Fish Rack Question - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-11-2018, 11:49 PM Thread Starter
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Fish Rack Question

Will this style of rack (Picture 1) support 12 x 20 gallon long aquariums? Roughly 53" Wide, 31" Depth, 78.5 Height.

Roughly total weight of 2,246 lbs (Water weight 8.36lb per gallon + 20 lbs substrate per tank)

or would a Joey The King of DIY style (Picture 2) be better? I know Joey's style is stronger but it makes my rack an extra 10 inches Wide.
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-12-2018, 07:38 PM
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I can't see enough of the first rack to totally judge it. It may be fine ---or not! But the "Joey" is proof that naming yourself "King" may not tell the true story? That rack is way overbuilt.
So some theory may be better to let you judge what fits and works best in your plan?
Wood standing on end is very, very , difficult to compress and almost any size will do if we support it so that it can't bow or move sideways. You can park a truck on 1X stock if it can't bend! So to keep it from bending, we often see folks make it into an angle beam by gluing and fastening two boards together at 90 degrees. The point many fall down on is covered in the joey setup. We want the weight to be supported by solid wood all the way to the floor, not on fasteners attached to the sides of wood. Fasteners like screws are great for not pulling out but they are also made brittle and can snap when the weight is on the side. One snaps, they all snap and things go boom!
So the first rack may be plenty strong IF the weight is on solid wood, top to floor and the uprights are connected so that the legs can't sway (rack?) sideways. A top board between the leg sets will do that fine if they are well attached like screwed and glued. If the left/right horizontal is setting on top of the legs, good. If it is attached to the front of the legs and then added support underneath from the 2X4 going front/back, not good.
One point that may make the joey work out okay is the way lumber is priced. It is often easy to find good, straight 2X4 cheaper than finding good 1X so there are times when "overbuilding due to cost is cheaper than going lightweight. But when space is the critical point, sometime we have to pay a bit more for good but smaller wood?
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-12-2018, 08:23 PM
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I think the first can work but probably only if you are using through bolts. Otherwise the weight is compressing across just the screws.
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-13-2018, 02:06 AM
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Bolts are a good option but tend to not suit me too well. They always seem to be in just the wrong spot and never exactly the right length so that I need to cut them off. Not into that extra labor!
An alternate that is cheap is to place something even as thin as a 1X, glued to the front of the 2X4 leg so that the horizontal rests on it to get the direct wood to floor for the weight support. The old story about making an angle? The single 2X4 might try to bow out/in as it dried but when you place a 1X on the face, it will not bow.
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-13-2018, 04:08 AM
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I build my racks from 2 x 3. Cheaper than 2x4s in our area.
Joey's stand, and most in that fashion are way overbuilt. My thread here has pictures og the 2x3 rack with dados cut to support the horizontal 2x3. The 22 gallon breeder racks have 2x4 because they were left from a building I put up. Once they were gone I went to the 2x3.

I've changed out the tanks on the first rack to have 2 20 highs on the bottom, 2 15s on top and a 55 in the middle. The 10s are still the same.

https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/12...ish-house.html

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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-13-2018, 05:01 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GraphicGr8s View Post
I build my racks from 2 x 3. Cheaper than 2x4s in our area.
Joey's stand, and most in that fashion are way overbuilt. My thread here has pictures og the 2x3 rack with dados cut to support the horizontal 2x3. The 22 gallon breeder racks have 2x4 because they were left from a building I put up. Once they were gone I went to the 2x3.

I've changed out the tanks on the first rack to have 2 20 highs on the bottom, 2 15s on top and a 55 in the middle. The 10s are still the same.

https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/12...ish-house.html
Yup your design is the same as picture one. The "Dado Rack"

My question is would this hold up 12 20 Gallon Longs. 240 Gallons 2k lbs.

Pic 1 is Dado plus an extra 2x4 underneath each shelf.

Last edited by Darkblade48; 03-13-2018 at 11:59 PM. Reason: Please use the edit function for back to back posts to keep threads cleaner
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-13-2018, 01:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vinylmation View Post
Yup your design is the same as picture one. The "Dado Rack"

My question is would this hold up 12 20 Gallon Longs. 240 Gallons 2k lbs.
Easily. It is all wood to wood contact. No real reliance on the fasteners. And the dados can all be cut with a circ saw and a sharp chisel. I gang cut the legs and use a sharp chisel to square the bottom. It's my quiet time. If I am in a hurry I grab the router with a dado cleaning bit. Has a short cutter with a bearing on top to follow the sides of the dado.

I use no glue so I can take them apart later.

I use the dado in all my cabinet construction and have been doing it that way for over 40 years. Doesn't get much stronger than that.

Now on the first rack in the thread I posted you will see the horizontal members are not flush. Since the 2x3 is narrower I didn't want to go as deep as I would for a 2x4. It's still strong. If you are leery use a 2x4 for the legs.

You need to plan a little bit though. Notice how I have a set of legs in the center. That keeps the horizontals from bowing downwards. And it gave me piece of mind for a few dollars.

Since they are narrow stands I did screw them to the wall. Didn't want my then 5 year old to climb it like a ladder.

