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FAQs about Stands, Supports for Aquariums: Leveling 1

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

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

I'd be cross-bracing... anchoring to the wall... at least!

Tank Stand Is Off-Level  11/18/08 Hello, <<Howdy>> My stand and thus aquarium is off 1/4" left to right and 1/8th inch front to back. <<Can be very bad if this tank is not sitting flat/planar thus>> It leans to the left and forward and is sitting on carpet with a cement foundation. <<I see'¦ This is quite common really, under these circumstances>> I have a standard 55g Perfecto tank on a solid wood stand that has a flat base sold by Marineland for a 55g tank. <<Okay>> I believe I do need to level the stand for safety and preventing cracks or leaks in the tank. <<Would be best, yes>> I can't seem to get a straight answer as to how to shim it. <<Hmm'¦ Should be pretty straight forward. But first I would ascertain that this tank sits flat (even though it may not be level right now) and that it does not rock about. If this is not the case then you will need to address this as part of your leveling issue. One way to do this is to place a piece of ¾� plywood on the floor where the tank will sit and then level the plywood. This is not quite as simple as it sounds as you will need to apply shims in a manner that will support the plywood well enough to keep it flat once the weight of the tank is placed on it. In extreme cases, you may find that you will either have to remove the carpet and pad under the tank; or if not an option, move it to another location altogether. But hopefully this case won't be too bad>> From reading your site I decided to get a 3/4" piece of plywood to use under the stand cut to its footprint. <<Great This will give you a much better substrate over the carpet, upon which to apply your shims under the tank stand>> That I have done and will put a coat of polyurethane over it. <<Or you could simply use a piece of exterior grade plywood. Though even if not, you likely don't need to coat this piece of plywood with Polyurethane unless you expect to be spilling a lot of water. But its all up to you>> I went to Lowe's and bought some wood shims used for windows and doors, they are made of cedar. <<Will work fine>> My uncertainty is to exactly how to shim between the plywood and stand. I read on your site you need to only shim the corners of the stand <<This is not necessarily true. Ill explain below>> as well as you need to make a base of some sort that accounts for the level while supporting the whole of the base. I'm not able to make a base like that. Not sure how to make it and if I could it would be really hard to get all the cuts exactly straight and level with all the other cuts to match up to evenly support the bottom of the stand. I'm a little confused. Can I shim just the corners where the load is born to level it? If so can I put the shims on the two low sides (being the left side and front) to level out the stand? Or do I need to put shims under all 4 sides and adjust the low ends higher with the shims to account for the shims put on the other sides? I am worried if I shim just the two low sides the other sides will just be resting on the edges of the stand and thus not enough material to support the weight and break those edges off. Do you understand what I am asking here? <<I do'¦ Okay, lets see if I can explain this so you will understand'¦ If the stand is designed to bear/transfer all the weight of the tank to the corners/legs, then yes, you can shim the corners/legs to level out the stand. If the stand is designed to bear the weight of the tank all around its perimeter (in other words, if the edges of all four sides rest on the floor and support the weight of the tank with no interior structural frame supporting the weight), then you will need to shim it all around its entire perimeter. This means either custom making long tapered shims to fill the gap/provide support along the entire length'¦ Or using many smaller shims, sized accordingly and spaced close together, to achieve the same effect>> Also if I shim this way and there is a space between the plywood and stand base is that ok, <<Only if the stand is meant to bear weight on the corners only as previously discussed>> isn't' the weight being put onto just the corners of the stand mostly? <<Indeed>> Have I left out any important details you need to know? <<Don't know, have you? >> I have been reading through your site and all over the internet as well as asking my local fish stores and I seem to be getting no certain answer. I'm at a standstill can you please help me? <<I'm trying'¦ I also need to make mention'¦ Once you have the stand leveled, utilize a long straightedge to ensure the top resting place for the tank is not racked and is still flat/planar so as to either provide even support around the perimeter of the tank if this is a glass tank'¦ Or under the entire bottom of the tank if this is an acrylic tank. Let me know if you need further clarification on anything. Regards, EricR>>

Re: Tank Stand Is Off-Level � 11/23/08 Hello EricR, <<Hi Mike>> Thanks for writing me back. <<Quite welcome>> I'm still a bit confused here. <<Okay>> First off I believe the top of my stand is flat/planar. The tank does not rock about. Is that all I need to do to figure that it is flat? <<You need to determine that the tank bottom is fully supported around its entire perimeter (glass tank) and the are no gaps re>> You mention shimming under the plywood, but I thought you are supposed to shim between the plywood and bottom of the stand. <<With carpet under the plywood this is probably easiest, yes. But do consider, if the plywood were flat and level, then the stand should sit flat and level>> Then just below this you tell me I should shim between the plywood and bottom of the stand. I'm confused. Am I misunderstanding you? <<These were presented as two methods of approach'¦ You decide which is easier/works best for your situation>> Also I'm not sure if my stand is designed to transfer all the weight to the corners/legs or if its designed to bear the weight around the perimeter as you mention. I'll describe my stand and I have attached a pic of it. <<I see the pic, but not much to discern re. A picture of the tank stands interior would be more telling>> It's a Marineland Prestige stand. It has a middle front panel that goes from the top to bottom base; which from the pic you can see as the recessed piece that the two doors rest against. <<Yes>> It's about 10" wide. The back is open except for a 4" wide piece in the middle that goes from the top to the bottom base. <<Okay these front and back panels are likely load-bearing, along with the corners, and will require consideration/support when shimming the stand to level>> You said that depending on how the stand carries the load the way I shim it will differ. Can you tell me which way my stand carries its load from this info? <<As just stated>> So can I shim this stand in the corners or do I need to go around the whole perimeter? <<Shim at the corners and under the front and back center-support panels>> Also do I need to shim just the two low sides or put shims under all sides and jack the lower sides up higher to account for the shims on the high sides? <<I would only shim those spots/areas need to bring the tank to level while providing even and full support>> Can you just kinda explain in a little more detail how I should shim based on the stand I have? <<Start with the lowest point'¦ Bring the stand to level'¦ Then make note of any /all gaps around the stand under the support points (corners and center-support panels) and fill these gaps with shims to provide the needed support without moving the stand off level again. And since the plywood/stand sits atop carpet, you should add a bit of weight to the stand while setting it to level the weight of the empty tank should serve. Once satisfied place the tank on the stand and slowly begin adding water while checking to make sure that the stand remains level>> After leveling the stand with the shims you say I need to take a straightedge to check if the top resting place for the tank is still flat/planar. <<Yes>> How do I check this with a straightedge? Just move it over the top to see if there are gaps under the edge and high areas? <<Since this looks to be a glass tank'¦ Lay the straightedge along all four of the stands top tank support rails and make sure there are no gaps along the length of the rail>> One more thing. Have you ever heard of the using of ammonia for fishless cycling drying out or hardening the silicone sealant inside the tank? <<I have not>> I resealed my tank with all-glass sealant, let it dry for about a month then, set it up and began fishless cycling. My first stand, which was old, used, and made of composite wood, began cracking after a month. I broke down this setup and bought this new stand. I've noticed that the silicone seems drier and harder than before I set it up. <<I'm afraid I have no idea what this may be'¦ Perhaps a fault in the Silastic itself'¦ I'll ask Bob, if he sees this, to comment re>><Mmm, I would not be (overly) concerned here... there are differences in "batches", cured properties of Silastics/Silicone Rubbers... that apparently have little to do with function. BobF> Thank You, Mike <<Good luck with your project. EricR>>

