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FAQs about Stands, Supports for Aquariums 1

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

Related FAQs: Aquarium Stands 2, 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

Stands should be built/braced in all dimensions

Teetering Tank - Very Scary (3/7/04)   First of all, I would like to say that you guys are wonderful. <Thanks> I am having a problem with my 90 gallon Oceanic bow front aquarium. I installed shims under the stand to level the aquarium. After filling the aquarium, it remained level, and I thought I was home free. The problem I am having is that the aquarium is sitting on such thick carpet, you can rock the tank if you make sudden movements by it (i.e. jump a little/run by). Oceanic stands are flat on the bottom, so it really doesn't "dig" into the carpet like my old stand did. The stand is very narrow, and tall, so I think this only adds to the problem. What are your recommendations? The best way to describe it is that the stand is merely floating on the top of the carpet. While I don't think anybody is going to rock the stand enough to send it crashing to the floor, I am concerned about the minor movements due to the carpeting. The last thing I want is to create extra stress by these possible movements. Please advise. Thanks, Matt <Matt: This is an EXTREMELY dangerous situation, especially if you have small children. Any degree ability to rock can lead to toppling in the right circumstance. Toppling the tank could easily kill a child. And actually, a large shard of glass in the right spot could kill an adult. I recommend you drain the tank right away. Then: Choice #1: find another place for it where there's a hard floor. Another option: Have a carpet person come and cut a hole in the carpet big enough to accommodate the stand. You could put down vinyl flooring in that space and put a proper edge/border between it and the carpet. Steve Allen.>

Taking His Tank To A Whole New (Even) Level! Scott, <Hello again!> Thank you for you reply. <You're quite welcome!> If you don't mind, I would like to ask you a few more questions. I got the regular pine stand sold by AGA and I'm planning to set it up in a room with hard wood floor. I already reinforced the bottom of the stand so that my sump does not crash through the thin ply that AGA puts in. <You're not the first person who has mentioned that to me!> Yesterday, I was about to start shimming the stand to make the tank level (the front needs to go up only about 1/8") and then thought that the individual shims could put more pressure on some of the floor planks than the others. But perhaps this is not an issue since the planks are nailed to the plywood under it, the tank will be standing right next to a load baring wall and will be supported by a number of 2x8's.  So when you shim a stand like mine, do you put a few shims under the stand to get it level, or do you try to distribute the pressure on as many shims as possible (note that the bottom of the sand is constructed as a frame, it does not have 4 legs)? <Even distribution of weight is essential! You certainly don't want to create any uneven pressure on one of the tank walls.> On your web site I saw a few recommendations to put 3/4" piece of plywood under the stand. Is this needed with this type of floor/stand?  <Purely subjective...No right or wrong on this one. If it keeps things nice and level, and helps distribute the weight of the tank evenly, it's not a bad idea.> If so, do you put the shim between the ply and the stand, or between the ply and the floor? <I'd place it between the ply and the stand, myself> Thanks, Petr <My pleasure, Petr. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Jason. C new (tall) stand... Hmm... didn't send any images with this email as the first two attempts with included images bunked. Let's try one - is a picture of the new tank and stand - was going to get your opinion... perhaps I will send to WWM mail - can post on the dailies for all... J --
<Nice stand... tall but well-braced. Bob F>

Had this feeling you might say that...  <Ahh, I AM becoming that predictable... I like it when I am known to my friends> was thinking about putting a small cabinet in one of those open sides - would that and diagonal braces on the far wall help - was also going to put a nice outer cover around it... but not right away... perhaps if I just cover that one far side and brace that? <On all four fronts... okay! Bob F> Thanks, J --

Stand Leveling Problems - Hi guys, I am just about to set up my 120 gallon tank in my basement. My LFS owner is a friend of mine and he is helping me build a nice solid oak stand for it. The problem is my basement is horribly unlevel, and something is going to have to go under the stand to level the tank. I don't want to cut the stand nor do I think it would work for the way it's built. The only thing I can think of is to make a box out of a strong wood that would level out a 5 foot by 2 ft section of my basement. That way I could set up my tank rite on top of it and whenever the tank came down (I'm going to college in a year) the stand would still be level. Would this work. Any other ideas? <It would work... I suppose it depends just how uneven your basement floor is. I've kept a tank in my basement before, and it's safe to say that very few concrete slabs are perfectly level. What I did was fill the tank just one inch - enough to see the water above the trim, and then used shims [available at Home Depot] added around the outer edges to level the tank. If you've got large changes in grade - over half an inch, then you probably do need to consider other options to level this out.> Thanks, Jake <Cheers, J -- >

