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I was posting in a thread, Costs started by @Jeff king (interesting read check it out) and it got me thinking about one I started, need help cutting cost of fish room; and a lot of discussion was to make money selling fish/ plants and invertebrates which is a good idea and there is much more great advice in there. But I feel as tho I would have to learn a lot of skill sets I don’t have. And really don’t have time to perfect in order to be profitable. 
So what occurred to me was why not build stands and aquarium related cabinetry. I have 30 years experience as a cabinet maker and finish carpenter. Almost a full shop capable of handling these types of builds in my garage, then I also have access to a full blown cabinet joinery shop when needed for bigger projects or a high volume order.

I’ve only used some DIY 2x4 racks and janky stands that come with aquariums at big box stores. I can’t recall even seeing a custom built stand except at hospitals and doctor offices, so no idea what’s inside.

what are some cool features or designs you have seen. Pics would help a lot. Fairly confident I’d be going after higher end tanks maybe 125G and up. Not necessarily but profit margins would be better and people who buy the larger sizes would have the $ to spend on a custom made stand. I’ve come up with a design I’m gonna try for my 125G. 
39F4B6E0-CE6E-4540-8C2B-5E0BC1C09354.jpeg.2f87562d2ed317b545998669b9623313.jpeg

hope this is legible to everyone, it’s how I start out when building custom cabinets.

also maybe a nitchy market, easy to build shelves, utility cabinets, or stuff like thisEB320B4F-F52D-4194-873B-F9B224DF4A3A.jpeg.91cfd9b4473b6b9af5a5f385a444b475.jpeg

i made this out of some leftover white oak in about 15 minutes.

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 Your drawings look better than mine! I typically just jot down the outside dimensions and wing it. Which leads to extra trips to the hardware/lumber store 😬
 

 A few thoughts... 

Depending on how big the tank is, your room underneath may be limited to what will fit around any plumbing, sumps, filters  etc. that they would house under there. Smaller tanks don't usually have those and the cabinet can be used more for storage.

Materials are expensive, thank goodness some costs have gone down in last month but something to consider. Maybe start with something standard sized like 75 or 90, 120. If you are lucky enough to have a LFS (besides a Petco or Petsmart), you might get them to put one of your stands in the store. Especially if they can put one of their display tanks on it.

Tank stands are typically quite expensive, if you can get your materials at a decent price and design a stand that is scaleable, I think you could make some profit...
 

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I just built one myself for my new 125.

IMG_2262.JPG.858819d77726d7bfdd723330415fb7ef.JPG

IMG_2263.JPG.57703713c11e114e4d9005591f0ccc68.JPG

The three main things I'm most proud of:

  1. Small shelf to hold a rack-mount PDU so that when I do maintenance, I can just flip switches to turn off my heater/canister filter/air pump (1st picture below)
  2. A towel bar on the door so that I'm not just throwing a soggy towel underneath to get moldy/stinky (2nd picture below)
  3. A kind of wide U-shaped cutout along the back of the top, so that when viewed from the side, the top appears to sit flush against the wall, but the cutout leaves space to route cords, air hose and canister filter hose through (Unfortunately almost impossible to take a picture of, but hopefully you see what I mean)

IMG_2264.JPG.744c78622fa4215d644faddb24cc77f8.JPG

IMG_2340.JPG.8467c8870ad055e2ca3111170963d9a3.JPG

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I personally think there’s definitely a market here! I’ve talked about doing the same thing (not seriously though) with my husband who loves woodworking.

As well as a market for stands for large tanks, I think there’s a market for stands that can hold multiple tanks but still look pretty enough that your spouse will let you keep it in the living areas. 😉 

Your stand design looks a lot like a stand I got off Craigslist that a cabinetmaker built. It looks great. Unfortunately it has fake drawers. Yours seems a lot more functional! Mine’s on wheels—I’m not sure that adds much. One thing it does have that I like is a power strip attached to the back.

D1D49017-AE3B-49DC-A06F-9A722C9D6DCF.jpeg.070e1a2695eb32709186d715e72526fd.jpeg8E2E632B-3274-455D-8082-E6DEEEEF70E3.jpeg.85c12f3de723e8b3af60c9e4e6ec8d38.jpeg

I did a tank stand build (see link in my signature) and I made the top large enough for a 75 gallon even though I’m only putting a 55 up there. The bottom shelf is 20” deep so I can put 10 gallons sideways, or a larger tank frontways. If you could design a stand that would work with a few different tank sizes, you could increase your market substantially.

Storage considerations: since I don’t use sumps or anything, I wanted my cabinet to be able to fit 5 gallon buckets. I feel like all fish nerds have 5 gallon buckets that need to go somewhere. I also love the shelf I made for baskets, but I’d definitely make it at least 6” tall next time because it would have been way easier to find baskets that fit.

I also really like the IKEA storage bar on the side of my stand where I can hang tools and a towel. As well as the side of the cabinet that has pegboard holes drilled into it. Those could be an optional upgrade.

Cover as many surfaces as you can with poly! I wish I had covered my pegboard in poly. 🥲 Or use outdoor stain that has the waterproofing built in.

For another upgrade option, check out @H20CultureLabs stand build with the cabinet sliders he used so his tanks can slide out from the shelf. I was planning to do this but it turned out those heavy duty sliders are expensive. My husband’s trying to make me a shelf and a rolling tray that will do the same thing.

