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FAQs about Stands, Supports for Aquariums: About Floors, Flooring Underneath

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

Spread the weight out... shim this support fully... test for level with the tank partly, wholly filled.

Tank/floor joist       12/1/19
Hey bob, crew.
<Hey Bobby>
Just seeking your opinion based on your experience.
<All I've got>
I am considering putting a standard 180 gallon tank on the main floor of a ranch.
At one time, about 10-12 years ago, a standard 90 gallon was in the spot I wish to put this 180.
Now the 90 is half the weight roughly, but also take up much less room (48 inches by 18), where the 180 (72 inches by 24) , so the 180 spreads the weight out over more area.
<Yes; GIVEN the stand itself has double the surface area. ON non-concrete/slab floors I like to place the support on a cut piece of plywood that touches all the stand itself... and check, shim the ply itself (w/ long shims) if all is not level AND planar>
A ranch home, built in the 50’s, the spot this tank would go (and where the 90 was) is up against a perimeter wall (load bearing), and the tank would be sitting perpendicular to the joists (2*10s)
Considering it held a 90 before, and would be up against a load bearing wall, perpendicular to the joists, would you feel confident it should hold?
<Mmm; would need to know more, check myself. IF you have a concern, DO have someone in the know (contractor, structural engineer...) come out and go over. IF there is space under where the tank is going, I would consider bracing there. This whole system will weigh about a ton>
It’s a finished basement down below, no real way to run post or reinforcements with jacks or posts without ruining a nice sitting area.
<Ahh, well... I might consider putting a big (make that huge) tank down in the basement!>
Thanks, Bobby
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Tank/floor joist      12/2/19

Thanks for the reply. Would love to put it downstairs, however a sharp 90 degree turn down the basement stairs limits that.
<Ahh, no other (outside) access?>
I will look to see if I can get somebody in to look at it, thanks again
<Cheers, BobF>

Uneven floor; stands, reading         4/21/16
Hi guys and girls.
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
<Never a bother. Please send a photo of the stand, floor. Bob Fenner>

Re: Uneven floor      4/23/16
Hi Bob,
I understand that I am supposed to put the stand on the plywood. Then between the plywood and the floor I use shims to make the piece of plywood level.
<Mmm; well; the ply AND the stand level. MEASURE the top of the stand itself... in two dimensions; on all surfaces>
The problem as far as I see it is that then areas of the plywood will be unsupported, and the shims mean there is less surface area to spread the weight over the floor. Or am I overcomplicating matters?
<Perhaps... IF the floor is not supported underneath evenly, I would attach the plywood to the stand (with screws); to ensure all moved as one unit>
I went and bought a piece of inch thick plywood today and some shims. So I am all set to go.
Can you confirm that what I have outlined is what I need to do?
<As stated>
Here is the picture of the floor that you requested. You can see the plywood leaning against the wall. It's hard to tell in the picture but the floor has a high point in the middle and a low point on each side.
<What is underneath this floor? HAVE you READ on WWM re?
The Stand is assembled so it would be hard to get a photo of the base. It's a solid piece of wood (guessing laminated chipboard) with several small clear plastic feet around the perimeter. It's an Aqua One tank if that helps. I've also attached pictures of the shims I bought because the store people had no idea what I meant. But I think I got the correct things.
As always, thank you for your help
<Dom? Please flip the stand over and send a pic.... Is it this one?
I might remove the plastic feet if so. BobF>

120 gallon tank on 2nd fl, stand and tank/weight on floor concern     4/9/13
Hi WWM crew,
<Hey Audra>
I have 4 - 10+ inch ID sharks housed in a 55 gallon aquarium. I am like many that did not do my homework when I bought these loveable fish but I love them and cared for 2 of them for the last 13 years, the other 2 for 6 years. They are happy, eating well and my tank parameters are excellent.  They are way over due for an upgraded tank but all I can maybe manage is a 120 gallon.
<... well, the "bigger the better">
The plan is to place the tank in my office, very low foot traffic, the floor is wood and covered with linoleum, against an outside wall and would cover 48.5 length x 24 inch deep. I live on the 2nd floor of a 100 year old house.
<Mmm, DO "spread out the weight" of this system at least... by placing a thick/ish piece of plywood under all legs of the stand, leveling same w/ long wedges to do the same>
 Right now, the room where they will go has 3 aquariums in it, which have been set up for well over a year: 2 - 30 gallons stacked on a double stand and a 40 breeder. These tanks will go if I move in the 120 tank.
What are your thoughts? Can I get away with adding such a large tank in this space?
<You should be able to... think on the weight per square inches, feet of humans standing on this floor... MUCH more than this tank per unit unit. I would have someone qualified look underneath the floor (crawl space) to check the supports... You may be advised to add a bit more here... or to move the tank a bit in one direction>
 I use to have 8 tanks running in this apartment but I've downgraded to 6. After I'm done upgrading all my tanks, I hope to just have 5, a 120,  (2) 55's, (1) 40 and a 30.
<Mmm, do take a read here for emphasis: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/aqstdfloors.htm
and the files above. Bob Fenner>

Question about weight 5/21/12
Hello WWM team,
<Hello Al>
I have (2) 30 gallon tanks on a double iron stand. The stand sits on ¾ in plywood on my carpeted floor. It's been set-up for the last 2 years against an outside wall (of the house).  Now, I'm planning to replace these tanks with (1) 55 gallon tank.
I live on the 2nd floor of an 80+ yr old house. The area where the tanks are is the most level area of the room, carpeted over hardwood floors. The floor does have a slope towards the middle of it and is perpendicular to where the tanks rest.  I'm nervous to have a 55 gallon tank on a carpeted floor; however, I will be placing plywood under this as well.
My question: Which is better in your opinion, the weight of the 55 gallon or the (2) stacked 30 gallon tanks on a floor like mine?
<The 55 would be better as the weight is distributed over a larger area.>
I do have renter's insurance so my landlord is ok with my set-ups. I have 8 tanks spread out in my apartment.
<Good to have renter's insurance.  Back in my early days of aquarium keeping, I had a 30 long split open on
a carpeted floor and I lived in a third floor apartment in a brand new complex.  Bad thing was is that I wasn't home when it happened.  I need say no more.>
Your thoughts?
<As above.  James (Salty Dog)>

