I can't stop doubting this design...

  • Advertise with us

« back to Designing Woodworking Projects forum

Forum topic by SuperCubber posted 02-24-2014 09:50 PM 2374 views 0 times favorited 35 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View SuperCubber's profile


1023 posts in 2254 days

02-24-2014 09:50 PM

Hey guys,

I’m building an aquarium stand for my sister. She chose the design based on a cheaply-made, but overpriced (particle board) stand she saw at PetSmart. I got the dimensions of the tank, looked at the picture of the stand she liked, and recreated it in Sketchup, or so I thought.

As I finished cutting all the pieces of plywood to rough widths and lengths, it occurred to me that they looked pretty narrow for a 55 gallon tank. I frantically looked up the dimensions of the tank she has, and it will fit, but there will only be about 1/4”-1/2” extra on all sides. So far, it probably doesn’t sound problematic, and I may just be worrying for no reason. I pulled up the dimensions of the stand from the store and it is significantly deeper, 19 3/4 vs. 13 3/4.

Does anyone see this lack of depth as being a stability issue, as in the possibility that the weight of the tank could cause it to want to tip forward?

Here is a screen shot of the stand in Sketchup.


edit I just remembered that the store stand is also compatible with 75 gallon tanks, so maybe the 19 3/4” depth is due to the store stand being compatible with a 75 gallon tank (18” deep). Maybe I’m worrying for nothing.

-- Joe | Spartanburg, SC | "To give anything less than your best is to sacrafice the gift." - Steve Prefontaine

35 replies so far

View pintodeluxe's profile


5626 posts in 2783 days

#1 posted 02-24-2014 09:54 PM

Stands in the 12-14” range can be a little tippy on carpet. Anchoring it to the wall would ease any concerns you might have.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View SuperCubber's profile


1023 posts in 2254 days

#2 posted 02-24-2014 09:55 PM

Willie, thank you. Such a simple solution! It will be on carpet, and obviously I’ll be shimming it to account for the tack strip.

-- Joe | Spartanburg, SC | "To give anything less than your best is to sacrafice the gift." - Steve Prefontaine

View ChefHDAN's profile


1057 posts in 2819 days

#3 posted 02-24-2014 10:32 PM

Remember that a 55gal will weigh about 500+lbs with gravel and all, plan for your center bracing to go all the way to the floor not just to the bottom shelf. I would also highly reccomend finding a nice piece of laminate for the top, tanks get real messy, and I’ve either used Melamine ply or a formica laminate for the last two I built. What will you use for filtration? If you need to put plumbing through the back you could wind up far enough off of the wall to not need to worry about the tack strip.

-- I've decided 1 mistake is really 2 opportunities to learn.. learn how to fix it... and learn how to not repeat it

View MarkTheFiddler's profile


2068 posts in 2158 days

#4 posted 02-24-2014 10:43 PM

About the tack strip. I’m thinking I would pull up the carpet and remove a section of it if it gets in the way. You can replace it later. I think it might be better than having it sit on shims and not make full contact with the floor. (If the floor is level.) Maybe one of the other guys can shoot holes in my idea.

-- Thanks for all the lessons!

View Wildwood's profile


2300 posts in 2104 days

#5 posted 02-24-2014 11:01 PM

I do not like drawing you posted, looks more like and entertainment center vice aquarium stand. This style stand more functional, allowing, for lamps, pumps, feeding, and cleaning.

I too would worry about your design not holding weight and getting it wet. If read reviews at Pet Smart for example listed getting that stand wet led to problems.

-- Bill

View SuperCubber's profile


1023 posts in 2254 days

#6 posted 02-24-2014 11:12 PM

ChefHDAN, thanks for your input. Obviously the picture doesn’t show it, but the bracing does go to the floor. I’ll talk to her about the laminate piece. Sounds like it makes sense, considering we’re talking about lots of water! As the tank and stand aren’t mine, I can’t speak for the filtration.

Mark, removing the tack strip isn’t a bad idea either. I’ll have to consider that.

Wildwood, I’m not sure what you’re getting at with the link. That item is the one this design is based off. What do you see that is different? Also, the design is what she wants. It’s not up to me to choose what it looks like. Lastly, the stand at PetSmart is made of particle board, which, as you know, is MUCH more easily damaged by water. This will be inked black and covered with several coats of poly to help deal with the moisture. I had a tank on unsealed wood for years without issue. I think the problem with the Ameriwood is the particle board.

