. It’s a slightly used glass tank with an offset overflow (as you can see from where the cutout in the stand top is located).
<Good idea>
The stand frame is level, and when I sat the tank on it found that it is almost perfectly planar. On one side there was a tiny gap running several inches where I could slide a driver’s license fairly snugly.
<This is with the tank empty? I'd fill it; see if the gap diminishes/disappears>
At widest I would estimate it to be 1/32nd of an inch. The reason for this is something I found out after I built the stand, but something that I’ll pass on to any DIY-ers who read this FAQ. When boards (2x4’s, etc.) are planed, often the very end of the board is slightly thinner than the rest—from where it tilts slightly under its own weight coming out of the planer. It would be wise when working with wood to cut off the last inch or two off the end of the board to avoid this (like for the top side rails of an aquarium stand). This is the reason for that slight dip.
<Ahh!>
I was going to use Styrofoam anyway, which brings me to my first series of questions. I bought some ¼ inch Styrofoam sheets from Lowe’s that are 4 feet long. I was not thinking about the fact that my stand is 48 and ½ inches long—so the Styrofoam will not cover the entire bottom of the stand. Will the Styrofoam “spread out” under the weight to cover this gap?
<Mmm, not likely; no>
Or (because the tank has a floating bottom) should I cut the Styrofoam into strips—say 2 inches wide? I could have two 48 X 2 inch strips and two 18 ½ X 2 inch strips (trimmed to fit together at the corners).
<I would cut such a strip; to cover the entire 48.5" base>
I got several sheets of the Styrofoam, and I planned to use some for the test fill (which will last a week or two at least—it will be out of the way in the basement), and then replace it when I set up the tank. Is it even necessary to use it for the test fill?
<I would risk filling w/o w/ the small gap you're experiencing; but if you feel uncomfortable, insert the foam.>
I don’t want to do ANYTHING to weaken the tank (after what happened before).
<Understood>
The second series of questions has to do with my old live rock. I had about 50lbs of live rock in the old tank when it failed. I put it in five gallon buckets (dry) and it has been sitting in my basement for almost 4 years. The buckets have been open to whatever dust has settled on them (and whatever bugs or rodents might have crawled over them). I want to use this rock as base rock, and reseed it with some fresh live rock for the new tank.
<I would do this>
I read through the live rock FAQs again yesterday (2nd time through) and I’m not sure whether I need to soak these rocks in water with bleach or if it would be better just to rinse them.
<I'd at least blast them with a hose... No need to bleach likely>
I got the impression from the FAQs that bleaching is needed if the rocks had something on them you didn’t want (like BGA or crypt, etc.). This was not the case with mine. I was planning on bleaching them anyway—because they had been dead so long and sitting in the basement, but a friend told me it would be better to rinse them off and use them as they are—that anything dead in them will help the tank cycle.
<I agree w/ your friend>
Do I need to bleach them? Would it be better not to bleach them?
<No bleach>
Thank you so much for all your help,
Eddie
<A pleasure to share. Do please send along a photo of the stand, set up as it progresses. Bob Fenner>

Re: Two birds with one stone. Stand, leveling base      9/25/16
Hi Bob,
<Hey Eddie>
I was getting ready to do the test fill today (cutting the Styrofoam, etc.) when I realized that I told you wrong in the original email. It’s ¾ inch Styrofoam instead of ¼ inch. That shouldn’t make a difference, right?
<Oh yes; though a quarter inch might do it... a half or your 3/4 is better>
Also I noticed a slight rise in the very middle of the plywood top of the stand (1/32 to 1/16 of an inch in the very middle). The stand is planar around the edges (with the slight exception detailed before. I know this because I tested it by setting the tank on top of it. I didn’t notice this rise, of course, because the tank has a floating bottom. For that reason it shouldn’t matter either, right?
<Not much, no>
I am a little worried because the Styrofoam is thicker than I had previously told you. I’m worried that it will put too much pressure on the glass bottom of the tank (especially where the plastic support piece runs front to back across the middle.
<The foam's function is to even out small differences>
Please tell me I’m being too paranoid.
<Not to worry>
Thanks again for being there for all of us,
Eddie
<Welcome. BobF>

Uneven floor; stands, reading         4/21/16
Hi guys and girls.
<Dom>
Looked online for answers but everyone seems to disagree. I have a new tank and stand, it ended up being 120cm by 55cm, I guess around 100 gallons.
<Do the math for volume... or... read on WWM re other ways of determination>
I now have a dilemma. The area I think is safest to put the tank is across several floor jousts against a load bearing wall. That said, I've realised the floor is very uneven in that area. Alternatively I could run the tank along two floor jousts across the middle of the room, but I fear it will be too heavy.
<....? You didn't search, read...>

What would you suggest in this situation? My mother (the homeowner) wants to use layers of newspaper to adjust the level of the floor. I fear that over time this will settle and the stand will warp :(
<Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/aqstdfloors.htm
I have a thin layer of foam for between the tank and the stand to fix minor inconsistencies but that won't help the stand.
<And the linked files above. B>

I'm very worried. We don't have much money to fix things, the tank is being paid off in small fortnightly increments.
Re: Uneven floor      4/22/16

Thank you for your reply. Sorry to be a pain but I'm not clever on this subject. I had researched but there was a lot of conflicting advice.
<NOT on our site. I have no idea what other folks have stated
>
I probably should have stuck to this site.
<Ahh! Yes>
The tank in question is 105 gallons, I only said guess as a figure of speech :)
I'm not worried about the weight as the stand is flat and should distribute the load evenly.
<NEED to shim up the whole stand as the tank is filling... SOOOOOO; a piece of ply wood under all feet....>
Unfortunately, my old 20 gallon was sitting where I want to put this new tank, which is why I didn't register the floor being uneven. I stripped and drained that one yesterday.
From my understanding you suggest people use wood shims to level their tanks.
<Yes; this or plastic shims>
But I would have thought this would cause more pressure on the stand because now parts of the stand are unsupported.
<? Not following you here. Do you understand what I'm referring to when I say to put a piece of cut plywood of adequate thickness (at least an inch here) under ALL feet of the stand>
I guess that is what you would suggest also, it seems to be talked about in those links you gave me.
I'll give it a go. Thanks for your help, sorry for being a bother
~Dom
<Never a bother. Please send a photo of the stand, floor. Bob Fenner>

Composite aquarium stand issue       8/31/15
Hello,
<Deb>
I have a 75 gallon saltwater tank on a 20 year old composite (wood board) stand.
<Mmm; hope that thing is sealed>

We have had a problem lately with the electricity going out in the area, and that caused the tank to overflow. It has happened a couple of times. I noticed that the trim at the bottom of the stand is starting to pull away from the actual stand. Does the trim on a stand have any structural benefit ordinarily?
<It does indeed. We had a similar question just yesterday... NEED to have all the parts it's built with, and these securely fastened/glued/screwed/stapled together. I might well be taking this tank down, inspecting, beefing up this stand.
Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/aqstdcomm.htm
Thank you for your time.
Deb Walker
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Questionable Aquarium Stand     11/15/14
Greetings WetWebMedia Crew, I'm considering buying a 55g (long) acrylic SeaClear complete with stand, filtration and lighting. My concern is with the stand. It looks professionally built but on the deck(surface aquarium
sits on) there is only a 1in X 6in wood support on each end. So the aquarium is only supported by these two supports about a 1/8in above the deck surface. Could there be any way this is what the manufacturer intended?
<Yes; but... and I share your concern. Would NOT go with this stand w/o "beefing up" the under-support... Better still, finding, or building something more substantial>
I'm guessing the aquarium is being improperly supported and stand could be missing some parts. Could this of damaged the integrity off this tank?
<Oh yes; though acrylic tanks are (relative to glass) tough... too much, variable stress can result in failure>
The tank is currently full of water, no sagging downward but I did notice a little bowing forward.
<This is the nature of these production units period... Esp. 55's... typically nominally 48" by 13" by 20" or so dimensionally... made commercially with at times 1/4 (or better 3/8") material... and not always the better quality acrylic. Though SeaClear IS a good make/manufacturer IMO/E... having had LONG experience with the company, their old owners>
Owner said its been like that for years.
<Again; yes>
Aside from that tank is very clean with good looking seals and affordably priced(under $200), would you recommend buying? Thanks Brandon
<Yes; but the comments re the stand.... And what is archived on WWM re: MUST be strong, planar and level... and the floor underneath... capable of bearing the weight evenly. Bob Fenner>

Tank stand     5/10/13
Hi
I have a doubt about an aquarium stand.
I am not sure If it can support the new tank I am willing to buy....
If I send you some pictures would you be kind enough to give your opinion about it ?
Thank you very much
<Sure thing. -NateG>
Best regards
Pedro
Tank stand 5/10/13

Hi
<Hello Pedro>
I have a doubt about an aquarium stand.
I am not sure If it can support the new tank I am willing to buy....
If I send you some pictures would you be kind enough to give your opinion about it ?
<Certainly, send them along as well as your tank dimensions.>
Thank you very much
<You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>
Best regards
Pedro

Stand Questions     2/10/13
Hi WWM Crew,
<Hi Eddie>
Thank you so much for your wonderful site.  You have helped me several times in the past, and I really appreciate it.  At this point I’m in the process of kind of starting over, and I have some questions/confusion regarding stands.  I have been reading your stand FAQs, and I am still confused. 
<Oh?>
Here’s the story:  I was given a 75 gallon glass tank (48x18x21) and stand that someone had sitting around on their carport for several years.  They are dirty, but seem to be in decent shape otherwise.  If possible, I would like to use them for a Marine FOWLR set-up.  The tank doesn’t leak.  The stand is an oak cabinet style, and appears to have been homemade or specially constructed.  This is my guess, because, among other things, it seems taller than a manufactured stand would be (4 feet tall).
<Mmm, yes. Have never seen a commercial stand this tall... due to material cost and increased liability>
 It seems pretty sturdy to me, but in reading the FAQs and examining it I have some concerns. 
In regard to the construction:  The stand has a frame for the front and back made from 2x4’s, consisting of a rectangle with a vertical support in the middle.  The left and right sides are ¾” oak plywood.  On the front are the cabinet doors, with the edging made out of ¾” oak.  On the back is ¼” oak plywood.  There are no 2x4 cross braces (running from front to back). 
<These can be added if you have a concern>
The top is open to the inside of the cabinet.  The aquarium plastic frame sits on the 2x4 frame in the back, the edges of the ¾” plywood on the sides and the ¾” oak plywood made edging in the front.  The other significant thing to mention is that on the bottom the whole stand rests on three 2x4’s turned on edge (like skids).  It has a molding around the bottom edge on the front and sides too, but that doesn’t support the weight.  I have some pictures attached.
Here are all my questions (sorry there are so many): 
1.    Is it alright that the stand top is open to the inside of the cabinet?  I have read on your site that with glass tanks this is OK because they have a floating bottom. What is a floating bottom? 
<Yes it is okay, safe. Made this way as it's better to have the bottom float than risk having the glass set on an unsuitable "bump" actually>
2.    Would it be better to add a plywood top for the tank to sit on?
<Only if the current surface is not planar, that there is no other practical way to make the whole stand level (best done at the feet, bottom on up>
 If so, would this need to be ¾” or could it be ½” since the weight would all be around the edges anyway?  I’m concerned about height, since the stand is already 4 feet tall.
<Either thickness of ply will be fine>
3.     With the way the stand top is constructed, if I don’t add a plywood top (as described above), will the tank be alright sitting on it with a layer of Styrofoam between the tank and stand? 
<Yes. The foam helps take up a minimum... a sixteenth or so... inch deviation>
In reading the FAQs I was confused about the purpose of the Styrofoam.  For a glass tank does it go between the plastic frame and the stand, or does it go between the glass bottom (inside the frame) and the plywood stand top (which mine doesn’t have)? 
<Yes; twixt the frame of the tank and stand>>
4.    Should I add 3 2x4 cross braces from front to back at the top and bottom (on each side and in the middle)?  If so, I’m not sure how I would attach them. 
<I would add these. They should be screwed into pre-drilled holes w/ (best) rust-proof screws>
5.    In regard to the bottom, should I put a piece of plywood underneath the skids to distribute the weight?  Or could I remove the skids and just put a solid ¾” piece of plywood across the bottom, attaching it to the 2x4 frame and the ¾” plywood sides?
<Depends on the floor/ing underneath the stand... is it strong enough to support the 700-800 pounds of this set up? It should... and how hard it is to level the whole (stand first) then some water w/ the tank on top... configuration>
Thank you for answering all these questions for me.  I’m kind of nervous because my last tank (a 55 gallon Marine FOWLR) suffered the failure of the bottom glass (water all over the floor).  I didn’t use Styrofoam with it, and the plywood top of the stand was not entirely planar (had a slight dip along the front).  At the time I set it up I didn’t know any better.  Anyway, I want to make sure with this set up that I do everything right—including modifying, completely rebuilding, or scraping the stand if necessary.
Thanks again,
Eddie
<Let's refer you to my survey article: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/aqstands.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