30 gal tank on a radiant heat floor 2/17/12
<Hello Cyd>
We have a 30 gal glass Oceanic tank (12 x 36 x 15) on a wood stand and we are considering placing it in the center of a 13' span in our family room.
It is a new build with 2 x 10 joists on 16" centers.
The hitch in all this is the porcelain floor has wiring for radiant heat throughout.
We are planning on putting 2 support columns under 2 of the joists to carry the weight and prevent any sag that could crack the floor and thus damage the heating cables.
Any input regarding this amount of weight on such a floor would be greatly appreciated.
<I would contact the installers and/or manufacturer of the system for their advice before doing this. I personally do not see a problem providing the stand's legs are not sitting directly on a corner of a tile where it could chip from the weight.>
<Ditto. James (Salty Dog)>
Re 30 gal tank on a radiant heat floor 2/17/12

Thanks for your input.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

90 Gallon Reef Aquarium on a 2nd floor apt 12/21/11
<Hello Gregory>
I have been reviewing the site a lot, and have found a lot of good information, but I am still curious about my setup and would like some feedback to either make myself feel more comfortable or avoid an unfortunate mishap.
I have a 90 gallon reef tank 48 3/4" x 18 1/2" is the base measurement, and the tank is a 48" x 18" x 25"..I have it filled up with about 1" to 1 1/2" of crushed coral for the base and roughly 20 large pieces of base rock, with upwards to 25 frag size pieces. I live in a second floor apartment and have the tank positioned over an interior wall, the wall is continuous and goes down the basement floor, which is concrete.
<Sounds good so far>
The wall is constructed of 2x4's, and the floor joists are 2x8's (not true 2x8's) and run front to back to the tank or perpendicular, with 16 OC spacing.
I am curious if my apartment is going to crash in on my downstairs neighbor or not?
I am extremely worried especially since my 2 year daughter wont stop jumping right in front of the aquarium, because she sees "Nemo" in there and cant hold in the excitement.
<Heee! Tell her she can jump all she likes, you could not have positioned the tank any better than you have. 2 x 8's running perpendicular to the tank would hold a bigger tank than yours, especially if there is a wall underneath>
I look forward to your response!
<You have it Gregory. Of more concern to me would be the potential flooding of the downstairs flat during a power outage or accident. I would concentrate all your efforts on making the system as flood-proof as possible if you have not already done so!>
Re: 90 Gallon Reef Aquarium on a 2nd floor apt 12/24/11

Hello Simon, Thank you for you quick response!...
<No problem Gregory!>
I really appreciate it, I already feel better, however, I did just notice that the wall the tank is up against is not the exact wall that runs to the basement floor. After taking some measurements, It looks like the wall is about 1' to 2' in front of that basement wall. It is not directly above it nor is it tied into it. So, my tank is actually sitting out about 1.5' from that basement wall, is this something to be concerned about?....
<Not if you have it on 2 x 8 joists. With a 16 OC spacing you could do your best to ensure that the tank sits on four of the joists, not just three>
My next question for you Simon is, how do I prevent against flooding? I have two canister filters and a hang on the back protein skimmer.
<Oh. Do you need these canister filters? Most all of the filtration in your system should come from the live rock itself, really the canister filters should not be required at all. The skimmer is a problem, and the most likely to flood, but not during a power outage, more likely from overfilling/ leaking some time down the road.>
My UV sterilizer is in the out line of one of my canister filters. It seems the only access the water would have to get out would be through the filters, how do I set them up to prevent flooding during a power outage?
<Take them off line. Perhaps the UV as well. You could think about upgrading to a system with a sump. A large enough sump should collect all water in a power outage, and many things like skimmers, reactors can be placed inside so if they leak they just leak into the sump and not on the floor.>
Thank you Simon!
<No problem!>
I will watch Finding Nemo with my daughter tonight and tell her to go to town with the jumping!

65 Gallon On The 2nd Floor? -- 10/25/11
Well I finally got the 65 gallon tank that I was after! However, when I look at the tank, it's pretty large and when you calculate approx 8 pounds per gallon for a 65 gallon you end up with about 520 pounds (I know that water isn't really 8-lb per gallon but I like rounding up). Not to mention the tank, and stand and substrate +rocks decorations and hood! So let's put it at 800lbs total.
The tank is 4 ft long and width and height I still must measure.
<<What's pertinent here is the 'footprint' of the tank/stand>>
The house is about 20 years old and I am in the room above the kitchen, and my room is next to a wall that separates it from the bathroom, however the wall from the bathroom does not extend downward through the kitchen.
<<So not a load-bearing wall'¦>>
From my door to window (opposite sides of the room) is the direction the joist splices run...basically just don't want to wake up with a hole in my floor and 65 gallons of water in the kitchen....but will I be able to keep my 65gallon in my room on the 2nd floor?
<<Likely so, though placing the tank along an outside or otherwise load-bearing wall is best>>
I do have one wall that continuously runs all the way to the basement....
<<Then I would suggest placing the tank along this wall>>
I know there's a lot of information left out but was just wondering what you might advise....I'm really paranoid right now...
<<The 65g tank placed along a load-bearing wall should be just fine (have seen tanks twice this size re)'¦but for absolute peace of mind, I suggest you consult with a structural engineer (can be found in the phone book 'and will likely charge an hourly fee to come out and provide you with an assessment).

