Aquarium stand weight limitations

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Forum topic by yellowtruck75 posted 09-06-2011 07:01 PM 2045 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View yellowtruck75's profile


464 posts in 2484 days

09-06-2011 07:01 PM

I have been asked to work up a quote for a furniture grade aquarium stand that should hold ~250 pounds. The dimensions are 40×26 x 32. Do I need to utilize any sort of extra reinforcments or would standard cabinet construction suffice?

6 replies so far

View DurocShark's profile


65 posts in 2188 days

#1 posted 09-06-2011 07:08 PM

250# is a small tank (rough estimate 8lbs per gallon, 250 / 8 = 31.25… Possibly a 30 gal tank.)

What kind of tank is it? Acrylic? Glass? The glass ones have all the weight around the edge on the plastic frame, while acrylic has the entire bottom resting on the stand.

All that said, your design looks fine except for that open corner. I’d make sure there’s solid support in that top over that corner.

-- -Don

View shipwright's profile


7080 posts in 2215 days

#2 posted 09-06-2011 07:42 PM

Your home page doesn’t list a location. If you’re in the imperial gallon part of the world, ie Canada, England etc. it’s 10 lbs/ gallon.
Other than that I agree with Don, Looks good but support that corner.

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fibreglass trees.

View dpop24's profile


115 posts in 1986 days

#3 posted 09-06-2011 07:53 PM

I made a cabinet for my 55 US gallon plexiglass tank and rather than praying that standard cabinet construction would hold the nearly 500 pounds of water and rocks, I constructed a frame from 2×4’s and wrapped it in 3/4 red oak plywood on 3 sides. It came out great and hasn’t moved a millimeter since the day I put the tank on it.

Funny thing is, if you go to the pet store and look at their junky particle board cabinets they sell for outrageous prices, you would think that they would collapse into a pile of dust if you set a book on them, but they somehow hold up! Based on this, I’m thinking mine is over-engineered and your design will probably be fine!

-- If it ain't broke, take it apart and find out why

View MrRon's profile


3888 posts in 2660 days

#4 posted 09-06-2011 08:31 PM

All of the load of an aquarium is vertical, so any type of construction that directs the load along the strongest plane of the material will work. Plywood when loaded horizontally is very weak, but when turned to a vertical position, it is very strong. A 2×4 horizontally placed between two supports is very weak, but when turned vertical as in a leg, becomes extremely strong. The trick is to always use the strongest axis of the material to handle the load. In your sketch, the top drawer doesn’t allow for a deep rail support under the top and as mentioned by others, the RH corner is a weak spot. Duroshark’s comment on glass vs acrylic is also a very important factor to consider.

View yellowtruck75's profile


464 posts in 2484 days

#5 posted 09-06-2011 09:25 PM

The aquarium is smaller than the stand so there won’t be any weight over the open shelves.

View jerkylips's profile


273 posts in 1987 days

#6 posted 09-06-2011 10:27 PM

I learned a new term recently at work – “tail risk”. It’s defined as a low probably event that has significant impact IF it happens. This post reminded me of it – it PROBABLY won’t fail, but if it does, you have 30 gallons of water on your floor. I’d rather overbuild it & have a dry floor.. ;)

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