R5: Larger Sized Aquarium (96x30x30) – 07/05/12
Hi Eric,
<<Hey Rick>>
The 375 gal Tank is in place on top of 3/4" Styrofoam and 1/2 Fir Plywood.
<<Okay>>
During the maneuvering of the tank, the Styrofoam at one corner got "squished" a bit (see photos).
<<Yes>>
I'm guessing there is a 1mm - 2mm gap between tank and Styrofoam (tank is empty). I'm thinking this will disappear once we start to fill the tank and the weight continues to compress the Styrofoam - welcome your thoughts on this.
<<It should be as you have surmised>>
Also, I've noticed what I believe are a few small air bubbles in one location near the top of the tank between the front and side panel - see picture (tank is 3/4" thick). Should I be concerned?
<<I don’t think so… The bubbles in the Silastic appear small as you say, and they don’t seem to “span” the seal anywhere. But… You could always move it outside and do a water-fill test (ugh!). Or if this tank is newly built (I don’t recall if you said so in our earlier exchanges), you could show the pic/get the thoughts of the manufacturer re>>
Here's a silly question, would there be any harm/benefit if I put another seam of silicone along the entire inside edges of the tank,
<<Depends… If the seal now is good/intact, no…the new Silastic will not adhere well to the existing. If the seal now is damaged then, yes…but you will have to cut away the existing seal and clean/prep the glass before applying the new coat to get maximum benefit. Bottom line… Unless there’s an obvious problem I don’t see that it would be worth the effort. But that’s your call…>>
and if there's a benefit, would be OK for me to stand inside the tank (190lbs) ... or should I put some Styrofoam pieces in to distribute my weight.
<<I see there is a bottom frame so I imagine the bottom glass sits a bit ‘proud’…as such, no, I would not get in/stand in this tank without some way to reduce pressure points/evenly distribute weight…I don’t think the Styrofoam alone would be sufficient here>>
Greatly appreciated in advance.
Rick
<<Happy to share… Do send pics when it’s up and running! EricR>>

Stand for 55 gal acrylic -- 12/5/11
Hello,
<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. Whats your opinion?
If I need more complete support what do you recommend?
<You'll be fine here. This gap won't present an issue>
Thanks,
Angela
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Tank out of level  11/21/11
Hey guy, my 90 Gal tank is out of level.
<Mmm>
The tank and the stand are nicely flush I believe that the floor slopes to on side. the water is 4mm higher on the forward edge of the tank and 1cm higher on the left as apposed to the right.
Its a 3year old tank and has been like this for some time.
How serious is this discrepancy?
<If this is an acrylic tank, not much... Glass though could be trouble... I would drain and fix this. Please read here re: http://wetwebmedia.com/aqstdleveling.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Rob

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.>
thanks
-Jon
<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 :
http://en.allexperts.com/q/Composite-Materials-2430/Tempered-Glass-Shelf.htm
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.>
thanks
-Jon
<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!>
-Jon
<Scott V.>

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.>
Ont.CN.
Re: Stand issue? 10/1/09

Thanks for the reply!
<Welcome.>
The stand its self is only designed to support the tank bottom in three places, it sits on three planks of wood, one on either end and on strip in the middle. I heard that Perfecto tanks are designed to be supported by the ends, but then I hear people saying that it needs to be supported all around, so I was conflicted.
<Ideally all sides would be supported, but some stands are made this way.>
Anyway I placed a 3/4" panel of wood between the tank and stand, and the tank its self is sitting 1/2" foam. It's been running for three days, so is it safe to assume
it's safe?
<Will be fine.>
Thanks again.
<Welcome, Scott V.>
Re: Stand... wasting y/our time    1/11/09
I heard that Polyurethane will separate from the wood and peel off. <... not if applied per instructions...> I want to use it for my canopy and fish tank stand. Is it safe to use? Thanks <... Please read where you were referred to... twice. B>

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.>
Re: Question regarding tank stand capacity inside cabinet. 6/4/08 6/5/08
Scott; <Hello Hans!> I was also able to contact somebody who also has the same stand as myself, who runs a 29 gallon sump under his as well. So I feel much more at ease with this setup hearing from you and him. After a couple of nervous moments with bad glue-joints in my PVC, I am up and running with the water change system. The difference is night and day, not having to haul buckets around so much anymore. <I here you. The first time I did an automated top off and water change system I swore I would never own a tank without one again. You make it easy on yourself and your livestock will benefit with timely maintenance!> Thanks again for the help! <Welcome, happy reefing, Scott V.> -Hans
 

Aquarium Rack, Third Floor 5/17/08 Hi, <Hello Chris.> So I've read quite a bit about floor support and how to build a rack. <Good!> I'm not saying I did it correctly, but here's what I wanted to do. I live in an apartment, 3rd floor, and I wanted a fish tank rack. I have four 10 gallon tanks for the bottom shelf, two 20 gallon tanks for the middle shelf, and a 15 gallon tank & 2 10 gallon tanks for the top shelf. Here is a picture of my rack. It is 56 inches long by 24 inches deep. Each tank area is 22 inches in height. Do you think this rack can support that weight? <Yes, for sure as far as compressive (up and down, gravity) forces go. For what it is worth I would install a diagonal support (from the top corner to the lower cattycorner) on each level of the shelf to offer some sheer support. That which may occur during something like and earthquake, someone falling/leaning against the shelf.> Will the floor support the rack? <Yes, within any reasonable (virtually all) building codes, the floor will support it no problem. If you have not already (I cannot tell from the pic) do consider on continuous piece, such as plywood, under the rack to help distribute the load.> I have my rack set up on my wall separating my apartment from my neighbors. I understand that is typically the weight bearing wall. <All most always.> Thanks,
Chris
<Welcome, Scott V.>

2nd Floor Aquarium Question 12/19/07 Hello again! Sorry to bother, I have one other quick question maybe you can give or refer me to where I could obtain the answer. I live in a 3 story condo. It's 12 suites. The building has concrete floors, and is about 20 years old. I'm just wondering what sort of tank size concrete, on the 2nd floor could support. I currently have a 55 gallon, and am considering a 120. Any thoughts? Thanks! <These volumes should be fine... GIVEN the use of a stand that will "spread out" the weight over the base dimension... a shimmed piece of ply under the stands' feet... think of the weight of humans, particularly ladies in high heels... IF/when/where in doubt, give a look in the phone directory and have a structural engineer come in and render their opinion. Bob Fenner>

Floor Support For Large Tank 12/18/07 Good morning Crew... <Hi Ken> Awesome site!! <Thanks.> I have learned a great deal from reading here about many different aspects of the hobby, not to mention I love Bob's book, and eagerly await Anthony's Book of Coral Propagation!! <Two good books for sure.> You guys have saved my fish from certain doom from a semi rookie hobbyist on several occasions. I currently have a 30 gallon display (up and running for a year and a half) in the family room with a 75 gallon sump/refugium with an 8 inch deep sand bed (thanks to the knowledge I have obtained from this site as I had no idea what any of these were before finding you folks) in the next room over. Now I am in the planning stages of setting up a 210 gallon system (my dream tank) and have come across something I need some assistance with. I plan to set up my tank in my family room, which is in the basement. The floor here is a concrete slab and I am not sure about weight distribution issues if any. With a concrete slab floor, do I need to be concerned about the weight of this tank and stand? Would a concrete platform (In reading, I have only found one reference to a cement/concrete platform under an aquarium stand) with rebar, etc. be necessary? Or should I just bite the bullet and go get the structural engineer? Or is the basement floor generally a good bet to support 2000+ pounds? I do not wish to over think this, but I don't want to crack the foundation either. Somehow I just don't think my wife would understand, nor continue to humor my hobby if I broke the house!! I have looked for answers to this on the site, and have not found such. My apologies if I have just missed it somewhere. If I have, please direct me there (really, I have looked). There is soooo much info on the site, and I love reading the daily FAQs. <Ken, I'm guessing your stand will be of the wood cabinet type. In this regard the weight of the tank will be equally distributed along the bottom of the cabinet. Generally this is made of 3/4" thick wood and runs the entire length and width of the cabinet/stand. If the tank is 5' x 1.5', we are looking at something like 17 pounds per square inch of cabinet bottom and will be no threat to your concrete floor.> Thanks for all you guys do. <You're welcome and enjoy your holidays. James (Salty Dog)> Happy holidays... Ken.

Tank/Stand gap issue... 12/6/07 Hello Crew, <Hello Clay.> I have a question regarding a 90 gallon in-wall tank that I am setting up. I had a metal stand made for this tank. After setting the tank on the stand, I checked for gaps between the tank and stand by attempting to slide a playing card where they meet. I found two areas on the front of the tank that I was able to get 2 cards into. (I am guessing about 1/32") <Not ideal.> Neither of these areas are near the corners of the tank. Aside from this issue both the tank and stand are level. <OK, so the metal is not perfectly straight.> This is my first tank larger than 30 gallons, so it is possible that I am being overly cautious. <I would be too, 90 gallons is a lot of water, not to mention any livestock you will have in it.> However, should I be concerned about these gaps? <I would, even if being overly cautious.> If so, would using 1/8"-1/4" Styrofoam or high-density closed cell foam work to resolve this issue? <Yes, for this small of a gap. Would use the 1/4".> Do you have any additional recommendations regarding this issue. Thanks, Clay <You have a sound plan, good luck, Scott V.>

Aquarium in trailer -- 07/03/07 I am wondering if the floor in a trailer is strong enough to support an aquarium. The floor construction is 2x3 floor joists which are 13" on center covered with 5/8" plywood. Would this floor safely support an aquarium, and how big of an aquarium would it support? Thanks for your help. Jan <Good question... I suspect that the trailer IS strong enough to support a good amount of weight... but would "spread out" the mass-effect with a piece of ply under whatever you use as a stand, under its feet, in addition. Likely something up to a hundred gallons will be fine here. Bob Fenner>

How do I Protect a Laminate Floor from Damage from a Large Tank Stand? - 05/03/07 Hello, <<Greetings>> I will be purchasing a 125g or 180g fish tank and a wood stand to put in my family room, ground floor, which has smooth wood laminate over concrete slab. <<I see>> Do I need to put anything between the stand and the floor, such as a thin rug or piece of plywood, to protect the wood laminate from the weight of the aquarium? <<A piece of plywood would help to distribute weight, especially if your stand will have "feet" or is not supported/touching the floor around its entire perimeter...though even the plywood itself may "mark" the floor over time>> Any suggestions would be appreciated. <<Perhaps a piece of plywood under the stand with some type of cushioning material under the plywood to help protect the finish of the floor...the thin foam underlayment used laying the laminate flooring might be just the ticket for this>> Thank you, Sol <<Quite welcome.  EricR>>

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>

Leveling tank    12/26/06 <Greetings!  Mich here.> I recently purchased a 240 gallon tank with stand I notice the tank is ¼ in off to one side the tank sits on carpet so do I level the tank before adding water? <I think this would be wise.> This tank is very difficult to move and I know the tank will settle but how much? <Depending on your setup, you may want to consider putting a sheet of solid insulation between the tank and the stand.  This will assist with leveling your setup.  Hope this helps.  -Mich>
Re: leveling tank
  12/27/06 <Hello Lee, Mich with you again.> Thank you very much for your reply the only problem I have is that the type stand I have (wood) has a lip that goes around the tank making it difficult to put insulation in between could I put something between the stand and carpet to make sure I have no weak spots when I adjust the 1/4 inch on the one side ? <Is a viable option.  Still may want to consider a very thin piece of rigid insulation in between the tank and the stand.  It is very easy to cut this type of insulation to the correct size, (usually has aluminum foil on both sides) but you may want to get the thinnest you can find.  Whatever you decide works best for you, it is important that everything is as level as possible and the weight is evenly distributed.>   Thank you very much for your advice <You are very welcome.  Good luck!  -Mich> Lee

