Building cinder block shelving - question about supporting tanks - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-26-2017, 01:03 AM Thread Starter
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Building cinder block shelving - question about supporting tanks

Hi there!

I'm working on building some shelving in my basement for plant growing/breeding tanks using 2x4s, 3/4" plywood, and cinder blocks.

I would like to limit the number of cinder blocks I use, mainly because they are heavy. My goal would be to have two cinder blocks-deep 'pillars' at both ends of the shelving (which is about 11ft) and then one-cinder block 'deep' centered pillars at two steps between. Thus, the 2x4s could not be at the edge of the cinder blocks, but would be more centered, and thus could not directly support the edge of the plywood.

How much 'overhang' from the plywood would be considered acceptable from the supporting 2x4 to have a tank's edge be on it?
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-26-2017, 01:11 AM
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Any way to make a rough drawing of the method and size of tanks on each shelf? Simple drawing like maybe a "paint" drawing? This would help a lot with making sure we know what you plan and also the size and shape of the tanks will make a big difference.
Cinder blocks and wood can make a good set of shelves but it is better to make sure of the question before throwing in too many wild guesses!
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-26-2017, 01:39 AM
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How big are the tanks you're planning on using? The weight the wood has to carry matters IMO. I built a really simple stand for my 20g with 2 cinder blocks and some 2x4s, and it's holding strong (and I'm no master carpenter...), but I'm assuming you want to go bigger.

Also, will the tanks be braced? If they are, then you have a lot more wiggle room with supporting the full area of the tank.
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-26-2017, 02:48 AM Thread Starter
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Sorry for the crude images - I had surgery yesterday but I'm a bit loopy.

This was the original design: Side-View, Top-Down

This doesn't include that there were side-boards between the 2x4s to reinforce them, and 2x4s through the blocks vertically to strengthen them. The 2x4s inbetween the blocks would have 3/4" thick plywood atop. My issue is that this requires about 40 blocks, which is fairly heavy 1,400 lbs on its own.

I'd like to reduce the number of blocks for the design. That's the main input I'm looking for. I can technically do _one_ block deep instead of two blocks deep, but then the 2x4s become way more contracted and the plywood will not have 2x4s on the edges (and thus not be entirely supported).

Last edited by Ameisen; 04-26-2017 at 03:38 AM. Reason: Mixed up top-down and side-view.
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-27-2017, 02:17 AM Thread Starter
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I'm going to be using 4x4s for the central support columns instead of blocks there to save weight and my joints. The corners will still be cinder blocks (with wood in the risers of the cinder blocks for added support and rigidity).
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-27-2017, 03:54 AM
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Skip the plywood totally. Many of my tanks from the 10s up to some 55s are only supported on the front and back of the tank with no ill effect.
I'd build that 2x4 frame and set it on blocks at the 4 corners only. I've seen 55s at a farm here supported on pipe 1/3 the way in front and back.

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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-28-2017, 04:52 AM
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I use cinderblock racks in my fish room. bottom row is 40Breeders supported by 2 2x10s, top row is 20Ls with 2x6s works fine no worries about it being not strong enough.
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-28-2017, 01:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ameisen View Post
I'm going to be using 4x4s for the central support columns instead of blocks there to save weight and my joints. The corners will still be cinder blocks (with wood in the risers of the cinder blocks for added support and rigidity).
Just noticed the 4x4. Not sure in your area but down here it's near impossible to get a 4x4 that isn't PT. I won't ever use any type of PT near my tanks. Or my kid.

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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-28-2017, 07:43 PM
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Did you guys watch the Aquarium Coop video where he shows how his store tank rack was built? If I was doing a rack of smaller aquariums I would consider that method rather than stacking blocks and boards.
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-29-2017, 01:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigbadjon View Post
Did you guys watch the Aquarium Coop video where he shows how his store tank rack was built? If I was doing a rack of smaller aquariums I would consider that method rather than stacking blocks and boards.
that method scares me for anything bigger than 29s. I used his method for his fish room. have up to 75s on that style setup.
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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-29-2017, 06:22 PM
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I would not do the method for his store for any size that has a center brace of course. Just the smaller sizes most fishrooms employ. The original poster didn't specify what size tanks would be utilized.
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