Big tank, old house - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-15-2017, 10:51 AM Thread Starter
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Big tank, old house

Hello everyone. I'm interesting in getting setting up a 120g or up tank, but I live in an old pier-and-beam farm house that sags a little here and there. To make matters worse, the joists run in the same orientation as the tank where I'd like to put it, so creating a level space that can handle the weight is a problem.

I've poked around a bit here, but haven't found anything along the line of DIY joist support, but that's really what I'd appreciate some guidance on - some shade-tree foundation engineering. If anyone can point me to an existing thread or some pics and suggestions, warnings and safety tips, I'd be grateful.
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-15-2017, 11:06 AM
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Can google.. "screw jack's for floor joist" or "Basement floor jack's"
I would personally have the weight of this tank over as many floor joist as possible despite where I might like it.
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-15-2017, 11:08 AM
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Tons of hits on Google. Most of your projects like this will be on reef tanks, so check out ReefCentral and similar sites. I'd go with something like this if possible:



You want to make a frame under the stand. Running perpendicular to the joist is best, but sistering additional bracing to the joist and adding vertical supports is fine.


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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-15-2017, 12:51 PM Thread Starter
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Much obliged!
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-15-2017, 02:04 PM
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The picture posted by freemananana is on par. Our house is pier and beam as well. We situated a 180gal with 55gal sump to run across the existing supports then, from what I understand, my hubs went under and braced those supports by sliding boards between them and securing to existing supports and then added 4 or 5 of those (4x4) posts under both the existing supports and the new cross bracing. No visual, but I can testify that it works. This has been over a year ago and no sagging or issues with the floor or tank. Now that I'm thinking about it....I think he may have taken a couple pieces of 3/4 in plywood under there too to beef up the subfloor as well....
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-16-2017, 02:04 PM
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Make sure you don't give termites an easy path into your home. You don't want any contact between soil and regular wood. You need to use redwood or something treated for the parts that are closest to the ground. Typical is a concrete pier block with a redwood block on top of it then you put the rest of your support on top of that.
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-19-2017, 04:06 PM
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Reef2Reef is another good source. There is a sticky in the DIY section on floor supports and whether or not you need it. (R2R can be a little more helpful. There are a lot of grumpy crusty fogies over at ReefCentral and the environment turned quite hostile for a while. I haven't been on there for a couple of years, but last time I was everything devolved into a flame war; it may be coming around again though. A lot of people bailed and went over to R2R).

People tend to go a lot larger with reef tanks (plus sumps) than the planted folks do.

I usually feel kind of guilty using the quick reply... my replies are rarely quick.
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-23-2017, 01:11 AM
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Late to the question here but some points that I like might be worth mention. Much depends on how the space under the floor is built. On concrete like a basement, it is much easier as the solid, flat surface is there but if it is a crawlspace or dirt, I like to leave jacks in place that can be adjusted as the dirt settles or moves.
For dirt like in crawlspaces, I lay down a Treated 2X12, use the jack posts and then top it with a doubled 2X6/8 on top laid on edge.
Tanks are not really as hard to hold up as we often read about, even in old houses. I think of it like having a group of fat friends come over. If worried about the floor collapsing when they flop on the couch, I worry about putting a tank there but in most houses, that is not a big worry.
If the floor begins to sag, it is not a sudden thing. Just something to fix if you see the water level begin to go off a bit too much. Better to fix first but not a big thing if you fix it later, either. Just don't wait to never fix it?
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-23-2017, 02:35 PM
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I'm doing some work on an old farmhouse right now. The owner used to have large aquariums and said he never worried about placement. The floor joist are from a railroad tressel. Full 4X12 beams on 12" centers! There's not much space between joist!
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