R2: Tank Stand Is Off-Level 12/05/08 I have one more question to ask you regarding this project. <<Ask away>> After closer inspection I found that the top of my stand (which is a solid top) is not completely flat. <<Mmm'¦>> It dips down a little on each side from the center (where there is a brace under the top center surface to where there is bracing underneath the top as well at the ends) to each end lengthwise. <<If this deflection is less than the height of the space between the bottom edge of the bottom trim and the underside of the glass bottom panel (still with me? [grin]) then you are fine. But, if this deflection is enough that the top center of the stand touches the bottom panel and creates a pressure point then you have a problem and should not use this stand>> So I guess I need something between the tank and stand to account for such discrepancies/gaps to fully support the entire perimeter of the bottom of the tank. <<That depends on how things stand in relation to my previous statements>> Can you tell me the best material to use for this? <<Not really without knowing more about the measured deflection of the top panel of the tank stand>> Should I use foam? <<Typically, yes>> What kind of foam? <<Most any rigid foam will do>> The blue firm foam used for the exterior of houses found at Lowe's which I have read about on here I believe; or the white Styrofoam typically found in packaging and what not (the stuff that looks like a bunch of small white clumps or balls glued/compressed together to create a sheet)? <<Either is fine>> What thickness should I use for my 55g tank? <<Again, this depends on the amount of deflection in the stand top panel>> There is a 1/2" difference between the plane of the bottom of the trim and the glass. <<Ahh'¦ So it is likely the bottom glass sits clear of the tank top panel>> So should it be no more than 1/2" thick so I don't have to worry about the foam pushing up on the bottom of the glass if the tank sinks deep into the foam? <<I wouldn't'¦ In fact since this stand top is not completely flat, I would probably use nothing at all for fear of creating the aforementioned pressure point>> Is 1/2" too thick, should I use 1/4" or 1/8" so there is no fear even if the tank for some reason compressed the foam all the way down were the trim rests on it? <<See my previous statement>> Or should I go for the 1/2" in case the stand ever bows slightly from shimming or settling over time in which the extra thickness would be useful to help take up any gaps caused by such. <<Absolutely not'¦ For the reason stated>> Are there pros/cons to thicker and thinner pieces of the same kind of foam? <<Generally whatever fits the space without much compression. But that's assuming a flat supporting surface which you state you do not have>> Should I cut the piece of foam to fit the top of the stand where there will be some foam hanging out past the tank trim or does it need to be completely flush with the edge of the trim? <<You could use the 1/8� thick foam cut to fit the top of the stand and thus have the bottom trim rest on top of this. Thicker foam (up to ½� in this case) would normally be cut to fit within the bottom trim and provide support to the glass bottom panel. But again, in this case I do not recommend the latter>> Is lets say 1/4" sticking out from around the tank perimeter good for expansion/contraction or settling of the foam that may take place, tank shifting, or what not so no worries of the edge of the tank hanging off the foam? <<Not sure I follow this>> Should I cut the foam so that it sits flush with the stand trim that hides the tank trim/bottom and then cut flush to the back edge to keep it from moving ever (nice and tight)? <<If using the 1/8� foam to support the tank en toto, yes>> Or does there need to be space between the edge of the foam and stand trim to keep tension/pressure off the trim of the stand and/or tank edge for expansion/contraction or settling that may occur? <<Not with your situation>> My stand has trim around the front and sides that hides the bottom trim so I don't need to worry about how it looks if there is extra foam sticking out from under the tank. Thank You, Mike. <<Mike'¦ Consider my responses, and if you need further clarification please write back with more detail about this deflection of the top panel of the tank stand. Regards, Eric Russell>>

R3: Tank Stand Is Off-Level � 12/07/08 Hi Eric, <<Hey Mike>> The stand top is almost completely flat. <<Ah!>> The gaps are pretty small. <<Very good>> The center and end areas are all even in height just the areas between the middle and ends dip down between 1 and 2 playing cards deep for about 6" to 8" mostly towards the back of the stand and less in the front. <<Oh, okay'¦ I misunderstood previously'¦>> I thought if there are gaps like this between the bottom tank trim and stand top foam should be used to give the tank trim even support around its perimeter. <<Indeed, if the gap is not too much'¦ In this instance I think you will be fine with utilizing the 1/8-inch foam cut to fit the top of the stand, supporting/filling in under the entire perimeter of the bottom trim>> In your response though you told me that since the top was not completely flat then I should use nothing under the tank for fear of creating pressure points. <<This was because I thought you meant the center of the top panel was higher, thus creating a peak in the middle. Which now as you explain, does not seem to be the case>> But I thought the whole reason for using foam under the tank was because of this and to help guard against creating pressure points in an unflat top? <<Mmm, not really'¦ The foam helps with VERY MINOR cushioning and/or gap filling, but will not provide structural support where the deflection in a tank stand is sufficient to cause excessive stress/failure of the tank>> Am I misunderstanding you? <<I think we both had some misunderstandings>> Which thickness foam do you recommend I use with this amount of deflection? 1/2", 1/4", or 1/8"? <<Any of the three really, but I would likely go with just the 1/8-inch (fitted as outlined)>> My question about using the thicker 1/2" in case the stand ever slightly bows over time and the top is less flat due to shimming or what not(which I've read about can happen); could the thickness give extra support or could take up deeper gaps I don't think you understood. <<If the stand bows/warps any more you will need to address this directly for reasons stated earlier re the lack of any real structural support provided by the foam>> Do you recommend the 1/2" for that reason or should I go for a thinner 1/4" or 1/8" thick foam? <<As stated>> Regardless of the thickness I use the foam will always be used to support the bottom trim of the tank not its glass bottom, I know that much. <<Good>> Also should I cut the foam to exactly match the footprint of the bottom tank trim or should it be cut slightly larger that the footprint (1/4" all around) so there's not a chance over time that the tank may find itself hanging over the side of the foam somewhere? <<I would cut it to match the top of the stand>> Or should I just cut the foam to fit the top of the stand completely flush with its back edge and front/sides trim pieces? <<This is what I would do, yes>> Does this matter at all which way I cut the foam to? <<Just make sure to fully support the entire perimeter of the tank>> I just thought if I cut the foam to fit flush with the stand trim and back and the weight off the full tank pressing down on the foam might expand the size of the foam and cause pressure against the trim pieces around the front/sides and thus transfer this force somehow back to the bottom of the tank making a problem. Know what I mean? <<I do'¦ Using the thinner foam (1/8-inch/1/4-inch) should alleviate this concern>> Should this be a concern if I cut the foam that way? <<Not a large one>> So should the blue foam from Lowe's work? <<Yes>> The stuff in the exterior insulation area, its pretty firm, can it be too firm? <<Nope'¦ It will be fine>> Heard anything bad about this kind of foam for this use? <<I have not'¦ And though my tank is acrylic and thus has differing considerations re stand design and tank support, this is what I utilized>> Thank You, Mike
<<Quite welcome. EricR>>

Image not reproduced... looks to be "others" property. RMF

Tank leveling Problem 10/30/08 I purchased a new Marineland Deep Dimension tank 200 gal 48x36x27H, as well as their oak stand and canopy. <Nice.> The front of the tank is level when set in place on stand . The floor was checked and is level from the front. I filled tank and added sand. The back of the tank from side to side is off level by about 1/8"( the bubble on level is 1/8 off). The water going into over flows is lower going into one skimmer by this 1/8". From back to front on both sides the tank is level(bubble on level is pretty much centered). Only the back as already mentioned is off by 1/8". Is this cause for concern? <1/8" is not much, but I would drain the tank and fix this. Sometimes it does not take much to cause trouble, the tank to fail.> Should I empty and remove sand and try to correct or is it safe as is? <You are at the point to do it now, may as well do it right. If you do not you will likely wish you had. See http://wetwebmedia.com/aqstdleveling.htm on the specifics how to fix this.> Thanks Mario <Welcome, Scott V.>

Re: Tank leveling Problem 10/31/08 Thanks for the quick response. <Happy to help out.> I called the manufacturer perfecto and they said as long as it is in the correct stand sitting properly it was not a problem. They don't recommend using foam or wood shims. Aqueon also said same thing when I called them for a second opinion. <I disagree, whether or not the tank was level will be one of the first questions should you ever seek warranty coverage.> If I decide to correct it anyway it is off by 4mm, could I use metal washers to bring up the lower side? <Hmm, no. This will create a pressure point, what you are trying to stay away from. Using long shims to distribute the load on the stand along with the foam between the stand and tank will keep any one point on the tank from being stressed excessively. Scott V.>

Re: Tank leveling Problem 11/1/08 Thanks again for your info. So shims 4 mm in thickness placed on the floor under the stand on the lower side will suffice? Wood shims sold in bundles at home depot? <These will work fine. Do get the longer ones, run it under as far as you can to support more of the stand. Have fun, Scott V.>

Re: Tank leveling Problem 11/2/08 Well Scott I just noticed something else that may be the cause of the problem. My wife put felt pads under each corner of stand to keep floor from being scratched while positioning tank. .It appears the side that is to high by the 4 mm is the side I still see the pads on. I got on floor with a light and don't see the pads any more on the other side . The pads may have come off on one side. I may be able to just have tank lifted and remove pads. This may solve the problem. <Ahh, the horrors of leveling!! This can be a pain at times. Hopefully this solves it. Scott V.>

Re: Tank leveling Problem 11/2/08 Hi Scott V., If you don't mind another stupid question-Why "tapered" to end? <The idea is to taper the shim/wood so that is supports as much of the stand as you can. From the lower end (thick end of the shim) on to the higher end. Of course this really will not apply if the stand is the type with feet.> Also by shimming the one side that is going to cause the rest of the stand to be slightly elevated off ground-correct? <Yes.> If so is that ok? <Many do this, it is better to avoid it if you can.>

Re: Tank leveling Problem 11/3/08 Hi Scott, Removed the felt pads and now off level by only 2mm. Is this OK? <2mm is fine, will be ok.> Thanks again Mario <Welcome, Scott V.>

