My stand is made by a family friend using a design I provided. It is made of 3/4" birch panels and is inspired by ADA-style stands and mid-century modern furniture. I would have liked more mid-century flare to it, but the style's signature hairpin legs would be a disaster with that much weight. Instead of thin legs, I settled for a recessed base that wouldn't compromise the ability to withstand a lot of weight.
The doors use invisible hinges so that when closed, are completely flush with the rest of the stand. The cabinet is divided into two chambers that have pinholes on the sides for adjustable shelves. And that thicker panel on the upper right? Totally a drawer the carpenter made for me.
There are semi-circle hand holds on the sides and cut opening in the bottom back for hoses and cords. In hindsight, I would have had the openings at the top as it takes more length of the hose/cord to run to the bottom of the stand and then back up to the tank. Oh well, my hoses and cords are all fortunately long enough.
The doors are currently unstained as I wasn't sure if I wanted to leave them such or have them stained to match. I rather like the contrast, so I may just give them a clear coat for protection against water drips. I'm also debating between installing linear pull handles or seeing if I can install a push-magnetic system.
First Hardscape Attempt
Last time I visited my parents, we scavenged their property for pieces of collected driftwood and rocks I could "borrow" for my aquascaping. We found a reeeeeally neat piece of knotted pine, but when we baked it int he oven it oozed sap and so I wasn't sure if it was safe to use. But my visit produced two other pieces of driftwood along with a variety of rocks collected from Lake Michigan and Lake Superior.
Before I had any plants, I went a bit heavy on the hardscape to fill in the empty spaces.
My first attempt received some constructive criticism that it appeared too artificially arranged, which I agreed with and revised.
But then I realized I hadn't really sterilized the rocks, so just to be safe, they got a bleach bath and were rinsed thoroughly before going back in the tank. It was also at this time that I was able to finnnnnnaaally fill 'er up with water! I had also recently watched a YouTube Aquascaping video that recommended going with your gut instinct in 'scaping instead of over-thinking it. So I went with it and stopped agonizing over every little placement. In went the rocks, in went the plants, in went the water!
OMG planting from scratch was so not easy. My plant package had spent too much time in a bucket with Prime-treated water (and also being subjected to a potassium permanganate bath) and the majority of my planting was actually me just sulking and whining that all my plants were dying or going to die and they wouldn't stay in the substrate and this water sprite has no leaves anymore and WHY IS THIS SO. HARD. But I pushed through it and when I was able to start filling the tank with more water, I started seeing the plants as they naturally are (y'know... not all limp and lifeless out of water). Then I went from annoying my husband with my complaining to annoying my husband with cries of "STOP WHAT YOU ARE DOING AND COME SEE HOW BEAUTIFUL THIS IS. My plants! Let me show you them!"
Even my cat wouldn't pay attention. She becomes too preoccupied with water changes because it involves BUBBLES.