-- Joe | Spartanburg, SC | "To give anything less than your best is to sacrafice the gift." - Steve Prefontaine

View NewportCycle's profile


2 posts in 1534 days

#7 posted 02-24-2014 11:55 PM

I would insist on tying the stand into the wall, the base is very slender in relation to the height for such a weight. I would also be concerned about a solid plywood back well fastened to prevent the frame from racking. Please post photos when you get it completed.

View NoLongerHere's profile


893 posts in 2645 days

#8 posted 02-25-2014 12:25 AM

ugly IKEA design. and, Black?... really? why? black is for melamine crap particle board DIY in a box stuff

why not make it out of stained hardwood?

This open design wont work for salt water tank with overflow tubes in corners, no room for decent filter and supplies, weak structure without back, The outlet/ power strip is going to show,

12” is fine, it would help if you added a 3/4 base to increase depth. a back will also hide the back wall.

The stand will probably sit at least 3 – 5” off the wall. attaching it might be interesting. I’ve owned and built a dozen stands and never had to attach them to the wall…...your call.

Is the carpet decent? Then, I wouldn’t cut it. It’s a pain in the butt to install new tack strips and stretch carpet perfect. It’s just not necessary, the tank is so heavy, it pinches it flat and it’s not going anywhere.

If you move or decide you want to rearrange the room or smash the money pit after your tank crashes and you lose 500.00 in fish, the carpet is still there. Tanks tend to be a short lived hobby unless they’re die hard fish fans.

I go thru this with huge entertainment centers – bury it.

View huff's profile


2828 posts in 3255 days

#9 posted 02-25-2014 12:32 AM


Good suggestions about having your cabinet sitting flat on the floor and not on shims. You want all yor weight being transferred directly to the floor. I would also consider making a couple supports under the floor of your cabinet that extend to the floor that aligns with your vertical dividers so all the weight is not being carried strictly by your two ends.

Over a long period of time with that much weight, it could cause things to sag in the middle. I also agree with Willie about anchoring it to the wall. Good luck and look forward to seeing the finished project.

-- John @

View TravisH's profile


573 posts in 1905 days

#10 posted 02-25-2014 01:20 AM

The stand design is fine, leave the carpet, shims are fine, and never have had to anchor a tank stand to a wall in the few years (30) I have kept tanks.

I don’t care for these book shelf styled stands but many like them as they see it as functional. Stained stands aren’t as popular as once were with much of the aquarium crowd. Well once you get away from the big box store consumer base. ADA style stands are more and more popular with the reef and planted tank groups so the gray, white, and black minimalist stands are very popular in these circles and slowly showing up in big box since it is the “elite trend” currently.

View SuperCubber's profile


1023 posts in 2254 days

#11 posted 02-25-2014 01:25 AM

reedwood, as I stated above, the color and design are not mine. This is what she wants, plain and simple. All I’m doing is a favor for my sister, so she can have a more solid piece, for less money. That’s why it’s black and an “ugly IKEA design.” This is not for a salt water tank. It does have a full 3/4” back. The carpet is brand new, so I’m definitely not cutting it. Cutting the tack strip is one thing, but IF I do that, it’s as far as I’ll go. I can’t say for sure how long it will last, but she is a diehard fish/pet fan. We’ll see. Worst case, apparently it’ll look nice as an entertainment center.

huff, the supports do go all the way through the floor, but the kickplate in the drawing blocks them from view.

-- Joe | Spartanburg, SC | "To give anything less than your best is to sacrafice the gift." - Steve Prefontaine

View SuperCubber's profile


1023 posts in 2254 days

#12 posted 02-25-2014 01:27 AM

Thanks, Travis

-- Joe | Spartanburg, SC | "To give anything less than your best is to sacrafice the gift." - Steve Prefontaine

View Woodknack's profile


11493 posts in 2350 days

#13 posted 02-26-2014 05:11 AM

At 12” wide and 30” tall + tank, I would anchor to the wall just for piece of mind. I built one aquarium stand and hid 2×2 posts inside the corners running from the top to the floor, probably unnecessary but the guy said he wanted it really sturdy… and he wanted it BLACK so I dyed it black and it looked great.

-- Rick M,

View oldnovice's profile


6775 posts in 3337 days

#14 posted 02-26-2014 06:52 AM

JoeyG did a blog on his aquarium build for a 220 gallon tank you might want to check out some of his build.

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

28973 posts in 2308 days

#15 posted 02-26-2014 09:34 AM

JoeyG specializes in this work (besides being a great box maker). I am sure that he could give you some pointers.

-- Mother Nature created it, I just assemble it.

showing 1 through 15 of 35 replies

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics