Shim help! - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-12-2014, 04:33 AM Thread Starter
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Shim help!

I have hardwood floors over concrete slab. The best possible location in the house I can put my new 47.5 gallon is off level by 1/2" lengthwise and 1/4" on the width. To make matters worse the majority of the shimming will take place between the back wall and the back of the aquarium cabinet.

I am fairly handy and have been trying to level now for an hour!
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-12-2014, 04:47 AM
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What are you using for shims? Is the tank empty? Do you have a level?
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-12-2014, 06:44 AM
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Half inch is alot, would it be possible to shave the stand on opposite end to make up the difference or shim and throw down some trim shaved down on outside corner to cheat the illusion a bit
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-12-2014, 10:03 PM Thread Starter
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Yes, I have a 3 foot level and composite wood shims. Since the aquarium with water will weigh around 350 lbs I want to level the stand first. Yes a 1/2" is insane!

Originally Posted by houbanna View Post
Half inch is alot, would it be possible to shave the stand on opposite end to make up the difference or shim and throw down some trim shaved down on outside corner to cheat the illusion a bit
I would rather shim then shave the stand. I dont have to hide it to much the 1/2" difference is in the rear corner.

Last edited by Darkblade48; 01-13-2014 at 05:30 AM. Reason: Please use the edit function for back to back posts to keep threads cleaner
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-13-2014, 12:18 AM
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I had a friend with something similar in a house he bought. Man the floor was all jacked up. Walking in the family room made you feel like you were a little drunk. What he did when he was trying to level his entertainment center was use dowel rods from Menards. So he basically found level or close then inserted the dowel rods cutting them to length and width for uniform weight distribution. He then took some quarter round and glued it all together so it wouldn't move or shift. I don't know if it would work for you, but I thought I would throw it out there. Good Luck!!
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-13-2014, 01:10 AM
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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!
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-13-2014, 01:28 AM
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I'd put the tank on the stand and add water to the top of the bottom rim and level it to that. You know, water, seeking its own level and all that.

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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-13-2014, 09:33 PM
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+1 to GraphicGr8's suggestion, I find this to be the easiest way to determine how level/unlevel a tank is.

I've taken to putting adjustable feet on my stands. It lowers the amount of surface area supporting the aquarium, but if you're floor is on a concrete slab, I don't think that would be an issue.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-15-2014, 03:44 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the lesson in shims PlantedRich, it gives me a good simple start for a solid foundation. Also thanks Jesseter, I saw those square dowels at home depot today, I will use them and shims. Graphic, that is what I hope I dont have to do as leveling a full aquarium would be a pita at best!
I am hoping level stand = level aquarium. Almost like happy wife = happy life
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