aquarium stand strength

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Forum topic by pharmd99 posted 09-01-2011 08:04 PM 4022 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1 post in 2458 days

09-01-2011 08:04 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question tip

I’m trying to build a plan for an aquarium stand. My aquarium will be 60”wide x 24”deep x 30”tall and when filled will weigh about 2400lbs. I want the stand to be 36” to 40” tall and I need to maximize the amount of space INSIDE the stand for all my equipment.

The stand will be 61”wide x 25”deep x 36”tall. I’m concerned about the stand being top-heavy and i’m not sure if these stands can handle the dimensional stress’s.

I have attached a couple of cad plans, please let me know if you can help me.


On top of all the stands will be 3/4” plywood before the aquarium.

3 replies so far

View Cosmicsniper's profile


2202 posts in 3157 days

#1 posted 09-01-2011 08:52 PM


Without plywood walls, the load of the tank would go to the corner posts and would be given to “top heaviness.” With plywood walls, the load will be largely distributed evenly throughout…with the added benefit of significant rigidity. IMO, any of the framing options would be fine as long as it is sheathed in plywood. I’d opt for #1 out of simplicity, though I’d put a single 2×4 post in the center of the 5 ft. span, both front and back. Actually, on the front, I might put two depending upon how many cabinet doors I use and whether or not the face frame can cover the upright posts.

The real issue is making sure that all points of failure (your joinery) are solid. You want to avoid joints where the wood can sheer. In other words, if the top rails set atop the post, you are good. If you did something like attach the posts to the top rails with screws or tenons (thin ones), then the wood might sheer at those points.

But I think you’d be surprised at the massive strength of 3/4” plywood if it’s firmly fixed to the frame. The lateral rigidity will help take a ton of pressure off your posts.

I’ve used the same principles with 55 and 100 gallon tanks, though 187 gallons is slightly heavier. I say “slightly” because my 100 is a freshwater planted tank with a very thick and compact substrate.

-- jay,

View Sawkerf's profile


1730 posts in 3067 days

#2 posted 09-01-2011 10:41 PM

I wouldn’t use any of the designs you’ve posted since they don’t show any gussets or other method to prevent racking.

You’re dealing with ~1650 lbs of water plus the weight of the tank, stand, pumps, filters, etc. This needs to be very sturdy and have a footprint that spreads the load as much as possible.

About four years ago, I was approached by two guys starting a company to fabricate and sell custom aquariums. It took some doing (and a long discussion about liability), but I finally convinced them that they needed to fabricate a steel skeleton that could be covered with wood for looks only. All the structural loads would be carried by the steel.

-- Adversity doesn't build reveals it.

View DLCW's profile


530 posts in 2653 days

#3 posted 09-03-2011 10:27 PM

Figure about 8.4 lbs. per gallon of water for the weight calculations.

-- Don, Diamond Lake Custom Woodworks - - "If you make something idiot proof, all they do is make a better idiot"

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