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FAQs about Stands, Supports for Aquariums: Modification

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

You don't want to be moving the tank about... Halimeda algae and crustose coralline.

29g Biocube leveling and stand flatness      11/7/16
Greetings Crew,
Life can be crazy and I've moved 3 times and acquired a 6 month old since I last wrote you about stocking and setting up a Caribbean Jawfish themed tank. Things have settled down and I think we'll be at this location at least a few years.
In the interim the stand for my 29 gallon biocube had developed swelled spots in the top around the screw holes. It was made by a 3rd party (as opposed to oceanic or CoraLife) out of some kind of fiberboard and I did not think the top was salvageable. So I removed it and cut a piece of 3/4 inch plywood to matching shape, painted it to match and sealed with 4 coats of polyurethane after filling over top the screw holes.
<Okay.... know that this unit likely weighs in at some three hundred pounds... DANGEROUS should it fall>
Now while attempting to level I've observed that 3 corners of the tank are not making good contact with the stand top. Specifically the front right has an apparent 1.5mm gap, 2mm in front left and 1mm in rear left, while the rear right makes good contact. I did not use a foam leveling pad as my research seemed to show it was not indicated for this style of tank as it appears to be fully supported by it's frame.
<I would use said foam>
I filled it to 1/3 full to see if the gaps closed up any and they remained.
I am sure if the tank were to fail I would be confined to keeping small Betta tanks for the rest of my life. How should I proceed from here?
<As stated and you've hinted, drain the tank and place a piece of cut foam twixt it and this stand>
Much thanks for your input,
Keith from Charlotte, NC
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: 29g Biocube leveling and stand flatness       11/8/16

Always thankful for your advice (both direct to me and via the countless pages of WWM I've read). I do seem to be picking up a bit of higher than normal concern in your reply, do you see a flaw in the direction I am headed?
<Mmm; I do not>
I am absolutely intent on making things as safe as possible and so have ruled out keeping toxic specimens such as Zoanthids.
<You are wise here. Esp. some genera can probe problematical; should there be a challenge>
I will seek out a piece of 1/4" Styrofoam before proceeding. Should that be sufficient to handle the poor planing I described earlier?
<Yes it should be>
On the matter of additional safety measures, I've been contemplating looking for some sort of anchor I could use to secure the stand to a stud from a few inches away, to add better security against tipping than just the sheer weight of the system.
<I'm VERY much in favor of this brace/bracing>
I've already purchased a lock that I will be adding to the cabinet to keep little hands away from chemicals, controls
and electrical workings.
Thanks again,
Keith from Charlotte, NC
<Thank you Keith. BobF>

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

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

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

Rimless tank and stand     1/15/14
<Mr. T>
I currently have a 30 gallon SPS dominant reef tank and decided to upgrade.  I purchased a new 95 gallon setup from one of the forums.
Once I got home, I realized that the center of the stand doesn't have any center bracing for the aquarium and I'm not sure if I should be concerned.
<I would be; am>

 I looked around the internet and came across several sites that state that almost all of the weight of a tank is distributed to the edges and the center doesn't need to be braced. 
<Not so>

Additionally, the plumbing for this tank, runs directly through the bottom of the tank so simply adding a top piece of plywood doesn't seem like an option.
<Yes; it is. Simple enough to use a hole saw, jig saw... but hole/s around for through puts>
Should I add a brace in the center or is it ok?
<I would do so AND a piece of plywood to support the entire bottom (sans through puts), AND a thin (1/4" or so) layer of cushioning... as gone over and over on WWM>

You've all been very helpful, thank you in advance for your help now and in the past.
<Glad to share! Bob Fenner>