Termites in My Stand!  12/15/06 Hi Crew, <Hi> I am almost positive I have dry wood termites in my tank stand.  <Uh oh.> I have no idea how long they have been there (I have had the stand for 1 year and a few months), but I just noticed termite "frass" (droppings, essentially) clearly originating from under a panel in the stand.  <Significantly less than good.> In your experience, what are my options here? Should I put a new stand on my holiday shopping list? Thanks for any advice or suggestions! Jason <A new stand and quick.  The structural integrity of the stand may already be compromised, and with the tank's significant weight on the top a failure is possible.  Unfortunately the termites may not leave with the stand, probably worth calling a exterminator to come take a look so the problem does not reoccur.> <Chris>
Termites in My Stand! Part II 12/18/06
Thanks for the advice. <Sure.>  I am getting a new stand ASAP (possibly a new tank, given the breakdown that has to occur anyway). <Nice.> What are your thoughts on metal stands? Guaranteed termite-free. I've been told by fellow reefers who use them that a powder coating prevents rust. <Not really a fan due to rust, saltwater is extremely corrosive.> I appreciate any experience you can share. Thanks, Jason <Welcome> <Chris>

Determining Structural Integrity/Beefing Up the Floor - 12/07/06 Hello, <<Howdy>> I am in the process of buying a house. <<Congratulations!>> I have a 120 gallon glass tank with wooden stand, all by Glass Cages.  I also have a 30-gallon sump and the tank has around 150 lbs of live rock.  The new house has a crawlspace foundation and I am curious if I need to reinforce the floor under the tank. <<Possibly...the hundred bucks or so spent to have a structural engineer come take a peek is well worth the piece-of-mind...they should also provide a certificate of approval that can carry much weight in the event of a mishap/insurance claim>> If so, how do you do it? <<Some pipe-jacks from Home Depot, leveled 8"x16" concrete blocks to set the jacks upon, and 4"x4" timbers spanning the floor joists and supported by the jacks.  It's relatively simple to do (depending on how much room you have to work), but I highly recommend getting an opinion/advice on beefing up the floor from a structural engineer>> Thanks, Jeff S. <<Happy to share.  EricR>>

New Setup Out of Level - 12/06/06 Hello, <<Howdy>> I'm new to your site and I'm glad I found it. <<Me too!>> It's a fantastic site. <<Thank you...a collective effort>> But I couldn't find an answer to my specific problem. <<Ok>> I just got a new 55 gallon aquarium and of course it was out of level, but left to right. <<Mmm...have you determined if it is the tank or the stand?  Or maybe your floor?>> I got it level using a 1x2 under the right side of the stand. <<That is a "lot" of adjustment...if the problem is not your floor being out of level (often the case); I would seriously consider returning this setup>> I'm assuming I should put support in the gap between the stand and the floor. <<If you go further with this setup yes, you will need to provide support under the entire length of the stand>> If this is right, what do I need to use?  Would shims be okay? <<If you have the means (or know someone with a table saw/woodworking skills), a piece of wood as long as the gap and "ripped" to the proper angle would be best...otherwise...bridging the gap with shims could work.  You will need to place the shims in pairs facing one another and "push them together" until the gap is filled.  But I must state, with as much deflection as you describe I would rather see you try to get the setup replaced rather than trying to "shim" such a large gap>> And front to back, it's about a 1/16th out.  According to your FAQs, this should be okay, correct? <<I would make the stand as level as possible in both directions>> Also, the stand is higher in the middle, about a playing card or two. <<This amount of deflection should be of small consequence...an acrylic tank will flex slightly to adjust...a glass tank will likely not even touch depending on the thickness of the bottom "surround">> (My wallet is upstairs and my wife is asleep and I don't want to wake her to get my drivers lic.). <<...?>> Will this settle when the tank is filled?  Or should I use the Styrofoam? <<I always prefer to use foam under my tanks>> If I do need to use the foam, how do I do it? <<For glass tanks, I use a piece sized to and just thick enough to fill the air space under the tank when it sits on the stand...for acrylic tanks I use a piece of 1/4" foam sized to the outside bottom dimension of the tank>> Thank you so much for your time and your dedication to helping us novices. Thanks, Jeff Gerhart Houston, PA <<A pleasure to share.  Eric Russell...Columbia, SC>>>>
Re: New Setup Out of Level - 12/06/06
I forgot to mention I bought the stand when I bought the aquarium. I don't know if this matters to you or not. <<All the more reason to "take it back" for replacement>> Thanks again, Jeff Gerhart Houston, PA <<Regards, EricR>>
R2: New Setup Out of Level - 12/06/06
It's not the stand or the tank, it's the floor.  Mickey Mouse and Goofy built the house and there isn't a level spot in it....it's fun to try and drywall. <<Ayeyiyi...3/4" drop in a four-foot span!...must feel like you're rolling down hill *grin*.  Good luck leveling the tank...do make sure whatever you use is stable and supports the entire base of the stand.  EricR>>

Set-Up... Iron Stand Using Acrylic Tanks 10/8/06 Bob - appreciate this. <James with you today.>    I "inherited" an angle-iron metal stand with a foot print of 72"X18", commonly used with 125g tanks which appears to support a two-tier set-up accommodating a second tank on the bottom. I purchased two 100g acrylic tanks with the same footprint.  Beneath each I have initially placed a 3/4" piece of plywood with a 3/4" inch piece of Styrofoam (came as packing materials with tanks).  I have not filled the tanks yet because two things are bugging me: (1) The plywood board for the top tank has a noticeable bow.  With the bow "pointed" upwards, the tank (unfilled) and Styro easily shifts since the board edges do not make contact with the corners of the stand.  (a) When this top tank is filled (850lbs+), will the bowing "settle" such that contact will be made between the plywood and stand and presumably eliminate this shifting issue?  (b) Or, is it better to turn the board over with the bow downwards and the fours corners contacted? Would this negatively impact acrylic tank bottom? <I'd keep the bow up and would fasten the plywood to the frame with flathead screws.  Only necessary to fasten in the middle of the board onto each of the long rails.  This will keep the tank in position without the board moving around on you while you are beginning to fill the tank.>    (2) Inspecting the bottom tank contact to the stand frame, there is a noticeable bow and gap in the middle of the front "rail."  The back frame rail does not have this situation and there is a middle metal support leg in the back, not the front. I can actually push upwards and lift the middle of the front rail upward to make contact with the plywood board, Styro, and tank bottom.  I am not sure of the prior use of this stand, but I suspect that a shorter tank (or tanks) may have been used on the bottom frame, possible creating this effect.  My initial thought is to support the front rail in the middle in a manner similar to the back rail support, probably with a cut block of 4X4" wood such that this gap is eliminated.  Is this an answer, or would you consider the stand compromised? <I'd definitely support the front rail as you say.  You can use a 4x4 but think a 2x4 would suffice.  You man also want to weld an angle iron foot to the front that would be similar to the rear.  Don't believe the cost of welding this would be much.> I also noted that with a 17" inch high tank, and giving up 1.5" for the plywood and Styro, I have only 3-4" of access between the top of the lower tank and the stand's top frame.  I attribute all such stands as being built to support a two-tier system, but I may be wrong here - for iron stands of this size, isn't this the case? <Is the stand built with 3/16 angle iron?  If so, you could tier two tanks.  Without actually seeing the stand, I couldn't guarantee the results. I'd make sure all the weld joints are sound before doing such.  Insure you place a piece of plywood/Styrofoam on the top also.  Acrylic tanks need full bottom support.>    Thanks in advance for your help - I appreciate your thoughts. <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Scott

Lining around inside of stand?    11/4/06 Hello crew and thank you up front. <Welcome> I would like to put some sort of waterproof lining/trap/container/dike in the bottom of my tank stand to contain minor water spills, leaks, etc. <Have seen a few designs for these> Like for changing pumps, plumbing and the like. Something that could have a 2,3 or 4" perimeter to contain the water. My sump and return pump would set inside it. It would cover the entire bottom area of the stand. Any recommendations on what I could use to construct this safety dike? Maybe something that could be folded/bent along the edges to create the 3-4"  high perimeter? Or maybe something solid set inside the stand? I posed this question on ReefCentral, but no replies yet. Many thanks for your time, Peter <I would try to fashion, or have made, something "matching" or agreeable with the surrounding area... to go around the existing stand/bottom area, and fit a piece of liner of good thickness... 30-40 mil... EPDM, Butyl Rubber, sandwiched pond material about the edge inside... mount all this below, under the tank and present stand. Bob Fenner>

Acrylic Tank Wobbles on the Stand -- 10/02/06 Hello WWM Crew, <<Scott>> I was wondering if I could tap your experience to help with a potential problem. <<Okay>> I am currently assembling a new setup, which includes a new Tenecor 135 gallon acrylic tank (72"Wx18"Dx24"H) on a custom BRI cabinet. <<Neat!  I too have a Tenecor tank, though somewhat larger.  Very good craftsmanship>> In spite of the fact that the craftsmanship appears to be outstanding on both the tank and cabinet, the (empty) tank "rocks" back and forth about a quarter inch on the stand. <<Mmm, need to determined if the fault is with the stand or the tank>> Needless to say, I want to stabilize the tank on the stand before proceeding and was hoping you folks might have some "tips" as to how to do this.  My first thought is to shim the tank from below but I am concerned this may create stress points along the bottom that may cause problems down the road. <<I would not do this>> Another thought was to lay some kind of soft base under the tank that would form to the uneven contours along the bottom (the cabinet has a "lip" along the side of the top deck so about one inch of the bottom of the tank will be covered from view).  Any thoughts/suggestions you can offer would be greatly appreciated. <<Firstly Scott, I would obtain a long straightedge and place this diagonally from all four corners of the tank stand to determine it is flat and level along it entire length/width.  If not, this should be taken up with whoever crafted the cabinet and corrected.  If the problem is with the tank bottom being slightly convex then I would contact Tenecor.  Acrylic tanks do have 'some give', and there is a 'chance' all would be fine with the small gap you describe, but I would contact the tank manufacturer and describe/discuss with them just for peace of mind.  After you get these things sorted out and are ready to proceed, get some 'fan-fold' insulation from Lowe's or HD and place under the tank.  This thin (1/8') Styrofoam insulation will add just a bit of cushion and 'gap filling'>> Scott <<Regards, EricR>>

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>

Big Tank Not Level On Stand - 08/26/2006 Hi there, I realize there are quite a few questions very similar to mine, but my problem is slightly different. I have a 180 gallon tank that measures 6x2x2, I believe it is the standard size. My tank sits on a metal stand, both were purchased special order from a very reputable independent store in my city. The tank however does not sit perfect on the stand. The front right corner, and the rear left corner, do not rest on the tank stand, and I can see about a 1mm gap. So it's like the bottom plate of glass is slightly twisted. The tank is completely empty at the moment. Some places I have read suggest filling it, and the tank will "settle" and be fine. Others say to shim, some say to put Styrofoam, and some say a wooden board underneath the tank. Some places even say don't do one of the other things. What would be the best thing to do? The tank itself, stand, and floor are all level entirely within the lines at all ends. Thanks in advance! < Notify the store owner or manager where you bought the tank and let them know what is happening. Get recommendations from him and ask him about the guarantee against breakage and leaks. If he says it is OK then place the stand and tank up in your driveway, outdoor patio etc, just on a competent flat surface and fill it up. I an guessing than the weight of the water on the tank will settle on the stand and things will flatten out. If no problems are observed and the tank has flattened out the stand then you should be All right. If anything does break or leak then it will happen outdoors and not in your living room. Check the floor in you house and make sure it can handle the additional weight. A 180 gallon tank will weight close to 1800 lbs after it is set up.-Chuck>

