How to make a bookshelf/aquarium stand?
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Old 11-18-2009, 10:00 PM   #1
eiginh
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How to make a bookshelf/aquarium stand?


Hello,

I have a computer desk that I don't really use and was wondering of replacing it for a bookshelf that can hold a 20/30 gallon long/tall. Instead of spending big bucks for one I was wondering if anyone has a blueprint/instructions on how to make one? I'm not really a handy man but I will do my best.

Thanks
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Old 11-18-2009, 10:55 PM   #2
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An aquarium stand made from 3/4 plywood or MDF can be made with the cabinet space under the tank replaced with book shelves, if you wish. The tank is supported by the vertical pieces, with the load distributed by the solid back and the narrow piece under the front edge of the top. Tanks in the 20-30 gallon range are 24 to 36 inches long, so it would be possible to just use the two end vertical pieces and no center vertical, the way you sketched it. If you do that, the horizontal piece under the front top of the tank should be at least 4 inches top to bottom, in my opinion. And, the solid back is important, since the stand/book case would rely on that for its resistance to racking.

Where would you store the aquarium supplies if you do this? And, if you used a canister filter, where would it go?
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Old 11-18-2009, 11:00 PM   #3
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I was planning on having a HOB filter and I would just put the supplies in the space given. I don't own a lot of books!
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Old 11-19-2009, 10:30 AM   #4
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I'm not sure that's going to be cheaper then finding a shelving unit that supports the weight needed. You can get a 2 shelf Metal Bookcase 34-1/2w x 12 1/2 x 8d for $75.

I'm not sure how much all the wood is going to cost you but around here wood can get expensive. I went to my local lumber yard for a sheet of plywood and a couple 2x4' and they wanted $70-$80..
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Old 11-19-2009, 03:17 PM   #5
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I googled and found this for metal bookcases. Is this what you're talking about? If so wouldn't it need a support in the middle or do you think it's fine as is?
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Old 11-19-2009, 03:22 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eiginh View Post
I googled and found this for metal bookcases. Is this what you're talking about? If so wouldn't it need a support in the middle or do you think it's fine as is?
I doubt that would support a fish tank. We have dozens of shelves like that bent from putting bits of engineering on.
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Old 11-19-2009, 03:24 PM   #7
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It would be a rare bookcase that can support the weight of an aquarium on the top, in my opinion. One problem would be the weight on top of a structure not designed to resist twisting and racking. I agree that wood can be expensive, but 3/4" MDF is still reasonably priced, and you can make a very sturdy aquarium stand with it.
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Old 11-19-2009, 03:29 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eiginh View Post
I googled and found this for metal bookcases. Is this what you're talking about? If so wouldn't it need a support in the middle or do you think it's fine as is?
we have one of those at my work and the middle shelves are not very strong... the top and bottom are prety sturdy though.
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Old 11-19-2009, 04:13 PM   #9
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I was thinking that. Hmm do you think this would work?
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Old 11-19-2009, 04:51 PM   #10
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we have one of those at my work and the middle shelves are not very strong... the top and bottom are prety sturdy though.
Hmm, do you think it'll hold a 20gallon then? I just need to rehome my angel that's in my 10g...
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Old 11-19-2009, 05:26 PM   #11
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Hmm, do you think it'll hold a 20gallon then? I just need to rehome my angel that's in my 10g...
i would not trust it for to long... its just a few small tabs that secure the middle shelf to the actual cabinet.
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Old 11-19-2009, 05:29 PM   #12
eiginh
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jreich View Post
we have one of those at my work and the middle shelves are not very strong... the top and bottom are prety sturdy though.
Hmm, do you think it'll hold a 20gallon then? I just need to rehome my angel that's in my 10g...
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Old 11-19-2009, 07:08 PM   #13
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When I was working for a living, back in the 90's and before, we had lots of those metal book cases, and those that people would sit on, to chat, almost always were bowed down by their weight after a few weeks. And, as they say, "they don't make things like they used to." Adding the center vertical support would probably enable it to hold a tank, but that isn't an easy thing to do. That support has to go all the way to the floor, not just to the top of the bottom shelf. But, you could add more wood under the bottom shelf to take care of that. Then, of course you have spent about the same as it costs to make a wood stand. Plus you are totally frustrated from cutting sheet metal and trying to do it neatly. (The center shelf has to be cut.)
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Old 11-19-2009, 10:28 PM   #14
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What do you guys think of the 2nd style stand/shelf?

Does any one have a blueprint instruction for an aquarium stand?
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Old 11-19-2009, 11:03 PM   #15
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The basic principle of the design is two box frames connected by four legs. The upper one supports the tank and transfers the load to the legs. The legs are made of several pieces of 2X4 to assist in construction and sheething the stand in plywood for strength and cosmetics. The bottom frame transmits the load of the tank into the floor.*


Design notes:
*The plan for this stand consists of 21 pieces. Like color pieces are the same length and of the same board size.*
*The box frames are screwed together first, then the legs are built off the bottom frame, the top frame is then placed on top and secured to the legs.
*The green pieces are screw strips. These provide limited load strength but serve to make assembly easier and help keep the stand square.
*The blue piece between the upper rails (red) works to keep the upper rails from twisting.*

Ok, now to the cut list:
First off: The calculations below are based off of a stand that is "W" inches wide X "D" inches front-to-back X "H" inches high.*

(2) Red - Upper Rails: Length = W
These will be sized according to length: 2X4 for 48" or less for smaller tanks (Rule of thumb is 75g-90g); 2X6 up to 72" with 125g-150g being acceptable; For longer spans and larger tanks 2X8s are recommended.*

(2) Yellow - Upper Ends: Length = D-3"
Theses will be made of the same material as the upper rails.

(4) Green - Screw Strips: Length = H-2"*
These 2X4s are shorter then the tank is tall.

(8) Purple - Uprights: Length varies:*
- 2X4 Upper Rails: Length = H -7"
- 2X6 Upper Rails: Length = H-9"
- 2X8 Upper Rails: Length = H-10.75"
These 2X4s support the weight of the tank. The ones on the short sides of the stand provide a flat surface for attaching a plywood facing and while they do provide some strength, they are optional.

(2) Orange - Bottom Rails: Length = W
These 2X4s act to spread the weight of the tank over a larger area.

(3) Blue - Bottom Ends: Length = D-3"

Covering the sides of the stand with plywood will help to stiffen the stand against twisting and shifting. Doors can be mounted to the legs as desired.*

So there it is. 21 pieces in 6 lenghts equals a tank stand that should fit the bill for most people. There are other plans out there but this is a simple design using simple tools and common wood sizes. It may not suit everyone's application but it should fit the bill for most common size tanks.
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