Tank Build 'Stand/Floor Support -- 09/15/11
I'm thinking of upgrading my tank and have a few questions I need clarified before going forward.
<<Let's see if I can be of assistance'¦>>
First of all I was looking at building my own stand.
I came across this DIY project and would like to know if this will hold a 90 to 120 gallon tank. DIY Oak Aquarium Cabinet, Do It Yourself Oak Aquarium Cabinet Its made of plywood not the 2 x 4s I have seen on a lot of other stands. Is this a safe sturdy design for that size tank?
<<Likely so'¦ The furniture-grade Oak plywood that would be used is very strong. As long as the joinery is sound, plywood could be used to support a very large system 'given the proper design>>
I have read on your site that there is not a problem with most floors and a 75 gallon tank.
<<As a general rule, yes>>
How about a 90 or 120.
<<Unless the structure is very old or otherwise damaged, this too should not be an issue 'assuming the tank will be placed near an exterior wall (the floors are generally stronger here). I have a friend who had a 120 on the second floor of his home for years, with no issue. But the house was also of fairly recent (less the 20 yrs. old) construction>>
I am working on pictures, measurements, etc., for a more detailed question,
<<Ah'¦very good>>
however, my technology is not cooperating right now. I currently have a 90 in an adjacent room with similar flooring joists. Is the 75 gallon about the limit of most floors?
<<No'¦but as indicated, much depends on the construction (size and spacing of the floor joists) and age of the structure. But if there is any doubt, the couple hundred bucks spent to have a structural engineer come in and take a look is well worth the peace of mind 'and is also of great assist 'should' something happen and you make an insurance claim. I have a 500g (en toto) system that runs perpendicular to the wall and is consequently, parallel with my floor joists. Having an engineer come out to inspect and approve (in writing) both my DIY stand and the added floor supports under the house was a huge comfort. Best $140.00 bucks spent on the whole system 'and a drop in the bucket by comparison [grin]>>
My current tank has a deep sand bed that is two years old. Reading in several places I have seen some use all the sand in a move and others use just the top layer. Should I just replace the sand bed?
<<Up to you'¦ But as a cost saving measure, you can save-off the top inch or so to 're-seed' the bed, and just rinse and re-use the remainder>>
I plan on reusing my live rock, skimmer, pumps, water, etc. How much of a cycle will that cause?
<<Likely not much, if any (do monitor closely)'¦especially if you rinse the bulk of the sand before reuse, rather than just transferring all which mixes layers/kills biota>>
The tank will be transferred into the new one all at once. I won't be able to leave my current tank up and running while changing to the new tank as I am using a lot of the equipment from the old to the new.
<<Is done all the time'¦ You should be fine, but do keep a close eye on things for a while 'and be ready with large water changes, if needed>>
As always thank you for your help.
<<A pleasure to share, as always'¦ EricR>>
Re: Tank Build 'Stand/Floor Support 9/19/11

Thanks Eric.
<<Quite welcome, Sarah>>
I decided to use the 2x4 frame. It will hold for sure and really is looking nice.
Now, the placement of the new tank. My current 90 is parallel with the joists and no problems for the last two years.
The new stand is quite a bit heavier. I have two places that I can put this tank. The placement I would like is about 4 feet from the outside wall and the joists run parallel to the tank. In this spot I will be able to plumb the sump into the basement in the future.
<<I see'¦>>
The other spot is perpendicular to the joists but in the center of the house. This is also where the steel beam is.
<<Ah'¦no problem then, I would estimate>>
I will not be able to add any supports down stairs because it is in the middle of a finished kitchen and bathroom in the basement. The joists are 16 inches apart and are 10x2. The house is 20 years old.
<<Additional support is likely not needed here>>
My husband does not think we will have a problem with the first placement
<<I would agree 'the modern construction coupled with the joist size should be able to handle this 'static' load 'in my humble opinion. I remember keeping 'tiered' 55g setups (110g en toto) in much older housing, several decades past>>
but never hurts to ask someone who has been in this hobby longer.
<<About 4-decades now [grin]'¦ Plenty of disasters in that time 'but no tanks through the floor!>>
What do you think?
<<I do not foresee a problem 'but do watch for excessive 'bounce' in the floor when you walk by the tank, once the system is in place. EricR>>

Can My Floor Support My Tank? -- 04/08/11
Good day to everyone in WWM!
<<Greetings Vince!>>
I live in the 3rd level of an apartment unit with concrete floor. The floor is about 5-6 inches thick (based on the thickness of our corridor floor outside). The apartment was built in 70s. I'm in Australia by the way where building codes are different from the US and I'm really not familiar with the Australian building codes.
<<If anything like here in the States, the codes can/do differ widely by state and county 'even city>>
I tried searching the internet regarding building codes in Australia but I can't really find a definite answer
<<Can be difficult to find and obtain 'sometimes requires the purchase of a pricy 'code book'>>
and hiring a structural engineer will really be my last resort.
<<But is your best/safest option 'and this is assuming the apartment complex itself 'allows' aquariums on anything but the ground floor>>
Currently, I have a 180-litre aquarium (about 50 gallon if my conversion is correct) but wanting to upgrade to a 425-litre (112 gallon) Will this be a problem? I read in one of the posts here that concrete floors can hold approximately 250 pounds psf.
<<That probably is a good 'general guide' for a static-load, but this is not a 'set' requirement 'the load bearing of a concrete floor will differ (sometimes by a wide margin) based on the 'minimum code' requirements for the particular structure type in a given location>>
Also, I am placing the aquarium in the corner where one of the walls is a load bearing wall (I'm assuming it is load bearing since it is the outer wall) and whether this will make a difference or not.
<<Placing the tank next to an outside wall is likely one of the stronger locations in the room, agreed>>
Would appreciate any helpful advice.
<<If the apartment rules allow, then it is likely safe to place this tank (Does the apartment allow waterbeds on upper floors? If so, this would be a clue as to the strength of the floors 'though 'not allowing' could simply be a water damage issue). But my opinion does not protect you if I am wrong. At the least, you should probably contact the local 'building permit office' and talk to a building inspector 'at best, contact/contract a structural engineer to take a look and advise. The couple-hundred bucks it will cost to do so will provide a wealth of assurance/peace of mind 'or at least a 'concrete' reason as to why it's not advised>>
<<Good luck mate'¦ EricR>>

Question about aquarium stand 12/6/10
I've been reading your site, but would really appreciate a little clarification with something..... I recently acquired a 75 gallon tank to replace my current 30 gal in a second floor room. Now, I've looked at the
floor plan and have placed the aquarium in a position where it is perpendicular to the floor joists and I'm assuming the floor will hold the tank (the 30 gal has been in the same spot with two bookshelves on either
side for years with no issue).
<A 75 will not have a problem either under any building code I am aware of in the US.>
My problem is with the stand; It is a metal stand, and I am very wary of placing this heavy set up on a 4 legged metal stand. According to your FAQ, this can be remedied by placing a piece of plywood under the stand to create a base to more evenly distribute the weight. My questions: How thick should the plywood be?
<1/2" will do, but I personally would go 3/4" to make the base a more solid, "whole" piece.>
Should I use shims, and if so, how many?
<However many and wherever it takes to level the tank. See:
Thanks for any help here!
<Welcome, Scott V.>