If you look at Joey's rack it is basically a dado he has created. He just used a ton more wood to get there instead of cutting it out. And in the first picture the 2x under the front horizontals I put so they are in line with the front and rear horizontals. It spreads the front and back but adds no tank holding strength. In theory you could just as well use 1x4.

Now I will say I did add some blocking in between the front and rear horizontals as blocking. And since originally I was putting 8 gallon square angel breeding tanks on that rack I added the blocking where the edge of the tanks were. Not for strength but so if I didn't get the tank on in the right position, or if I was fiddling with it when putting it on the rack it wouldn't fall through.

One caveat to this style of rack. If you don't screw it to the wall you do need to add something to prevent racking of the rack. I am going to let in a 1xsomething into the back wood to prevent racking on racks I won't be screwing to the wall. Same would be true of the sides. I don't use any plywood or foam under the tanks. Look up from the bottom and you will see the bottom of the tank. I did that on purpose so any water that overflowed wouldn't stick around to cause mold. And yes, I have gotten sidetracked too many times while filling. That's why the next step for me is auto fill.

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Last edited by GraphicGr8s; 03-13-2018 at 02:06 PM. Reason: Added info
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-13-2018, 02:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vinylmation View Post
Pic 1 is Dado plus an extra 2x4 underneath each shelf.
I missed the details! Not good looking only at pictures for details. This makes it a totally different rack as the dado does make it setting fully on wood, not just the fasteners.
When thinking of bowing and both wanting to avoid that but still not give up the space for a center leg. I might look at double for the horizontal.
Due to the way grain tends to bow/warp in one direction, if we add a second the grain in it will fight the bowing. This is where it can get tricky when choosing the wood. Getting a better quality 2X4 can often be cheaper than getting the same quality in 1X. But that is where we get into supply questions where each of us shop. I would go with the 2X3, but so far, I do not see it locally.
When wanting to build a bridge, as this winds up being, there is an old construction idea that would certainly hold the load.
When dealing with old houses where the ceiling rafters are not very good and bowed down, an item called a "strongback" can be good for pulling them back to level so sheetrock can replace plastic and lath.
A strongback is simply turning a flat board like a 2X into a "C" channel by adding 2X to each side.
A bridge like we are speaking here can be made crazy strong if the horizontal is made into a C channel by adding as much wood to the sides of them. Usually not needed as single or certainly double horizontals are strong enough.
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-13-2018, 05:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PlantedRich View Post
I missed the details!
When thinking of bowing and both wanting to avoid that but still not give up the space for a center leg. I might look at double for the horizontal.
You and me both. Screen I was looking at last night couldn't tell. Get to work and BOOM!

If you don't want to give up 1.5" for a center leg a 1x4 might work as well. 3/4" space for a lot of bow protection.

My racks are one area where instead of crowning the wood up I do it down since the only real support needs to be at the corners of the tank. I don't want that bow pushing the center of my tank.

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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-13-2018, 11:57 PM Thread Starter
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I'm leaning towards the Dados style rack.To be safe, I'll use 6 vertical 2X4s. 2X4s are cheap in my area. 2 on each end and one set in the middle. So I'll have two 20 longs, middle vertical supports, then two more 20 longs on the other side. So roughly im giving 13"Width per tank 13"X4 then 3 vertical 2X4s at 1.5" each giving a total width of 56.5".
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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-14-2018, 01:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Vinylmation View Post
I'm leaning towards the Dados style rack.To be safe, I'll use 6 vertical 2X4s. 2X4s are cheap in my area. 2 on each end and one set in the middle. So I'll have two 20 longs, middle vertical supports, then two more 20 longs on the other side. So roughly im giving 13"Width per tank 13"X4 then 3 vertical 2X4s at 1.5" each giving a total width of 56.5".
Sounds good. 2x4s up here in Tampa are $3 or $4 a stick. Too expensive for a rack for me.

I'd still recommend the 2x3 for the horizontals just for the additional space over a 2x4.

You have a router or you going with the circ saw chisel route?

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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-14-2018, 02:32 PM Thread Starter
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Circular saw route
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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-12-2018, 10:02 AM
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The cross pieces on the top design are a little weak for all those tanks. They most likely won't break but they probably will droop in the middle which can tweak you aquariums which can ruin there integerty. Double (screw two 2 x 4's together) or maybe even tripple those cross pieces and you should be fine. Two 2 x 4's screwed and glued together will be considerably stronger than a single 4 x 4.
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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-12-2018, 07:50 PM
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The compression limits of 2x4 are more then what most cars weigh. Don't underestimate the strength of a 2x4. Keep that in mind, get screws that can withstand the load, and a wet environment like decking screws that are coated which is what i use personally. Probably useless info but understanding the strength limitations will often put your mind at rest. I build all my stands, and offer no opinion on your design selection, but one other side note, keep in mind water siphoning of the bottom tanks. Too low, and it's a pain in the ass. The bucket or will never drain at the rate or volume as those above, and how much can be taken out at a time. I would try to have the bottom above a bucket if possible assuming your part of the bucket brigade.
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