Aquarium Leveling   8/16/06 Dear WWM Crew,     Hello and thank you for taking the time to read this message.  I have a problem and would greatly appreciate your advice on the matter.       I recently finished the construction of a DIY aquarium stand for a 30 gallon aquarium. I was overall pleased with the stand's stability and looks.  The design has (4) 2x4s as legs and are secured perpendicularly by 2x4 frames at the top and bottom of the legs.  The top and the bottom both have 3/4 inch plywood panels that cover the frames.   I brought it into the house and placed it in the intended spot.  I leveled it using a carpenter's level and a few shims.  (My basement floor is not exactly even.)  After that I placed the aquarium on top of the stand and noticed that the aquarium could "rock".  The best way to explain it is that when you press down on the rear right corner of the aquarium the front left corner lifts off the stand a rough 4 mm and vice versa. <Yikes... yes, the floor is "strong enough" to show it level w/o the added weight on it...> If you hold down one corner of the aquarium and measure the gap on the other side it comes out at about a 4 mm gap that spans 29" along the aquarium.  I  think that the top plywood panel is bowed upwards in the middle and is causing the problem. <Mmm, not likely... if attached (nailed or screwed) about "right", every six inches or so along the top of the two by's... would be planar, flat...> I have read in related questions that others having a seemingly similar problem have utilized a Styrofoam pad between the aquarium and the stand.  Is my problem too severe for this solution?   <Not really... best to put an equivalent weight on the stand, level it then...> Obviously shimming one edge of the aquarium wouldn't work.  I haven't attempted to fill the aquarium or plan on doing so until I have solved the problem. <Thank goodness> If you think the foam would work please also suggest a thickness.  Or if you have any other ideas please do not hesitate to voice them.       Thank you for your time,     Andrew              <Weights... perhaps thick books... and shimming the stand. Bob Fenner>

AquaC Skimmer Selection/Stand Modification - 08/05/06 WWM Crew, <<Scott>> I am going to be setting up a 180 gallon acrylic reef system with LPS corals in the near future. <<Neat!>> I currently have an All-Glass stand (24" tall), but don't have the tank yet.  I have recently been told that since I am setting up an acrylic system (this will be my first), that acrylic tanks need support for the entire tank and I will need to attach a sheet of plywood to the top of the stand (no problem).  Is this true? <<That is correct, and keep in mind this is all that will be supporting the tank in the center of the stand...I suggest a "minimum" thickness of 3/4".  And since I like my tanks a bit higher than "standard" tank stand height anyway, I would even consider two layers of plywood>> Now for the skimmer, I recently read your skimmer articles (thanks...they were extremely helpful) and it appears as though you have nothing but good things to say about the AquaC line of skimmers and that their customer service is 2nd to none. <<Indeed, have spoken with the owner/President (Jason Kim) on occasion...an extremely nice/helpful fella.  There are other great skimmer brands out there (Euro-Reef is my current fave), but I think you'll be quite happy with AquaC>> The EV 180 is rated to 200 gallons and the EV 240 is rated to 350 gallons (of course you already know this).  Since my stand is 24" tall and the 240 is 26" tall, would the 180 run the tank efficiently or would I be better off somehow modifying the stand (any suggestions) to accompany the 240 (not sure how much additional space I would need to remove the collection cup). <<Well Scott, as I recall, Jason's design allows you to remove the skimmer cup with as little as 1/4" clearance, but that still won't allow you to put the 240 in your current stand.  If I were to have a look at your stand/had a detailed description I could recommend a way to increase the height (if possible), but otherwise I'm reluctant to make suggestions.  As for the EV-180 servicing your system, yes, I think it would unless you plan to stock very heavily in which case a larger/different brand that fits the stand might serve better>> Thanking you in advance for your feedback and keep up the great work.  This is a great forum. <<Thank you for the kind words'¦for writing so well>> Scott   <<Regards, EricR>>

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>>

A little freaked out ... drilled glass tank worries/worrier   7/26/06 Hello Crew, well to the point.... I'm literally days away from setting up my new 180, beautiful stand/canopy done, Lifereef sump/skimmer, 6 *80W T5 with 2 * 250 MH HQI retro,  etc etc etc. I got great stuff and took my time buying and planning, reading and asked lots of questions (a few here).. Well I'm just about ready to go and I was on Reef Central tonight only to see a picture of a 180 show like mine that cracked on the bottom that was drilled!!! It has freaked me out a bit. My tank was built by a local guy with 1/2 inch glass, I got All-Glass to send me their braces for the top and bottom and siliconed in custom built acrylic overflows. The bottom pane has 8 holes in it. 2 in each overflow and 4 in the corners for Oceans Motions device. The tank I saw on RC cracked because his holes were in the middle from the weight of the rock. So I would like some reassurance or some pointers 1) Is this not safe? <Should be fine> 2) I plan on a 4" DSB with 200 lbs of live rock so you have idea of weight. 3) Can I support it better to be more strong along with the All-Glass brace? Maybe Styrofoam or something. <A good idea to assure the tank itself is on a support that is complete, strong, level and planar... Have you read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/aqstands.htm and the linked files above?> I can provide pics if needed, the stand is solid and custom designed buy a contractor experienced in aquatic design and is lipped so the bottom of the tank slides nice about 1" inside. Hopefully I am OK here and you calm me, but better safe then sorry. Thanks Jeff <Likely all will work out here. Bob Fenner>

Finding Out If My New House Can Support My Tank.   7/3/06 Hi WWM crew, <Hello Alex> I'm moving to a new house soon and I'm not sure if my new house's floor can support the weight of my tank. I have a 90G tank with a 33G sump. I never thought a tank this size could cause trouble. However, in the old house (the one I'm living in now), the tank was located on 1st story with a wooden floor, it was there for a bit over one year, and after I moved it to the garage a few days ago, I actually found out that the floor was uneven. I went down to the basement and I can see that the part of the ceiling of the basement underneath where the tank was to is a bit lower than other part of the ceiling. I suspect it is partly due to the fact that over the course of the year there was a few times of water leaks caused by my skimmer at the sump which poured well over 10~20G on my floor. I'm wondering if it is the water leaks that soften the wooden floor and probably even the wood structure of the house and therefore caused the floor to actually lower? <Quite possible, yes.  Just the water alone weighs in at over 700 pounds.> The new house that I'm moving into is just a normal wooden house like so many in North America, I believe though, I have not yet been able to really confirm that. Are there ways I can easily find out if the floors can support the weight of the tank or not? If not, I'll probably have to leave the tank in the garage. <Most homes will have 2x10 joists on 16' centers, which should not pose a problem supporting the weight of a 90-gallon tank.  I'd stay away from metal stands where the weight is just distributed through four small areas. Cabinet type stands spread the weight out much better as they have a larger footprint on the floor.> Thanks! <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Alex

New to the hobby . . . a little advice ... MacL's Back!!! Hey To all of you at WWM! <Hi there, MacL here after a long hiatus.> The hobby of fish keeping has just recently became a very serious interest of mine, I housed a few 10 gallon tanks for years but just recently increased my tank sizes... a lot. <Beware it can become seriously addicting.> I am still living at my parents house, because I just graduated from high school, so my room has became the show room for my two aquariums. I have a 46 gallon bowfront FW tank and a 55 gallon SW tank. <Very nice.> I have a picture attached to give you a better idea on the situation. <Unfortunately the picture didn't make it to me. Sorry!> The floor seems to be holding these two aquariums fine. I searched on your FAQ's on aquarium stands and floor support and found that the type of iron stand supporting my 55 gallon should have a piece of plywood under it!!! <The plywood spreads the weight and basically, for lack of a better word, cushions it. It also provides bracing so the legs don't bend and fail on you. Always a good idea to prevent a problem.>  I would drain my tank and get right on that but I plan on taking the 46 and 55 out of my room and just keeping a 125 gallon aquarium with a nice level wood stand. My parents seem concerned with this (which is understandable) but it is only 25 gallons more of weight. <It is indeed just a little bit more weight but it does have a little to do with weight disbursement. What you also need to remember is that water weighs 8 lbs per gallon so when you figure 125 gallon you have around 1000lbs of weight. Most people do not have the support beams in their house to hold that and need to do some additional bracing unless they use a load bearing wall.> I do not see this being a problem as long as the weight is equally distributed. I am hoping you guys can help me out because the only reason for upgrading to a 125 is from all of the useful information I found regarding proper tank sizes for fish. <Absolutely the way to go, the larger the tank, absolutely the better for many, many reasons.> My local fish store which does strictly saltwater fish convinced me that a baby striped pufferfish (around 3 inches) and a large lionfish (around 7 inches) would do just fine together in a 55 gallon tank! <EEEEEKKKKKK.> I don't want my poor animals growth to get stunted from such a small tank. My striped Pufferfish has been very stressed since I introduced the lionfish. <Not surprising, have you seen the size of the Lionfishes mouth? Reminds me of some people I know digging in at the local buffet.> The lionfish seems territorial but has never attacked my little friend. All my puffer fish does now is lay on the bottom hiding in openings of live rock except for when food is dropped in at nights. I honestly think that the only reason for this is that fact that the tank is to small and extremely over crowded. I searched and found the striped puffer fish can reach 15 to 20 inches, is this in captivity or in the wild? Again the big question I have really concerns my floor supporting the weight of a 125 gallon. With a sturdy stand and foam or ply-wood underneath I hope it would not be a concern, if so could you please point me in the right direction of what to do for it to work. <Are you on the first floor or the second floor? That makes a huge difference!> The house is probably a little over 25 years old. My Local Fish store said a tank of 180 gallons would be fine in my room because the weight would even out to be around a pound to each square inch... I trust your advice much more than theirs especially after they sold me those animals knowing I had such a small tank. <I have to say that it really depends on the location in your house. Where you plan to put the tank. If it won't work in the location you planned perhaps some negotiations with your parents. Do you have a basement?> I learned my mistake and do all my research on WWM now, thanks a lot guys. Also in the past I have emailed to you, I found a few of my messages answered but had trouble searching and finding the rest of them, I think this is because I was new to the site and didn't know where to find them. I am pretty sure I have it figured out now though, do I click on the "today's FAQ's page?" I figure I do although I didn't see a special section for the Saltwater FAQ's. Just Fresh and Brackish. <Look under Marine.> Also to give you a better idea on the setup of my room for the support of a 125 I took a picture which includes the 46 gallon bow front (left side) and the 55 gallon Saltwater (right side). Both are on the same wall. And a picture of my very large lionfish as well if you had any interest in seeing it! I picked him up pretty much full grown for only 30 dollars.. The guys at the LFS enjoy my company there and sell me fish extremely cheap. <That's a good thing and a bad thing when they sell you a fish that doesn't work for the size of your tank. Obviously though you are on the right track.> Again thanks for taking the time to read through this email and answer my questions! Do you guys get paid to do this ? I hope so!  <Nope no payment. Good luck. MacL> -Peter

Tank Shimming/Carpet Woes - 06/20/06 Hello Bob and/or fellow WWM folks. <<Fellow Eric here>> I noticed my 75g mega-flow (with 20g tank, as sump, filled to ~15g) is out of level. <<Mmm...>> I have not checked the degree, as of yet, but it is clearly visible from the carpet. <<Placing a tank on carpet, while surely a "doable" thing, can often be problematic...not to mention hard on the carpet>> I discovered this, unfortunate, detail this morning.  This tank took the place of the 55 gallon that sat in the same place.  This tank (AGA) is on a pine stand which in turn is on ¾" plywood placed over carpet to distribute the weight. <<Even so, differences in density of the materials bonded together to make up the carpet pad can lead to variances in "compressibility" of the pad leading to the issue you now face>> Now, from the wall, the tank is off level where the back is higher and the front is lower due to the compression of the carpet. <<Ahh...you may be too close to the wall with the plywood and catching the "tack-strip">> I picked up shims and here is the plan: <<Shims eh...you're making me nervous...>> 1. Get the 55g and fill with water and live rock from the 75.  I also have some Rubbermaid containers large enough to serve. 2. I am going to leave the fish in as I can pump the water both to and from with a spare Mag-Drive pump. <<...?>> 3. I intend to shim between the carpet and the plywood as the stand seems very much even on the board and the compression is in the carpet. <<Careful here, be sure you know what you are doing...if the plywood is not "fully" supported it WILL flex>> 4. I am going to retest the level and shim as needed while refilling the tank adjusting for any area out of level. I have the wooden shims and I also picked up some ¼" aluminum stock metal in 3' lengths that I can use.  Emptying the tank seems safest from everything I read thus far. <<Yes, definitely empty the tank during this adjustment>> I am fairly certain this is from the carpet and not the floor past the normal settling that is present in our home. <<Am in agreement>> This was a lousy discovery but better than a broken tank for missing it longer. <<Yes>> Is there anything I am missing here or should be inclined to focus on more so? <<Other than cutting out a space in the carpet for the tank, no.  Do Make sure the plywood is fully supported and not just propped up along the edges, and be aware the plane will likely "shift" as weight is added>> Should I be concerned with over compensating as the back end could also settle? <<As you stated, it is likely not the sub-floor that is the problem (though this too could be less than "flat and level").  Maybe you could try just moving things out a couple inches from the wall and see how it measures up>> Should I instead (I will need help from friends to do this) move the tank and remove the carpet beneath? <<This would be my preference if at all a possibility>> If you respond via email; this is my work email so I will receive it tomorrow.  I will likely attempt to level with the shims tonight.  I will readjust as needed. <<I hope all goes well>> Thank you. James Zimmer Garfield, NJ <<Quite welcome.  Eric Russell...Columbia, SC>>