Tank Weight On Concrete Floor 8/14/10
Hello, WWM Crew:
<Hi Steve>
Thank you for this site and your efforts!
<You're welcome.>
I've read through your "FAQs about Stands, Supports for Aquariums: About Floors, Flooring Underneath" and I think I'm going to be OK, but I would certainly value your opinion.
This will be my first large tank setup.
I live on the 2nd floor of a 3-floor, 7 yr. old condo, constructed with concrete flooring - probably at least 4" thick, I'm told. I would like to setup a 120 gal. acrylic aquarium (48x24x24) against one wall: one wall
is load bearing, or, the other is app.. 3' out from a load bearing wall (a closet wall underneath the stairs). My wood stand is 51" x 26" (app.. 165lbs.) and rated for 2500 lbs. I may put a 5/8th sheet of plywood under the stand - couldn't hurt to help with leveling the setup?
I'm told that concrete can bear app.. 250 lbs. per sq. ft. - but I don't know at what thickness that is. "If" my thinking / math is correct and if I've learned anything from your site, I think my pad area can support app.. 2300 lbs. total: app.. 9.2 sq. ft. of stand base x 250 lbs. per sq. ft. = app. 2300 lbs. weight bearing. Allowing 10 lbs. per gal. I think the tank, stand and equipment might total. 1400 - 1500 lbs.
Does this sound correct to you?
<Mmm, close. The water alone should weigh somewhere near 900 pounds.
I would rest your fears, your floor should be more than capable of supporting that weight.>
Thanks again for helping.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Regards, Steve

Tank, weight, floor concern - 8/10/10
Hello all,
<Hello Brad>
I am in the process of setting up a 40 gallon breeder aquarium.
I have the tank sitting on a solid wood stand with double 2"x4"s running around the base. I have shimmed the stand using a 1"x4" at one end to make everything level. I was originally planning to use a 20 gallon refugium
below the tank but I am now thinking a 10 gallon fits better.
<Bigger is better, but you need to allow yourself room to manoeuvre. 10 gallons is ok for this size display>
In addition, I have a EV-120 skimmer and canister filter that add to the overall weight. I am a bit concerned about the weight. My building was built in 1966 (brick and concrete) and I live on the 10th floor.
The tank is sitting at the corner between an external wall and the wall between living room and bedroom. I am probably being paranoid, but should I worry about this punching through the floor?
<I would check to see what the floor is made of and find the joists if there are any. If you have wooden or chipboard flooring on top of joists then the tank will need to sit across two at least, preferably more, of them. If it is not, then the tank could easily sink, especially if you have a leak. If you have concrete flooring then you will be fine. I would be very careful re: setting up of this, research on WWM, make sure you have drilled holes etc. for the drains, as you could be liable for any water damage to the flat underneath.>
<No problem Brad>

Aquarium weight concerns 6/3/10
Hey Bob & WWM crew,
<Hi Josh>
As always I have scoured the net and WWM to find an answer, and I am now more thoroughly confused than ever. So, here's the long and the short of it. I own a 250 gallon hex aquarium. I built a solid 4ft X 3ft stand for
said aquarium. Wife wants it upstairs, yes upstairs in the bedroom. So, I've read a newer (within 10 years) home can hold 250lbs psf. Is this true?
By using the 10LB per gallon rule am right at 2500 lbs at 12 sq ft. Am I pushing it here?? Would you do it?
<You've got the weight of the aquarium right. Building codes vary from town to town, so it's hard to say what your house was built to support. It could be as low as 40lbs psf. Putting the tank on the second floor sounds like a bad idea to me. If you did do it, put it right next to a wall which has walls below it that go all the way down to the basement floor. Add a few columns in the room below the tank, and then in the room below that. Then, it might not ruin your house. Although, the columns would sure bother the wife. Why not put it in a common space though, so its beauty can be shared by more people?>
Thanks for all the help over the years.
<Hope this helps, Scott T.>

Tank V.S. Floor 5/13/10
Hey WWM,
I was wondering if anyone in your staff had experience with a large tank set-up in apartment buildings or anything that is not on the ground level.
<Oh yes>
I have recently purchased a tank with a surface area of 26"x48" there are about 100 lbs of live rocks, 100lbs of sand, 1010 gallons
<Mmm, no... unless this tank is amazingly tall... there are about 7.5 gallons per cubic foot, 231 cubic inches or so per gallon...>
of water + 30 gallons in the sump in acrylic tanks, a base that weighs about 130lbs. I'm estimating a weight of about 1500-2000lbs which will be dispersed over 8.5 or so sq ft meaning that each sqft should be able to safely hold a minimum of 250 lbs. I have a 55 gallon that, according to the same estimates is safely holding about 190lbs per square feet. My girlfriend and I are living on the 6th floor of an apartment building and she is scared that we would kill our downstairs neighbors (wouldn't be such a bad thing) and we live in a NYC building. I was wondering if anyone had any experience good/bad with similar (or larger) size tanks in apartments or if you had any advice on how I could safely test the strength of my floor.
<When, where in doubt, I'd check w/ your "super"... and spread out the weight w/ wood under all the legs... Read here:
and where you'll lead yourself via links>
On a related note, we currently have a tank with ich in it. it is a 55 gallon with only 1 lonely puffer (who is feeling much better lately). It has some live rock that is housing a lot of critters and about 60lbs of sand
that I'd like to move over to the other tank. I'm worried about bringing the parasites to the other tank, is there any logistical advice you can give me for making this move short of disposing all of my water,
re-curing/cleaning my live rocks and sand and keeping my puffer in another container until he is better?
<Mmm, yes... the "usual" quarantine procedures gone over here:
the first tray>
Thank you,
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

How to Calculate Max Weight Limit? 5/2/2010
<Hi Dennis.>
Thanks so much for the sound advice! I didn't think about the fasteners at all. I guess I have to choose between buying a smaller tank or getting a 100g aquarium stand. Reinforcing/bracing might not be feasible either, I assume?
<Not really feasible, plus it would detract form the appearance of the bookcase.>
Thanks again,
<My Pleasure.>

