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
Re: Question regarding the trim base on a
150 gallon tank 4/20/10
Re: Question regarding the trim base on a
150 gallon tank -- 04/22/10
Large Acrylic Aquarium Stand Question
Closing off overflows and stand modification 2/20/2010
Re: Large Acrylic Aquarium Stand Question:
Follow up with wood\structural advice. 2/21/2010
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 Â¾' 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 Â¼' 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 Â¾' 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>>
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.>
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 and 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>