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40 Gallon Aquarium Stand

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Forum topic by Stykk posted 07-15-2020 01:30 AM 588 views 0 times favorited 35 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Stykk

9 posts in 29 days


07-15-2020 01:30 AM

Topic tags/keywords: aquarium advice

Hey everyone, I’m new to woodworking and would like some input on a design I’m considering. The aquarium is 30” long and 18” wide and will hold about 40 gallons of water, so I’m estimating the final weight (with water, substrate, wood and rocks) will be right around 400 pounds.

The stand will be 30” tall, 30” long, and 18” deep so it will be the same dimensions of the tank. The corner vertical pieces will be maple 1×4s, and the center vertical pieces will be 1×3s. They will all be joined will pocket holes and glue. I plan on making a rabbet cuts on the inside edges of the boards on the sides, and gluing in a half inch piece of plywood to close out the sides.

I’ll also be using a plywood top so the tank will be fully supported.

Like I said, I’m new to this so I’m open to all feedback.

Thanks everyone!


35 replies so far

View becikeja's profile

becikeja

1123 posts in 3622 days


#1 posted 07-15-2020 02:20 AM

I built a 120G about 10 years ago. I built a 2X4 frame then applied an outside skin of Plywood. You want to have all the weight move through the 2X4’s to the floor. The second thing is to make sure the platform the tank will sit on is flat and level. Sounds obvious, but deviation here will lead to an eventual glass leak. Flat and level. Have fun with the build. https://www.lumberjocks.com/projects/76628

-- Don't outsmart your common sense

View Woodknack's profile

Woodknack

13442 posts in 3189 days


#2 posted 07-15-2020 03:09 AM

I know why you have those center stiles going all the way up but it looks weird to me. I don’t believe you’ll lose any strength if the rails go all the way across. You could replace the angle braces on back with vertical 1×4’s (doesn’t have to be maple) and I feel it would be stronger. I’m afraid the angle braces might push the sides out over time, probably not but I would still do it. 400lbs isn’t that much really, 2 grown men sitting on it. Most of the stands on the internet are way overbuilt.

-- Rick M, http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

View ChefHDAN's profile

ChefHDAN

1705 posts in 3658 days


#3 posted 07-15-2020 04:26 PM

I think the key question is, “Where would the 40 gallons of water go if the stand fails?”
My last tank was a 40 and when I built the stand my key focus was to the point loads and weight distribution. I would not build it the way you’re planning, especially with pocket holes and just butt joints. I don’t think you need to go all the way to 2×4’s for that size tank, I used 2×2 for my 40g, but the frame assembled with dado joints and strong connections. I would suggest you consider building a 2×2 frame similar to the way Beck showed in his post. You can build the frame and then wrap it with your panels. I also agree with Knack that you’ll want a solid back on the case to add strength from racking.

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

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Woodknack

13442 posts in 3189 days


#4 posted 07-15-2020 10:22 PM

I really just meant one 1×4 on each side so the back legs form an L and keep that outside stile rigid. All the weight will go to the corners and down, so 100lb on each leg. If you leave the front center stile you’ll have about 67# on each front leg and 100# on each back. (Excluding the stand itself) That’s not right but probably close enough.. unless one of our resident engineers wants to do the math. 100# isn’t all that much really.

-- Rick M, http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

View oldnovice's profile

oldnovice

7599 posts in 4176 days


#5 posted 07-15-2020 11:59 PM

40 gallons × 8.5 lbs/gal (salt water) = 340 lbs, not including the tank, fish, rocks, sand, pump etc.
340 lbs / 4 legs = 85 lbs/leg

... no other comment, I just like math

-- "It's fine in practise but it will never work in theory"

View AlaskaGuy's profile

AlaskaGuy

5872 posts in 3118 days


#6 posted 07-16-2020 12:23 AM

A vertical 2×4 can hold 1000 pounds.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View Madmark2's profile

Madmark2

1471 posts in 1397 days


#7 posted 07-16-2020 12:24 AM

It’s not the static weight, it’s the wracking that will kill you. If you have a geometrically off design a shove from someone walking by could be catastrophic if the structure folds.

I like 2x vs 1x construction because of the larger end area. This prevents a minor shift from coming off the top of a support.

-- The hump with the stump and the pump!

View CWWoodworking's profile

CWWoodworking

887 posts in 988 days


#8 posted 07-16-2020 12:46 AM

Put a 3/4” ply back on it and racking issues are over.

For the face frame, carry the top and bottom all the way across with a support in middle.

Use a 3/4” top and put 3 vertical supports underneath the same height as face frame.

No need for 2xs.

View ChefHDAN's profile

ChefHDAN

1705 posts in 3658 days


#9 posted 07-16-2020 10:47 AM



I really just meant one 1×4 on each side so the back legs form an L and keep that outside stile rigid.
- Woodknack

I’d agree with that for each corner instead of the 2x frame. As the OP has drawn the table, it just appears that the top load would fold the table

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

View Stykk's profile

Stykk

9 posts in 29 days


#10 posted 07-16-2020 02:28 PM

Hey everyone, I appreciate all the tips and advice. I’m working on a new plan taking all of your help into account. I’ll post new pictures soon!

View tomsteve's profile

tomsteve

1046 posts in 2028 days


#11 posted 07-16-2020 03:51 PM

remember on a fish tank the weight is distributed around the perimeter. theres no need for a plywood top.
make your horizontal pieces run full length.

View Stykk's profile

Stykk

9 posts in 29 days


#12 posted 07-16-2020 04:10 PM


remember on a fish tank the weight is distributed around the perimeter. theres no need for a plywood top.
make your horizontal pieces run full length.

- tomsteve

It’s going to be a rimless aquarium, so the entire bottom of the tank needs to be supported. They even require a foam mat between the table top and the aquarium to “absorb” any bumps or imperfections on the surface.

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Stykk

9 posts in 29 days


#13 posted 07-16-2020 04:25 PM

OK everyone, here’s the update.

I put a 3/4 plywood on the back with a couple of large holes to allow for canister filter and CO2 tubing to run through to the tank and power cords to run in. I will likely mount a power strip inside. Probably also a light.

I ran the front horizontal beams all the way across, removing the front vertical.

I also rotated the bottom center interior beam so it’s no long resting on floor, and instead just acting as a brace between the front and back of the stand. You can see what I mean by looking at the top down picture. Is this OK, or should I keep it as a support touching the floor? I just did that because otherwise it would be visible on the outside.

View CWWoodworking's profile

CWWoodworking

887 posts in 988 days


#14 posted 07-16-2020 04:29 PM

Looks good. Put a leg leveler in the middle of that support. Do not make the brace touch the floor.

View Woodknack's profile

Woodknack

13442 posts in 3189 days


#15 posted 07-16-2020 04:42 PM

Looks good to me.

-- Rick M, http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

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