Should I worry about a sagging cast iron stand?   1/31/11
I just got a new 110 gallon salt water aquarium installed. It sits on a (standard?) cast iron stand made of what appears to be 1" steel angle-iron with four corner legs and a lower shelf for a sump, etc. The stand was level and flat before the tank want put on. With the tank on it, the middle of both long horizontal supports (~4ft long) sag about 1/16 - 1/8". (I can see daylight between the lower rim of the tank and the middle of the stand rims.) The aquarium experts who installed it said this is common and nothing to worry about. As long as the tank is supported on the four corners, they explain, it is fine.
<Hmm, no, it really needs to be supported across the entire perimeter.>
I estimate the tank and its contents weigh about 1,100 lbs. It is extraordinary to me
that glass can support so much weight, effectively held up only by its corners. Does this sound fine to you, or is this a catastrophe waiting to happen?
<The latter. I have seen tanks that do not even have steel going across, that were designed to support only the corners in service over 20 years.
And others set up as you describe that fail quite quickly. It could last, but is not proper and I would not have it in my house!>
(As you may know, emptying the tank and changing the stand is a full-day, two-person operation.) I would appreciate any expert advice you might have.
<A simple piece of plywood/foam can solve this for you, see:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/aqstandfaqs.htm and the linked files above.>
<Welcome, Scott V.>

Question regarding the trim base on a 150 gallon tank 4/20/10
Good afternoon.
<Yawnnnnn! AM here now, sorry>
I purchased a 150 gallon tank that was in incredible condition in November of 2008. I did not have a stand for it until this past weekend. Yes, it sat on my garage floor for almost 1.5 years. The silicon was still very pliable, so I didn't fear any problems.
I had the stand bad <made?> by a wood working cabinet maker. When the tank was placed on the stand the bottom trim sat flush on both ends of the six foot tank, but in the middle the tank was maybe 1/8 of an inch above the stand surface. I hoped this would not be a problem.
<Mmm, could be>
I placed about 100 pounds of pea gravel and then filled the tank about 80% full. The tank is for an aquatic turtle. I had no issues that night. The next morning I awoke with maybe 1/2 gallon of water in the floor. It was running along the trim on the bottom of the tank and then down onto the floor. No water was coming from anywhere higher than the bottom trim.
<Leaks can/do originate elsewhere... just "make their way out" at the bottom>
I drained the tank, removed the gravel and have dried the tank. The tank is currently on the stand with shims under each corner so that it dries completely underneath. I have inspected the tank closely, but find no obvious leak. I did find a small hairline fracture in the plastic bottom trim. It is near the corner on the front. It goes from top to bottom of the 1 inch visible trim.
<Mmm, these cracks are usually not problematical. Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/glstkmoldng.htm
I also noticed that a few inches from that crack is another one that is under the tank, the same thing a really hairline crack in the trim. It doesn't appear that the two cracks are connected making for two distinct pieces of framing, but I can't tell. The top and bottom trims both have two middle supports running from the front to the back.
I have done some searching today and from what I can gather these trims do not support the tank? Is this correct?
<For the most part, yes. Are more for "holding all together" while being assembled, "floating" the bottom...>
Since there are girders in the middle connecting the front and back I am assuming they do have structural support to the tank.
<Not much, no; though can be important if not supporting the bottom about evenly all the way around>
Right now I am perplexed as to what to do.
<Likely there is a "split seam" in the Silastic somewhere along a joint>
I am thinking that probably the silicone needs to be replaced since the tank sat in the garage and was in temperature extremes. If I were to simply reseal one corner, maybe a foot each direction from the corner, would that do anything to help? I would remove the old silicone and wipe down the glass
<With a solvent, after cleaning thoroughly w/ single edged razor blades...
before reapplying, but my question lies in the area where the old meets the new. I really don't want to remove all of the silicone and redo the entire tank.
<This is really the best approach... unless... do you want to try partially filling it... let's say 50% and seeing if the leak persists?>
My other question is in regards to the frame. Will the slight crack in the trim on the side/visible face or the one that is on the trim that is under the tank cause me issues?
<Not likely, but please send along photos ...>
What about the fact that the surface of the stand doesn't touch flush to all four sides of the trim uniformly. I read about putting Styrofoam under the tank, but that would be unsightly, though I would do it if needed.
<I would shim/support the under-surfaces of the two long/length runs of this stand... with a piece of wood turned long end up, underneath the current pieces... looking like a "T" from the end if you understand, with drilling, long screws... And check the tank again for leaks, possibly cut out, reseal>
Thank you!
<Welcome. Bob Fenner> 

