Planted Tank Guru
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Huntington Beach, CA, USA
Are you familiar with shimming or is this a first time deal?
You are right to shim the stand level before adding the tank. Just much easier. The back side against the wall will likely be the harder area to reach so I would start there. Using the level, find the highest spot on the floor and mark this as your plane to level all the rest to fit. It sounds like that will mean putting several shims together at the back side. The better way is to use two shims with the taper pointing opposite directions. This leaves the top flat and horizontal rather than using a single shim which leaves the top sloping. If the stand base is somewhat weak the slope can make things tilt and come apart over time. Start with one corner down on the point you have picked, move to another corner to add shims enough to lift that to meet the first corner and work your way around to all four corners. To do this, start with just the shim tips under from each side and gently tap them further under, alternating which shim is tapped so that you can get about the same amount of each under the stand. A scrap board laid across the end of the shim will save breaking the shim as they are sometimes brittle. When all four corners are level, check it carefully. At this point, you should have shims doubled to be flat but sticking out from under all corners. Now go back to center spots of the stand which may seem weak. Don't go too far on this as it is the corners which make the difference. On a good solid 2X4 stand it is not needed at all. Once it is all level and checked, use a sharp knife like a razor blade knife to score the shims at the outer edge of the stand and pry them up to break off the excess sticking out. Add trim to cover the ends if you like. Don't worry about the excess sticking out underneath.
Big note to remember? Life is not perfect and that includes leveling things!