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

Floor Support Loading Questions: New tank setup Sorry, there will be math. 12/31/2009
<Hi Craig>
First off, I want to say how awesome your site has been for info.
<Thanks for the kind words.>
However, I've been unable to find any clear cut answer (or calculations) on a new aquarium set up I purchased.
<Hehehe. Not surprising. I've answered a few questions on this subject before, but every situation is slightly different.>
I purchased my first tank, dimensions 5' L x 1'6`` W x 2' H.
<About 112 gallons>
I've decided to do a brick stand with 2 solid oak platforms, 1 at the top (under the fishtank), and 1 at the bottom over the hardwood floor. In between the 2 wood platforms are 3 heavy brick pillars (lionshead rock - looks great!).
<Sounds like a nice setup. Do send pictures when you are finished, and perhaps a write-up on how you did it.>
The dimensions of the 2 wood platforms are: 5`3``L x 1`9``W (which will be on the floor).
<Hmm....I would make the platforms slightly larger, particularly the bottom one - see below.>
The total weight of all I calculated to this:
Tank water weight = 950 lbs (displaced rock)
Tank glass weight = 205 lbs
substrate, rock, pumps, etc weight = 200 lbs
<These numbers seem a bit high for the size of the tank. see below.>
brick and wood platform weight = 1650 lbs
<That heavy? How thick is the wood?!>
Therefore total weight = 3005 lbs (heavy!!!)
<Your numbers are off - you are actually higher than what it would actually be (Not including the stand) Your tank, is slightly less that 15 cubic feet of total capacity, but for simplicity, we will use 15:
The given weight for seawater is about 64.1 pounds per cubic foot, or for freshwater, 62.4 pounds per cubic foot. So for your tank filled with saltwater and nothing else, you would have 961.5 pounds of seawater Your rock, while it has weight, will displace a volume of water equal to its mass. - short answer is it will displace some of the water, but not exactly the same as the amount of space it occupies, because the rock is porous and will absorb a unknown quantity of water. Substrate is a bit easier to calculate, but again, it will also soak up water so it is not a true value.>
<Now, the reason I point all of this out is because while the basic math is very simple, there are too many variables to come up with a definitive answer, (Short of hauling it all to a truck stop and weighing it) So, we as hobbyists, have created our own little rule of thumb that usually winds up being pretty accurate:
Tank Weight, inclusive of the tank, all rock, substrate, and equipment = total capacity in gallons x 10 expressed in pounds.
So for your 112 gallon tank, inclusive of everything except the stand should weigh in somewhere around 1120 pounds.
Therefore, your tank and stand together should weigh in at about 2770 pounds.>
I calculate the surface area (or wood platform) to be approx 8.32 sqf.
<Hmm... slightly off here too 5'3" x 1'9" (5.25' x 1.75') = 9.1875 sq ft, round that up to 9.2 for simplicity If you made the stand 5'3" x 2' you would have 10.5 sqft.
Therefore the psf would be 361 psf.
<301 lb\sqft, if you made the stand 3 inches wider, it would be 264 lb\sqft>
I understand 40psf to be safe for a home over the entire room.
<Yes, for a standard living room, bedrooms and the like are usually at 30lb/sqft. The trick here is 40lb\sqft applies across the entire surface of the floor, so you can rule out a room sized aquarium.>
It will be on the first floor (above a crawlspace) and the south load bearing wall, perpendicular to the joists below.
The set up of the floor below is:
Joists are 2x8`s (true 2x8`s) with 16 OC. The span from load bearing wall to another load bearing point (it is a large beam that runs parallel with the load bearing wall, 2x10, supported by cinder block) is 8`. I will be able to place the aquarium and stand across 4 of these joists (which would bring each joist to bearing 751 lbs).
Is my floor strong enough. What are you thoughts. Thank you in advance, it`s starting to hurt me head lol.
<You've done everything right. I don't foresee a problem with the setup you describe. The only thing I would do differently would be to make the bottom platform larger than the upper to distribute the weight even further a minor increase in size can make a big difference in square footage:
5'3" x 1'9" = 9.1875 sq ft
5'3" x 2 = 10.5 sq ft
5'6" x 2'3" = 12.375 sq ft
PS, the stand will be cushioned to protect hardwood floor with a couple layers of `quiet walk` (typical used under laminate flooring).
<A good idea!>

Tank Weight, floor consideration 9/23/09
Long time reader first time writer. I have reviewed many of your emails regarding tank weight but am still unsure about what to do. I live on the second floor of a 30 year old apartment building. I currently have a 46 gallon bow front with a 15 gallon sump. Recently I acquired a 75 gallon tank with a 29 gallon sump. I was planning on selling the tank but have begun thinking about keeping it. The new tank would be placed in the same position as the old one which is against a load bearing wall with the floor joists running from the back to the front of the tank. The new tank is standard size (48x18) so it is 6 square feet. My old tank was roughly 4 square feet. Any thoughts on the floor supporting the weight would be greatly appreciated and thanks for all the information, it has been incredibly helpful over the past few years.
- Jon
<You should be okay here Jon... I'd place a piece of plywood under all the stand and shim along the entire front. Bob Fenner>

Re: Tank Weight -- 09/26/09
Mr. Fenner,
Thank you so much for the answer. I had one more quick question. I bought the tank I am planning on using (75 gallon) used online. The man who I purchased it from said he had been using it for the past three years.
<I can believe this>
The tank has a noticeable chip missing out of it (the guy said it has been like this since he has owned it). I have looked over some information online to try and determine if I need to be concerned but given the severity of what
would happen if the tank broke, I figured I should ask. Included are some pictures.
<I do think this tank will be okay. Please do see here re more:
and the linked files above in this series. Bob Fenner>

Wooden Tank Stands On Hardwood Floors -- 08/01/09
WWM Crew,
<<Hey Eric>>
Love the site - you guys are simply the best!
<<Thanks dude>>
I apologize if this question has been asked; however, I could not find a solid answer after searching your site.
My question is, should a 90 gallon reef tank sitting on solid oak flooring be elevated?
I heard from a reliable source that the wood needs to "breathe" and that the tank and stand should be slightly elevated off the wood flooring.
<<Did your source provide a reason/s for this?>>
Is this true?
<<Mmm'¦have seen hardwood flooring covered with all manner of materials. As far as this concerns the integrity of the wood flooring itself, I don't see a problem. If the floor 'finish' is in question some air flow under the stand can't be a bad thing (if only to speed evaporation from spills to prevent staining/spotting), but I can't say I have ever heard of anyone purposely 'elevating' a fish tank stand on a hardwood floor just to 'let the floor breathe' >>
I feel like the stand and tank would be fine placed directly on the floor.
<<As many hobbyists do'¦>>
I'm not worried about scratching; after all it will not be moving.
<<Not in the typical sense'¦but if it sits there for any length of time, I think it only logical to expect it to 'mark' the floor at the contact points'¦if only as a change in color to the finish at those spots>>
This tank would be on the first floor. There is a basement level below it and a third level above it. Overall weight is not an issue on this floor plan (I work with engineers and it checks out).
I understand specifics assist your judgment tremendously. The stand is made of wood (not sure what type), and the bottom is hollow. The perimeter of the stand matches the footprint of the tank, i.e., the stand is not a metal stand with four pressure points.
<<Ah yes, figured as much from the 'floor breathing' concern. It is also likely the vertical components of this stand extend a couple inches below the interior 'bottom' of the stand to serve as 'legs,' creating a small void space. If letting the floor 'breathe' is still a concern, a small hole or two (1/2'-3/4') centered in each 'leg' can provide some air circulation without jeopardizing structural integrity (you can consult your engineering friends for confirmation re placement of the holes). Obviously I'm making some assumptions here as you don't make mention'¦but this wooden stand is likely designed/built to provide support 'continuously' around its entire perimeter'¦and if elevated, will still have to be supported thusly. So, where does the 'breathing' come in to play I wonder'¦>>
Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated!
<<As long as you realize the tank and stand is like any other piece of heavy furniture (aside from the 'liquid' component), with subsequent 'marking' of the floor always a likelihood'¦elevated or not'¦I don't think you need do anything special re the hardwood flooring. But, it is up to you to weight the input from all sides and make the final decision>>
<<Regards'¦ EricR>>