Another Leveling Question 10/3/08 Hi Crew - <Tom> I have read through a lot of your articles on aquarium leveling. Thanks for this information and all the other great info you have on your site. <Welcome, happy to help.> I have another question for you and really am not sure if I should be worried or not. I just bought an all-glass pine stand and an all-glass 40 breeder tank. I have put gravel in the tank and filled it up with water. Everything is level as we speak. Water level is level side to side and front to back. The tank and stand are on a carpet, FYI. I do have a small concern though and was hoping to get your input. I tried sliding a piece of paper between the tank and the stand to make sure that is ok. I could not squeeze the paper through for the most part. Except for one side area (back front and other side ok). One of the sides I can slide 1 sheet of paper between the tank and the stand for about half of it 8" or so. When I try 2 sheets of paper, I can't. The driver's license test passes. Does this sound like it could be an issue to you? Please let me know if I should be worried. FYI - By looking at the article that starts with the title "Tank Level 8/11/05" I am not worried, but looking further down I saw the article "New 75 gal setup question, tank not lying flat on stand" makes me worry a little bit. Any info you could give me would be appreciated. <This in all likelihood will be fine. The tank will settle into the stand just a little bit anyhow, closing this small of a gap. However, I do recommend that you do set this tank (or just about any tank) on a piece of Styrofoam. Even just a 1/16' piece will fill/support the gap and compress to the point that it will not really be visually noticeable between the tank and the stand. Using the foam is just good practice and worth the effort, wood stands are very rarely perfectly level or planar.> Thanks again, Tom <Welcome, have fun, Scott V.>
Re: Hi - Another Leveling Question
Thanks for the info Scott V. I appreciate it. <Welcome Tom, talk soon.>
Re: Another Leveling Question 10/3/08
Yes. I sent a note to Aqueon about this also. I will let you know what they tell me. <Ah, yes. Please do. Scott V.> Thanks again, Tom

Tank Level? 9/12/08 Hi Crew, <Dave> I'm in the process of exchanging my 120 gallon tank because the original developed a compression fracture in the lower front corner of the left side pane. <Geez, that stinks.> The tank was on an Oceanic Tech stand (flat board bottom), which was shimmed with many many composite shims around the entire perimeter to level the water level. The front left corner had the greatest thickness of shim because it was the low corner before the shimming. Given the location of the compression fracture, and that the stand's top seems perfectly flat, I think that the shimming is what resulted in the fracture! Maybe the shims stressed the stand a little bit? <If the bottom of the stand is not sufficiently rigid with the shims creating too much of a pressure point, it could.> Now, the new tank is on its way and I rechecked the level of the stand again without shims, and it's off 3.5 mm front to back, and 6.5 mm side to side over the 4 foot length. As before, the low corner is the front left, while the right rear is the high one. Now, l'm hesitating about shimming again. I have read everything on the site about shimming aquarium stands and feel I had done it "by the book" the first time. Given that the aquarium is 25 inches tall, it's hard to believe that a little over 6 mm (1/4 inch) is significant. <It is, the forces put on the glass are on a slightly different plane. Also do not assume that the floor, even if unlevel, is planar.> Should I shim again, or let her be? <Definitely shim, you need this tank to be level. The best technique is to place the whole stand on a piece of plywood (even with the flat bottom) and cut your own shims long, running as along as much of the perimeter you can, minimizing any gap. Also, do set a piece of Styrofoam between the stand and tank. This will accommodate a bit of unevenness in the stand. Do check the tank with water for level after all this is done, things can shift depending on the flooring.> Looking for some guidance, especially given past experience. Thanks very much, Sincerely,
<Welcome, Scott V.>

Flooring is equally unlevel; is this OK? -09/03/08 Good evening and thank you for any help or suggestions you may have. I have read through your site and could not find anything on floor leveling as it pertains to my situation. I built my own stand and built it oversized it measures 49" x 27" x 30" with added supports at the rear, 18", 24" and front depths. My current tanks is an AGA 90 gallon, so it sits at the 18" depth support. <...?> The stand is built to take the weight, my concern is the floor I put the tank and stand on slopes down toward the middle of the room. <... danger> So now the entire stand and tank are off level front to back equally on both left and right sides about 1/4". <Too much> So it is as if the tank and stand were both leaning forward at about 1/4". Is that ok? <No> since it is not top heavy, as with a stand of the exact same size as the tank, is it ok for a tank to lean forward a bit? <Not this much.> Well a bit more than a bit. Everything else is level and the tank is on 1" Styrofoam. Let me know what you think and thanks again for all the help and for such an informative web site. Kudos to all. John <Needs to be level AND planar... see WWM: http://wetwebmedia.com/aqstands.htm and the linked files above. The present situation is extremely dangerous... the uneven force could result in a catastrophic failure here, even possible death should the tank fail with someone near it. I would empty and fix... NOW. Bob Fenner>
Re: Flooring is equally unlevel; is this OK? 09/04/2008 Bob Thank you for responding so quickly. I attached pictures of the stand so you can see that the stand is one solid piece and not on legs. There is both inside support as well as outside support, the flutes on both sides are actually built like a box out of 4x4 and then attached to the side of the inside supports. When you say failure; are we talking about the tank glass failing or the stand or both? <The glass> I won't be able to drain the tank until the weekend so now I am, obviously, very concerned. Thank you again for your help and such an informative site. John <Glad to conspire with you John. Bob Fenner>
75g Oceanic stand and leveling feet 8/19/08 Hey there, <Mike> I'm in process of moving all my tanks over to the basement in my new house (well, new to me!). <Congrats> I've been able to level all my smaller tanks with wood shims, but I doubt this will work on the 75g Oceanic stand as the weight is distributed throughout the whole base. What do you feel about using 4 to 6 leveling feet in lieu of using shims? I just don't feel comfortable with using shims in this situation. <While the feet will work, the shims will be more stable/supportive over time, less bowing and the such. You want to cut a long tapered wedge that fills the gap over a long run rather than a small shim that supports just one point on the stand. It may take a bit of time, but will leave you with a very solid base for your system.> Thanks, Mike <Welcome, Scott V.>

Tank level, making it so 08/04/2008 I recently built a stand for a 180 gallon tank. There is a slab of concrete directly on the floor then a 3/4" sheet of foam. The stand is on top of that with another 3/4" sheet of foam between the wood and tank. The tank is about 1/16"-1/8" out of level from left to right, and it is about 3/16" out of level from front to back. The tank is now full of water. Should I drain it and try to shim the back two corners? Thanks-Alex <<I would personally drain and get the tank on the correct level. Best off starting the right way, and saves any potential wet floors in the future. The use of good wooden shims/chocks will easily sort this out. Hope this helps. A Nixon>>

Tank Leveling Help 6/2/08 Hello! <Hello Christine!> I am in the process of setting up a 55 gallon tank, but after preparing the water, I noticed the tank was not level. I believe the difference is about 1/2 inch, which the front being lower than the back. <Yikes, that's quite a bit!> The tank is sitting on carpet and I've read on your site that it may need a piece of wood underneath or shimming, but I am not really understanding the process. <Ideally one continuous piece (such as a sheet of ¾" plywood) placed under the stand. You will then shim between the plywood and the floor. The longer the shims and the more of the plywood you support the better.> At this point, would I be able to save the salt water I already mixed up that's already in the tank or do I have to start over and lose this money already invested? <No, you will just need something to put the water into while you work on the tank. A big trash can or Rubbermaid bin will do fine and you will find it helpful to have anyhow.> I am helping my 15 year old son and he is very excited about having this new hobby, so I really would appreciate your help in explaining how to fix this problem. Thank you so much! Christine <Welcome, good luck, Scott V.>

Tank leveling issue 5/28/2008 Great website, I'm impressed with the expertise and its content. My problem is with leveling my tanks. I live on the 2nd floor of a very old 3 family house and the floors are not level (go figure). <Yes> I have (3) 30 gallon tanks. Tank One is a hexagon with wood stand, water level off by about 1/4" on one front side; Tank Two is a 30L with a wrought iron stand (to be upgraded to a AGA pine stand), water level off by 1/8" from one front side; and Tank Three is a new 30L yet to be set-up on an AGA pine stand, water level is at 1" on left when compared to the level on the right at 5/16" from the tank frame. <I see> Tank One and Two are in the living room on a carpeted wood floor. However, they are located in by the outside wall facing the back of the house, about 1.5' - 2 ' apart. I have had no problems in the 5 yrs they have been set-up but I'm still concerned about the water levels. Tank Three is in a bedroom, in a corner by a front window, the floors are wood. The tank is full now with water only to test for leaks. I could use your advice on my level situation. What do I ask for at Lowe's or Home Depot to fix my problem? Al <If these were mine, the house as well, I'd fashion a piece of plywood to go under all four legs each... and shim this in turn up with longish strips of (perhaps pre-cut) wood or plastic (you'll see these sold in a packet)... The cut pieces of ply will spread out a good deal of the force over the underlying floorboard supports. Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/aqstdleveling.htm and the linked Article above on Stands. Bob Fenner>

Re: Tank leveling issue Hi Bob, Thank you for the quick response. <Welcome Al> I'm having an issue with Tank Three. The 30L tank is full (water only) but I can slide paper back and forth under the middle of the tank, but not on the corners. Is this tank defective and should I return it? Al <Not at all likely the tank itself is defective... If this gap is small, some "settling" material under is what I would do. Read where you were referred re. BobF>