Re: Question regarding the trim base on a 150 gallon tank 4/20/10
Thank you for your help! Much appreciated.
<Again, welcome>
I will try to email you some photos tonight. The micro crack that is visible on the side of the trim will be easy to photograph, but the one on the bottom might be difficult, since my wife won't be able to assist in lifting.
<Do take care here>
I hate removing the perfect silicon job, but I think I will have to go that route.
<Mmm, I would wait, hold off... see if "straightening the stand" solves this slow leak issue. Commonly does>
I will go ahead and remove all of it along the four bottom seams and the four vertical seams. The silicon that lies between the glass joints, will that remain when I remove the portion that is within the tank joints?
<Yes. I would definitely NOT cut this out at this stage/juncture>
Also, I am uncertain about the shimming of the stand. The stand is made of hardwood (oak) and has six legs that are 3"x3". the surface of the stand is the only portion that is plywood.
<And this is "very" securely attached to the top of the six uprights? The lateral runners? And still there is the aforementioned 1/8" gap? I might shim another piece of ply atop this, and screw down through the existing... to make the top level AND planar. Please see here: http://wetwebmedia.com/aqstands.htm
and the linked files above>
The builder didn't have a planer wide enough and we decided to just make the top out of plywood and he trimmed it with oak.
<This is fine>
Once the tank is on the stand you don't see the plywood only the oak trim.
We thought this would take care of any irregularities on the surface. With a tank of that size I was unsure how to determine if the tank bottom itself is warped.
<Highly unlikely>
I am assuming that the 'sag' in the middle is the stand.
<Yes, almost assuredly so>
Are you recommending putting shims under the middle two legs to see if that boosts the 'sag'?
<Not the legs, but twixt another piece of ply atop the existing one.
Doesn't need to be very thick>
I would feel much better if all four bottom edges of the tank trim were flush with the stand,
<Yes... this is necessary>
but not sure how I go about doing it.
<Please read where you are referred, and do write back if my writing isn't clear, complete. BobF>
Re: Question regarding the trim base on a 150 gallon tank 4/20/10
Thank you Bob!
<Welcome Matt>
I will speak to the builder and ask if he has ideas on making the top stop sagging.
The stand is very well made, probably weighs about 200 pounds. Everything is mitered and jointed together. It could easily support 3-4 times the weight.
<An adequate "margin of safety">
I just need to figure out how to fix the problem without having to tear up the stand I paid $600 for. The sag in the middle is probably less than 1/8", but you can definitely tell it doesn't sit flush. Would placing a small strip of cardboard under the trim along the middle 3-4' of tank length do anything?
<Mmm, not enough>
The stand has a flat top, no border so anything placed under will be seen.
<Perhaps adding a "decorative strip" around the front, sides, after the leveling piece of ply is added...? B>
Re: Question regarding the trim base on a 150 gallon tank 4/21/10
Spoke to the builder and he is going to stop by tonight. I am going to delay removing the old sealant and resealing. We will see if we can get the top flush with the bottom of the tank and I will fill it up again. You believe that it is possible that a leak can be fixed in this manner?
<Yes... as I prev. stated...>
Not saying this will diagnosis my problem, but curious if a leak can be stopped purely be adjusting the flushness of the stand surface and not messing with the sealant.
<This is so... please see my resume, posted on WWM. I am an olde timer in this trade, interest>
The builder said that when he attached the top (it is about 1.5" thick) to the stand body the screws pulled the middle down slightly. He loosened the middle screws and put a 1/16th shim between the top and the middle of the body-length.
He thought that had created a flat surface. He used a 4ft level and didn't notice a sag. We are hopeful that maybe when the tank settled the stand that it created this 'sag'. He said it would be easy to loosen the screws to see if the sag fixed itself or to add another 1/16th" shim on top of the other.
If doing this doesn't fix our 'flushness' problem I have another question.
Rather than attempting to put a new top on to create a perimeter flushness what are your thoughts of inserting a 1" wide shim in the middle of the front and back right at the center of the trim length? This would not create a 100% perimeter flush trim, but would create a strength point at the center of the 6ft length. Would that be suitable or just a poor solution to the problem?
<Worth trying... but I would place a number of shims... thicker in the mid-spaces twixt the uprights, thinner toward them...>
It would make my day if fixing the surface solves the problem. This is my first tank great than 75 gallon and it opens up another world of concerns regarding structure that so many don't even think about. I thought I had all bases covered, but guess it only takes a small error to expound greatly as the size increases.
Have a great day and thank you for all your help!
<Welcome. BobF>
Re: Question regarding the trim base on a 150 gallon tank -- 04/22/10

