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alternative or DIY tank stands?


Sal
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It depends on the furniture.  Its difficult to advise over the web, without inspecting what you have, but if you have a solid piece of furniture, it may be sturdy enough on its own, or can be braced inside / behind with additional framing.   Basically you want a flat surface to distribute the aquarium's weight evenly, and solid vertical framing to transfer the weight directly to the floor evenly.   No overhang, no spindly legs, no wobble or bowing.  

  

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5 minutes ago, Tetra Guy said:

It depends on the furniture.  Its difficult to advise over the web, without inspecting what you have, but if you have a solid piece of furniture, it may be sturdy enough on its own, or can be braced inside / behind with additional framing.   Basically you want a flat surface to distribute the aquarium's weight evenly, and solid vertical framing to transfer the weight directly to the floor evenly.   No overhang, no spindly legs, no wobble or bowing.  

  

Thanks Tetra Guy!  I am only looking for pieces that sit directly on the floor (no legs, or minimal legs) and are made with solid hardwood.  I do expect we will need to reinforce.  The tank stand I have currently is made of particle board and I just can't fathom that it's more sturdy than an actual piece of wood furniture...  But maybe I am wrong?

 

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I have a similar dresser which i intend to use as an aquarium stand for a 75g.  But i’m going to remove the drawers and put cabinet doors on the front. The reason for that is so I can fit a sump inside and brace all around, including behind the legs.  I’m concerned that it may bow in front where the openings for drawers is a structural weakness. 

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3 minutes ago, Fish Folk said:

So... not a veteran here . . . but honestly, the risk of fracture and tank disaster outweighs all other considerations.

Definitely taking time to consider everything, including building something from scratch.  But, the tank stands that you can buy (for THOUSANDS of dollars) are just really ugly...  I'm not convinced I can't create something better!   I love a challenge.

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We've made a lot of DIY stands. No great carpentry craftsmanship here . . . just functional. We put a few tanks on furniture. But I think the largest we've tried it with is a 20 gal. One 10 gal on a dresser, a 5.5. on a bookshelf, one 20 gal on  a side-stand, and bunch on DIY racks. For security, we tend to prefer 4x4s. But 2x4s can work -- especially pressure treated wood. Here's some photos. 

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I've built all my stands and racks I've ever had except the one for my 93 cube tank, and that is only because I won the tank and stand in a raffle and the stand was a nice solid one already. I just use 2x4 for all them, if the tank is longer than 4 feet, I put a vertical brace in the center. Even stands that I have built that went in my living room, not in my fish room, I just made a frame out of 2x4 and the wrapped in 1/4" plywood, and used stock moldings from Menard's to dress up corners and edges. This is an older pic of a double 40 breeder rack I built 

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If the furniture is well made, and the footprint of the tank is slightly smaller than the top of the furniture so the weight isn't concentrated in the middle of the furniture, causing stress, it works fine.  I don't have any pictures handy, but I have a 20 long on a file cabinet and a 10 and a 5 gallon tank on dressers, and my daughter-in-law has a 55 on a sideboard.

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2 hours ago, Sal said:

What abut something like this?  image.png.a97d80f205c388c08dfdbcea9db593b6.png

Looks solid, flat bottom will distribute the weight. I like the big cabinet it the middle because you can put some nice chunky vertical frames in the center section, to transfer weight to floor and prevent any sagging. If the dresser top isn’t perfectly level, adding the additional frame in the middle will solve this. Just based on photo, I’m thinking it would work. 

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22 hours ago, Sal said:

Show me a picture of your alternative tank stand, or DIY tank stand?

Is there anything you can do to convert a solid wood piece of furniture (like a hutch bottom, or an old vintage dresser) into a good tank stand for a larger (90gal, 120 gal) tank, or don't even attempt?

My setup. I used maple plywood from Lowes, it was cheaper than oak. I had the doors and as my dear wife like to tell me, the colors do not match 🙂 

Furniture grade plywood is the best option as it is dimensionally stable.  I have a 50 year old solid wood Ethan Allen dining room table, one of the leaves split open.  Personally I hate solid wood.