Large Tank...Safe on Second Floor? - 06/15/06 Hey To all of you at WWM! <<Hey there Peter!>> The hobby of fish keeping has just recently became a very serious interest of mine, I housed a few 10 gallon tanks for years but just recently increased my tank sizes... a lot. <<Cool!>> I am still living at my parent's house, because I just graduated from high school, so my room has become the show room for my two aquariums.  I have a 46 gallon bow front FW tank and a 55 gallon SW tank.  I have a picture attached to give you a better idea on the situation. <<Hmm...no picture attached...>> The floor seems to be holding these two aquariums fine. <<For reader clarification...we're talking about a second-story room>> I searched on your FAQ's on aquarium stands and floor support and found that the type of iron stand supporting my 55 gallon should have a piece of plywood under it!!! <<For spreading the weight, yes>> I would drain my tank and get right on that but I plan on taking the 46 and 55 out of my room and just keeping a 125 gallon aquarium with a nice level wood stand.  My parents seem concerned with this (which is understandable) but it is only 25 gallons more of weight. <<But likely concentrated in a smaller footprint depending on the distance between the other two tanks>> I do not see this being a problem as long as the weight is equally distributed.  I am hoping you guys <<or gals>> can help me out because the only reason for upgrading to a 125 is from all of the useful information I found regarding proper tank sizes for fish. <<Well Peter, It is quite likely all will be fine if the tank is along the wall and perpendicular to the floor joists.  But let me suggest that for about a C-note you could have a structural engineer come by for a look to confirm.  I have heard/read about folks with tanks much larger than the 125 on the upper floors of their homes, and, I have a good friend with a 120 in the room over his garage.  But for my money and peace of mind, the hundred or so dollars spent to have an engineer take a look and provide their stamp of approval (or not!) is well worth it>> My local fish store which does strictly saltwater fish convinced me that a baby striped pufferfish (around 3 inches) and a large lionfish (around 7 inches) would do just fine together in a 55 gallon tank! <<Yikes!...no way!>> I don't want my poor animal's growth to get stunted from such a small tank. <<Not to mention the other health/psychological issues that would arise>> My striped Pufferfish has been very stressed since I introduced the Lionfish.  The lionfish seems territorial but has never attacked my little friend. <<Am hearing more and more about incompatibilities between these to genera of fishes>> All my puffer fish does now is lay on the bottom hiding in openings of live rock except for when food is dropped in at nights.  I honestly think that the only reason for this is that fact that the tank is too small and extremely over crowded. <<Possibly...do some reading here and among the indices at the top of the page: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/puffcareinfo.htm >> I searched and found the striped puffer fish can reach 15 to 20 inches, is this in captivity or in the wild? <<Is this fish Arothron manilensis?  If so then yes, though more likely to attain a length of 10-12 inches in captivity...still way too much fish for the 55>> Again the big question I have really concerns my floor supporting the weight of a 125 gallon.  With a sturdy stand and foam or ply-wood underneath I hope it would not be a concern, if so could you please point me in the right direction of what to do for it to work. <<The "stand" has little to do with whether or not the floor will support your tank>> The house is probably a little over 25 years old. <<Then it is likely the joists are a bit "undersized" by today's standards/building code...but that doesn't mean they won't support the tank, just more reason to consult a structural engineer>> My Local Fish store said a tank of 180 gallons would be fine in my room because the weight would even out to be around a pound to each square inch... <<And did they also show you their degrees in engineering?>> I trust your advice much more than theirs especially after they sold me those animals knowing I had such a small tank. <<A troubling but all too common happening>> I learned my mistake and do all my research on WWM now, thanks a lot guys. <<WWM is a great place to start, but please don't limit your "fact finding" to a single source.  Always try to obtain info from different areas/perspectives and then base a decision on your own good judgment>> Also in the past I have emailed to you, I found a few of my messages answered but had trouble searching and finding the rest of them, I think this is because I was new to the site and didn't know where to find them.  I am pretty sure I have it figured out now though, do I click on the "today's FAQ's page?" <<Yep>> I figure I do although I didn't see a special section for the Saltwater FAQ's. Just Fresh and Brackish. <<The "Dailies" page is a homogenous collection of "all" the day's replies>> Also to give you a better idea on the setup of my room for the support of a 125 I took a picture which includes the 46 gallon bow front (left side) and the 55 gallon Saltwater (right side). Both are on the same wall. <<Afraid the picture doesn't seem to have accompanied the email>> And a picture of my very large lionfish as well if you had any interest in seeing it! <<Would, if it were here <grin> >> I picked him up pretty much full grown for only 30 dollars.  The guys at the LFS enjoy my company there and sell me fish extremely cheap. <<Mmm...and apparently with little regard as to whether you have the facilities to keep such animals>> Again thanks for taking the time to read through this email and answer my questions! <<No worries mate...is what we do>> Do you guys get paid to do this ? I hope so! <<We're an "all volunteer force" my friend...but that's not to say there isn't some benefit to being here...not the least of which is the satisfaction that comes from supplying perspective/help/advice to folks such as yourself, and the knowledge that what we do is good and important to the hobby and to the lives of all our aquatic charges>> -Peter <<Regards, EricR>>

Pitching a wobbly... tank  6/5/06 Dear Bob and/ or staff, <Just us fishes, fish-folk> I have a very serious situation concerning my tank and I really need help. I have previously had the tank in the basement, but I decided to move it up to the living room. I bought a cabinet stand and transferred everything upstairs relatively smoothly. What I am concerned with is the fact that now, when the tank is full, when you walk heavily around it it kinda shakes, wobbles. <Very bad, dangerous> The floor is made of hardwood.  What should I do about this, is it safe? Please respond ASAP. Thanks you very much John Ferrante <Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/aqstands.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

180 AGA with twin overflows question  - 05/19/2006 Hello WWM Crew, Love your site.  Your FAQs are always the first place I look when I have aquarium questions, and I couldn't seem to find the answer to the issue I am facing with my brand new 180gal (6'x2'x2') AGA with twin Mega-Flow overflows and an AGA Model 4 Sump.   The tank is built into the wall in my basement, on a DIY stand made from 4x4s, 2x4s, plywood, and carriage bolts.  The concrete basement floor is not level, but I purchased a 4' carpenter's level to help me with properly leveling the aquarium.  I spent the better part of an afternoon leveling, filling, draining, shimming, and re-leveling the aquarium until I've reached the point where I am satisfied that the tank is level.  The bubble is inside the lines no matter where I place the carpenter's level on top of the aquarium.     Here comes my problem, I fill the tank up and the water spills over the overflow boxes, but the left overflow box seems to fill up faster than the right overflow box.  Does this mean that my tank is still not level?  It took the right overflow box almost another full minute to fill to the point where the water drained down the Durso standpipe into the sump.   Could this be an issue with the way my tank was manufactured, as in maybe one overflow box was off by a few MMs when it was assembled/siliconed? Or is it more likely that my tank is still not "perfectly" level?  Is this something that I should be concerned about?  Will this reduce my flow significantly out of the right overflow box into the sump? Any thoughts you may have are greatly appreciated. Thanks, Dave <<Dave:  I have the same tank on a stand.  While I don't have stand pipes, my overflows seem to drain about the same.  It could also be the height of the teeth at the top is different or the number of teeth on one side versus the other.  If you are convinced that your tank is level (you might want a second opinion from someone else to make sure), then everything will probably be OK.  Another test of whether it is level or not might be performed by measuring the height of the water to the top of the tank with a ruler around various points.  If it's the same, you're probably level.  Best of luck,  Roy>>

180 Starfire Oceanic with 1/4" higher corner  - 05/13/2006 Dear Crew: <Tim> Wow! What an impressive collection of knowledge you provide! Thank you. I have been reading for weeks, and although I have searched and read, and read further, I have some specific questions I am not 100% sure of. I may be re-iterating that which has been answered often before. If so, your kindness once more, please! <Hotay!> My major concerns are about leveling the tank (see below), but here are the data of what we have running: We are 1/2-year freshwater enthusiasts, progressing from 20g to 55g to now 180g freshwater. Your website has helped us so much! Thanks. The latest (and perhaps last for a while) tank has cycled and we are nearing adding a dozen angelfish.  We have 6 Bolivian rams, a Kribensis female, a Venezuelan (German) ram, 9 head/tail-light tetras (nobody eats them!), and 9 red wag platys. They love their tank, and are displaying great colors. For lighting we have 2x 24" Aqualights (temporary), 3x 450W MHs (was intended as a saltwater by prior owner, look beautiful when we are home in the evening, great shimmer effect, we run 1 or 2 at night for 2-3 hours), 1x 160W VHO AquaLight 10k and 160W actinic (not yet wired). <I'd switch this lamp out for more "white"> Water temp rests at 80-81 degrees. Water acidified to 6.8pH (local is 7.6), nitrate 10ppm, nitrite 0.25ppm, ammonia 0.125ppm, <Mmm, these last two... should be zip> hardness 80. Below tank is 30 gallon sump with bio-balls, 1200gph (soon to be 3600gph) pump; substrate is slate, various types of washed gravel, small area of sand, numerous sword plants, some others. Fish generally very excited about life, eat tropical crisps, live Blackworms, mini cichlid granules for the rams, and occasional veggies. Canopy is 14" tall (yes, a beauty, we love it). Tank stand is standard 32" tall. Not totally Amazon biotype, but general idea is there. The tank seller is a LFS-store owner, who never set up his dream marine tank, and sold it to us. Starfire 3 sides, high-grade ballast for MHs, all appears in a great shape. Never had water before. It has been water-filled for 3 weeks now. He came and plumbed it, and set it up. He is still helping, but I have concerns about some of the advice. The tank (72"x24"x24") sits on an Oceanic 180g oak stand, on 18" size tile floor which is generally planar and level, however the front left corner of the tank is 1/4" lower water level than the other three corners (so, its 1/4" higher on the tile, correct? yikes?). <Yes, yikes> He made little deal of this and suggested shims from HD. <Needs to be done... stat! Drain this tank down...> After reading your wonderful resources, I see that shimming while full is foolish, and we need to empty.  The Oceanic stand has continuous contact with the floor. The tank appears to have fabulous contact with the stand (I don't see where I could place a drivers license or pieces of paper between tank and stand). For that matter, cannot place paper between stand and floor, yet the water level is clearly off by 1/4" at front left corner. It seems this is not a good place to leave it. Placing a spirit-level on canopy, tank side, stand and floor yield similar results, about 1/8 of the bubble is out of the square. The rise from left-back to left-front side is 1/4" over 24" from right front to left front rise is also 1/4" (of course). Silicone appears okay, minimal bubbling anywhere, definitely no bowing (of course glass is extra thick because of Starfire grade). <... yes... this laminate, like all glass is a super-cooled liquid, not really a "solid"... can/is "giving" a bit here, along with the Silastic sealant... but not a good gamble> Here is my plan (please critique and correct): 1. remove canopy, drain 140-150 gallons into temporary Rubbermaid containers nearby, lights off to save the plants, 30gallons remain in tank with gravel 2. perhaps move rams into temporary 10g (new) tank with the same water, Neons into another 10g and platys into another 10g (we can get new ones for $8 each, seems cheap investment) <I'd remove some of the rock perhaps, but not the fishes... too stressful, unnecessary> 3. remove some of the slate and larger rock (we could clean the algae bloom off at the same time by boiling the rock) <I wouldn't boil...> 4. shim right front corner approx 1/8", check level and planar (if it is, fill in every 4-6 inches with shims that do not change level or planar status) 5. shim left rear and right rear corners the same, reinforce every 6 inches, check level and planar all around 6. this leaves the rear ground-contact of the stand unsupported, but may be hard to shim because close to wall. Struggle on and shim it, ignore it, or should we rather be thinking of moving the entire stand and tank, placing foam or plywood on the tile (please say no to this), then stand on top of that, then tank on top of that, then refill to 20-40 gallons, and recheck level and planar (possibly shim again) <Not necessary to add the padding> 7. add more water back, check level and planar 8. add fish 9. top off to allow water circulation to resume, plug in pumps etc From what I have read the 1/4" higher at front corner is potentially very bad, but may be reasonably remedied with the shims. <Yes> I wish 1 corner was 1/4" lower, then only a few shims. The way it is, we will have to shim 3 sides (really should be 4).  Going back to the LFS guy, he was not too worried because it is a solid bottom stand. I want to correct the problem soon, but am hesitant to rush in and make it worse, and really regret.  We have adequate Rubbermaid containers to safely store 150gallons water temporarily, and I have external PVC inventions to both drain and restore the water level. We also have established 3x10g, 1x20g and 1x55g tanks, but the pH is nearer to 7.0 in each. Sorry if this is overbearing detail, but wanted to provide enough for you to answer. We love this tank, I want to make sure we do a very good job. My significant other thinks I am way too engrossed in the whole thing, and just wants to get the angels in there (now that the tank is cycled). Thanks so much! Eagerly awaiting your thoughts. Best, Tim in Florida. <Thank you for writing so thoroughly, clearly. Good luck, life with this project. Bob Fenner>