Where to Put That Heavy Tank (10/22/04) Hey WWM crew,
<Steve Allen tonight.> I am setting up a new reef tank and I had some quick questions about lighting and filtration to run by you. I am going to set up a 75-125 gallon reef tank on a kitchen counter in my parents house.  This is apparently the only space available.  It is obviously not ideal because there is no place to put a sump. <That's only part of the problem. Even the 75G will easily weigh well over 1,000 pounds with rock, sand, equipment, etc. A 125 can easily hit 2,000 lbs. Such tanks should only be put on stands specifically designed for aquariums. This counter is certainly not designed to bear such weight. A disaster waiting to happen.> My plan is to buy to of the larger dual skimmer CPR Bak Pak filters, and place one on each side of the tank. <Seems reasonable enough, but a single AquaC Remora Pro could handle the 75G.> If you see this as suitable then my next question would be do I leave the bio material in or take it out since I will have the LR taking care of most of the bio load anyways? <out> I could put the heaters in there or something like that instead. <I do not know if this is safe. You would need to contact CPR about that.> Now on to lighting. I am debating between a 2 x 400 Watt MH/PC hood or a 2 x 250 Watt MH hood. The clams and I would both IMO be satisfied by 2 x 250 watts, but it only costs 40 dollars more to upgrade a total of 300 watts. <Though we don't need to cook the clams either, ;)>  I have read that there are issues with this much light though, such as too much heat as well as the lights being too close to the tank and possibly burning the coral. <There is certainly such a thing as too much light.> I have never in my past used MH so I don't know the answer. <MH lights are very useful for many applications. The wise thing to do is to decide exactly what you want in your tank and chose the lights that best meet their needs. Read more WWM lighting articles and FAQs as well as other sources like www.advancedaquarist.com and www.reefkeeping.org>  I do not want to have to buy a chiller.  My last question is how big should the tank be? <Bigger is always better, but if you are limited to that countertop, you will need to choose a Nano, though this is harder to do. You can count on a marine tank with LR weighing at least 10 lbs per gallon, often significantly more. I calculate that my 80G weighs about 1,300 lbs.> I can't have the tank be too large because of the Bak Paks, and I can't have it too small because of the heat that the lights give off. I want the largest tank that I can have under the limitations given. <I have no idea what is safe for your countertop. A structural engineer or architect may be able to tell you how much weight it can bear.> I do wish that I could set up a sump and a real skimmer since that would be ideal. But, I believe that with  adequate care, my experience with reef tanks and water changes that I can make this work. Thanks for your time, Michael K. <I have no doubts about your willingness to take great care of a tank. Unfortunately, you may have to wait until you have a better space available.> Aquarium Support 11/8/04 I am currently working through my 2nd Year on Advanced Certificate in management of Zoo Animals and am currently having difficulty finding information regarding one of the Tasks that I need to complete.  After visiting your website, I was wondering if you had any information that would be relevant to my Task. The Task requires me to describe support structures that would be adequate to support the following sizes of aquarium :- a) 2m x 0.45 x 0.45m b) 1.5m x 0.3m x 0.3m c) 2.6m x 0.85m x 1m. They require me to provide 400 words and I am having difficulty finding any information regarding this. Thank you for taking the time to read this e-mail, and if you could possibly give me any information towards this task, I would be extremely grateful. Karen Carter <there is/was a book called the "Living Aquarium" published at one point in time by Crescent books/pub. Its available on Amazon.com and other booksellers. In this book are excellent specs on building and supporting many different types of aquaria. I would seek this inexpensive and delightful reference. Anthony> DIY Wood Stand Question Dear Crew, Good day.   My question today is about DIY wood stands.  I plan to replace my 50G metal stand.   Dimension is 36 L x 18W. Can I get by without a vertical support in the middle?  I intend to use 2 x 4 wood planks. < Sure as long as the wide part is vertical and not horizontal. You probably could get by with the 2x4 running flat and not on the edge, but over the long run wood warps and some of the lumber lately is not the greatest around. I would tend to over build it, especially here in California where my tanks occasionally have to ride out an earthquake.-Chuck> Thanks and regards. New 75 gal setup question, tank not lying flat on stand I have a recently set up top fin 75 gal tank and stand. One thing I noticed in the back is that the tank is not sitting exactly flush in the middle of the stand. <Yikes....> You could slide a paper between them barely, but this just highlights that it is not exactly flush at this point the exact center out about 10 in each direction. All the corners and front are flush. Is this ok? <No> Is it better to have foam between the tank and stand? <Ah, yes!> I have heard both sides and some manufacturers will tell you not to do this. Please advise. Thanks Will <All edges of the tank must lie flat/planar and level... All manufacturers I know of will NOT warranty their tanks if this is not provided on their stands. Bob Fenner> 

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

Tank Cabinet Was looking for some help. I was wondering if you could point me in the right direction for some DIY plans on building a cabinet for my tank. It is a 75 gallon, 48x18x20. I am looking to build a cabinet that would allow me to store a 20" tall sump, with enough room for me to access my Euro-reef cs61 skimmer. I searched your FAQs and have already checked OZREEF. Any other places for plans? <None right off hand... You can check FAMA's collections of "For What It's Worth"... go to a library, use a computer there to do a computer search for info... or have friends look over your drawn plans for making it... two by's likely... drilled and carriage bolted to allow you to disassemble... Easy to do. Bob Fenner> 

Will the Real (Good) Tank Stand Please Stand Up? Cheers Fellas, <John> I want to build a tank for a 370 Gallon acrylic aquarium. It will be a basic stand no veneer oak just 6"x6" beams, the aquarium is going into the wall. Would 6x6" beams be adequate enough to hold the weight of a 370G saltwater fish only aquarium. Thanks John <Definitely so... a few further comments... drilling, carriage bolts, washers, nuts would be the fastener route I would go... and I'd attach a good thickness (3/4" or better) of plywood on top of the uprights... and if 6 bys, space them every three feet... Bob Fenner> 

Tank stand Hi <Hello there> I was wondering if you could help me. I'm looking to make a stand to hold 2 tanks, 1 tank is 48long x 12deep x 18high inches while the other is 30x12x15 inches. I would like the larger tank to be on top. I was looking at building the stand out of wood probably 2x4 but I then heard some one talking about shelves. I think the water volume from the big tank would be too bigger pressure on a shelf, but thought I would ask for your opinion any way. <Mmm, could be built of wood, maybe with six or eight feet/uprights, instead of four at the corners... that is, two or four more supports under the lower shelf for the smaller tank> The area the stand would go is in an alcove so it could have support on 3 sides from the wall (brackets?), <Sturdy ones> I'm not plumbing the 2 tanks together. I've looked on loads of websites but can't find any diagrams or anything referring to a stand for 2 tanks. <Maybe take a look over the premier DIY aquarium site: ozreef.org Bob Fenner> Wrought iron stand; is this appropriate for 2nd floor with a 55 gallon tank? Hello Bob. <James> I picked up the tank. It was used and in good shape. However, the stand is iron with legs that the person says was designed for 2 55gal tanks. This may be true but with only 4 areas of concentrated weight distribution I wonder about using this stand on a second floor. <Me too> Now if the weight is actually distributed and countered by the frame it-self and the cross arms bolted on the back then perhaps this is another matter. <Yes> I (correctly or not) see this as (weight of stand + weight of empty tank + all of contents once full {LR, sand/gravel, water & fish}) all distributed on 4 points of contact with the floor rather than a wooden stand where the weight is distributed over the area of floor/carpet contact. I do like the stand as it will hold a smaller tank and a wet/dry filter with Bio Balls and other materials. Now, I was considering putting board under the tank and it will have to be shimmed as it is very visibly not level. This makes sense as the house is not level (all angles head toward street) from settling. <The board, shims is the best idea... the actual shims should be under the legs themselves... to allow the (piece of ply) wood to distribute the weight> Looks like I have some (more ; ) ) reading to do on the site in the tank section, however, I do not recall anything that was specific to a metal stand. <Not metal, but this is covered re all aquariums, stands> We got a digital camera. I will take some shots of my little 5 gallon as I am very proud of it. I would love for you to see what you have helped me create from your awesome book! <Please send your pix along as attachments, with explanations, descriptions for posting> I imagine once getting the issues of the new tank over it will be about 1-1.5 months before transferring my livestock into it. I am considering adding my tank water and filter bags once I have salt water. I am thinking of sticking with a FOWLR setup since my wife likes some non-reef friendly fish and this will also save a small fortune on lighting. As there is 55 gallons of capacity I may just mix the salt in the new tank at first... too much volume for my present aging setup to handle between fresh and salt mix containers. Dear God there are some hideous materials inside the fresh water containers that settle out over only a few days!  Sincerely, James Zimmer Garfield, NJ  <Bob F, in HI> Oceanic tank, actually stand, modification Hello Bob, Maybe you can help me? <Perhaps. Will try> I have an Oceanic stand for a 180g tank 72"x24". My skimmer is inch too tall to fit in it. <Under it> I noticed that the floor of the stand is solid (1.5" thick), if I cut out a roughly 40" x 18" rectangle <Don't do this> to set the sump down right on the floor then the skimmer, while in the sump, will fit beneath. Do you think that removing that much of the flooring (staying at least 2" inches from the back wall of the cabinet) will compromise its strength to hold the tank?  any thoughts would be helpful.  as always thank you for your help Stephen <I do think this is too much of a risk, would not do it. Look for a shorter skimmer... perhaps an Aqua-C unit... much better than compromising the stand structure. Bob Fenner> 