Floor vs. aquarium Aquarium Setup. 7/23/2009
Hey guys.
<Hi Steve.>
My dream has finally come true...I am going to buy a house with the living room built over a slab.
This means I can finally upgrade my 55 gallon reef to a 150 gallon reef. Here is what I want to know:
Will the larger aquariums damage flooring over time?
<It depends on the flooring.>
It will be so heavy it might crush hardwood flooring.
<Not likely to crush it, denting, and water staining\warping are more likely.>
Is there anything I can put on the floor to help protect the floor?
<You can always cut a piece of plywood larger than the stand to better distribute the weight. You would obviously want a finished piece and stain\seal it to match the stand Additionally, you can put a raised lip around the edge to contain any spills.>
Is there a specific kind of flooring that I will need to use?
<None really, It really depends on how much potential for damage\staining\discoloration you are willing to accept:
Tile: Will not stain, will not discolor, can create leveling issues, depending on the tile.
Wood: Can be dented, stained, and subject to water damage.
Carpet: Potential for staining\water damage, pile crushing, color change vs. the rest of the carpet.>
<Personally, I'm a fan of tile. That said, I live in Florida, where tile is common, and cold floors aren't really an issue. A tile floor up north, in the middle of winter, is likely to be uncomfortable.>
Thanks guys
<My pleasure.>

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

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

Upgrading to larger tank and worried about placement 5/8/2009
Hi all,
I have read many, many posts on your website and find your site very helpful - so glad you're out here and even happier that I found you!!
<Thanks for the kind words.>
I am looking at upgrading from a 46 gallon bow front to a 75 gallon for my Parrot Cichlids. (I would be moving my other Cichlids from my 30 gallon into the 46 bow front and daughter has an instant upgrade from her 10 gallon to the 30 gallon and everyone is happy!) :0)
<Although a fairly big tank, 75 gallons isn't huge, and most decent floors should hold this weight without problems if you align the tank against a wall such that is crosses several joists (i.e., the joists running from the front to the back of the tank, rather than from left to right).>
My biggest concern has been where to place it. I have done so much research and have waxed and waned on my decision as to whether or not I need to reinforce the floor below in the basement or if it will be able to support the weight without any problems that, at this point, my head is swimming with all the different responses I've read website to website!!
(This has been a 2-month process so far and I've not gotten any further in a decision.)
<I see.>
My house is 10 years old. It is a side-by-side duplex. The main wall separating our units is constructed of cinder blocks in the basement.
(Actually, the whole basement is cinder blocks and cement flooring.) My unit is not wide but long and the joists run across the width of my house as opposed to the length. I know load bearing walls are best and that it should be placed perpendicular to the floor joists, which wouldn't be a problem.
There is a steel beam that runs the length of my basement supported by 4 metal poles midway through the width of the house. My 46 is currently on a wall in my living room that adjoins my bedroom but is over the metal beam
and I've had no problems. I would like to place the new aquarium along the adjoining wall of the duplex next door, which would be the opposite living room wall for the new aquarium. The aquarium would be 48 x 18 x 20.
What do you think? Do I need to reinforce the flooring in the basement or am I being overly cautious when it's really not necessary?
<My gut feeling is that the floor will hold this tank without problems.
It's not a huge tank, and I've not yet come across a 75 gallon tank falling through a floor! But I'm not a structural engineer, and I can't offer any guarantee. If in doubt, you really should get professional advice.>
As I am a renter, and will only be here another year (daughter going off to college and I'll be moving), I don't want to put a huge expense into reinforcing the flooring, but also don't want my new aquarium to go through the flooring or cause problems with the integrity of the construction of the house. I would truly appreciate any and all input.
<Ah, if you're moving soon, perhaps delay the purchase for the next twelve months? Something to be said for minimising the "stuff" in a house before moving. Since your daughter is leaving, perhaps she'd be better served
spending some time finding a good new home for her fish, so she has one less thing to worry about at college. Once you're settled someplace else, you'll have more flexibility with regard to siting your fish tank(s).>
Thanks you so much!
<Cheers, Neale.>

Proposed (240gal display + 160gal sump) FOWLR 4/17/09
Hello WWM Crew/ Scott,
<Hello Adriel, Scott V. with you.>
Could really use your help on this one. I'm planning a 240gal 8x2x2 FOWLR display tank with a 160gal sump + refugium to be placed below it. It would add up to about 400 gal of water roughly. I'm concerned about the impact of weight of the tank on the floor. I live in an apartment on the 6th floor,
concrete floors. I'm not too keen on killing my neighbors downstairs (good helpful family :-) ),
<Me neither, good neighbors are hard to come by!>
so I'd appreciate your invaluable opinion on whether the floor would be able to hold the weight? It would be placed next to a wall with a stand footprint of 8x2. Your help would be greatly appreciated!
<Well, I did send this along to an engineer friend of mine and we both agree. He gave me all these reasons why it is probably fine. But with life and death stuff like this probably just is not good enough! I do
strongly urge you to consult an engineer that can assess this with his own eyes.>
Thanks a ton... :-)

Tank Setup\Structural 3/1/2009 Hi <Hi Richard, Mike here> I have a 48x24x18 tank which i would like to put in my house. <90 gallon\340 liter tank> Problem is, where i want to sit it, it would be running along the joists and not across them as this would mean it would sit in front of the window. <If I am understanding you correctly, you need to put the tank parallel to the floor joists, and not perpendicular, because otherwise, you would have to set the tank in front of a window, which is never recommended.> Do you think this will be safe enough. <There are a few more facts that need to be taken into account - namely how far apart are your joists, are any of them supporting load bearing walls, and could any of them be steel rather than wood? Assuming a "worst case", on a 16" or 24" o.c. joist, the tank would be supported by two joists. Most floors are built for an approximate 40 lb/sq ft load. As the tank is 90 gallons, and a rule of thumb is 10 lbs\gallon or 900 pounds over eight square feet (48" x 24" = 112.5 lb\sq ft, you would probably have too much load on that section of floor without adding either an additional joist and\or blocking 2' - 4' on center between the joists. You would actually be in better shape if your floor joists were 24" on center as this would cover both the front and back edges of the tank. A quick Google search brought me to this page: http://www.managemyhome.com/mmh/answers/Answers.action#l4q112613 which goes into more depth. In any case, you should contact your home builder or your local building inspector for guidance.> <Mike>