We attempted to create a stand surface so that the entire tank trim would sit flush, but were unable to do so. After checking the stand surface it appears level and flat. All that we could guess is that the trim itself is not 100% straight. I have to wonder (I assume you would know from your experience) that the trim is not glued on by an exact science...even a little extra sealant on one portion could create an uneven surface.
We experimented with different combinations of 1/16" and 1/32" shims between the stand top and the stand body. We attempted to create a surface that mirrored the tank, but were unable to do so.
<Mmm, have you "flipped the tank over" and used a six foot or longer... or support for a smaller level, to check the levelness of the bottom frame?>
We did make the gaps between the tank and stand smaller in thickness and in length. I have not placed water in the tank yet. I am going to cut some of the 1/32" shims down and place them directly under the tank trim under the places that have the longest lateral gaps. This will obviously cut down dramatically how much the tank could possibly flex.
<Mmm, okay>
When we moved the tank from the stand to work on the tank I found that water was trickling out of the empty tank from within the trim. I had mentioned that there is a crack in the trim that is on the side (visible face) and extends onto the bottom of the trim, under the tank. I could press the area around the bottom crack and water would slowly bead out. I do know now how large the 'void' airspace is within the trim,
<About half the total volume>
but it does have a small amount of water within. I am going to attempt to get all of that water absorbed out so it won't deter from determining if the leak is still present.
I do worry about the crack on the bottom. The stand builder is an engineer by trade, but doesn't have the experience with aquariums. He asked where does the tank load apply the most pressure downwards? Is it in the corners?
All along the bottom edge... gravity. There is some translational torsional force in addition at the corners, but this is generally insignificant in terms of structural integrity>
It appears to me that the load should theoretically be uniform along the perimeter of the tank (i.e. the trim) since that is the only area that touches the stand.
<This is so>
The girders in the middle of the tank that connect the front and back trim are flush to the tank bottom and do NOT touch the stand surface (by design).
That crack just makes me feel uncomfortable since the load will be pressing directly on it.
<Mmm... I would contact the tank manufacturer... ask their assistance here.
Perhaps request a replacement frame, cut away the old, Silicone on the new. If it's possible annealing the present>
As mentioned, the visible gap between the tank bottom trim and the stand was in the center of the 6ft lateral length. After making our adjustments we now have to flush corners (diagonal from each other) and the center.
BUT, two diagonal corners do 'hover' maybe 1/32".
<This should be fine>
I will place the shims under those corners and fill with water in stages over the next few days and see what happens.
I will let you know. Take care and have a great Thursday!
<And you. BobF>