Set-Up/Tank Leveling    4/25/06 Jon from NB Canada  <James from Michigan> Hi, I would like to say your site is great.  <We thank you.> I have a 55 gal tank with a homemade stand, it has 2x4's on all 4 sides top and bottom. My question is first on water level. Right know I have a difference of 1/16 of an inch at one corner. Is this acceptable? <Yes.> Second you suggest foam for between the tank and stand to take up imperfections. I don't have foam but was wondering if a thick blanket would work. probably about 1/2 inch thick. <Styrofoam works well and is cheap.  Don't like the blanket idea.> Thanks for the help <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Jon

Best support for 60 gal window tank... as "in" place of the window!    4/16/06 My name is Don I recently built a 55-60 gal tank with 1/2" glass. The dimensions are 9 1/2  deep  X  37 wide X 38 height. <Wow... hope you have long arms Don> It will be placed on a 1 x 10 x 37 pine board that sits on top of a  masonry wall. <I'd put a thin piece of foam twixt this tank and the pine...> This opening used to be a window  that was removed  to provide an opening between two rooms. For the most part,  the board is level ....but one corner is not.....without the tank in it I can see about 1/8 inch drop. <... I'd level this out for sure... with masonry> I guess my question is,    besides Styrofoam, which I do not think will solve my leveling problem what other  type of compressible material could I use for this application??   <Yes... perhaps an epoxy-based repair... this is too much gap> I'm not sure yet how much it's going to weigh with everything in it. ( Gravel and other things. ) <Count on about ten pounds per gallon total> The other question is should I build a flat steel plate frame and shim it with something like automotive  Bondo that's not compressible and then use 1/2 inch or thicker Styrofoam to separate the glass from the metal ? <This is one approach, yes> The top edges on both sides of the wall will have supports so no one can accidentally push the tank out of the opening, once it is level...          thank you for your input                    Don <Mmm, what else to mention... This tank is going to be a proverbial "bear" to keep clean... and thermally stable... with exposure to the elements, sun... It may well be that you'll want to make this container into something other than an aquarium here. Bob Fenner>

New  125 not  level  - 4/11/2006 Ok ive done a search but Im still unsure what to do here. I just finished putting up my new 125 gallon transferring corals fish rock from my old 55. Got it full and realized I am a little over 1/4 inch off level from left to right. front to back is ok. I did shim a little on the front right but still not good. So how serious of a problem is this? <Could be real trouble> should I address immediately or am I ok for a while to see if it settles some? Should I completely drain or am I ok. Not sure what to do and how soon? <If it were me/mine, I'd empty, re-level and use a bit of support material as detailed on WWM. Fix your English before mailing us please. Bob Fenner>

Large Tank Stand Construction...No Particleboard Please! - 03/30/06 Hi, I searched your archived questions, but can't seem to find one about this specifically... <<Ok>> I am planning on constructing a support base for a rather large Fish Tank (approx 350-500 gal) and have seen photos where they have apparently built the stand out of cabinets, but can't exactly tell whether or not they are false cabinets with metal bracing inside or not.  My question is: if I construct the base from cabinets which are 5/8" particleboard frames, which are installed on those black plastic European-style leveling legs (each has a weight capacity of 650 lbs), and have a Granite countertop installed on top of these cabinets, do you think that the total weight would be able to be supported by these cabinets? <<Mmm, no...I don't recommend particleboard as a "weight bearing" structural support.  Aside from its low shear strength (as compared to dimensioned lumber/structural beams), any amount of moisture will greatly compromise it.  As for the "leveling legs", they may be able to support the weight but the particle board won't be able to support them.>> I am assuming that at 8.5lbs/gal that I'm looking at most at 4,250 lbs + about 800 lbs for the granite, but should I also be considering plants/fish/coral/rocks/lid/pump etc. that might add even more weight, or are those pretty unsubstantial in the whole scheme of things? <<Not "unsubstantial" but will displace some water so....  But don't forget to figure the weight of the tank itself.>> So around 5,000 lbs is the weight, and there would be 12 legs supporting this area, so that is 7,800 lbs capacity. <<I highly recommend you NOT pursue this idea as outlined.>> I would just like a 2nd opinion, because I'm not too clear on the shear strength of the particleboard!  I know you're not engineers either, but maybe this is setting off alarm bells, or am I just being overcautious? <<Is good to be overcautious here...alarm bells ARE sounding...no, not an engineer, but wood working/remodeling is my avocation.  I have removed/replaced load-bearing walls in my home, as well as designed and built the stand for my own 375 gallon display (500 gallon system total).  I recommend you construct/frame your stand from "structural" materials such as dimensioned lumber and then face it with cabinet material/doors for the "look", if you desire.  If nothing else, consult a structural engineer about your idea/design...will be the best $100 you could spend right now.>> Please let me know what you think Thanks, Patrick Ryan Toronto, Ontario <<Regards, EricR...Columbia, SC>> Large Tank Stand Construction...No Particleboard Please! II - 03/30/06 Wow, great info, thanks Eric, good to know! Thanks for your help/advice! Patrick Ryan <<My pleasure Ryan, hope it proves useful.  Regards, EricR>>

Tank on the level? 03-21-06 Hi. I have owned a fish tank for over 7 years now, and about a year ago I moved it to my room. I was looking at the tank and realized I never checked to see if it was level. Now that I look at it the left side of the tank, [I can see] the water is a little bit higher. Is this a problem? It's been in my room like this for a year. <Hello. Short answer: It depends on the size of the tank you're talking about, and the size of the differential. I haven't seen a longer tank yet that was perfectly level (the floors were not level. As long as it is on a planar surface, I would not be inclined to worry about it too much. By the way, just a friendly reminder to please take the time to check your English before sending off the e-mail so we don't have to. Best regards, John.> Please help

PLS Help! Please Take Your First Answer From A Crew Member! Please Capitalize! Please Fix Your Grammar/Punctuation! Please! - 03/22/2006 I have a tank in my bedroom. It's been in my room for a year, and I just noticed that it is unlevel. <Are you sure? You wrote in about this same situation just the other day. It was on the Daily's also.> On the left side of my tank the water level is about a half of a centimeter higher than the right side. <As you've explained already.> I was told that it is ok if your tank isn't perfect. <Ah, yes! I remember the crew member explaining why he stated so as well.> Is that true and will the water put to much pressure on the left side of my tank? <Yes! 'Tis true to a certain extent. Depends much on, as you were told, how "off" it is, being set on a planar surface, Etc. You are fine. Please except the answers you get from our Crew. You've written in at least six times this week, with only three questions (possibly two). Every response you've gotten has confirmed the previous response. The only other thing that hasn't changed? You still don't correct your grammar, spelling, capitalization! We don't have the time for this. We HAVE TO correct these as we answer them for posting/archiving so others can read/understand the discussion. If you wish to send me yet another "hate mail" over this response (yes I saw your last) then so be it. What ever it takes, please stop abusing the valuable resource that is Wet Web Media and it's Crew.> Oh yeah, it is on a stand made for aquariums. <Well...at least it's not made for potato chips. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/QueryCorrsRefPg.htm - Josh>
Re: PLS Help! Please Take Your First Answer From A Crew Member! Please Capitalize! Please Fix Your Grammar/Punctuation! Please! - 03/23/2006
Ok, I <I> am sorry. What is a planar surface? <Simply a surface with zero curvature. You don't want to place your tank on a wavy surface.> And im <I'm> not trying to be mean but where do you guys get your facts from? <Facts about? Do you mean, are we making this stuff up or did we actually learn it somewhere? - Josh>   <<What a day! RMF>>
Re: PLS Help! Please Take Your First Answer From A Crew Member! Please Capitalize! Please Fix Your Grammar/Punctuation! Please! - 03/24/2006
Yeah, did you guys learn this somewhere? <?> Oh, My stand is flat, but at the very ends of the stand it curves instead of being straight down. <You mean like rounded edges? You don't want any gaps between the bottom edge of your tank and the top surface of your stand.> Should I <ARRGH!! That's it, I've just ripped all of my hair out!>worry? <No.> I mean this stand is meant for a fish tank. <Good plan. - Josh>

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>

Set Up/Level Tank   3/15/06 I just checked how level my tank is since I first set it up almost three months ago. The bubble (on my level) is slightly outside the line. The measurement from the base of the glass tank (Not the stand) to the wall is 3 5/16" at the top it is a little more than 3". So in other words the top of the tank is a little more than a quarter of an inch closer to the wall than the base. The tank has been there since the last week in December. It is on carpet which is on a first floor concrete slab. Given the task of re-leveling an established 1000 pound (90 gal rectangle. + rock + sand) tank what would be considered excessive and require the breakdown and re-leveling?  <Not bad enough to mess with.  Now if 1/4 of the bubble were outside the line I'd re-level the tank.  More important that there is no twisting of the tank.> As always thanks for the help.  <James (Salty Dog)> Diver

Stand for 125G acrylic tank  - 03/11/2006 Hi Crew, <Tom> I've been reading up on DIY stands and seeing mention of 2x4 and 2x6 framing & cross bracing required.  The cabinet stands I'm seeing in a couple of LFS's appear to be made of 3/4" plywood sides, with a 3/4" plywood top to support the tank. <Some of them, yes> I've seen this type of construction on stands up to 24" deep (front to back) and 48-72" long, with no other bracing...is this adequate for a tank that could weigh nearly a ton?   <Mmm, well... as a person posting "things" on an open forum (the Net)... no. Much safer to encourage folks to use more sturdy timbers, screw and/or bolt/nut together... using ply and such for fascias> I'm planning to build a stand and would like to avoid losing cabinet space to center bracing & divider walls inside the cabinet, if I can. If one sheet is not enough, would two sheets of 3/4" plywood, or 1.5" total, be strong enough to support a 125G tank with only perimeter support? Thanks, Tom <Not IMO Tom... Have you visited OzReef.org? Much good DIY info. there re aquarium matters... As you state, this is a lot of weight... and in areas where the ground shakes, or that such constructs might suffer lateral force otherwise... I'd go with bracing the stand in all dimensions... strongly. Bob Fenner>

Aquarium Stand   3/3/06 Hi Bob   A friend who owns a welding shop is planning on building an aquarium stand for my 125 gallon six foot tank. <Nice> He is using 2 inch square tubing for the frame. The question he asked and I could not answer was: is it better to build it with metal tubing all around the base of the aquarium's foot print which touches the floor or build it with four or six legs? <Mmm, better the latter... particularly in settings where the flooring is not level, planar or worse... differentially so... as in on wood supported by wood framing...> I thought it might distribute the weight more not being on four or six legs but have it resting on two inch tubing all around the base of the tank. I thought it might be easier to level on four legs though. <Mmm, not really... better (if necessary) to employ large shims under the longer, continuous supports... and to measure with the tank filled and empty...> Any help would be greatly appreciated as all the DIY instructions I have found are for wooden stands. Thank you in advance. Leta <Do see the excellent DIY site which is Ozreef.org for much valuable input here. Bob Fenner>