Re: Trigger Flashing/ Goatfish Quarantine 12/18/08 Thanks again bob, Regarding the eminent overstocking issue... Is there one particular fish in this system that puts it over the edge? <Mmm, no... not one animal in particular> I'm guessing the Grouper <The Chromileptis will be the growth winner here... but is actually a pretty mellow Serranid for its size> or the Puffer (within the next year). We all have the tendency to default to the "future upgrade" justification... <Ah, well-stated> But, within the next few months, I have been given permission (for lack of a better word) to get a substantially larger system. <Heeee!> Ironically, from my girlfriend's perspective, this is not so much for the welfare of the fishes... Nope. We have a few unsightly scratches on the acrylic that are beyond my capability to buff out. If I'm going through the trouble of replacing... Might as well get a bigger one. <I like the way she thinks!> After all, what's the difference if we designate 5 feet of wall space or 8 feet? <Yeah! You don't need that couch! Or the TV for that matter if you have a fab tank> While we're on the subject, I notice that 300g seems to be about the largest tank available without having something custom made. <Yes, this is generally so> Typically 96" x 30" x 24", I think. The 240g is the same dimensions, less 6" in height... <Mmm, yes...> Do you think the extra 60g makes a significant difference? <Indeed it does... aesthetically, particularly if folks will be seeing the tank more often while standing, walking by, versus seated in the area... And maintenance wise, in terms of getting ones ding dang arms in and about... Though I have unusually long arms for my height (from carrying oceans of water about in buckets for most of my youth), I can't reach the bottom of such tanks AND see what I'm doing at the same time. Good to invest in some all-plastic tools for this...> I'm concerned with the weight issues here... I live in a duplex in Los Angeles, with a raised, wooden foundation. There is a small crawl space, accessible from outside. I rent. <Mmm, do think re getting underneath the floor, in this crawl space... putting in at least some 32 pound cinder blocks and wood shims... under the floor joists to the wall where this tank will go> Other than hiring a structural engineer and further investing in reinforcements, any suggestions? Strategically placed hydraulic floor jacks? <Mmm, likely just the blocks and shims... IF you owned the place, I might pour some footings... have done this digging... not hard if the ground isn't too bad... but takes a good long while with such restricted space> I was toying with the idea of using my 100G as a refugium... What's the ballpark weight on 340-400g total? <Mmm... about 7.8 pounds per gallon of seawater, and the tank itself... best to count on about ten pounds per gallon used... Filled half way, uh... 500 lbs.> Am I nuts? <If so, so am I... If nothing else, we can start a club> I'm hoping, with this size, to have your blessing to keep my existing fishes and add a few more. Any comments? <Am giving you my, arf, arf! Seal of Approval... am getting good at balancing a ball on my nose... Hey, where's my chunk of mackerel?> And, finally... The real reason I was writing... When you mention attempting to strike a balance with potential parasites, specifically crypt... I get that means, for the most part, maintaining water quality and boosting immune systems. But, I was also wondering if you were perhaps hinting at biological assistance... I would love to see a Cleaner Shrimp in action. <Mmm, too likely to be inhaled here... in pieces... by the Trigger, Puffer... all will have to get in line> I have enjoyed a You-Tube video of a Skunk Cleaner working a large Dogface. I know that nothing is etched in stone when it comes to compatibility... And I know that I would be playing Roulette with a $20 resident and/or snack... I guess I'm curios what my odds are... Thanks for everything. <Thank you, Bob Arf Fenner>

75 Gallon Tank Weight 11/04/2008 Greetings Crew! <<Good Morning Joe, Andrew today>> Thank you again for your tireless efforts! We're all in debt to you for the service you provide! <<Thanks>> My question today is in regards to tank weight and floor support. I have just purchased a 2 year old house and will be moving in shortly! Of course with any new house, it is imperative that one has a new aquatic system to proudly display in it! My system has been in the planning stages for over two years and I'm VERY excited that it is finally time to take action. As a truly conscientious aquarist, I am concerned about the weight of my system. The system will be a semi-custom Tenecor reef, 75 gallons with 60L X 16H x 18W as the dimensions. I've had the house looked over by a hired professional and asked the inspector if my desired location would support the weight of the tank, water, and rock. He informed me that the location would easily support 1000 lbs. without any issues. However, I wanted to check with the experts to confirm. The tank location will be on the 1st floor of this one story house. There is a basement underneath the location. I believe that the basement would be the ideal location due to better support and a cooler room temperature however, what's the point of a great aquarium that no one ever sees? The upstairs location will be toward the corner of the living room, directly against the outer south wall and about a foot from the outer east wall. No windows are close to the system. I figured this corner location would give the best support. Obviously, a clear answer is difficult to give without seeing the location. Given these facts, will this location support the weight of the tank for the long term? <<A filled 75 gallon tank of water, will weigh roughly 850lbs..So, add to that, say average 75lbs of live rock, average 75lbs of sand and your on about 1000lbs..If the structural engineer whom inspected this states that it will easily support 1000Lbs, this sound fine to me. I would expect that as long as the tank is next to a wall, and the tank is spread length wise across the rafters, all will be fine. >> Thanks again for your valuable advice! Joe <<Hope this helps Joe, thanks for the question. A Nixon>>

110 Tru-Vu...Plugging Holes/Floor support 10/23/08 Scott V., Thanks for the information...... <Welcome.> I patched the tank form the inside and its filled! <Ahh, good.> Currently its in my garage but the plan is to move it in the house as soon as all my supplies show up. Should I have the underside of the house beefed up for the weight? <Where is it going, what is the floor/support composed of?> I had a 55 gallon in here before but this is twice that size so I am concerned. Brian <Do write back with the info requested above.>
Re: 110 Tru-vu/Floor Integrity 10/27/08
The floor is post and beam with 1 1/2" tongue and groove with 3/4" oak floor over the top. I just installed the oak floor that's why I am so worried about bringing the tank inside. The tank would run the same direction as the tongue and groove and the only place I have to install it is along an interior wall in my office. That location is near an outside wall but not directly over a beam. The beams are on ten foot centers and the tank is five feet long. I hope that's enough information. <With what you describe I am concerned too. Are there any joists spanning between the beams? If not I would consult an engineer before moving ahead.> Thanks in advance! <Welcome, Scott V.>
Re: 110 Tru-vu/Floor Integrity 10/27/08
I am going to crawl down there and look...I will get back to you. You have been very helpful! Brian <Sounds good. Scott V.>