Large Acrylic Aquarium Stand Question Closing off overflows and stand modification 2/20/2010
Hello All,
<Hi Lisa.>
I have two unusual questions (I think) for you.
I purchased a used 150 gallon acrylic aquarium that was used for saltwater but now I am planning on using it for freshwater. I have to build a stand from scratch since it is custom size.
<Can be a fun project.>
My dilemma...since it was used for a saltwater tank, there is the overflow part in the back where two small and two larger holes were drilled in the bottom for the sump/wet & dry hoses would come through.
The guy I bought it from used PVC pipe to make his intake and output tube to connect to.
Now that I am not going to need this:
1) how can I seal these four holes so the water doesn't spill out? I have found two end caps that screw together with a rubber seal that I can place on the inside and then on the outside and screw it tight onto the Plexi.
<This will work>
Someone else said to epoxy a piece of Plexi on the inside of it. I don't want to do that in case I
do use it for saltwater down the road or I sell it to someone who wants it for saltwater, I will never be able to get the Plexi back off.
The problem with the two end caps is that the piece on the inside of the separate sump/overflow section is hidden but the piece that would be on the bottom of the aquarium sticks out about 2 inches.
This would prevent it from laying flat on any stand I build.
<Easily corrected.>
So for my next question:
2) When I build my stand, I need to have a closed bottom under the acrylic but...is it OK for me to cut out a small rectangle for the PVC end caps I can screw together as a seal in the top of the stand that will be under the tank.
<A small rectangle, or use a hole saw , either would work.>
I'm not sure if this will diminish the integrity of the closed top of the stand that is to support the acrylic bottom.
There will be a lot of weight by the time this is up and running so from a 48" x 30" x 24" tank, the notch I will need to cut out of the back, center will be 15" 5-1/2".
The guy at the wood shop who is helping me with dimensions didn't think it would be an issue but you guys are the best at what you do, so where better to ask!?
<You should be fine with this setup. If you are still concerned about it, you could just bore holes with a hole saw for each pipe and not have the larger rectangle, but really, either will be fine.>
Thanks for the advice,
<My pleasure.>

Re: Large Acrylic Aquarium Stand Question: Follow up with wood\structural advice. 2/21/2010
<Hi Lisa.>
OK, great! I'm so glad to hear that it wont be an issue with cutting out a small rectangle or circular holes for the seals. Now, why is it important to have a bottom for an acrylic tank? Is it because it can bow on the bottom?
If that is the case, then is there a particular thickness of wood for the top of the stand that the tank will be sitting on? 1/2", 1/4" thick and is plywood sufficient or do I need to use a solid piece of wood, not one glued together with thin pieces, such as plywood?
<Personally, I would use 1/2" marine grade plywood, finished to your tastes (painted or stained.) IF you can get it, (there are a few boatyards by me), otherwise it is too expensive. Teak works very well also.>
Thanks again,
<My pleasure>

Stand Reinforcement (Conversion)'¦Going From Glass to Acrylic -- 10/12/08 Sorry I forgot to put my name!! I'm Guillaume. <<No worries Guillaume, but thank you'¦is always nice to know who we are 'talking' to>> And the title of my message was wrong: it should have been "stand" reinforcement, not tank. <<Duly noted and corrected>> Hi Everyone! <<Greetings!>> I really love your site: so informative! <<We are happy you think so>> However I didn't find a specific answer for my issue; perhaps you can help me. <<I shall try>> Just bought a used bow tank 46g with a basic stand in pine wood. I wanted to upgrade my 15 gal tank for my goldfish. <<Very good...these fish really do require more space than most folks realize>> Because I didn't realize it would be so big in my bedroom - and because I'm a bit nervous as some of the seam starts to peel off a bit (the tank is six years old)- <<Mmm, yes'¦the seams 'peeling' is not a worrisome sign. This tank may well be unsafe to use. At the least, I would fill this tank with water (outside the house) and let it stand for a few days to see what develops>> I'd like to get an acrylic 36 gal aquarium instead. <<A good idea I think>> But I wanted to keep the stand (I repainted it). <<Okay>> Because the stand doesn't have any platform, (it's empty in the middle, a bit like a crown) <<Yes, a typical 'glass' tank stand supported around the perimeter of the tank>> is it safe to put a board over it? And if so, what material should I use and what thickness? <<Although this stand is not 'made' for this tank, considering this volume of water, and as long as the stand is larger than the perimeter of the new 36g tank by no more than a couple inches on all sides then yes, you can make do with the existing stand. I recommend you use a DOUBLE layer of ¾' plywood cut to fit on top of the stand to support the new 36g acrylic tank. And though not a 'necessity,' I also recommend a piece of ¼' Styrofoam atop that for some additional cushion>> As the stand was originally built for a glass bow tank, I presume only the four corners are strong enough, right? <<The stand itself is strong to support the weight of the smaller tank as long as the top you add is strong enough to support this weight>> And should the board be attached or nailed to the frame? (I'm not an expert with tools!!) Thanks! Guillaume <<Permanent attachment is not necessary'¦simply rest the plywood panels atop the stand and place/center the tank on top of these. The weight of the water will hold all in place. Regards, EricR>>