Leveling my tank Hi crew. I have a 135G glass tank and I checked to see how level the stand is by running my driver's license between the tank bottom and the top of the stand. <Good technique> There are a few spot where the license will fit through so I wanted to put Styrofoam underneath like the site suggests. My question is what size Styrofoam? Lowe's carries 1/2", 3/4", and 1". Which one would be best? <For this size tank, gapping, the half inch will do> Further more, will that solve the problem?  <Yes, very likely so> Thank you. Mike P.S. I have sent a diagram of my proposed setup twice now and haven't gotten a reply, but I think it could possibly be on my end.  <Mmm, we do have trouble (more rather than less as time goes by) with some emails, attachments... have asked our service provider re...> The file size is 1.67 MB. Is that too big for you to receive? <Maybe. Alternatively, please try sending to my personal address: fennerrobert@hotmail.com> I sent it with AOL first, then I used Picasa, a picture program. <A really neat program> Is there anything else I can do so you will get the diagram? Tanks! <Be chatting, Bob Fenner>

Leveling my tank, cont'd Hello again.  You recommended that I use 1/2" Styrofoam sheet to put between my 135G tank and stand due to the stand not being flat.  I have gotten it back onto the stand and it closed up most of the gaps, however there is still one corner that has a gap, probably 1-2 mm.  I am wondering if I should get a thicker piece of Styrofoam, or try to fill with tap water and see if it settles down and closes the gap.  What do you think would be the best way to go?  Thanks again.  Mike <Am feeling uncomfortable recommending a thicker piece here... I would shore up the stand (a wedge or two under the closer leg/s... and see if this brings the surface to level, planar. Bob Fenner>

Re: Leveling my tank, cont'd Bob, thank you for the reply.  I sent another message last night because I thought you had not gotten this one.  Sorry for that. <No worries. Did see this. We're running a bit behind... as usual> Also, my stand does not have legs, the bottom and top is 2X4's that are laying flat. <Mmm, well, there's got to be "some bottom" to the whole structure... this is what needs leveling, shimming> So the only way shims would work is if I put them directly under the tank which would mean that the tank would not be supported by the entire stand but rather just the shims. <No! As you know> Further more, then I don't understand how the Styrofoam would be effective.  Please help me, I am at a loss on how to remedy this.  Thanks. <The foam/base is good for a small amount of uneven-ness of the stand base... but not a good idea to rely on it for more than a few millimeters over a few feet run... The sealant, glass can "give" a bit, but not too much. Bob Fenner>

Finish Used on Wooden Cabinets and Hoods I am building a cabinet and hood for my 29 gal reef tank out of solid oak. <Nice> What sort of finish do you recommend for these items that is non-toxic to the inhabitants of the system? <I am a huge fan of polyurethanes... in whatever choice of "reflectivity" of finish> I was planning on a typical wood stain covered with an epoxy varnish, with just the epoxy varnish (no stain) inside the cabinet where the sump will be located. Do you have any thoughts/suggestions on this topic? <I do... what you have in mind will definitely work... render the wood waterproof, protect it from rotting, be chemically inert. Bob Fenner> 

Iron stand and leveling Hello,      I have a 55 gal tank on an iron stand. I just moved and it now sits on a concrete floor that is of course not level. I see so much online (including your wonderful site) about shimming. Though there are never any pictures of this process I imagine this entails using wedge-shaped wood under the stand--wood stands. <Yes... but the shims may be other material... sometimes metal shims are better> My iron stand's two front legs contact the floor with U-shaped iron bars. They are relatively thin. How would I go about shimming and/or leveling these?   <Mmm, sometimes... it's better to actually have a piece of plywood under all four feet and shim up this material... You can use the tank itself as a level... with just a bit of water to coat/make an even bit of water on the bottom... or a carpenter's level (again, on the tank itself, on the stand...)> Currently one side is 5/8 of an inch higher than the other. <Yeeikes!> It is completely level front to back.... Thanks. Lance <This is quite a bit of difference... glad you didn't try filling it yet. Bob Fenner> Nearly Flat Tank Stand - 07/09/05 Hello Crew! <<Howdy>> I love your site; it has helped me numerous times!   <<Glad we could be here <G>.>> I just purchased a 180G glass tank and built a stand for it. <<I love DIY.>> I purchased the straightest wood I could find, and surprisingly, the top surface of the finished product is near perfect in flatness.  Note the word NEAR. <<I did.>> If I put my straightedge along the surface I can see some light come through; I'm guessing there is a gap of a millimeter or less. <<Hmm...ok.>> Based on information I have found on your site, the consensus is that I should put some foam under the tank to ensure uniform contact with the stand. <<A popular solution, yes.>> So my questions are as follows: I bought some half-inch, pink insulating foam from my local HD, is this too thick? <<Possibly>> Secondly, there is a quarter-inch gap between the base of the tank and the bottom of the glass. Do I need to worry about any pressure on the bottom piece of glass as the foam squishes down? <<Excess pressure on the bottom as the edges settle is certainly a concern, but if the foam is "soft" there's probably little worry as it should compress nicely.  As your gap is so small... To allay your fears you might consider using the blue fan-fold foam insulation (also at HD) which is about 1/4" thick.>> Thanks again! Dave <<Regards, Eric R.>>

