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Awesome Diy Aquarium Stand!


drkslvr

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I recently got a new 30 gallon aquarium. At home, I have a sturdy cabinet that can easily hold the tank, which I figured to be just shy of 300 lb when full. However, there is no way I could take the cabinet to school even if I wanted too, and so I started looking for a stand. Even the very cheapest stands I found were $50 to $70, and most of those were built for 29 gallon aquariums, not 30 gallon. Even if they hadn't been so flimsy-looking, they just weren't the right size. So, Monday my granddad and I got together and made one. I'm really happy with the results. We worked together to design a stand that could do a good job of holding and distributing the weight of the tank and look great doing it. Not a single screw shows on the entire stand. Practically the only way to see how the stand is held together is by sticking your head inside of it. :)

01stand.jpg

Not a single piece of furniture in my room matches. Most of it was hand-me-downs, and none of it was purchased together. I thought that I might be able to find a stain for the aquarium stand that was the same color as the stain for the loft my granddad made me in 1999 so that I could at least have two things that matched each other, but I had no such luck. That was okay, though, because I ended up with a product that was stain and polyurethane in one. It was great to be able to stain the stand and make it water-resistant all in one step.

02miterjoint.jpg

Look at that awesome mitered corner. Not a speck of cross-cut showing. Isn't it beautiful?

03top-downview.jpg

Here, the plywood on the top of the stand is removed, and you can see how the tank is actually supported. The 1x4s around the edges are mostly just to keep the 2x4s stable. The same for the cross piece in the center and the 1x2s around the sides. They carry very, very little of the aquarium's weight. The 2x4s in the corner pick up the aquarium's weight and transfer it straight to the ground. The compressive strength of plain ol' white pine, which I made the stand from, is more than 1000 lbs per square inch, I'm fully confident in the ability of the four 2x4s to hold up the tank.

04top-downnotated.jpg

The hard part, though, wasn't figuring out how to get the 2x4s to hold all that weight, but how to hold the plywood perfectly flat for the fish tank and distribute that weight evenly to the 2x4s. To do that, the cross piece (2) and edge supports (3) were added to the frame. We used a straight-edge to set the cross piece just a fraction of an inch lower than the 2x4s, and then used the same level to set the 1x2s just the tiniest bit lower than that. Less than 1/16" difference in each case. All of the supporting pieces, then, were topped with strips of carpet padding: a thick, firm foam mat. Notice that the 2x4s and the cross piece are held to the 1x4 frame with brackets. This would make the 1x4 frame unable to support much weight, but that's okay, because it doesn't need to. The foam padding and the height difference keep it from supporting much of the weight.

05foam.jpg

Although the plywood was as near to flat as it was possible for us to measure even without the padding, placing the padding under it will allow the aquarium to force it to be even more flat. Also, the padding allows the crosspiece and the 1x2s to keep the plywood from warping and sagging in the middle, without forcing us to make them perfectly level with the 2x4s, which would have been very difficult to do. If we had accidentally made them even a tiny bit higher than the 2x4s, it would have put most of the aquarium's weight on those pieces rather than directly on the 2x4s. Not a good scenario.

06storage.jpg

The two shelves on the stand work great for storing fish stuff.

07aquarium.jpg

Or, if necessary, I can lift out the top shelf and put my 10 gallon aquarium below my 30 gallon. Admittedly, this bottom shelf is not nearly as well supported as the plywood that the 30 gallon rests on, but it's not that heavy, so I'm not worried about it.

08cornersupport.jpg09topshelfcorner.jpg10hook.jpg

The removable shelf rests on four 2"x3/4"x1.5" pieces. Really, 2" lengths cut from the 1x2s. It wouldn't hold much weight, but it doesn't need to. Pickling salt and fish food don't weigh that much. Notches cut out of the front corners of the removable shelf prevent it from slipping out of place, ensuring that it only moves when I want to move it. Finally, hooks hidden inside the 1x4 frame are totally out of sight, just like all of the screws holding the stand together. But, they're right there for me to use when I need them. Really convenient, and not something I would have ever found on a store-bought stand. I'm really happy with what we made. I think it turned out great. :D

PS - If anyone likes some aspect of this design and decides to use it in making their own stand, my Papa and I would both love to hear about it!

Edited by drkslvr
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Wow,what an awesome job!! That is beautiful.

Seconded! :exactly Beats the pants off of the cabinet that my tanks sit on.... :D Fabulously built!!! :#1

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Thanks everyone. I'll let my granddad know what everyone said. :)

Awesome is right!!! What an amazing job.. So do you and your Papa want to come to Philly for a little while and build some stuff for me???

Nah, he doesn't travel too much anymore. He used to have a job for a small engine machine company. He got the job after leaving the army (He was drafted to serve in Korea.) and going to trade school on the GI bill of rights. He started as an entry-level mechanic and worked his way clear up the corporate ladder to regional manager. They sent him all over, not just in his own region, but also to other regions where he helped to train the managers there. But after awhile, he decided he'd spent too much of his time on the road, away from his home and family, so he stepped-down the corporate ladder to work with his hands again, so he could be closer to his family. It's something I'll always admire him for doing, especially considering how much it had to do with me. I was their first grandkid, and the biggest part of his decision to step down. He knew that he would have more grandkids, soon, too, and he didn't want to miss any time with us if he didn't have to.

What a great job!! Good job to you & Grandpa!! Hope you know how lucky you are to have such a talented Grandpa!!

I sure do! :D

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