Tank leveling issue - Part 2 6/4/08 Hello Crew, <Hello Al.> Previously I wrote that I had a new AGA 30G tank to set-up with water levels at 5/16" from the top on the left front side, to 1" on the right front side. Per your website advice, I went to get a sheet of ¾' plywood (sized to my AGA stand) to level the tank on my uneven wood floor. The guy at the store insisted I use ½' plywood instead and shim as needed. Is the ½ plywood okay for my situation or should I have bought ¾' plywood? <For a 30 gal ½' will workout fine.> We went back and forth on this for a good 15 minutes. I had bought an extra ½' sheet for another tank set-up. Should I use both under this one tank to get the proper thickness? <I would not.> Without shims and using the ½' plywood, the water is level from back to front. From left to right the level is just under 1/8' off, and within the bubble on my carpenter level but favoring one side. Is this ok? <I would go ahead and shim to correct this, you have gone this far already.> I'm still concerned about the space under the middle of the plywood. The plywood corners are directly flush to the floor, but not in the middle, there is space. What can I do about this? <That is a common issue with some plywood, it is not planar itself! It sounds like you have a bowed piece, flip it over. The weight of the tank will flatten it out.> Al <Good luck, Scott V.>

Aquarium Stand Leveling Mat -- 05/06/08 Robert, Anthony, All; <<Eric here'¦Bob is still about, of course'¦but Anthony has moved on to other endeavors>> Have not chatted in a while and hope you are all well. <<Speaking for myself, yes'¦thank you>> Getting ready to install another 75g tank with all the 'wisdom' from the years :) <<Excellent>> Question: 75g AGA-MF glass tank. Oak stand appears level to all my checking. <<Okay>> However, it will be going onto carpet and against a wall. <<Mmm'¦I see>> Previous aquariums there needed to have slight shim in front. <<Indeed'¦the carpet 'tack-strip' tends to create a bit of a 'rise' along the walls>> This is something wifey say "No" to now. <<Hmm'¦may have no choice, mate>> So, I was hoping to utilize something akin to a 1/8" exercise mat, either blown poly or high density rubber. <<This won't 'fix' the problem with the ridge along the wall'¦and I don't recommend adding another layer of padding on top of an already padded carpet, anyway>> I would probably glue/affix Pergo to the top to ensure that it leveled as 'a whole' and not just one corner, which would stress the cabinet more than the tank. Almost like a floating wood floor area on carpet. <<This thin laminate flooring will not have enough structural strength/integrity to be of use. You need to use a single piece of ¾'or thicker plywood sheeting'¦and even then, this will require 'shimming' along the front if placed close to the wall>> Your thoughts? <<I understand your dilemma concerning the Mrs.'¦but I feel your current plan will not work. You can't 'float' a 75g tank and stand on top of carpet. I think your best option is to utilize a piece of plywood as explained, with dimensions matching that of the tank stands base, to provide a solid support under the tank. And yes, if this is placed close to the wall, or if the floor is just not flat and level in general'¦you 'will' have to shim>> Thanks much! <<Happy to share. EricR>>

Re: Aquarium Stand Leveling Mat -- 05/06/08 Eric, <<Hello (?)>> Awesome, very good input. <<I'm happy you are pleased>> I believe a slight riser board to almost fit the tank would be a great idea. I would plan on putting the system in place, filling, allowing to settle, gauging any deviance and then taking it out and adding a shim across the areas, probably in front, to account for any deviation. <<Indeed'¦and do think to add 'long tapered shims' to provide support for the full span>> It might also be able to be finished to look like a small base. Esthetics, you know. <<Ah yes, I know very well mate [grin]. Tis important to keep the better-half happy with the tank>> Shame, I thought the harder poly or rubber might allow settling to enough degree to take care of basic leveling by gravity :) <Mmm'¦too much potential for disaster. Crack a tank and spill 75 gallons of water on the floor and THEN see how your wife feels about things!>> Thanks so much! <<Quite welcome. Eric Russell>>

Leveling on an old warped floor, Reading, using WWM 5/4/08 Hi, I just bought a 55gal tank (48 x 12.5 x 21 inches) with a stand of standard construction 1/2" particle board (pretty sure it is level). However, I am moving into a 1930's house on the third floor on hardwood. I am not 100% sure of the construction, but am trying to place it near an outside wall (my best option). Should I be more concerned about the weight issue against this outside wall? <Yes> I would be happy to put foam btwn tank and stand. <Not of use here> The main problem is the floor is obviously and grossly unlevel throughout the house. With a small amount of water the difference is that the front right corner (away from wall) is 3/4" lower than back left. So from left to right I drop a 1/4" and from back to front I drop 1/2" (over 12.5 inches!). <!> I cannot adequately shim this amount, <Sure you can> and may have difficulty finding someone who can actually cut anything like that to specs. <Such shims are available pre-cut from Lowe's, Home Depot...> Thinking of screwing plywood boards together for extra support for the flooring, but completely unsure of how to compensate for such a large difference in the level and keep everything stable and safe. Please help. Sincerely and with great admiration of past articles, Jayson <I would cut, place a good piece of ply (3/4" or even 1") under all legs of the stand, shim up the ply... the pre-cut wood from the hardware store... fashioning all w/o the tank on... coating the level-device (with a urethane, varathane), perhaps staining ahead to match the floor, stand... You have read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/aqstands.htm the linked files above? Bob Fenner>

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.>

How level does a tank have to be ?/ Acrylic Repair Tank Leveling/Sump Repair 2/15/08 Dear Crew, <Eric.> You've helped me with my various setups in the past, including this one, and was hoping you can answer this. I am setting up a 65 gallon AGA RR tank. The tank sits on a heavy duty wood stand that was built by the original owner. The setup sits on a concrete basement floor ( no carpet, etc. ). The tank is level lengthwise, but the front is about ¼' lower than the back. <Not good.> If I am correct in assuming that that is a problem, what is the best way of leveling the tank? <Shimming, cutting long tapered pieces to give support over the entire weight bearing areas of the stand.> Should I shim it or run a length of ¼' wood under the front. <The latter, along with long shims down the side to distribute the load.> If shimming, do I place shims the whole length, and along the sides where they are now raised? <Yes, just combine this with the continuous piece in the front.> The shims will probably protrude from under the tank. Can I trim them? <Yes.> The setup also came with a DIY acrylic sump which has a leak. There are no visible cracks in the vicinity of the leak so I am assuming it is a bad seal. I've been told to use Weldon to repair it but can't find it locally. <This sounds like a leaky seam. WeldOn will fix this, do be sure to thoroughly clean the area of any salt or other residue first (just rinse with water).> I have found a hobby shop that carries a product called Tenax 7R, which the owner says he used to repair his acrylic skimmer. Would this be ok to use? <Yes, this will work fine.> Thanks, Eric <Welcome, good luck, Scott V.>

Getting a Planar Surface for a 75g Home-Built Stand 2/1/08 Hi Bob & others, <Hello Jase, Scott V with you.> Have just spent the past hour or more reading your articles on aquarium stands, especially http://www.wetwebmedia.com/aqstdleveling.htm . Wow, what a lot of great info! <Many innovative solutions.> I have a home-built stand for a 75g aquarium and am very pleased with how everything came out, but find that the top isn't exactly planar. <Happens to the best of us.> With the tank sitting on it, I have a gap that is perhaps 1/16" under one of the corners extends at least a foot in each direction. The tank has a plastic frame around the bottom which holds the glass up maybe 1/8" off the stand -- including a strip that runs front-to back across the middle. So... it only actually rests on this 1 1/2" wide strip around the edges and across the middle (I think this is pretty standard for glass aquariums?) <Yes.> I'd like to get a once-and-for-all solution to the non-planar problem, and was thinking of trying to coat the contact strips of the top of the stand with something that would mold exactly to the tank shape -- something like Bondo, wood putty, etc. I see a couple of mentions of self-leveling epoxy for this purpose. Can you explain a bit further? What would this be sold as? <Fiberglass resin poured into a reservoir made on the top of the stand will self level.> Seems like it might be less mess/hassle <It is, but for some a good alternative.> to find something with a paste-like consistency that I could set the actual tank on and then let harden -- to get an exact custom-molded fit. Question is just what to use? <I like the Bondo idea, it is basically the same fiberglass resin with a glass filler mixed in. Use Vaseline or some other release agent on the tank (only for glass aquariums).> Finally, I've mounted the stand on 8 sturdy casters (2 at each corner-- yes, it's going on a very strong floor). I've checked to be sure they're rated for this much weight, but wonder how concerned I should be about whatever minor flexing/bumping will occur if I roll it full. Thoughts? <This can be done, but I would not risk rolling a full tank. 75 gallons is a lot of water! At the very least, put a couple of the castors in the middle to limit flexing.> Thanks so much, Jase <Welcome, good luck, Scott V.>

Re: Getting a Planar Surface for a 75g Home-Built Stand 2/1/08 One possible solution occurred to me yesterday: expanding insulation foam. I'm thinking I'd figure some way to create a 1/2" or so gap between the tank and the stand, then spray expanding foam into that gap. Of course I'd need to trim excess afterward and figure out some way to prevent the foam from sticking to the tank (layer of foil taped to the tank bottom first?), but it seems that that would create the sort perfectly even support I'm looking for. Thoughts? Heard of anyone trying something like this? <Yes, I have actually seen this done and it can work. For the amount of correction you need you could get away with a piece of insulating Styrofoam to set the tank on. But, being a perfectionist when it comes to water holding tanks in my home, I really like the Bondo idea. It can take the load, but does shrink I believe 15% as it cures (not noticeable over 1/16'). Good luck, Scott V.>