Building a Sturdy Tank Stand Hello! >Hi! I really do appreciate the open forum, and responsive answers that you provide! I have read several articles related to my question, but just wanted some more specific advice. >I'll do my best, but I'm not a contractor, nor do I have contracting experience. I just bought a new 125Gal Acrylic tank from Tenecor, and plan on putting it in my living room (main floor w/ basement below).   >Fun-fun! Based on the 10lbs/per gal rule, plus the weight of the aquarium/stand/live rock - I would guess that it is all going to weigh in the neighborhood of 1300-1400 lbs.   >Yep.  More specifically, salt water will weigh more on the order of 8.5lbs/gal, but it's far better to err on the side of caution. As I mentioned, there is a basement below, but the tank would be up against the outside (load bearing) wall.  The tank is 5ft long, and would sit perpendicular to the floor joists, and span 4 floor joists.  Do you believe that I have enough support?   >I'm a California girl...what's a basement?  J/K!  Again, I would prefer to err on the side of caution.  Would it impede your use of the basement to go ahead and place supports under the joists?  If not, then I say do it. Should I put some support poles from the basement floor to support the joists directly below the aquarium? >Again, yes, I would just to be safe.  I'd also go with 4x4's, not 2x's.  I'd use those construction joiners, those funky metal plate thingies...(Sheesh!  Listen to me...PETE!!  Someone, stop me from looking so silly... oops, too late!) Thanks again! Tim McLaren >You're very welcome!  Marina

Tank Stand Construction Hello Bob and Crew, Sorry to keep bothering you guys.  What can I say; if you weren't so good than I wouldn't keep bothering you.  I am currently in the planning stages of constructing a taller tank stand.  I haven't been completely satisfied with the schematics currently available, so I have created my own.  This stand will have to support 1800 lbs (I added 300 lbs in there for wiggle room).  It will be 61 inches long (tank is 60), 25 inches deep (tank is 24) and 34 inches tall.  I will be using 4 x 4s and a couple 2 x 4's.  I have attached the design (created in MS Paint).  Specifically, I would like to know 1). if it is a solid design, 2). What changes should be made, 3).  Whether the 28 inch access opening is too much for the top (2) 2 x 4s to handle (or if I could go up to 30 inches for an access opening), 4). I believe I built a lot of safety into this stand so would like to know if I can get away with pine construction or should use Poplar.   <Your design didn't come with your post, but let me just comment on these questions and make a suggestion for your design. I suggest framing the walls just like house framing, w/2X4 studs, top and bottom plates, California corners. (see any home improvement book). The only change would be to place the top plate 2X4's "on edge" to support spans (or use 2X6's for your opening span). I wouldn't put an aquarium on top of a 2X4 spanning 28". I would use 2X6's (on edge, *not flat*), built like a floor spanning the entire stand, and then 3/4" ply platform. With good framing the sheeting/cover serves to stiffen the structure and can be most any wood of your choice.> Please keep in mind this will be an acrylic aquarium and the entire top of the stand's frame will be covered in either 3/4" or 1" pressure treated plywood (suggestions on which I should use?). Thank you in advance for looking over these plans.  You guys rock...no, hold on...YOU GUYS ROCK!  Thanks, Mike <Make sure there is support across the frame to support the plywood full length and width. (Part of placing top plate on edge, as cross supports can be easily accommodated) Do NOT use pressure treated plywood, just paint regular ply with latex and use a 1" Styrofoam sheet on top of that to handle surface irregularities. I suggest ply for the sides as well for stiffness/strength. Hope this helps!  Craig>   

Acrylic Tank Stand Dear Bob, I just did a water test on a new 215 gallon (72' x 30' x 24' x ¾') tank. 24 hours later I discovered cracks in the tank. <Cracks? Where?> It is most likely caused by the uneven stand.  There is about a 1/8th variance from one end to the other on the long side. <A good idea to shore up the one short end, place a substantially thick piece of material like foam core (from Home Depot, Lowe's) under the entire bottom> Upon close examination, I see the stand takes all the weight of the tank on 6 2'x4' legs.  There are no beams spanning the entire length of the tank even though there is a ¾' board on top of the legs as a floor for the tank. My questions are: Is it true that even a small amount of uneven support can cause cracks in an acrylic aquarium? <In any aquarium, yes> Am I correct in saying that the stand I described is not constructed properly to support my acrylic aquarium? <Or the floor isn't> How can I correct for the problem? <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/tksstds.htm> Thank you in advance for your advise. John <You're welcome. Bob Fenner>

"Tanks, Stands & Covers for Marine Aquarium Systems" - 4/21/2003 To the crew: I just read the above titled page: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/tksstds.htm, and I have a question.  Under "Stands" you wrote of the terms "level" and "planar".  In the "Level" paragraph, you wrote "adjust with shimming legs/base of the stand". In the "Planar" paragraph, you seem to refer to the area between the stand and the aquarium being flat to each other.  No problem there.  My problem is this:  I had to shim the base of my stand, which now makes the tank water "level", but the area between the stand and the floor no longer "planar". <Mmm, not the space here (betwixt floor and stand) that needs to be planar, but tween the tank and stand> Am I missing something (related to the subject, please :)?  Isn't the shim causing a problem as well as solving one?  Are there special shims and I only have regular shims?  Thanks, Rich <Shims are shims to my understanding. But better that they be long/er and wide/r and non-compressible than not. Bob Fenner>

Stand building 6/2/03 Sir, I would like to know the load capacity of 2 10" wood I-beams they span 15 foot. I plan on placing a 72"x24" fish tank with everything it will weigh about 2500lbs.Thanks for any info you can give me. Glenn <alas, I have no idea here my friend. But to find it, I'm sure there are places on the web that list such data. Experiment with some keyword phrases on Google.com  I also recall seeing small handbooks at the local DIY stores and lumber yards that have such measures and data in them. If nothing else, this is a popular commercial aquarium size. Take a peek at the stands for sale in local aquarium shops and online- they are built frightfully modest yet still work. Build yours stronger and rest assured. Best regards, Anthony>

Re: Glenn's stand-building question Hi guys, I recently built a stand for a standard 90 gal tank with the help of a contractor friend, and learned some things that might be useful to Glenn or other would-be stand builders out there.  According to this contractor, an 8-foot-long 2x4 will support something like 7000 pounds in compression (shorten that to a 3' length of 2x4 and that number climbs dramatically).  A normal framing nail will support up to 150 pounds of shear (force perpendicular to the nail).  So these materials truly are overkill for this type of application.  This contractor had wanted to build a box out of 1x2's with 3/4" plywood on all sides.  The plywood would be screwed and glued, and would be the actual structure of the piece, responsible for bearing the weight.  He thought this would support much much more than my 90 gal.  I'm sure this would have worked great and been really easy to build, but I don't like the look of normal plywood, or the price of the finished stuff, so I used tongue-and-groove paneling (1x6) as the weight-bearing members, all held together by an interior frame of 1x3's.  1 1/4 and 1 3/4" screws hold everything together.  There is one feature of my stand that I just love, and that is a sliding "drawer" for my 30 gal sump to sit on.  The drawer sits on a set of heavy duty drawer slides rated for 150 pounds, and lets me slide the sump out for service instead of trying to squeeze myself into the stand to work on it. Just my 2 cents.  Thanks. Nick <Thank you for this. Will post for sharing. Bob Fenner>