Re: Stand Reinforcement (Conversion)'¦Changing From Glass to Acrylic -- 10/13/08 Thank you Eric R. for replying to my message! <<Quite welcome Guillaume>> Your expertise is really awesome and very much appreciated! <<I'm happy to assist>> Just one more question: <<Okay>> Instead of getting a Bow 36 gal acrylic, (which is 30''L x 15"W x 21''H), should I get a rectangular acrylic 30 gal that is 36'' L x 12"W x 18''H (since the stand was made for a bow 46 gal that was 36'' long)? <<If this is more appealing to you then, sure>> Would it be better for the stability or worse? <<Shouldn't make a difference in this situation>> It seems the two lateral sides of the stand are really holding the weight... <<The double layer of ¾' plywood we discussed will spread this burden over the entire structure'¦no worries>> And is it better for goldfish to have a longer tank versus a higher one? <<Maximizing surface area for gas exchange is desirous, yes'¦but the difference between these two tanks is nominal (assuming the 15' dimension on the bow tank is its 'widest' point). I say choose whichever of these tanks is the most to your liking>> Thanks again! <<Welcome>> (I'm so glad I found that site!) <<We are too!>> Guillaume <<EricR>>

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

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

R4: Stand Reinforcement (Conversion)'¦Changing From Glass to Acrylic -- 10/14/08 Thanks a lot for your help Eric!! Guillaume <<Has been my pleasure Guillaume. Good luck with your project. Eric Russell>>

Adding support to stand 8/19/08 Hello all. <Chris> I recently purchased a 200 gallon aquarium and have been doing some slight changes to the stand and canopy. By that I mean all I have done thus far is paint and seal it. <Can be a pain, but worthwhile!> After doing some research however, I am a bit nervous to fill it seeing as how there are no braces to speak of in the stand to support the weight that this aquarium will have. <Oh? Is this a commercially made stand?> I purchased the aquarium from an acquaintance at my LFS and I did see it fully up and running before I bought it so I know that it can support the weight, but for my peace of mind I would like to add some real supports in there. <Understood.> Just so you are aware it looks to be just 4 sides and a top and bottom. <Typical construction, actually stronger than it looks.> Seeing as how the stand is already built, I would need to build the support inside. My question is, in order to get a snug fit I will need to screw some, actually many of the pieces together through the existing stand. Will this affect the stand in any way that could be detrimental to its stability? <No, your stand sounds like it functions on the compressive strength of the wood as is. If it relied on long support beams, drilling too many holes could be a concern, even then very little unless way too numerous.> Also, in order to fit the long beams into the stand I will need to cut them in half, then put them back together with some sort of connecting piece, I know cutting the wood in half will weaken it tremendously but would it still be worth doing? <It is really hard to say if this is worth doing without seeing the stand, likely not in my book. That being said, if you do wish to help this stand out, I would provide a vertical support under the point at which these two pieces of beam meet.> Thanks for your help. Chris <Welcome, Scott V.>