How level is level enough? 1/3/08 Hey Guys, great site! I am setting up a 55 gallon ( 4 x 1 base ) on a wood stand on a carpeted floor (sound familiar?). Naturally, when I set the tank on top of the stand, it was off slightly. So, I began using wood shims to level the tank. I'm wondering if being about 1/16th of an inch out is ok? I've asked the guys at the local pet store and they simply responded with "it should be perfect". I've spent the last week and a half tweaking the shims, filling it, letting it settle, and measuring. I have a smaller 10 gallon tank on a solid wood dresser that I've leveled with a piece of Styrofoam. The Styrofoam is great, but I'm not sure if it's possible for me to do this with my new 55g setup. Instead of the tank sitting "inside" the stand, there is about an inch wide lip that the tank sits on top of. The pet store guy was baffled by this and didn't have any advice for me. I would prefer not to shim because it seems like it places pressure points on the corners. What is my best option for this type of stand? Chris <Hello Chris. When setting up a big aquarium, you want to make the tank as level as possible. This is usually easier by adjust the floor or stand that the tank is going to sit on. That said, teeny-tiny errors shouldn't be a problem. The 180 litre tank next to mere is definitely not flat by a similar amount to yours, and is fine. Anyway, you can use Styrofoam under tanks of all sizes, but do be aware that some aquaria are specifically designed NOT to be used with Styrofoam (typically they have external plastic bracing or trim along the bottom edges of the tank, and the foam interferes with this somehow). On the other hand, Styrofoam is generally safe with tanks that have a plain glass base pane with no bracing or plastic trim at all. So you need to review the instructions that came with your aquarium beforehand. Cheers, Neale.>

Leveling a 90g 1/1/08 Hello! Happy New Year's Eve! <Hello, happy New Year now.> I've been struggling all week to level my Christmas present, a 90 gallon AGA (MegaFlow). <Nice gift.> My question is whether/if I can salvage my DIY stand constructed from 4x4's (six) and 2x4's. Despite the fun in building it, it's just not level/planar. <Leveling can of course be fixed via shims on the bottom of the stand, but how non planar is it?> The last ditch effort was to cut a 3/4" plywood piece (49"x20") to fit between the stand and the tank, hoping to distribute the weight. I know well enough never to shim between the tank and stand, but is it at all acceptable to shim between the top of the stand and the bottom of the plywood to close the gaps? <Maybe tricky to do. If you can cut the wood to make more of a wedge than just a shim, keeping even support around the perimeter where the tank will sit (leaving no gaps between plywood and stand).> Again, nothing would come between the plywood and the tank- just the stand and the plywood. Otherwise, I'm thinking I may have made a reasonably nice workbench. <Wow, have I built a few of those. Do also consider the possible use of a self leveling epoxy on the top to give you a planar surface. If all you have built so far is the frame and it is very far off it may be less work to redo the stand. Whichever route you go be sure to place a piece of foam board between the stand and tank.> Thanks very much! <Welcome, good luck, Scott V.>

Acrylic tank leveling 12/17/07 First off I would like to thank you for all the great info on your site, and thanks for your time answering my question. <My pleasure.> I have a 29 gallon acrylic tank on a hardwood stand with 6 feet.... Tank was level when I set it up 9 months ago and now is not. From left to right it is a 3/16ths off and from front to back it is 1/16th. <Not ideal. When it was level nine months ago, was that empty or full? That could explain the difference.> I have read in other places that acrylic is far more forgiving to these leveling issues.... is this true or should I be worried/tear everything down and re-level. <The current situation would not worry me too much. What grabs my attention is the fact that it is changing. Something is giving out/compressing.> I think the floor under the stand is my issue so I am thinking if it gets any worse I will move it to another location in my living room. <Sounds like the culprit.> Would it be safe to leave as is or should I just bit the bullet? <I would move it, perhaps check the floor if you have access to it underneath. It is likely possible to reinforce under the tank.> Thanks again for all your help and advice Alex <Welcome, good luck, Scott V.>

Leveling an Aquarium... actually, its stand on an uneven floor 8/16/07 I read through your web site looking for information on my problem, especially the sections on stands and leveling an aquarium. Although it was very informative i didn't find any posts similar to my current circumstance so I'm writing in hopes you'll be able to guide me further. <Okay> Let me give you some history on my problem thus far. 8 years ago I bought a 150 gallon aquarium and stand from my local chain store. I set up the tank and it was fine for the first 5 years. It then split a seam on the bottom panel and developed a slow leak. The leak was so slow in fact that it gave me time to remove my fish and empty the tank. I took the tank back to the chain store and they exchanged it with a new tank and stand. <Nice> The replacement was fine for about a year and a half when it developed the same problem as the first one. A slow leak on the bottom panel, in the back seam. <...? Unusual> I took it back to the chain store and they exchanged it again for a new tank and stand. <Super...> I brought home the third replacement and set it up with a lot of misgivings and paranoia that it would happen again but i figured the third times the charm or whatever and tried to not let it get to me. The tank was fine for about a year and 8 months when it also had the same problem. It developed a slow leak via the bottom panel. Again i took it back to the chain store and they replaced it with a new one. <Something awry...> The fourth replacement was set up on march 21st of this year. I need not say that my paranoia and apprehension could not be placated this time, nothing i tried made my feelings any less intense. After setting it up i spent the next two months checking it every few minutes. Never wanting to leave my home for any extensive amount of time cause it felt like i was just waiting for the other shoe to drop. Then this past July i was in bed reading when i heard what sounded like a loud crack followed by rushing water. The tank this time around instead of developing a slow leak on the bottom panel seams had cracked from the left side to the right side of the bottom panel. I ran outside and grabbed a 32 gallon rubber maid trash can i use for tank maintenance and ran inside and began to fill it up with water as fast as i could so i could save my fish. By the time i finished removing my fish they where all on the gravel bed gasping for air. I returned the tank and got a 5th replacement 2 weeks after that. Its been sitting there empty while i try to figure out why this keeps happening to me. <The floor and/or the stand is imperfect...> I posted about it in a couple places and people suggested it sounded like the tank could be suffering some kind of torque or possibly be on an uneven surface. <Yes> So i went to home depot and bought a carpenters level. I live in a one story house which is built on a concrete slab. Before the tank was set up the room its in was tiled and the floor was evened out by the people who installed the tile. I decided to check the floor and it was level, none of the tiles are cracked or appear warped in any way. I placed the stand in place and checked it for wobbles and used the level on it and it was level. I put the tank in place on the stand and used the level on it and the tank is level from right to left but when i used the level from the front to the back its off level. <Yes... how much?> I then tried to apply some of the knowledge i gained from searching the web. I placed a 3/4's inch thick sheet of Styrofoam between the tank and the stand to cushion the tank. <Only "good" for about 1/16" of difference...> I then used the level but still from front to back the tank shows its off level. I decided to fill the tank just to the top of the bottom trim. The water level is even at the front but its 1/8th of an inch higher in the back. <... too much> While trying to ascertain the difference in water level i also noticed a gap between the tank and the Styrofoam. I can easily slip a sheet of paper between the tank and the Styrofoam in certain areas along the length of the tank. Its not sitting flush on the Styrofoam. <Not good> I emptied the tank and tried using shims but i only managed to make the tank more uneven than it currently is. <The shims need to go under a continuous piece of material under the low run of the stand...> Also since the bottom of my stand is perfectly flat using shims creates gaps under the stand that I'm not entirely comfortable with at all. <Me neither> How can i better pinpoint what is causing this discrepancy and how can i fix it cause I'm feeling totally lost. Could 1/8 an inch cause the bottom panel to torque and crack if not split a seam? <Yes> I don't want to fill up the tank until I'm certain its not just going to be another repeat of the failures of the prior 4. Up until now i would have thought 1/8 an inch to be negligible but now after my experience i don't believe that is the case anymore. sincerely, Marsiggy the tank as i got it.[] with Styrofoam [] <You are fortunate that the source replaced this tank... period... and that it didn't suffer a catastrophic failure or hurt someone... Again, the stand itself needs to be made level, planar and strong... perhaps by applying a piece of ply under all, shimming this up consistently. Bob Fenner>

Stand Question Please Help!! -- 07/18/07 Hi - I love your website and it has tons of great info. I am relatively new to the hobby and I just bought a 45 gal (36?Lx24?Hx12?w) tank made of ¼? glass that has good looking seals that I plan to setup with brackish water. The only thing is that the stand is a little strange and leans back towards the wall making the empty tank unlevel by about 1/8?. I figured that I can probably easily correct this by sanding or shimming the bottom of the stand (which would true the vertical supports as well), but after looking at the setup closer, I realized that the stand supports the tank by actually sitting the bottom pane of glass onto a wooden box on the top of the stand with the plastic edges hanging over. (it's sort of hard to see in the photo but maybe it helps?) The previous owner had no problems with the tank, but since I was going to level the stand anyway I was wondering if supporting the tank by the bottom pane of glass is OK and if I should put some foam or something between the tank and the stand. Thanks for any help!! Lenny <Hello Lenny. A 45 gallon tank is a *great* starting place. It's big enough to give you lots of room for fish and good water quality, while small enough to be manageable and easy to care for. So good choice. OK, as for the tank stand. It certainly is a good idea to keep the tank as level as possible. But I can't imagine 1/8th of an inch making much difference either way. So if the tank is stable now, I'd just leave it. But that's your call. Anyway, as for adding foam, unless the aquarium instructions say to do so, don't. Modern all-in-one aquarium sets are usually designed for the glass tank to rest within a plastic frame, and this frame spreads the weight to the wooden cabinet. Relatively few seem to have the glass sitting on the foam and the foam sitting on the wood. If your tank is inside the plastic frame at the bottom, then best not to add any foam. Check with the manufacturer if in doubt. Good luck! Neale>