- Leveling An Aquarium Stand and More! - Hello, <Hello to you, JasonC here...> 4 questions (for the price of 1.  Thanks for the patience from someone returning to the hobby.) Question 1: First, let me say I am very impressed with the web site.  The amount of information is staggering.  But, I can't find any info explaining how to level a tank and stand. <There will be after today!> I have a 125 gallon glass tank (72lx18wx23h) that will be setting on an oak stand. The stand will set on ceramic tile.  I am pretty certain the stand will not set completely flat on the tile, as most tile floors are not completely flat. The stand will be custom made by a local stand maker (I want a 31" opening for sump access.)  It's not an open stand with 4 corner posts.  The support will come from the walls of the stand which will be made from oak plywood.  Therefore, there are long edges that need to be supported by the floor. <Yeah... do this, obtain some shim-wood from the hardware store - this stuff is typically used for shims in doorways and windows during construction and remodeling. Then, put the tank on the stand in the intended location [don't forget to space away from the wall] and then put enough water in to cover the bottom, and raise the level just above the bottom frame of the tank - this will be your level. Then, find the low point and begin sliding in the shims, tapping into place lightly with a hammer. Work your way around the tank making sure to fill any spaces between the stand and the floor. Also make certain that you don't put the shims in so tight that you end up making the low corner into the high corner. Chances are good that you won't get it the first time, but be patient and you will be rewarded with a level tank - once your work is complete, use a utility knife with a sharp blade to trim the shims flush with the cabinet.> Question 2: My setup will be the 125 gallon FOWLR tank with a 1/2" to 1" fine sand bed and a 65 gallon refugium.  The refugium will have a DSB with critters, LR and macro-algae.  My question is:  In what order to I introduce the following items: a) Live rock into fish and refugium tanks b) Macro-algae into the refugium c) critters into the refugium d) Fish into the fish tank e) bottom-cleaners into the fish tank (stars, etc.) <In this order: A - B - C - E - D > Question 3: This may seem to be a simple question, but again I have not seen an answer. <No worries.> If the refugium contains macroalgae and sand-dwelling critters (amphipods, copepods, worms, etc.) does this tank need to be fed? <It won't hurt at the onset, especially if you're not feeding fish at the time.> If I add shrimp I know they would need to be fed, but what about the sand dwellers? <They all need some food - be very stingy with the food.> Question 4: My son would like a 29 gallon FW tank in his room (30lx12w), but the carpet in his room is plush. I'm trying to determine how to place the tank in the room without it falling over and having it remain level. One idea is to purchase leveling furniture legs and attach them to the stand.  This would let the 4 corners sink into the carpet to the concrete?  Does this sound like a good idea? <Well - the smaller the area of contact with the floor, the higher the pounds-per-square-inch in the contact area. I would think that once the tank is full, there will be enough weight to keep the whole thing steady - I've kept a 75 gallon tank on plush carpet before for years, no problem. Just no Tarzan games on the tank...> Thanks for a great site! Eric *** <Cheers, J -- >

- Getting a Larger Tank Stand - Dear Crew: <Hello, JasonC here...> Can I buy a bigger stand for my 55 gallon tank, currently 48x13?  I would like to get the stand meant for a 75/90 gallon, which is about 5" deeper.  To spread the weight I would attach 3/4" or 1" plywood over entire surface and lay my 55 on that. <This would work, but to make certain the platform is stable I would brace underneath with pieces of 2x4 and use the 1" plywood. Still the thought of this makes me nervous - I would try and test the set-up first before committing to this design.> This is mainly to get a bigger interior so I can buy a decent size standard sump without breaking the bank.  I mean, I could buy the stand for less than the price of a custom made sump to squeeze into my 55 gallon stand (10 1/2"). <Makes sense.> This, or course, would also allow me to get a bigger sump.  Thank you for your time.  Chris <Cheers, J -- >

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

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

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

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

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

Tank out of level, again Howdy, <Hi there> I've got a 38-gallon All-Glass marine tank that was purchased about 4 months ago to replace a 30-gallon that had a seam let go (luckily I arrived home apparently seconds after it happened and didn't lose a single critter).  Inspection revealed that the tank, although level when it had been set up, had slowly gone out of level (it's on a carpeted floor with a thick pad underneath the carpet).  I suspect this, combined with the fact that the tank was about 20 years old, was it's downfall. When I set up my 38 I was really super-paranoid about getting it level, and it was right on the dot.  Recently I've noticed that it no longer is. <Oh oh> It's not way way off yet, but I'm concerned after what happened before.  Anyone have any ideas (or experience) on how to level a fully-stocked tank?  I don't want to have to break it all down again!  I can drop the water level maybe by half for the process, it's actually holding about 26 - 27 gallons of water after the live rock and such is figured in.  Thanks for any advice you can give! -Mike Gorman <Please do take the time to empty the tank... this is the ONLY safe way to go about re-leveling it. Also, am curious as to what caused it to "go out of level"... If the cause is floor settling of some sort, I encourage you to place a thick enough (3/4" or more likely) piece of plywood under all feet of the stand/support to spread out the force/mass and shim this support in turn. Bob Fenner>

- Leveling the Tank - Hi, this is Mohammed again, and I am having a small problem with the tank not sitting level right now. I tried asking the question on the forum and took advice from many people and heard all sides of the story but I am still not convinced on which way to go! My stand is an "E" shape, i.e.. it has 3 parallel legs with the front of the tank sitting perpendicular to the three legs. My 80gal tank sits on the stand and there is a twist in the tank! the water level is 1/2" off on the back right side and 1/4" off on the front right side. I was given the advise of shimming the stand, and I did go and buy the shims, but they look very weak to me and I don't think they will hold ~1000lbs. So I would rather not do this if there is an easier and safer way to go. <In my opinion, this is the easiest and safest way to go... I've done this myself with a 180g tank and it works just fine. The weight is not such an issue.> I was also given the advice of using Styrofoam between the tank and the stand by many people, however the physics behind that does not make sense to me (even though it is the way I want to go because it is the cleanest and safest). Is it true that this works? <I've never tried this as a self-leveler, and I'm not convinced it would work. If the stand is not level, then the Styrofoam won't be level either... leaving us with a tank that's not level.> If there is a heavier side, and I put Styrofoam, wouldn't that same side sink/dip even more? <Is in line with what I'm thinking.> Please help me because I am a bit confused. <Use the shims, it will work and be plenty safe.> thanks Mohammed. <Cheers, J -- >