Questions About A 180 Gallon Tank Falling Through The Floor -- 08/25/08

(For this and all situations where a doubt exists'¦inspection by a qualified and licensed professional is always best) Dear WWM crew, <<Hello>> I own a 99 year old duplex that is in mint condition. I live on the 2nd floor and recently bought a 180 gallon tank and stand. <<Mmm'¦I'd be cautious here>> The weight of the tank filled is approximately 2175 lbs. the dimension of the base or the floor space that it takes up is 2ft in width and 6ft by length. I am worried that it could possibly fall through the floor. <<Me too>> I read a similar case of another person whom you chatted with and you said that if it is up to 150 you should be okay. You also said that 1500 lbs is okay. What about 2175lbs? <I don't know who here made these references or how they came by them, but I would not apply/rely on such generalizations. Building codes differ from one state/county/city to another so what may be considered a safe load in one place may well not be in another. Also, the fact that your home is 99yrs. old almost certainly means it is NOT up to current code re joist dimensions/spacing/static load bearing capacity. Any comment on whether or not your floor will support the tank would require detailed information on the structural make-up of the building to include lumber dimensions, span, method of attachment, etc'¦.even the species of wood used. If this were a ground-floor installation and you had access to a crawl space I could make some recommendations on how to brace the floor to support such a tank. And even then such advice is risky/no replacement for having a knowledgeable individual 'lay eyes' on the situation. But being a second-story installation'¦and in this instance for sure'¦it looks like you are limited to what the existing floor can carry. The best way to get that information is to shell out the couple hundred bucks it will take to get a structural engineer to come out and inspect the proposed tank location>> Since mine is 180, does it make a difference? <<It would appear so>> My house is an old German Victorian duplex that is in mint condition. The floor is level and seems sturdy. What are your thoughts? <<I very much recommend you not proceed with the tank installation before getting a licensed professional out to assess the house re. Should the inspection prove to be in your favor, just the peace of mind provided re is money well spent. If the inspection reveals the floor will not hold the tank, the money spent is cheap compared to the expense/aggravation/real possibilities for physical danger of forging ahead without knowing and the tank load proves too great for the floor>> Thank you <<Regards, EricR>>
Issues involving leveling and placement 2/27/08 Hi Bob, First off let me say Thank You. I have learned so much reading through your posts. You have unknowingly help me in so many ways. <Ahhh!> I have finally felt the need to write you cause I'm sort of at a loss and besides the 2 hang-ups, I would like to know how a pro like you thinks I'm doing. I have a 4 month old 10 gallon, 1 month old 44 gallon hex and just purchased a used 110 gallon saltwater tank all glass 1/2" (Marineland built 01') and standard pine stand (Perfecto) cost me $200. <Bargain> I plan to use this set-up for freshwater. It has two drilled holes in the back corners. I re-silicone in existing bulkheads and piped in 90 degree joints and ball levers to each (just one of the issue you've helped with). I plan on adding a Penn Plax 1200 canister filter to make use of the existing holes. I also will be placing a 48" weighted bubble wand down around some rock I will pick up at HD ( lava rock, slate, quartz, or onyx). I am using 2 or 3-50lb bags of pool filter sand as substrate, <Mmm, am not such a fan of this silica... hard to keep clean... doesn't do much biologically...> I have Cory Cats and an Elephant Nose that will appreciate it. <Is this the "flat" whitish shiny material? If so, Corydoras don't really like silicates> As far as decor goes I'm trying to recreate African river bed so some plants, rocks and petrified/driftwood will be it. My issue has been placing the tank. Right now I have it on my second floor Master Bedroom on hardwood flooring against the staircase wall which I've been told has doubled up floor beams along that wall, then another one 12" from that. So the tank being roughly 48x24x24 is sitting parallel with 3 floor beams. To my calculations that's like a Geo Metro being parked in a 4x2x2 space in my room once full....eeks. <Heeee! Not quite Geo> I could move it against the front wall of the house which is obviously a load bearing wall, my Hubby does not like this idea cause that is directly over our couch as opposed to it being over a hall closet like it is now. My 3rd option is I could bring it down stairs (which is still not concrete cause I have a basement) so the same issues would be present but more load bearing walls available. I don't really like that idea cause I have 3 tanks down there now and really want one in my room. I don't go in the basement at all so I don't want it down there. My thoughts on this is to just not worry people use water beds which carry much more water/wood weight and place them where ever they want. <Yes... but... note how the weight is "spread out"> Any thoughts? <Yes... I'd have that hub-ster make a piece of one piece plywood to put underneath all feet of the stand... to do the same spreading... Shim this up if the whole caboodle is not level> Other situation on hand.... I have used a playing card to check the leveling of the tank on the stand and on the front left side a 6" area and rear right back a 10" area at/around the corners I can pass the card straight through. What can I use to help this without lifting the tank off the stand? <I would lift all off... place a piece of compressible foam under... and the stand on the ply as above...> I ask cause I cannot pull the tank out of the stand without breaking at least one bulkhead seal, due to them being so close <Mmm, better to cut, put in a union for both now...> the back corners and inner wood frame of the stand would not allow it. Also the tank just sits on top the stand not fitting into a lip and their is no center support touching the tank at all except the one on the tank itself (the black trim which covers around the top bottom and a middle bar from front to back on both top and bottom) is that normal? <Yes... but I would put one in myself...> My 44 Hex has a lip is sits in on the stand. Should I break the seal and build a lip up around the stand? <Mmm, I would break the seal... but not put a lip... unless you live in an area subject to seismic activity> but then it would be virtually impossible to move the tank in or out of the stand. Do you think I should try adding the 1/4 foam board from HD? <Yes> If so do I just add a small piece where needed? or lay the whole board across the top (cutting out spaces for the plumbing of course)? <The latter> I attached a picture so you could see it. Thank You for your help in advance, Tammy W.-Upstate NY <Welcome. BobF, Southern Cal.>

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>

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>

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>

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>>

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

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>>

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>

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

- 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 -- >

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>

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

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>>

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

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