Leveling a 75g AGA Stand -- 03/07/07 Hi, <<Hello>> Apologies if this been answered but I am new and perhaps not understanding clearly. <<Ok>> I set up a 75-gallon AGA aquarium on a pine AGA stand. The aquarium sits flat on the stand- can't get a piece of paper through anywhere. <<Good>> The stand sits on a hardwood (2 ¼' oak) floor, perpendicular to the floor joists, so it's sitting across 3 or 4 joists. <<Also good>> This type of stand is in contact with the floor all the way around. It is level front to back. Side to side it is not level (I'm using a 4' carpenter level). The right end is a smidge over 1/8' lower than the left end. <<Mmm...as long as the tank and stand both sit flat and flush this is of little consequence in my estimation, unless you plan to fill this tank to the rim>> I cut a strip of pine and slid it under the right end of the stand. <<Not good enough I'm afraid. If you shim the stand you will need to cut angled shims long enough to support the entire bottom edge (fill the gaps)>> The bubble is now between the lines but favoring the right line -- I raised it a smidge to high. Probably this is close enough right? <<If you support the 'entire' bottom edge, yes>> But now the stand does not sit flush on the floor. <<Indeed>> I've seen comments about putting plywood down and then shimming between the plywood and stand, but that would seem to create the same problem unless I shim the gradation all along the front and back. <<Agreed>> Is that what I need to do? <<If you shim at all...yes>> Or is the 1/8+' variation not worth worrying about at all? <<I would think this could be easily concealed by the tank trim. As previously indicated, if the tank and stand are fully supported without any twisting/binding and the only issue is the slight 'slope' to the floor then...tis up to you!>> Not getting it'¦Thanks. Kevin <<Nah...you are 'getting it' better than you think. EricR>>

Re: Leveling a 75g AGA Stand - 03/07/07 Thanks - you made my day! I'll live with the 1/8" slope (ok, after more precise measurement it's 3/16" slope) and avoid the shimming nightmare... Kevin <<Quite welcome, EricR>>

Leveling An Oceanic 75gal Reef Tank - 02/19/07 First off I would like to thank you for the great source of information on your website. <<We hope you find it useful>> You guys have answered a lot of my questions by answering other people's questions. <<Ahh...excellent>> Thanks. <<Quite welcome>> I was able to successfully level my tank by putting a 1-inch thick piece of aspen under the stand. (The stand is built by Oceanic and is fit to the tank.) I then put shims between the floor and the piece of aspen, not between the stand and the piece of aspen. <<I see>> (I read on your site that something stronger than plywood is better so I got the aspen.) <<Mmm, yes...though I find a couple sheets of 3/4" ply that have been "glued and screwed" together are "quite" rigid>> I found that shimming between the floor and the aspen put less pressure on the stand. <<This will work fine as long as the piece of Aspen is strong/rigid enough not to flex under the weight of the filled tank and stand>> So... here is my question. The tank is level, I can't fit even a playing card between the bottom of the tank and the top of the stand, but the tank and stand sway a little bit. <<Mmm...>> Not much, but when I push of the top of it, it will rock from side to side slightly. <<I would need to "see" this movement to be sure. A "very small" amount of movement might be expected considering the weight involved and the high center of gravity, but if the tank moves easily then I suspect you don't have the stand adequately supported or the stand is not strong enough for this tank...or maybe even, the floor itself requires shoring-up from below>> Should I add shims all the way around the bottom of the aspen, or is this okay. <<If the movement is due to gaps between the board and the floor, then use the shims to firm it up>> OR... do I need to fix this problem immediately. <<...? If this is indeed a problem with the construction of the stand or gaps in the support as mentioned then yes, it needs to be addressed now>> Thanks in advance for your advice. Patrick C. <<Hope it helps, EricR>>

Re: Leveling An Oceanic 75gal Reef Tank - 02/20/07 Eric, <<Patrick>> Thanks for your quick reply. <<Quite welcome>> I was able to fix the problem by bracing the tank against the wall. <A very good thing. RMF> <<Excellent...I take it then that it was not a structural issue with the stand>> There was such a minimal amount of movement that it wasn't hard to fix. Now the tank and stand are as sturdy as they could get. <<Good to know>> Thanks again for your advice. Patrick C. <<Thank you for the follow-up. Eric Russell>>

Question about leveling.... 2/16/07 So i <I...> moved to a new house about a month ago, and this past weekend i brought my 75 gallon fish tank. After setting it up, and introducing fish, i noticed it wasn't level!!!... I'm just wondering what the best thing to do is. <Read on WWM re...> It is only uneven in one direction, from the back to the front, with the back water level being about 1/4" lower than the front water level (looking at the tank from either side) is it safe to keep it like this? <No, not IMO... too likely to fail catastrophically.> i don't believe there is any "twist" involved, just the floor is uneven. I can move the tank to another area, or shim it. I have a Sedona series stand, which is on the ground all the way around except for the most of the front (see this link: http://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/prod_display.cfm?pcatid=11425&Ntt=perfecto +sedona&Ntk=All&Ntx=mode+matchallpartial&Np=1&N=0&Nty=1) If i was to shim it, what kind of material should i use and how big? <I would cut, seal and place a piece of 1/4" plywood (of harder wood if possible) underneath the entire back (long) edge of the stand... twixt it and the floor> also when 'shimming', where exactly does the shim go? along the whole base? or can it just go in the front? Thank you. <Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/aqstands.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Re: question about leveling.... 2/16/07
Hi again, I just read your reply, but what you said doesn't make sense. If I put a piece of plywood along the whole BACK edge of the stand, that would make the problem worse. As I said the water level is lower in the back than the front (measuring down from the top trim).... <Oh... sorry re... I mis-read... The front needs to be raised?... Sheesh!> so the tank is angled down from the back to the front...... <Very common... the middle of floors being lower (sagging) than the walls> what i need to do is shim the front of the stand! I actually tried this last night, after reading through your archives, and other websites.... I basically put two side-by-side wood shims under the left and right side of the front (total of 4 shims). I then put a stack of shims (alternating, so they form an even size piece) underneath the middle-front of the tank where the stand doesn't touch the ground for extra support. <Again... I would support the entire stand edge...> the tank appears to be leveled after using a carpenters level. The bubble is in the same place on all parts of the tank. <Good> It's not exactly centered within the two lines, but the entire bubble does rest within the lines.... Do you think what I did will be good enough to hold? Thanks Dave <Yes I do. Thank you for the clarification... I've got to drink my coffee before reading, responding! Bob Fenner>