Fun With Foam... Hello WWM crew and Happy Friday! <Hey there! Scott F. with you on Saturday (better late than never, I guess)!> I am about to setup and fill with water my new 75 gallon AGA black plastic framed tank.  I wanted to add Styrofoam under the tank to help buffer any inconsistencies, while the stand appears to be plane and level, I am worried that even a slight inconsistency would eventually spell disaster.  Is this presumption correct? <It's a good premise to operate on. On the other hand, I think that you need not be overly concerned, if you are using a very thin layer of foam. Being soft material, it should conform to the weight of the tank and contents. However, do check with the tank manufacturer, just to be sure!> I bought pink construction Styrofoam sheets at my local HD, and my question is where does the Styrofoam go?  Clearly between the tank and the stand, but do I cut the foam so that it is flush with the black plastic frame?  Or do I cut so that the black plastic frame hangs over the foam, and the foam rests directly on the bottom glass? <That's what I would do, then you can trim the excess foam> I have cut it so that it is flush with the frame (so that the foam is exactly the same footprint of the tank, not a mm more), but I am not quite sure if this is right I appreciate your help here, as I am about to set this up and do not want a flood. James <Agreed. If I were to do this, I'd certainly do it the way that you did it. Again, just to be sure- check with the manufacturer> Well, James- I think that about covers this! (No pun intended)

How to level my tank. Hey all! <Hello> Just set up a 55 gallon freshwater tank. was keen to get going and I have realized that the tank is not level.  WAY not level.  I've been sitting with it for a while but it has to be fixed pronto.  The tank is sitting on a 1" piece of Styrofoam, but should I level the tank stand or can I level the tank with shims between the Styrofoam and the tank stand. Either way I have to drain the beast. <Mmm, first need to know the origin of the lack of level... is it the floor? The stand? Start from the bottom up... and level and make planar the entire floor and possibly (if it is not the root cause) the stand itself... don't rely on a piece of foam to even any unleveled surface. Bob Fenner> Thanks for your input. George Meldrum <Drain the tank... and level "all the floor" with one piece of wood under all legs... this can be shimmed between it and the floor.>

- Preparing the Floor - I had a 90 gallon oceanic bow front reef aquarium that experienced a leak in which I lost everything.  I am now preparing to go several sizes larger with a 215 gallon oceanic reef aquarium.  I am concerned about having another leak so I have been contemplating making changes on how I set up the tank.  One idea is to cut up a section of carpeting about two feet larger than the stand and place linoleum under it with a drain cut into the floor.  Another is to cut up the a section of carpeting, create a wooden pan that is slightly larger than the stand, waterproof it, cut a drain into it, and place the stand in it  Am I going overboard in trying to protect myself from a leak? <No... seems very sensible to me, especially if you were protecting hardwood floors.> How do other people setup the stand? <Certainly not with this amount of preparation - usually just goes on the floor and the water goes in. My bet is this is SOP 99% of the time.> I plan to place the new aquarium in the same place as the old one and it would have carpeting and carpet padding underneath it if I didn't do anything.  Any suggestions? <I like your idea of the containment vessel... would force the water to go down the drain, whereas the linoleum would only protect that one point in the floor, with the water seeking the lowest level in the floor which could be under other carpet.> Thanks Mark <Cheers, J -- > Looking for a stand I'm looking for a stand for a (standard) 55 gal. aquarium that I might be able to get in a henna cherry stain or similar coating whether it be a laminate.  Unfortunately I don't know of any companies specifically that manufacture aquarium stands.  My last aquarium stand (55 gal.) I needed I made myself and the one before that is actually a kitchen stand for a microwave.  I would make it myself but I'm looking for something that has a more polished appearance. Thank you for your help. Jeff Longmore <Take a look in your local "Yellow Pages" directories under "aquarium", "tropical"... and your local higher end fish stores... You may get lucky and have someone nearby who already makes custom tank stands... Otherwise, look under "carpenter", "cabinet-maker" and ask if they would undertake your project... OR consider taking "wood craft" classes and doing it yourself! Bob Fenner>

Aquarium unstable - please advise Hello All <Hi Barry> Thank you for taking the time to assist this newbie. I have read all your articles, but still cant find the answer to my problem. Been running tank(91x32x34) for 3 weeks, haven't started adding fish to my tropical tank yet. I've got a problem with vibrations from the traffic of people walking in the room causing water level movement. I have been told that it wont be too much of a problem for the fish (except that they may start hiding in the rockwork) but I am concerned about the stress to the glass from the weight of the shifting water. The floor consists of wooden floorboards. I include pictures. <Yikes... very VERY dangerous situation!> I tried putting a piece of wood under the stand and tried putting in another position in the same room, but that never helped. The current spot is great for viewing. I am considering getting a metal shelf manufactured or alternatively anchoring the stand to the wall, but don't know where to start. <I do. Drain this tank down... NOW, and nail or better screw a set of boards (likely one by's will do) around the base (outside) the tank stand (yes, into the floor)... AND shim up the legs/base of the stand to make sure it is level and planar. Please see here on WWM: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/tksstds.htm> What would you recommend to stabilize the tank and how do I go about doing it? I want a community tank, but I'm not sure which fish to get. Can you suggest non aggressive, active & a colorful mix of fish? thought of getting cardinal tetra. neon tetra. clown loach. platy. swordtail. clownfish does it make a difference if I get them all at once or should I get any specific hardy ones first to get the cycle started. already added Nutrafin cycle + aqua plus tap conditioner. Ph level is +- 6.5 at the moment. Any other advise would be greatly appreciated. Thank you soo much, I appreciate the help. Barry <No worries, concerns about what you want to place in this system, BUT real trouble with the tank as it is now... it could BURST and cause real damage, injury. Please do drain it down NOW and effect the repairs listed. Bob Fenner>

Tank and stand I have a 29 gallon wide tank that has been set up for about 2 years, and right after I first set the tank up I noticed a gap in between the center of the lengthwise section where the tank and stand meet. It's been in the back of my mind for a while and was wondering if I should do something about it. <I would... take the tank down (as in empty it as if you were moving... please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/movingaq.htm) and repair the stand (straighten it), and/or place material (like a cut sheet of plywood) under the entire bottom (edge) such that it is all coming in contact in the same way. Please read here re stands: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/tksstds.htm It's not uncommon for tanks in your situation to "crack" w/o any (further) apparent cause. Bob Fenner>