Stand Construction Question  - 1/30/2006 Good morning Crew!  Hope your weekend is going well. <All over... but wait! I don't have a day job... every day's like a weekend day!> I am in the process of building a new stand for my 200 GAL Oceanic glass tank.  The tank is 7' X 2' x 2' and was bought as a used setup including the stand (but is looks like it has been rode hard and put up wet!  :-)  ) <Can be dangerous...> Anyway, on to the question.  Since it is a glass aquarium, I understand that it is mostly perimeter braced (i.e. normally just sitting on 2X4's around the edges and the bottom glass bowing slightly is not a major concern. <Yes> However, since it has 4 holes drilled in the bottom (which I will be plugging up and drilling the back panel for my overflows and returns) should I: A.  Build the "standard" stand with only perimeter support like this: http://i5.photobucket.com/albums/y195/navajo001/frame.jpg B.  Build a stand with extra cross bracing for the tank to rest on like this: http://i5.photobucket.com/albums/y195/navajo001/framewithxbrace.jpg C.  Build a stand with the extra cross bracing (option B) and add 3/4" plywood on the top for the tank to rest on. <C. is your best choice... or B., with a good/thicker piece of "Styrofoam" under the edge and floating bottom> Your assistance (once again) will be much appreciated. As always, your efforts in this hobby are OUTSTANDING and the level of concern/knowledge are truly appreciated.  Keep up the good work and know that countless lives (and probably marriages) have been saved/enriched by your efforts. Tom (The Tool Man) <As you know Tom... more support is better. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Wood finishing, plumber's tape for threaded connections, painted backgrounds, whew! Hi Guys (a generic term that includes the female members of the crew ;o) <Watch this...> I have searched WWM & couldn't find a relevant answer - hopefully I've not missed! <We'll see... or add to it> Just a quickie re finishing the woodwork for my new 24" cube - I will need some sort of finish on the veneered panels that I have now got for the new tanks cabinet and open topped hood but I am not sure what would be most suitable, I have been looking for some sort of polyurethane varnish type stuff but have so far drawn a blank (maybe its just called something else in the UK?).  The main area for concern will clearly be the hood woodwork as this will be the closest to the (salt) water & thus more chance of particles of finish (or some sort of reaction leading to leaching of nasties) entering the water column (clearly something to be avoided if at all possible (however I believe in planning for the worst - comes from working for the UK government I guess lol!!)) Any pointers to a suitable finish would be more than welcome. <Polyurethanes are fine (durable, non-toxic once cured, attractive), though I am a bigger fan of Varathanes (as you speculate, perhaps a "Yank" (formerly colony) term... These come in different reflectivities (I like the less shiny), and are even more durable> Would you be able to confirm my suspicion that PTFE (plumbers) tape will be fine for sealing my new closed loop system? From what I can gather this should be fine and nicely inert. <Is... though I am a bigger fan (here we go again) of using 100% Silicone (the same material/el used for making glass aquariums... for thread to thread connections... makes a nice flexible joining, and allows for easy unthreading if needed later on... and "makes a seal" rather than allowing salt creep over time. Bob Fenner> Ok just 1 other question ;o) <Oh!> I also need to paint the back (outside obviously) of the tank black to match the weir - I am planning to use enamel paint - Japblack I think the brand is (do you see any problems here?) <Am unfamiliar with this term> - will I be OK just to go ahead and paint this or would I be better running some sandpaper or such over the area to be painted to provide a "key" or rougher surface for the paint to adhere to? <Mmm, I have used latex or water-based in-door wall paint here... sans scratching... to good effect...> Sincere thanks as usual in anticipation Cheers   Chris

Drill one round hole in Oceanic bowfront aquarium stand  - 01/12/2006 I've searched for an exact answer to this question.  I have found counsel not to drill holes in the supports for an aquarium stand and counsel that it would probably be OK to drill round holes through a center dividing wall that is also a support in a stand, but not near the edge. <Likely so... though will definitely void any warranty>   My question concerns drilling through the side wall of the stand. <Mmm, I would "beef up" the vertical supports (internally, with one or two by planks... screw into the existing...> I have an Oceanic 72G bowfront aquarium with an Oceanic stand.  There is no room underneath the aquarium for my new Ecosystems refugium.  The Tidepool II sump takes up more than half the space and the refugium requires 36".  I can put the refugium on its own stand to the side of the aquarium. <This will do... or above...> I am using vinyl hose for the return from the refugium to the sump and would like to go the direct route - through the side of the Oceanic stand.  That would require drilling a hole about 2" in diameter.  It would go in the center of the side wall, about 10"-12" up from the floor.  Would this be safe? <Likely so> The alternative is a crooked route down, back, and around the stand, and then bent into the sump - all reducing GPH and unsightly, plus far more likely to get kinked or even dislodged from the sump. Richard C. ROCKWELL <Do add the other wood supports, drill for the through-put and don't worry. Bob Fenner>
Re: Drill one round hole in Oceanic bowfront aquarium stand  - 01/12/2006
Thanks very much. I shall add those internal wood supports.  On one of your pages, you say that one can never have enough space underneath the aquarium. So true! <Heeee! Or too large a hard drive, savings account...!> That alone is a reason for buying an aquarium larger than 72G.  At the time, 72G seemed huge. <As did candy bars... sigh... BobF>

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>>

Reinforcing floor joists for 150 gallon aquarium  12/2/05 Hi,<Hello Mike> I have a 150 gallon FOWLR aquarium. I've noticed that when my 2 dogs run by the tank it shifts a little. I need to reinforce the floor joists to help support the additional weight. The tank is against an inside wall, across the floor joists. What is the best way to reinforce the floor joists?  Can I just buy 2 floor joist stands and place a 4x4 post across the existing joists under the tank and use the jack stands to help support it?  <I'd just double up on the joists, fasten them to the existing joist with glue and screws. James (Salty Dog)> Thank you for your help, Mike  <You're welcome>

55 gallon leveling  11/24/05 Hey there, I was wondering about how I should go about leveling my 55 gallon aquarium, the stand is already leveled, but the center of the tank sits about 1/8th of an inch high, <Mmm, too much...> leaving a gap my drivers license can slide into, I was wondering if I could use carpet padding to put under the tank to support it? Would this be a good idea? Thanks, Jerome <Is a good idea. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/aqstands.htm and the Related FAQs linked above. Bob Fenner>
55 gallon leveling - II - 11/25/2005
Hi Bob, <Actually, Sabrina here, in his stead, as he's out for a while.> So do you think the carpet padding would be enough to stick between the tank and the tank stand, or do you think I should go with Styrofoam? <I would go with the Styrofoam.> If I am to go with Styrofoam, what thickness would you recommend me getting? Thinnest I can seem to find at a reasonable price is 1/2".   <This would be fine.> Thanks,  Jerome <Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

AGA pine stand and refugium 10/25/05 Hello there, <Howdy> Thank you for all the great info I have found on your site. I have a few questions regarding a 90 gallon AGA pre -drilled and AGA 48" x 18" pine stand.  The door openings on the pine stand are too small to fit a nice sized refugium in. <May want to locate to the side, above...> If I were to remove the center brace, install a refugium then replace the brace, would I be asking for trouble in the future? <Mmm, not if done well> What would be better to use, glass, acrylic, or Rubbermaid? <Define better... overall, the acrylic is best IMO/E... as it allows you to see inside (good for manipulation), cut and fit plumbing easily, doesn't break as easily as glass... and if important, is a good/better thermal insulator>  I can purchase an acrylic refugium which would be easiest, I can make a 30 gallon glass refugium. I have no clue on how to use Rubbermaid containers, could you elaborate more on this? <Mmm, is hinted at in places... re sumps, refugium designs on WWM. Would be nice to have spec.s, graphics re though. Cheers, Bob Fenner> 

Place Foam under Acrylic tank? DIY Stand Question - 10/23/05 Hiya Ladies and Gents! Before I get to my question, I must say again how right you are and I shouldn't have even bought a 13 gallon marine aquarium. Living in a smaller Japanese house, I wasn't sure how it would fit, but now it is the focal point of the house! While I've had great success with it thus far, it would have been surprisingly cheaper to 'go large' but I couldn't understand the reasoning back then. Now I see clearly.  I've learned a lot about marine aquariums in a short time. 3-5 hours of nightly 'net' reading and a front row seat in front of the tank. Yes, it's possible to be successful. No, I wouldn't suggest it to a beginner. Ok, to the first question. I upgraded to a 66 gallon acrylic tank today.  Going to make my own stand (a few years and lots of tools in the hobby to help me out). The LFS told me NOT to use a foam mat under an acrylic tank as it will eventually begin to chemically react and may 'glue' it self to it after a few years. Is this true? Or is there another form of 'forgiving material' to use? Next question is (if I can't use foam), what kind of finish am I able to use for the stand top? A lacquer? Polyurethane finish? Bare wood (hmmm unprotected wood and water = bad idea me thinks) Will these eventually have chemical reactions to the acrylic? Thank you again for the priceless resource!  <Thank you for the kind words. Dana, I've always used Styrofoam sheeting to place under my tank. Works well and does not stick to the acrylic. As for finish, polyurethane is your best bet with no negative effects. James (Salty Dog)> 

Support for a 55 gal tank 10/7/05 Hello, My son wants to set up a 55 gallon fresh water tank on the second floor of our home. I have concerns regarding the weight of a tank this size. The tank would be set up on a standard Formica counter top over Kraftmaid cabinets. The cabinet is upstairs in a newer home (built in 1995) and the room has a 3/4" oak floor. Am I being overly cautious or do I have reasons to be concerned.  Thanks for any assistance, Renee  <Good to be concerned, but should be fine... likely the counter top has a spread-out support underneath (I'd check), and strong-enough supports under the floor boards... I would contact the Kraftmaid folks re whether they have concerns here... some six hundred pounds of weight of about four square feet base. 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>

Tank stand construction questions  9/20/05 Bob, <Greg> First, your website is great!  I have gotten tons of great info over the past few years. thanks. <Welcome> I have 2 (unrelated) stand construction questions. 1.) I recently moved my 120g reef Oceanic reef tank.  In the rush of moving/setting it back up the tank stand did not get perfectly level.   <Mmmm, "perfectly?"... oh, I see below> There are several places where a sheet or two of paper would fit between the tank and the stand, after 8 weeks it still hasn't settled in.  To fix this right, it seems I would have to take the tank down and fix level the stand - is this worth doing?  Is there any other recommended fix? <Mmm, you might get by here by "cheating" a bit with placing some freshwater under the low spots... having the hopefully wood stand swell some> 2.) I need to construct a stand for a 225g acrylic reef tank, 60 X 24 X 36 (my guess is 3000lbs?). <A bit less likely... a few hundred pounds shy>   I have a 48in, 55g tank I would like to use as the sump.  To make access easy underneath, would 2X6 be sufficient to support the 60in span for this tank? <Mmm, no... I would go with four by... carriage bolt together...>   If not all 60in, what would be the max. spanning distance you would recommend for a 2X6 for this tank? thanks. Greg <Would be nice to be able to "angle in" the four foot long 55... and can likely be done with a bit of planning, making a six legged stand... with the one center front middle upright staggered off to one side a bit... I would make these four-bys as well... Bob Fenner>