Stand Modification 3/29/08 Scott I have the pictures. What do you think? <Looks good, it will be fine. You did a nice job with this.> Remember the cabinet used to be 6' long, now being 4'long it has new vertical and horizontal support, steel corner brackets, heavy duty screws ,ply-wood under tank screwed down. <All is good here, Scott V.>

Need help with a tank stand--can't tighten bottom bulkheads due to wood center brace  6/20/07 Hi there, I'm hoping you can help me. I have a Perfecto 150-gallon glass aquarium whose dimensions are: 48" long, 24" wide and 30" tall. The tank has plastic center braces on the top and bottom. The stand for the tank is wood and supports it fully around all edges; the top is fully open but with a wood center brace running vertically through the center. Recently I had the tank sent out to an aquarium company to have the glass bottom drilled for two bulkheads along with an internal overflow box installed. I just got the tank back today, and they did a beautiful job. However, when the tank was set back on its stand, the wood center brace on the stand was too wide to allow me to fully tighten the bulkheads underneath. <Doh!> I asked the company who did the work what I could do to rectify this--they said I could notch a cutout in either side of the wood center brace to accommodate the bulkhead fittings. <Mmmm> However, I'm worried that this will compromise the integrity of the stand-- <Yes> I don't want it collapsing and spilling 150 gallons of water on the floor. Could you guys help me out as to what I should do--should I consult with an engineer first or is it okay to do this modification? Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you. <Well... likely a "thinner" nut can be found... or the through-hull/bulkhead fitting reversed (with the throat up, perhaps shaved, cut down...) and an extra gasket found for both sides... and a smear of Silastic on both sides... that will do here... Perhaps with some shaving of the wood twixt the tank and stand to accommodate... If push comes to proverbial shove, you might need to consider adhering the (likely PVC) fitting directly onto the tanks glass... and dedicating yourself to never jarring it... Otherwise, the worst... giving up on the present holes, sealing over them (with glass panel/s and Silastic) and having the tank re-drilled. I agree with your NOT cutting through the manufactured stand support... UNLESS you feel comfortable (YOU!) with replacing this support (and losing the manufacturer's warrantee) with two new ones, placed on either side... Which is really what I'd do... Cheers, BobF>
Re: Need help with a tank stand--can't tighten bottom bulkheads due to wood center brace   6/21/07
Wow! Thanks so much, Bob, for your kind reply!! I really loved your book, by the way; it really helped me get started with my tank! Plus I've learned so much by reading through all the articles and FAQ's from WetWeb Media; you guys are great! I think I've come up with a plan for my stand. I'd really rather not mess around with the bulkheads; I only really need to notch the wood 1/4" on either side, but leave the center brace in place, and I think I'll place two new boards on either side, like you advised. I really don't want to have the tank re-drilled: it took the company forever to get the work done; I'd consider getting a new stand before doing that. Anyway, thank you so much, Bob, you've really helped me out! <Ah, good! Cheers, BobF>

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oceanic tank, actually stand, modification Hello Bob, Maybe you can help me? <Perhaps. Will try> I have an Oceanic stand for a 180g tank 72"x24". My skimmer is inch too tall to fit in it. <Under it> I noticed that the floor of the stand is solid (1.5" thick), if I cut out a roughly 40" x 18" rectangle <Don't do this> to set the sump down right on the floor then the skimmer, while in the sump, will fit beneath. Do you think that removing that much of the flooring (staying at least 2" inches from the back wall of the cabinet) will compromise its strength to hold the tank?  any thoughts would be helpful.  as always thank you for your help Stephen <I do think this is too much of a risk, would not do it. Look for a shorter skimmer... perhaps an Aqua-C unit... much better than compromising the stand structure. Bob Fenner> 

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