Tank Stand Help Me Crew! I built my own stand for a 120g tank (60x18x24) some months ago.  I was not ready for the tank at that time, so I had a 46 gallon bowfront on it up until last week when I bought the 120g for my pair of Oscars.   Well I have the tank on the stand, added the substrate, and excitedly am ready to fill when I notice that in the front only a foot on each end of the tank is solidly making contact with the top of the stand.  I can slip a piece of paper easily underneath everywhere else.  The back, however, seems to be touching except in a few spots.  All four corners are solid.    <Oh oh> The top of the stand was pieced together with leftover plywood (all cut from the same sheet) and I have done this several times on other stands without issue.  Is this really dangerous to fill the tank as is?  What are your best recommendations? <My only recommendation is to carefully empty the tank and insert something that will make all edges of the tank touch the stand equally. If the gap is small, perhaps inserting some closed cell Styrofoam sheet will do (available at Lowe's, Home Depot...). Leaving it as is, particularly if a glass tank, is asking for trouble... it may split a seam. Bob Fenner> Thanks as usual, Ryan Achenbach

- Sound Proofing the Stand - Hello people, <Hello, JasonC here...> I must give kudos for all your hard work answering the multitudes of questions you must receive daily.  I am planning a 120 gal reef tank with an approx. 40 gal sump.  I am planning to keep the tank in my bedroom, because this is where I spend most of my time (college student), and because there's no room anywhere else in the house.  I've read your responses to others with the same idea, and the collective "you" seems to feel that the noise could cause sleeping problems. <No one asked me... I've had numerous tanks in my bedroom and have never had a problem sleeping with the sound created by the mechanics of the tank. I've had much larger problems with sounds that came from the tank itself... like the first time I heard the clicking shrimp living there. Was like tiny gun shots in the night...> With this in mind, I am considering using soundproof Styrofoam panels on the insides of the stand, where the sump, pumps and skimmer will be located.  I'm going to assume that this will need to be replaced periodically due to degradation via salt buildup, will this decomposition cause problems for my tank (i.e. is Styrofoam toxic)? <I think the Styrofoam will degrade a long, long time after the stand itself does... the stuff is pretty durable and resistant to salt water. Petrochemicals would be a different story.> Secondly, I plan to paint the outside of the stand and the hood (also DIY) black, to focus viewer attention on the display tank.  I will of course search for a low-toxicity paint for this purpose, how do you feel about my painting the insides of the hood white, to reflect light and heat. <Sure, why not.> What if chips fall into the tank somehow? <Don't buy paint that will chip.> Lastly, I plan to light the inside of the sump, to allow for a small refugium and the propagation of algae to balance pH (lighting at times inverse to display tank).  Do you have any suggestions for this? <Uhh... suggestions about what? Should you do it? What types of lights to use? Will you be able to sleep with those lights on? I'm not sure which answer you are looking for.> The lighting inside the sump would be NO or VHO. <I would use normal fluorescent.> Thanks in advance! Quinn Kuiken <Cheers, J -- >

Floor support for 180G Hi WWM Crew, I just moved into a new (old) home and would like to take this opportunity to upgrade to a larger reef tank. I have my eyes set on a either a 180G tank but am concern about floor support. The house is about 55 years old with hardwood floor and I am not sure if it will support the weight. Are there any tests I can do prior to test the floor strength, or do you have any suggestions on how I could access if the floor is strong enough to hold the tank? <Yes... the use of equivalent (or greater) weights to replicate what the tank will weigh (likely close to a ton). Also I do have suggestions re spreading the weight under the system posted here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/tksstds.htm> I believe the tank will be sitting in parallel to the floor joists. My guess is the finished tank (with LR, sand and equipment) will weight over 2000 lbs (scary). <I agree. Bob Fenner> Thanks. Brian

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

Floor Support For a 180 Gallon Tank - 02/21/03 Hello, I too have a 180 gallon sitting on a hardwood floor that was made in the '30s-'40s.  The house is about 60+ years old with the floor below the 180 made up of I believe 2x8 joists.  I have my tank sitting atop these PERPENDICULAR to the floor joists so that there are a total of 4 2x8s under the length of the tank.  I don't think it would be a good idea to set the tank parallel with the floor joists because the tank would only be supported with 1 or 2 floor joists at the most and would be supported with the length of the wood which would not be as strong and would tend to bow down more with only 1or 2 joists instead of the 3or4 that would work best.  I also have a 60 gallon acrylic below the tank sitting on the stand also.  I am not a structural engineer but think someone would want to have as many joists under their extremely heavy tank as possible.  I figure that my setup including water, rock, tanks and stand along with skimmer and calcium reactor weighs close to 2300lbs or so.   The person that wrote in may want to rethink setting up the tank lengthwise parallel to the floor joists.  Just writing in with concern for my fellow hobbyists.  Thanks for the ear, Jeff <Thanks for writing in. I know one person who has a 180 gallon tank that is parallel to his floor joists -- he put 4x4s in his basement to shore up the floor beneath the tank. --Ananda>

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

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

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

Questions... Hi Again Bob, I'm writing with the hope that you can answer a couple of questions for me. Easy one first: do you have any horror stories about fish tanks falling through people's floors? We're having a house built, and I was thinking about having the floor in the family room reinforced for the weight of my 150 gal. tank. It'll cost about $1000, and I'd just like to know if you think that it's a necessary expense. <None of them falling through completely... think of ladies with high heels on... and the force per square inch... If you can shim, spread out the force/weight of the tank, making it level and planar, a "code" built floor should take the 3/4 ton or so... However, nothing wrong with calling in an engineer for a real opinion is probably a real good idea> Second question is a little more touchy. I recently started working at the LFS, so I could expand my knowledge base on the hobby (plus the employee discount is saving me a bundle ;) ). The other day, a guy came in and we started chatting a bit. It turns out that he'd purchased a nice 8" Naso Tang a couple of days earlier. During our conversation, it came out that he had this fish, along with a Miniatus grouper and a black Volitans lion imprisoned in a 55 gallon tank. I told him that his fish would quickly outgrow his tank, and asked if he was planning on getting a bigger system, and he said no. Since you have so much experience in the pet fish industry, I was hoping you could give me some insight as to how I can tactfully tell someone like this what an insensitive jerk they're being, without pissing them off. If it were my store, I'd probably just tell them, but the owner of this one is more interested in the bottom line than he is in his livestock's best interests. Any advice you might have would be helpful. Thanks a lot, Dan <<I do wish I could do "the Vulcan mind-meld" with you here... I recall (and borrow) the Zen adage, "be like the Sun, and let the goodness in you shine on others"... By working at the shop, albeit for ulterior motives (I don't doubt for a moment that you cherish your involvement in the living world as much as I), you have a great opportunity to share your love and knowledge of aquatics with others. Take heart in knowing this, and doing your best to educate and inspire our fellow hobbyists. Bob Fenner>>