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On 8/24/2021 at 3:32 PM, Jeff king said:

It’s basically 4 sheets of popular plywood 3 1x5  poplar and about 8 2x4’s. It’s a 115 gallon tank 

That’s a good price for that design. I haven’t went over the numbers yet but I’m guessing I’d have to sell my design for $2000.00+ depending on molding types, finish,  type of material (oak/ poplar/ ect)Hardware selections 

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On 8/24/2021 at 3:35 PM, Griznatch said:

 Your drawings look better than mine! I typically just jot down the outside dimensions and wing it. Which leads to extra trips to the hardware/lumber store 😬
 

 A few thoughts... 

Depending on how big the tank is, your room underneath may be limited to what will fit around any plumbing, sumps, filters  etc. that they would house under there. Smaller tanks don't usually have those and the cabinet can be used more for storage.

Materials are expensive, thank goodness some costs have gone down in last month but something to consider. Maybe start with something standard sized like 75 or 90, 120. If you are lucky enough to have a LFS (besides a Petco or Petsmart), you might get them to put one of your stands in the store. Especially if they can put one of their display tanks on it.

Tank stands are typically quite expensive, if you can get your materials at a decent price and design a stand that is scaleable, I think you could make some profit...
 

Years ago I built custom stand for a pet store. I’d build stands deep enough for a 75 which would also hold a 55. Stand for the 150 also held the 180.   You just have to make it a few inches deeper than the bigger tank but the height and width are the same 

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On 8/24/2021 at 3:51 PM, B1gJ4k3 said:

I just built one myself for my new 125.

IMG_2262.JPG.858819d77726d7bfdd723330415fb7ef.JPG

IMG_2263.JPG.57703713c11e114e4d9005591f0ccc68.JPG

The three main things I'm most proud of:

  1. Small shelf to hold a rack-mount PDU so that when I do maintenance, I can just flip switches to turn off my heater/canister filter/air pump (1st picture below)
  2. A towel bar on the door so that I'm not just throwing a soggy towel underneath to get moldy/stinky (2nd picture below)
  3. A kind of wide U-shaped cutout along the back of the top, so that when viewed from the side, the top appears to sit flush against the wall, but the cutout leaves space to route cords, air hose and canister filter hose through (Unfortunately almost impossible to take a picture of, but hopefully you see what I mean)

IMG_2264.JPG.744c78622fa4215d644faddb24cc77f8.JPG

IMG_2340.JPG.8467c8870ad055e2ca3111170963d9a3.JPG

Really nice, really like the butcher block top and the switch idea is exactly the type of ideas I didn’t think of will definitely try to incorporate 

The tank is a cool setup as well is that 1 big log?

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On 8/24/2021 at 1:29 PM, Atitagain said:

That’s a good price for that design. I haven’t went over the numbers yet but I’m guessing I’d have to sell my design for $2000.00+ depending on molding types, finish,  type of material (oak/ poplar/ ect)Hardware selections 

Don’t sell yourself short. I’ve learned to not do anything on spec. It has to be time and materials. After all this is a hand built, custom piece of furniture. $2000 is still in the upper end of mass produced pottery barn type stuff. 

Edited by Patrick_G
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@Hobbit quickly looked at your build love the functionality of the different levels but still have storage space, pegboard could be very useful with the right accessories and poly is a must can do some at home but have access to a nice spray booth it’s just an hour away 

@B1gJ4k3mime will be taller than normal as well for better drawer/ storage space and to be top aligned with other tanks

On 8/24/2021 at 4:05 PM, Griznatch said:

 I like how this thread is going!

Like probably everyone on this forum who's tried to set up a tank, my frustration has always been that the stand is so important and when looking at store bought solutions, so underwhelming.

@Atitagain   I think you have a great idea, looking forward to seeing how it turns out!

Agreed underwhelming when it comes to standard stands and will for sure be adding this build to my journal 

@Jeff king. @Hobbit will definitely be looking into how to fit different sizes onto one design 

thanks everyone for contributing and like @Griznatchsaid “I like how this thread is going “

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On 8/24/2021 at 2:55 PM, B1gJ4k3 said:

Whenever I build a stand, I also always try to make it tall enough. As a tall guy, it drives me nuts how low all the stands on the market are. For small tanks, I like to have the top almost at eye level. For bigger tanks, I like them a good 6 to 8 inches taller than your average stand height.

And I have the opposite issue.  My 46 gallon bow front stand is tall enough that I’m on my tippy toes the whole time to reach the bottom back of the tank and I can’t wear anything but a tank top while working in it because I’m in it up to my armpit!  My 100 gallon tank is about 2” shorter and it’s a bit easier to reach the back without needing to stay on my tip toes.  And I’m average height for a woman.  Anybody shorter would need a step stool, especially for my 46 G.

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Heh yeah I’m 5’3” and I have to get on a chair to do maintenance in my 55 gallon anyway. 😄 I honestly wish I’d built my custom stand taller, just for the extra space it would have afforded me on the shelves below, and to put the top tank more at eye level. I suspect everyone will have a different preference on stand height. This could be an interesting poll!

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I like the design a lot that the OP posted, and the idea of making custom stands. I am not sure what part of the country you are in, but do a little market research. Talk to some mom and pop LFS in your area and see if they would be willing to let you build a stand to put in their store with a tank they have for sale. A guy I know from my area that makes stands on the side did this at a local store that specializes in saltwater. The store also does installs of custom aquariums in homes and businesses. He told me once that until he started working with that store, he would barely break even with stands because most people don't want to pay what he needed to sell the stands for to make any money. But, when someone is already shelling out a bunch of money for a higher end saltwater tank, its not much of a big deal. 

 

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