Stand Construction Question 8/19/05 Hi All, I've been in this tremendous hobby for over 5 yrs now and am more than hooked you could say. I have 2 55g tanks and some smaller 10g tanks also. I have gotten the go ahead for a 300 g tank in the lounge room and am putting it in the corner of the room. It will be a pentagon shape. <Congrats!> I think it will be 4'x4'x18"x18" and 3'10" across the front and 26" high, with a sump underneath of what size I'm not sure yet. It depends on the room I have as much as possible. <Sounds great!> My question is: are there any particular plans for a stand this size? I have shored up the floor after asking an engineer and am confident of building it myself either out of wood or steel. Which do you think is easiest and best? <Glad to hear that you have shored up the floor.  Wood and steel are both great materials for building a stand, but each has some advantages and disadvantages.  Most folks don't consider welding the steel to be a Do It Yourself project and it can rust.  It is also harder to add an attractive facade to.  Wood is easier to work with, will never rust and is easy to modify, but it can warp and/or rot.  Given the unusual shape of your tank and the unusual angles, it may not be much harder to go with steel.  If you do choose steel, I recommend having it powder coated, or if this service is not available in your area, painted with a high quality epoxy paint.  As for plans, you won't find them specifically for this unusual tank, but you may find some general tips with a google search.> I am getting the tank builder to make the tank in my lounge room and then it will be just a case of lifting it up onto the stand, with a lot of help from some friends I hope.  Do I need to have a center piece underneath to hold the middle up because if so, I will lose room for my sump?  <Probably not.  Most tanks are designed to be supported only around the perimeter to avoid pressure points on the bottom pane.  Your tank builder should be able to advise you on this and should use think enough glass to be self supporting.> Thanks very much for your wonderful and helpful site I read it everyday. Yours Scotty Tasmania Australia <Glad you have benefited!  Best Regards.  AdamC.>

Iron stand footprint vs. tanks 8/15/05 Bob - I have an iron stand that is designed for supporting 2 125 g tanks - 72X18".  I have two 75 gallon tanks - 48X18".  I plan on placing 3/4" plywood/pressed board between the stand frame and tanks.  Is this a concern with the difference in length between the small tank and longer stand?  Is there a way to compensate?  Thanks in advance  Scott <Mmm, have seen metal stands where this would not be a problem, and ones where it definitely would... are there supports only at the four corners of this stand? If so, I'm given to suggest NOT using it with shorter tanks. There is likely a possibility of strengthening the unit however (in any case) with welding or drilling and adding metal to make the areas where the tanks seat more immobile... along with the wood (which I'd waterproof) being placed on top in turn. I would bring the stand down to a weld-shop for their inspection... mention the weight (about ten pounds per gallon finished) of the tanks to be placed on it... ask the folks there what they would do. Bob Fenner>

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>

Tank not level 8/9/05 Hi, <Hello Tom> I have a 38 gallon glass tank sitting on a commercially purchased oak stand.  The stand is on a carpeted floor.  The house was built in 1992. The tank has been in use for maybe 7 years now. Today, for some reason, I noticed that the tank is not level. It is 36 inches wide, and the water level appears to be 1/4 to 3/8 inches higher at on end than at the other. <Yikes... too much> I can't say whether it has been out of level like this for 7 years and I never noticed, or whether it just went out of level in the last 2 weeks while I was on vacation.  If it just went out of level, the house must be settling or something. My question: is this bad enough that I have to fix it, or can I just watch it carefully to be sure it doesn't get worse? Thanks, Tom <If this were my glass tank I would drain it down. shim the base of the stand... Bob Fenner>

Tank Level 8/11/05 I have a new 90 gallon oceanic and the related oceanic stand.  It is not up and running yet.  I've noticed that the tank by and large appears to rest on the ends of the stand - by that I mean, there appears to be about 1/16th of an inch gap between some of the long run of the tank and the stand.  Is this a major issue or build concern?   <Is the gap present when the tank is filled, or just empty? If the latter, not likely a problem> Should I try to remedy this somehow myself, contact oceanic, or let it be?  Thoughts?  Thank you. <I would fill it and see if the tank, stand "settle"... If so, I would not be concerned. Bob Fenner>
Re: Tank Level 8/11/05 Just for point of reference, the gap in the front is at its maximum (and not the entire length) the width of 7 stacked standard sheets of 8 ½ by 11 ½ paper.  Five stacked will run about 70% of the width of the front.  Two stacked will run about 70% of the width of the back.  No paper will penetrate between the tank and the stand on then width ends of the tank or toward the last 6 inches or so on the front and back long sides.  Does that all makes sense? <Yes> Major issues? Couldn't I just add minute shims along the long runs of the tank to eliminate the gaps? <Mmm, no... better to insert a layer of "foam" twixt the entire area that meets the stand for small gaps... and if shimming, to shim the stand itself... Bob Fenner> Thank you.
Re: Tank Level 8/11/05 I'll give it a fresh water fill to see what the result is.  Frankly, I would never have spotted this issue but for the fact that I fired up my light on top of the tank (for grins) and noticed a little sliver of light between the tank and stand in front. <Ahh> Honestly, would any ordinary person have checked to see if all points of a tank were in complete contact with a stand other than with a casual eyeballing?   <Mmm, don't know... but I would, and am exceedingly ordinary> This particular issue never would have crossed my mind inasmuch as when you buy a tank and its purposefully designed stand you assume, as a consumer, that the two will be compatible and issue free, without more. Thanks for your time.  I appreciate your website. <Welcome... most commercial wood stands are pine... soft, giving to a degree... much more often real trouble are the floors that stands, tanks are set on... these are more and more often... off! Neither level nor planar... Cheers, Bob Fenner>
Re: Tank Level 8/13/05 Bob - I thought you might like to hear the response of Oceanic: "Hello and good day to you! When purchasing a new tank and stand set up, most people don't know that there will be a small gap between the tank and stand. There is no reason for concern, when placing all the decorations and water in your tank, it take's a little while for it to settle in and level out. I hope this put some ease to your mind. Thanks!" We shall soon test the veracity of this assertion. <Indeed... thank you for sending this along. BobF>

Re: Tank Level 8/15/05 Bob - I hate to continue to pester you with this matter, but I feel like I'm at a point where I can't make a decision one way or another in terms of moving forward with confidence, and it helps to hear from an impartial person.  I'm not sure I have complete faith in Oceanic's comments (though they are seemingly somewhat true, and perhaps can only be borne out by a complete filling of the tank, together with salt, sand and rock - see below).  Also, I don't see (or understand) what good foam would really do for me here, if at all (discussed below).   Today, I filled the tank up about 90% of the way with fresh water (i.e., about 2-3 inches below the top overflow teeth).  Indeed, the tank did settle down a fair amount.  You'll recall, my largest gaps in the long runs of the tank at any one point were about 7 compressed pieces of paper in width.   <Yes> Filled as noted above, the following is where I stand today: Front Run - There exists 2 spots at 6 inches in length where two compressed "test strips" of paper will slide through.  At those same general locations, only now expanded to 9 inches in width, one piece of paper will fit through and slide back and forth.  So, indeed an improvement.  Still, I guess using crude math/testing, about 37% of the front run is not in contact with the stand (it does touch in the middle of the front run).   As for the tank back: In the middle section only, there is a 28 inch run where paper one sheet in width will slide through.  22 inches of that same run will permit paper 2 sheets in width to penetrate and slide back and forth.  Finally, of that same run, 19 inches will permit 3 sheets of paper to penetrate between tank and stand.  Paper pieces four pages in width will not go through anywhere in back.  As such, it seems worse in back, though again, better than prior to the water being added. First of all, would you take some other corrective action if this were your tank in your living room, or would you proceed under Oceanic's advice to not be concerned and believe it will settle correctly over time with water and "decorations" - taken to mean I guess sand, rock, etc.? <Probably not... unless the floor the stand is sitting on is not strong, level and planar, I strongly suspect the tank will indeed "settle in" in a few weeks...> Based on the above, I'm guessing some more settling will occur with it being full with water and, perhaps more importantly, with rock and sand added. <Ah, yes>   Will it be enough to ensure full contact of tank and stand? <Very likely so> Who knows I guess.  It somewhat disturbs me that I have to fret over an issue like this given the tank and its designed for stand were manufactured by a presumably decent company. <Better to be concerned... avoid trouble, then not> Interestingly, at one local LFS, I did note that gaps between tanks and stands doesn't appear to be particularly uncommon (as noted by Oceanic) as I ran across a couple other Oceanics with similar issues. <Correct... I have seen glass and acrylic tanks sort of suspended from corners, just parts of the stands under them... around the world> If you wouldn't feel comfortable proceeding as is, would your solution for your living room involve using foam of some sort between tank and stand?   <Mmm, not at this point... the foam can help with such small gaps as you have, sudden jarring in areas like S. Cal. where the ground shakes...> If so, what depth of foam?  Type? <Mmm, closed cell... white... from HD...> Lastly, how will foam really help, particularly here? <I don't think so... not necessary in your circumstances> I'm guess you might say that the foam will tend to normalize irregularities (not sure there are any) and perhaps spread the tank weight out more evenly.  However, as to the latter, I don't see how that is truly possible  If a tank and stand are not planar and most of the weight is on the ends, even with foam it will remain so, will it not, as where the weight is the foam will simply be crushed down more so you've really gained nothing - the weight remains set on the ends?  Yes? No? <Mostly yes... though, as a mental exercise, imagine the effect of adding layers of foam... at some point the force is more distributed> General thoughts?  Perhaps this whole issue is generating undue concern on my part, but it remains frustrating and isn't leaving me with a good impression of Oceanic.  Being an attorney, perhaps I should review Oklahoma law to see if the implied warranty of merchantability (here, fitness for a particular purpose - i.e., that the tank and stand can in fact keep 90 gallons of saltwater off the floor) can be disclaimed....I doubt seriously that Oceanic would swap tanks until the original is shown to fail - an unacceptable situation, particularly where the only recourse may be a new tank. Thanks Bob. Cheers, Jon <Most glass tanks fail (catastrophically) due to sudden changes in torsional force (a physical jarring usually) rather than constant "semi-unevenness" on a stand/support. In the vast majority of cases I would not be concerned with a situation as yours... more likely to have troubles with errant baseballs, etc... Bob Fenner>

Stand integrity, Hole cut-outs around and tightening of bulkheads 7/23/05 Hi guys, and thanks for all of the great advice so far. <Hi Randy, Ali here> I am ready to cut the top of my diy tank stand to accommodate the bulkheads from my tank.  I have some questions about how much room I'll need around the bulkheads.  Here is a picture of the bulkhead nuts sitting on top of the stand http://home.cfl.rr.com/homebrewed/fish/180-039.jpg .  The stand top is about 1" of plywood, then there will also be a 3/4" layer of Styrofoam under the tank, so the bulkhead nuts will be stuck way up inside the part I cut out.  Can you picture what I'm talking about? <I think so...> I was planning to start with at least 1" of clearance around the bulkhead nuts. <1 or 2" of clearance would be fine, I doubt cutting the top of the stand to create a 2" of clearance would hurt the integrity of the stand. Additionally, it sounds as if you have a frameless (Lee-Mar style) tank, if this is the case then as long as the tank is fully supported on the corners, then the bulkhead cut-outs won't matter as much, go ahead and start cutting :) >   But do I need to get some type of tool on the nuts to tighten them down?  I don't think I'll be able to hand tighten them very easily since they'll be surrounded by plywood. <No tools necessary, good ol' fashion hand-tightening them would be fine. Even if it's just using the tips of your fingers to tighten them, drink some Gatorade and flex your muscles - YOU CAN DO IT!> Just make sure the I don't want to cut out any more material than required, since I'm concerned about the tank top bowing in the area around the cutout. <As long as the tank is properly braced at the top, bowing shouldn't be a real concern> Thanks!! Randy <No prob, good luck Randy. - Ali>

Leveling a Flat Bottom Oceanic 75 stand..... 7/22/05 Hello WWM crew, First, Thank you for taking the time to read my question.  I assume you read TONS of questions and it is difficult to keep up with the answers.  I have read through your site and Googled but can't find the exact answer to my question.  I really need your help on this one before I set up further. <Okay> I am replacing a 55 gal tank, which is 20 years old, with a 75 gal Oceanic Tank and Oceanic stand (49 X 19).  The Oceanic stand has a solid, thick, flat bottom which is great for dispersing the weight of the tank (across the surface area).   My question .... err hmm... problem is that the 55 gal stand did not have a solid bottom and it was shored/shimmed to make it level (3/8 inch front to back).   If I want to level (and planer) the 75 gal also... which I do... Do I just shim the bottom of the Oceanic stand but defeating the purpose of the flat stand bottom OR Can I put a piece of plywood between the floor and the stand and shim between the plywood and the stand. <This latter route is correct>   My focus is to level the aquarium and still effectively disperse the weight across a large surface area. Thanks again for taking the time to answer my question, Steve <Thank you for writing. Bob Fenner>  

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