Re-staining an aquarium stand. Hi Bob,  My wife wants to change the color of the stand my 75 gallon fish only tank is on. It is in the same room as my 55 reef that I have spoke to you about before.  Do you know of a good method or special stain or paint that the vapors would not hurt any of my livestock? I can remove the canopy and stain it at night. The stand is the only issue. I believe the stain would soak in without any sanding. Please advise if you have done anything like this. Thank you as always, Andrew <<I would turn off the "air entraining" devices and any air pumps during the first hour or so of this process... and do the staining on a nice warm day in the AM so you can leave windows, doors open... Then do look into the many low VOC (volatile organic compounds) water-based stains. Bob Fenner>>

To paint or not to paint Hey Bob  I am about to build a stand for my 105 gallon show tank. Heavy duty construction 2x4 and 4x4 framing and solid white oak covering and canopy. The question is : I was wanting to stain it and poly-urethane it. Is this a bad idea considering the possible flare up of fumes later on if the house was to get hot or the canopy was to get hot from the lights. And would salt creep really make it look worse after a while.  I think it would look good just sanded and treated but would look great stained and sealed. Any thoughts on the subject would be appreciated. Kevin Johnson <<I definitely would seal the top/canopy in any case... and polyurethane's are fine, as are Varathanes... and come in less glossy finishes nowadays... And lastly, there are parts for separating hot components from the wood itself... and simply Mylar type products to install inside that serve dual duty as reflectors of light, deflectors of heat... use them. Bob Fenner>>

Tank Stand Dear Robert, Thanks to your answer. Not sure if I would want to experiment with corals.... <Some small fragments, carefully placed, might well add interest...> I was wondering if you can enlighten me on this. My tank would be sitting on the ground floor of my apartment complex, knowing that it will be heavy... many people said that I would need to built a concrete platform about 2-3 inches of the ground to help distribute the weight of the tank and to prevent the floor from developing cracks, is that true? I have seen a couple of people doing it...... <Mmm, this apartment complex... the floor IS a concrete foundation? If not, I would definitely investigate more thoroughly what weight it can safely support, and if this is a very large system, be pouring a substantial footing (likely a couple of feet thick...) under the area where the tank will be going... Call a "structural engineering" company, pay to have someone come out, look over...> Also is it better to built a concrete tank stand? Will using hollow bricks be strong enough? Please advice <What size tank, of what construction? If very large, glass viewing panels, would have the stand fabricated of steel, powder-coated... If not too big, large (like 4 by 4") wood elements, carriage bolts... If a few hundred gallons, blocks can be used... with wood, Styro under the tank to make sure the bottom is level and planar. Please read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/tksstds.htm Bob Fenner> Thanks in advance, John

Stand Dear Rob, Thanks for your help! Here is another question: Can I do a stand in stainless steel that has been galvanized?  <Mmm, yes... if you can arrange for none of the galvanization to rust, drop into the systems water... A good idea to coat over this coating... perhaps with an epoxy paint.> What is galvanizing?  <A process for... use your search engine: "galvanizing"> My LFS uses them for his stands, seems to be working fine without any hint of rust. <Eventually... all ferrous materials oxidize/rust... it "never sleeps" as the saying goes> I am thinking of this route as wooden stand is rather too expensive. I heard that metal stands are good for really big tanks, mine will have a weight of 800kg/m2 <Mmm, please read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/tksstds.htm Bob Fenner> Thanks in advance, John

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

Floor Support for 75 Gallon? Dear Anthony, Steve, or Bob, <Hello Russ> Thanks for answering questions. As a soon-to-be reef keeper, I've found the articles and FAQ's on WWM invaluable! <Glad to hear/read so> I finally decided to go for the 75 gallon RR Oceanic tank over the 58 gallon (I think I'll be happier with the larger size). I estimate that the combined weight of water, LR, sand, and everything else will be about 900lbs. To support this weight, I built a beautiful DIY stand out of Douglas Fir 4x4 posts (3 in front, 3 in back) and 2x4's for the rectangular base and top. However, I neglected to think about if my floor could support the weight. Have you heard of 75 gallon aquariums crashing through floors before? <Yes... even smaller ones> My floor is constructed of 2x8's spaced 16 inches on center from each other and spanning 9 feet between load bearing walls. Consulting this chart at http://www.pathnet.org/publications/review.pdf (page 24, table 12), for 40psf[pounds per square foot] the max span allowed is 12 feet 1 inch (there is a plaster ceiling below). Since my span is only 9 feet, I think it's VERY safe to assume that each joist can support a minimum of 40psf. Now for the calculations: 900 lbs/ (19" x 49" for the base) = .9667 psi .9667 PSI x 144 sq inches/ 1 sq foot = 139.2 lbs/sq foot 139.2 / 40psf per joist = 3.48 joists THAT SHOULD BE COVERED by the base. <Yes... given/stipulated the mass/weight is distributed as such... i.e. per square foot> Since my stand is only 49" long, I'll only be able to cover three joists if I center it perfectly. Do you think it's worth putting 6-foot 2x4's flat wise under the front and back lengths of the tank, so that I'm sure to distribute the weight across 4 joists... OR, do you think the sub flooring will do a good enough job of distributing the weight to remote joists? Maybe I'm just worrying unnecessarily about this. Of course, I'll put the 75 gallon right against one of the load bearing walls... well, maybe w/eight inches or so away from the wall, so I can get behind the tank if needed. <Good to have some gap for working on filters, hoses, backgrounds... allowing for air movement to discount mildew growth...> What are your thoughts? Did I do the calculations right?  <Calc.s do look accurate> Are those flat wise 2x4's necessary? <IMO/E yes... perhaps a piece of plywood of sufficient thickness under the stand legs otherwise is better. Do count on shimming this as well. Bob Fenner> Awaiting you sage advice. Thanks! :) -Russ

Aquarium Stands Hello again, Just wondering what your recommendation was as to the best solid wood (i.e., poplar, oak, etc.) stand and canopy product line for aquariums. <Poplar is good for painting. Oak and Maple take stain well.> The All Glass Modern Series is nice, but you cannot mount a retrofit lighting kit in their hood, so they aren't going to cut it. What's your suggestion? <I would look at DIY sites such as http://www.ozreef.org/ Also, Oceanic makes a nice line of stand and canopies. You may get some good ideas from looking at their models.> Thanks, Ben <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Got Wood? Gentlemen: My 125G saltwater tank occupies a corner of our den. The tank is encased by maple wood that has lost its luster due to the contact with saltwater. Can you recommend a product that will improve the look of the wood without presenting any caustic problems for the fish? <Yes, my fave: Lemon Oil... really works well, and smells great> The local hardware store had a wood stain and a color stick; however, both products appeared to have toxic properties. Thanks, Mitch <Be chatting, Bob Fenner>

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