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15 hours ago, Sal said:

What abut something like this?  image.png.a97d80f205c388c08dfdbcea9db593b6.png

As a general rule, if you can disassemble the dresser (think IKEA) , it might not be strong enough. Now the good news, old beat up dressers found at Goodwill tend to be very solid and cheap. As you say, refinish them and it may be beautiful! 

Is the top it level? If not level, you could use a pad or buy some Bondo and level off where the tank will sit (can offer more help on this).

If concerned that the top is not strong enough, I suggest buying a pocket hole jig (Kreg or Harbor Freight) and attach strips of plywood under the top piece. This would mean you can no longer use the top drawers, just remove the drawer part and glue the front panel to the face. 

What is good about this dresser, no legs and the weight will be distributed . However if your floor is not level, you will have to use shims under the dresser. 

 

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We repurposed an antique buffet for our 95 gallon.  My husband is a farmer and has some woodworking skills, and he said it would be "fine."  So...

It's been fine!

It has about a 1 1/2 inch solid wood top, and he did reinforce the bottom with a couple 2X4s.  He also had to make a substantial custom shim for it that went all the way across the front. (photo 1) Then 2 for the sides and 1 for the back as well.  That was by far the most challenging part of the project.  We made sure the weight could be distributed throughout the piece of furniture.  The neighbor we got it from used to use it as a tool chest, so pretty sure that weighed about as much as the tank 🙂

What I like about it--

-We paid $10 for it 12 years ago, used it to store dishes, and now have a tank stand!

-It fits the tank PERFECTLY--about 2 inches on each side and a quarter inch front and back (plus the rounded part in front)

-It matches our other furniture and our old house.

-There's tons of storage (but it wouldn't work for a sump). (Photo 2)

-My husband plumbed permanent hot and cold water lines with spigots and a drain pipe into the side cabinets for easy water changes (note...cheap big box spigots are leaky...that still needs to be fixed!) (photo 3)

One last thing--I did learn the hard way with a couple smaller tanks...you NEED to put vinyl or something like that on top of the wood.  It doesn't matter how neat you think your water changes will be.  You WILL ruin your furniture.  Don't tell my grandma who gave us the Ethan Allen end tables with our 10 and 20 gallon tanks on them!  Shhhhh!  

 

 

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19 hours ago, KaitieG said:

We repurposed an antique buffet for our 95 gallon.  My husband is a farmer and has some woodworking skills, and he said it would be "fine."  So...

It's been fine!

It has about a 1 1/2 inch solid wood top, and he did reinforce the bottom with a couple 2X4s.  He also had to make a substantial custom shim for it that went all the way across the front. (photo 1) Then 2 for the sides and 1 for the back as well.  That was by far the most challenging part of the project.  We made sure the weight could be distributed throughout the piece of furniture.  The neighbor we got it from used to use it as a tool chest, so pretty sure that weighed about as much as the tank 🙂

What I like about it--

-We paid $10 for it 12 years ago, used it to store dishes, and now have a tank stand!

-It fits the tank PERFECTLY--about 2 inches on each side and a quarter inch front and back (plus the rounded part in front)

-It matches our other furniture and our old house.

-There's tons of storage (but it wouldn't work for a sump). (Photo 2)

-My husband plumbed permanent hot and cold water lines with spigots and a drain pipe into the side cabinets for easy water changes (note...cheap big box spigots are leaky...that still needs to be fixed!) (photo 3)

One last thing--I did learn the hard way with a couple smaller tanks...you NEED to put vinyl or something like that on top of the wood.  It doesn't matter how neat you think your water changes will be.  You WILL ruin your furniture.  Don't tell my grandma who gave us the Ethan Allen end tables with our 10 and 20 gallon tanks on them!  Shhhhh!  

 

 

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This is SO COOL!  I love how custom it is, and that it matches with your home.  That's ultimately what I want to accomplish too!  

Thank you for sharing!

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