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

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

Tank Level 8/11/05 I have a new 90 gallon oceanic and the related oceanic stand. It is not up and running yet. I've noticed that the tank by and large appears to rest on the ends of the stand - by that I mean, there appears to be about 1/16th of an inch gap between some of the long run of the tank and the stand. Is this a major issue or build concern? <Is the gap present when the tank is filled, or just empty? If the latter, not likely a problem> Should I try to remedy this somehow myself, contact oceanic, or let it be? Thoughts? Thank you. <I would fill it and see if the tank, stand "settle"... If so, I would not be concerned. Bob Fenner>
Re: Tank Level 8/11/05 Just for point of reference, the gap in the front is at its maximum (and not the entire length) the width of 7 stacked standard sheets of 8 ½ by 11 ½ paper. Five stacked will run about 70% of the width of the front. Two stacked will run about 70% of the width of the back. No paper will penetrate between the tank and the stand on then width ends of the tank or toward the last 6 inches or so on the front and back long sides. Does that all makes sense? <Yes> Major issues? Couldn't I just add minute shims along the long runs of the tank to eliminate the gaps? <Mmm, no... better to insert a layer of "foam" twixt the entire area that meets the stand for small gaps... and if shimming, to shim the stand itself... Bob Fenner> Thank you.
Re: Tank Level 8/11/05 I'll give it a fresh water fill to see what the result is. Frankly, I would never have spotted this issue but for the fact that I fired up my light on top of the tank (for grins) and noticed a little sliver of light between the tank and stand in front. <Ahh> Honestly, would any ordinary person have checked to see if all points of a tank were in complete contact with a stand other than with a casual eyeballing? <Mmm, don't know... but I would, and am exceedingly ordinary> This particular issue never would have crossed my mind inasmuch as when you buy a tank and its purposefully designed stand you assume, as a consumer, that the two will be compatible and issue free, without more. Thanks for your time. I appreciate your website. <Welcome... most commercial wood stands are pine... soft, giving to a degree... much more often real trouble are the floors that stands, tanks are set on... these are more and more often... off! Neither level nor planar... Cheers, Bob Fenner>
Re: Tank Level 8/13/05 Bob - I thought you might like to hear the response of Oceanic: "Hello and good day to you! When purchasing a new tank and stand set up, most people don't know that there will be a small gap between the tank and stand. There is no reason for concern, when placing all the decorations and water in your tank, it take's a little while for it to settle in and level out. I hope this put some ease to your mind. Thanks!" We shall soon test the veracity of this assertion. <Indeed... thank you for sending this along. BobF>
Re: Tank Level 8/15/05 Bob - I hate to continue to pester you with this matter, but I feel like I'm at a point where I can't make a decision one way or another in terms of moving forward with confidence, and it helps to hear from an impartial person. I'm not sure I have complete faith in Oceanic's comments (though they are seemingly somewhat true, and perhaps can only be borne out by a complete filling of the tank, together with salt, sand and rock - see below). Also, I don't see (or understand) what good foam would really do for me here, if at all (discussed below). Today, I filled the tank up about 90% of the way with fresh water (i.e., about 2-3 inches below the top overflow teeth). Indeed, the tank did settle down a fair amount. You'll recall, my largest gaps in the long runs of the tank at any one point were about 7 compressed pieces of paper in width. <Yes> Filled as noted above, the following is where I stand today: Front Run - There exists 2 spots at 6 inches in length where two compressed "test strips" of paper will slide through. At those same general locations, only now expanded to 9 inches in width, one piece of paper will fit through and slide back and forth. So, indeed an improvement. Still, I guess using crude math/testing, about 37% of the front run is not in contact with the stand (it does touch in the middle of the front run). As for the tank back: In the middle section only, there is a 28 inch run where paper one sheet in width will slide through. 22 inches of that same run will permit paper 2 sheets in width to penetrate and slide back and forth. Finally, of that same run, 19 inches will permit 3 sheets of paper to penetrate between tank and stand. Paper pieces four pages in width will not go through anywhere in back. As such, it seems worse in back, though again, better than prior to the water being added. First of all, would you take some other corrective action if this were your tank in your living room, or would you proceed under Oceanic's advice to not be concerned and believe it will settle correctly over time with water and "decorations" - taken to mean I guess sand, rock, etc.? <Probably not... unless the floor the stand is sitting on is not strong, level and planar, I strongly suspect the tank will indeed "settle in" in a few weeks...> Based on the above, I'm guessing some more settling will occur with it being full with water and, perhaps more importantly, with rock and sand added. <Ah, yes> Will it be enough to ensure full contact of tank and stand? <Very likely so> Who knows I guess. It somewhat disturbs me that I have to fret over an issue like this given the tank and its designed for stand were manufactured by a presumably decent company. <Better to be concerned... avoid trouble, then not> Interestingly, at one local LFS, I did note that gaps between tanks and stands doesn't appear to be particularly uncommon (as noted by Oceanic) as I ran across a couple other Oceanics with similar issues. <Correct... I have seen glass and acrylic tanks sort of suspended from corners, just parts of the stands under them... around the world> If you wouldn't feel comfortable proceeding as is, would your solution for your living room involve using foam of some sort between tank and stand? <Mmm, not at this point... the foam can help with such small gaps as you have, sudden jarring in areas like S. Cal. where the ground shakes...> If so, what depth of foam? Type? <Mmm, closed cell... white... from HD...> Lastly, how will foam really help, particularly here? <I don't think so... not necessary in your circumstances> I'm guess you might say that the foam will tend to normalize irregularities (not sure there are any) and perhaps spread the tank weight out more evenly. However, as to the latter, I don't see how that is truly possible If a tank and stand are not planar and most of the weight is on the ends, even with foam it will remain so, will it not, as where the weight is the foam will simply be crushed down more so you've really gained nothing - the weight remains set on the ends? Yes? No? <Mostly yes... though, as a mental exercise, imagine the effect of adding layers of foam... at some point the force is more distributed> General thoughts? Perhaps this whole issue is generating undue concern on my part, but it remains frustrating and isn't leaving me with a good impression of Oceanic. Being an attorney, perhaps I should review Oklahoma law to see if the implied warranty of merchantability (here, fitness for a particular purpose - i.e., that the tank and stand can in fact keep 90 gallons of saltwater off the floor) can be disclaimed....I doubt seriously that Oceanic would swap tanks until the original is shown to fail - an unacceptable situation, particularly where the only recourse may be a new tank. Thanks Bob. Cheers, Jon <Most glass tanks fail (catastrophically) due to sudden changes in torsional force (a physical jarring usually) rather than constant "semi-unevenness" on a stand/support. In the vast majority of cases I would not be concerned with a situation as yours... more likely to have troubles with errant baseballs, etc... Bob Fenner>

55 gallon leveling 11/24/05 Hey there, I was wondering about how I should go about leveling my 55 gallon aquarium, the stand is already leveled, but the center of the tank sits about 1/8th of an inch high, <Mmm, too much...> leaving a gap my drivers license can slide into, I was wondering if I could use carpet padding to put under the tank to support it? Would this be a good idea? Thanks, Jerome <Is a good idea. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/aqstands.htm and the Related FAQs linked above. Bob Fenner>

55 gallon leveling - II - 11/25/2005 Hi Bob, <Actually, Sabrina here, in his stead, as he's out for a while.> So do you think the carpet padding would be enough to stick between the tank and the tank stand, or do you think I should go with Styrofoam? <I would go with the Styrofoam.> If I am to go with Styrofoam, what thickness would you recommend me getting? Thinnest I can seem to find at a reasonable price is 1/2". <This would be fine.> Thanks, Jerome <Wishing you well, -Sabrina> Set Up/Level Tank 3/15/06 I just checked how level my tank is since I first set it up almost three months ago. The bubble (on my level) is slightly outside the line. The measurement from the base of the glass tank (Not the stand) to the wall is 3 5/16" at the top it is a little more than 3". So in other words the top of the tank is a little more than a quarter of an inch closer to the wall than the base. The tank has been there since the last week in December. It is on carpet which is on a first floor concrete slab. Given the task of re-leveling an established 1000 pound (90 gal rectangle. + rock + sand) tank what would be considered excessive and require the breakdown and re-leveling? <Not bad enough to mess with. Now if 1/4 of the bubble were outside the line I'd re-level the tank. More important that there is no twisting of the tank.> As always thanks for the help. <James (Salty Dog)> Diver

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

PLS Help! Please Take Your First Answer From A Crew Member! Please Capitalize! Please Fix Your Grammar/Punctuation! Please! - 03/22/2006 I have a tank in my bedroom. It's been in my room for a year, and I just noticed that it is unlevel. <Are you sure? You wrote in about this same situation just the other day. It was on the Daily's also.> On the left side of my tank the water level is about a half of a centimeter higher than the right side. <As you've explained already.> I was told that it is ok if your tank isn't perfect. <Ah, yes! I remember the crew member explaining why he stated so as well.> Is that true and will the water put to much pressure on the left side of my tank? <Yes! 'Tis true to a certain extent. Depends much on, as you were told, how "off" it is, being set on a planar surface, Etc. You are fine. Please except the answers you get from our Crew. You've written in at least six times this week, with only three questions (possibly two). Every response you've gotten has confirmed the previous response. The only other thing that hasn't changed? You still don't correct your grammar, spelling, capitalization! We don't have the time for this. We HAVE TO correct these as we answer them for posting/archiving so others can read/understand the discussion. If you wish to send me yet another "hate mail" over this response (yes I saw your last) then so be it. What ever it takes, please stop abusing the valuable resource that is Wet Web Media and it's Crew.> Oh yeah, it is on a stand made for aquariums. <Well...at least it's not made for potato chips. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/QueryCorrsRefPg.htm - Josh>

Re: PLS Help! Please Take Your First Answer From A Crew Member! Please Capitalize! Please Fix Your Grammar/Punctuation! Please! - 03/23/2006 Ok, I <I> am sorry. What is a planar surface? <Simply a surface with zero curvature. You don't want to place your tank on a wavy surface.> And im <I'm> not trying to be mean but where do you guys get your facts from? <Facts about? Do you mean, are we making this stuff up or did we actually learn it somewhere? - Josh> <<What a day! RMF>>

Re: PLS Help! Please Take Your First Answer From A Crew Member! Please Capitalize! Please Fix Your Grammar/Punctuation! Please! - 03/24/2006 Yeah, did you guys learn this somewhere? <?> Oh, My stand is flat, but at the very ends of the stand it curves instead of being straight down. <You mean like rounded edges? You don't want any gaps between the bottom edge of your tank and the top surface of your stand.> Should I <ARRGH!! That's it, I've just ripped all of my hair out!>worry? <No.> I mean this stand is meant for a fish tank. <Good plan. - Josh>

