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Critique my rack layout. Does it look stable?

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I'm tentatively planning a rack of aquaria laid out as in the diagram using a 60 in. W x 72 in. H x 18 in. D Gladiator shelving unit from Home Depot. Obviously, I don't want this toppling over, so I'm worried about stability.

My biggest concern is that the layout is a bit top-heavy, since most of its total weight is in its upper half (above the dotted line).

My second biggest concern is that the weight distribution is asymmetrical: side to side on the top row, but also front to back as I planned for 2.5ers where there was room for them behind the 10s and 16 talls.

At reddit someone recommended that I anchor it to the wall. Is that absolutely necessary? I live with my dad and he's not very supportive of my interest in fishkeeping. He definitely wouldn't like me doing things to the wall. Is there any way I could safely get around that?

Ask reddit stability dotted.png

Edited by saint_abyssal
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I think you're probably good, as long as everything is level front to back. figure 10 lbs per gallon on each tank, you have almost 1175 lbs in that size footprint. if it's on concrete you're good. if it's on wooden floor joists, it's possibly too much weight. especially if the joist runs parallel to the wall, then all your weight is on 1 joist. and that would be way too much weight

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I’m a bit more concerned about your space above the tanks.  I have 8 to 9” above my tanks on each shelf and it’s awkward to do water changes, siphoning, and catching fish is a bugger, somewhat depending on species.

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On 2/9/2024 at 7:19 PM, Odd Duck said:

I’m a bit more concerned about your space above the tanks

yeah, there is that as well. he could extend it up and put the top shelf on top. but he'll have to do the water changes on a ladder, which would be no fun at all. and cleaning... whew, ugh. 

but really 1200 lbs on floor joist. most older homes are not built for that. It really needs to be on concrete.


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I agree with @Odd Duck that you want to leave yourself room for maintenance and other things you need to do in your tanks. I have a 3 shelf rack (20 high and 55 gallon on the top shelf, 20 long and 29 on the middle shelf, and then (4) 10 gallon tanks and other maintenance equipment on the bottom shelf. I wish I had a couple more inches to access the 29 on the middle shelf at times. 

My rack is not anchored to the wall as I rent instead of own. I’m also on the second floor, but the rack is against a load bearing wall. I’ve had it up for 4 years and haven’t had any issues. If I owned a home I would definitely anchor it into the studs in the wall, but it’s just not an option for me. 

Edited by AllFishNoBrakes
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On 2/9/2024 at 11:35 PM, AllFishNoBrakes said:

I’m also on the second floor, but the rack is against a load bearing wall

Yes, that works fine depending on the orientation of the floor joists. Perpendicular joists hold much more weight. I have a 75 on top floor out of 3. Perpendicular joists. Load bearing. Could have done a 125. Should have. 

if it’s not load bearing or perpendicular it could be a serious problem. Old houses are also a problem. They weren’t designed to hold that much load 

Really needs to be checked. If it’s on first floor. It can be braced from underneath 

Parent willing 

Case in point, we have a house we rent out. The floor joists were oriented correctly but the bracing was set on a 75 year old tree stump. 

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