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

New 125 not level - 4/11/2006 Ok I've done a search but Im still unsure what to do here. I just finished putting up my new 125 gallon transferring corals fish rock from my old 55. Got it full and realized I am a little over 1/4 inch off level from left to right. front to back is ok. I did shim a little on the front right but still not good. So how serious of a problem is this? <Could be real trouble> should I address immediately or am I ok for a while to see if it settles some? Should I completely drain or am I ok. Not sure what to do and how soon? <If it were me/mine, I'd empty, re-level and use a bit of support material as detailed on WWM. Fix your English before mailing us please. Bob Fenner> 180 AGA with twin overflows question - 05/19/2006 Hello WWM Crew, Love your site. Your FAQs are always the first place I look when I have aquarium questions, and I couldn't seem to find the answer to the issue I am facing with my brand new 180gal (6'x2'x2') AGA with twin Mega-Flow overflows and an AGA Model 4 Sump. The tank is built into the wall in my basement, on a DIY stand made from 4x4s, 2x4s, plywood, and carriage bolts. The concrete basement floor is not level, but I purchased a 4' carpenter's level to help me with properly leveling the aquarium. I spent the better part of an afternoon leveling, filling, draining, shimming, and re-leveling the aquarium until I've reached the point where I am satisfied that the tank is level. The bubble is inside the lines no matter where I place the carpenter's level on top of the aquarium. Here comes my problem, I fill the tank up and the water spills over the overflow boxes, but the left overflow box seems to fill up faster than the right overflow box. Does this mean that my tank is still not level? It took the right overflow box almost another full minute to fill to the point where the water drained down the Durso standpipe into the sump. Could this be an issue with the way my tank was manufactured, as in maybe one overflow box was off by a few MMs when it was assembled/siliconed? Or is it more likely that my tank is still not "perfectly" level? Is this something that I should be concerned about? Will this reduce my flow significantly out of the right overflow box into the sump? Any thoughts you may have are greatly appreciated. Thanks, Dave <<Dave: I have the same tank on a stand. While I don't have stand pipes, my overflows seem to drain about the same. It could also be the height of the teeth at the top is different or the number of teeth on one side versus the other. If you are convinced that your tank is level (you might want a second opinion from someone else to make sure), then everything will probably be OK. Another test of whether it is level or not might be performed by measuring the height of the water to the top of the tank with a ruler around various points. If it's the same, you're probably level. Best of luck, Roy>>

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

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

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

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

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

Re: New Setup Out of Level - 12/06/06 I forgot to mention I bought the stand when I bought the aquarium. I don't know if this matters to you or not. <<All the more reason to "take it back" for replacement>> Thanks again, Jeff Gerhart Houston, PA <<Regards, EricR>>

R2: New Setup Out of Level - 12/06/06 It's not the stand or the tank, it's the floor. Mickey Mouse and Goofy built the house and there isn't a level spot in it....it's fun to try and drywall. <<Ayeyiyi...3/4" drop in a four-foot span!...must feel like you're rolling down hill *grin*. Good luck leveling the tank...do make sure whatever you use is stable and supports the entire base of the stand. EricR>>

Leveling tank 12/26/06 <Greetings! Mich here.> I recently purchased a 240 gallon tank with stand I notice the tank is ¼ in off to one side the tank sits on carpet so do I level the tank before adding water? <I think this would be wise.> This tank is very difficult to move and I know the tank will settle but how much? <Depending on your setup, you may want to consider putting a sheet of solid insulation between the tank and the stand. This will assist with leveling your setup. Hope this helps. -Mich>

Re: leveling tank 12/27/06 <Hello Lee, Mich with you again.> Thank you very much for your reply the only problem I have is that the type stand I have (wood) has a lip that goes around the tank making it difficult to put insulation in between could I put something between the stand and carpet to make sure I have no weak spots when I adjust the 1/4 inch on the one side ? <Is a viable option. Still may want to consider a very thin piece of rigid insulation in between the tank and the stand. It is very easy to cut this type of insulation to the correct size, (usually has aluminum foil on both sides) but you may want to get the thinnest you can find. Whatever you decide works best for you, it is important that everything is as level as possible and the weight is evenly distributed.> Thank you very much for your advice <You are very welcome. Good luck! -Mich> Lee Tank Stand Help Me Crew! I built my own stand for a 120g tank (60x18x24) some months ago. I was not ready for the tank at that time, so I had a 46 gallon bowfront on it up until last week when I bought the 120g for my pair of Oscars. Well I have the tank on the stand, added the substrate, and excitedly am ready to fill when I notice that in the front only a foot on each end of the tank is solidly making contact with the top of the stand. I can slip a piece of paper easily underneath everywhere else. The back, however, seems to be touching except in a few spots. All four corners are solid. <Oh oh> The top of the stand was pieced together with leftover plywood (all cut from the same sheet) and I have done this several times on other stands without issue. Is this really dangerous to fill the tank as is? What are your best recommendations? <My only recommendation is to carefully empty the tank and insert something that will make all edges of the tank touch the stand equally. If the gap is small, perhaps inserting some closed cell Styrofoam sheet will do (available at Lowe's, Home Depot...). Leaving it as is, particularly if a glass tank, is asking for trouble... it may split a seam. Bob Fenner> Thanks as usual, Ryan Achenbach

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Iron stand and leveling Hello, I have a 55 gal tank on an iron stand. I just moved and it now sits on a concrete floor that is of course not level. I see so much online (including your wonderful site) about shimming. Though there are never any pictures of this process I imagine this entails using wedge-shaped wood under the stand--wood stands. <Yes... but the shims may be other material... sometimes metal shims are better> My iron stand's two front legs contact the floor with U-shaped iron bars. They are relatively thin. How would I go about shimming and/or leveling these? <Mmm, sometimes... it's better to actually have a piece of plywood under all four feet and shim up this material... You can use the tank itself as a level... with just a bit of water to coat/make an even bit of water on the bottom... or a carpenter's level (again, on the tank itself, on the stand...)> Currently one side is 5/8 of an inch higher than the other. <Yeeikes!> It is completely level front to back.... Thanks. Lance <This is quite a bit of difference... glad you didn't try filling it yet. Bob Fenner>

Nearly Flat Tank Stand - 07/09/05 Hello Crew! <<Howdy>> I love your site; it has helped me numerous times! <<Glad we could be here <G>.>> I just purchased a 180G glass tank and built a stand for it. <<I love DIY.>> I purchased the straightest wood I could find, and surprisingly, the top surface of the finished product is near perfect in flatness. Note the word NEAR. <<I did.>> If I put my straightedge along the surface I can see some light come through; I'm guessing there is a gap of a millimeter or less. <<Hmm...ok.>> Based on information I have found on your site, the consensus is that I should put some foam under the tank to ensure uniform contact with the stand. <<A popular solution, yes.>> So my questions are as follows: I bought some half-inch, pink insulating foam from my local HD, is this too thick? <<Possibly>> Secondly, there is a quarter-inch gap between the base of the tank and the bottom of the glass. Do I need to worry about any pressure on the bottom piece of glass as the foam squishes down? <<Excess pressure on the bottom as the edges settle is certainly a concern, but if the foam is "soft" there's probably little worry as it should compress nicely. As your gap is so small... To allay your fears you might consider using the blue fan-fold foam insulation (also at HD) which is about 1/4" thick.>> Thanks again! Dave <<Regards, Eric R.>>

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

Leveling my tank, cont'd Hello again. You recommended that I use 1/2" Styrofoam sheet to put between my 135G tank and stand due to the stand not being flat. I have gotten it back onto the stand and it closed up most of the gaps, however there is still one corner that has a gap, probably 1-2 mm. I am wondering if I should get a thicker piece of Styrofoam, or try to fill with tap water and see if it settles down and closes the gap. What do you think would be the best way to go? Thanks again. Mike <Am feeling uncomfortable recommending a thicker piece here... I would shore up the stand (a wedge or two under the closer leg/s... and see if this brings the surface to level, planar. Bob Fenner>
Re: Leveling my tank, cont'd
Bob, thank you for the reply. I sent another message last night because I thought you had not gotten this one. Sorry for that. <No worries. Did see this. We're running a bit behind... as usual> Also, my stand does not have legs, the bottom and top is 2X4's that are laying flat. <Mmm, well, there's got to be "some bottom" to the whole structure... this is what needs leveling, shimming> So the only way shims would work is if I put them directly under the tank which would mean that the tank would not be supported by the entire stand but rather just the shims. <No! As you know> Further more, then I don't understand how the Styrofoam would be effective. Please help me, I am at a loss on how to remedy this. Thanks. <The foam/base is good for a small amount of uneven-ness of the stand base... but not a good idea to rely on it for more than a few millimeters over a few feet run... The sealant, glass can "give" a bit, but not too much. Bob Fenner>

New 75 gal setup question, tank not lying flat on stand I have a recently set up top fin 75 gal tank and stand. One thing I noticed in the back is that the tank is not sitting exactly flush in the middle of the stand. <Yikes....> You could slide a paper between them barely, but this just highlights that it is not exactly flush at this point the exact center out about 10 in each direction. All the corners and front are flush. Is this ok? <No> Is it better to have foam between the tank and stand? <Ah, yes!> I have heard both sides and some manufacturers will tell you not to do this. Please advise. Thanks Will <All edges of the tank must lie flat/planar and level... All manufacturers I know of will NOT warranty their tanks if this is not provided on their stands. Bob Fenner>

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

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

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

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