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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-15-2020, 03:03 PM Thread Starter
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Steel stand question.

Hello, i'm completely new to building stands, and i don't know much.. I kinda need some help finding right steel size, and thickness.

My aquarium is about 50 gallon.(190L) size 33"x15"x20" (83x38x50Cm) Stand will be about same size BUT 40" (100Cm) high

Was thinking making stand from square steel tubing.. But i don't know much about steel structural strength.

Should i build from 2"x2" 1/8" thick? or Will 1.5"x1.5" 1/8" do the job?

I want the stand to be very, very strong, and safe..
( I will be adding thick wood on top of stand. And 3x wood shelves in middle on chains, that will be attached inside of top frame 4 corners.)

Thanks for any tips in advance.

Design shown in images:


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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-15-2020, 03:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fishess View Post
Hello, i'm completely new to building stands, and i don't know much.. I kinda need some help finding right steel size, and thickness.

My aquarium is about 50 gallon.(190L) size 33"x15"x20" (83x38x50Cm) Stand will be about same size BUT 40" (100Cm) high

Was thinking making stand from square steel tubing.. But i don't know much about steel structural strength.

Should i build from 2"x2" 1/8" thick? or Will 1.5"x1.5" 1/8" do the job?

I want the stand to be very, very strong, and safe..
( I will be adding thick wood on top of stand. And 3x wood shelves in middle on chains, that will be attached inside of top frame 4 corners.)

Thanks for any tips in advance.

Design shown in images:



YouTube KingOfDIY and look at the videos he builds stands with, uses wood but he builds stands for huge tanks, explains the support beams and then also 4 extra beams that will hold the weight, hard to explain but very good, I built a stand for a nano tank of his guidance, only 30L but I literally used 2x2 wood & i put my entire weight on it and it was fine


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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-15-2020, 04:55 PM Thread Starter
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Yeah i watch Joey time 2 time, i know those stands.. I just want a steal one xD
My original plan was to build "that type" stand inside a cabinet (to make it reinforced) But steal is cheaper here.. 2x the price for cabinet+wood+screws..
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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-22-2020, 02:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fishess View Post
Yeah i watch Joey time 2 time, i know those stands.. I just want a steal one xD
My original plan was to build "that type" stand inside a cabinet (to make it reinforced) But steal is cheaper here.. 2x the price for cabinet+wood+screws..
I am confident your stand will hold a 50 gallon. I honestly believe it could also hold a couple of cars as well.

I think you could build a much more simplified stand and accomplish your goal. There are folks building giant stands out of scaffolding and they are simply 90 degree angles.


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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-22-2020, 07:37 PM
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I'd feel quite confident building that stand with 1 1/2 X 1/8 square stock with no diagonals and no center pieces. 4 pieces for the top, 4 for the bottom and 4 legs in between.
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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-26-2020, 12:20 PM Thread Starter
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Yeah, but still i'm thinking adding sump under tank (not on floor, but on one of the chain shelves) aboth 5 gallons) + extra shelves under it.. At end it will hold aboth 65 Gallons.. Side engled beams because it will be high ~ around 40 inches from ground. So 1.5x1.5 1/8 will do the job?
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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-26-2020, 05:07 PM
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Perhaps you are of the age which missed the metal stands that were so common in the US. They are simple and easy to understand one of the main ideas of stand building. Most of the stand horizontal pieces do not hold weight but simply act to keep the corner uprights from tilting or moving together.
This is a forum post asking if this stand is strong enough:
https://www.fishlore.com/aquariumfis...-stand.162396/

what is missing is the info that this stand was almost a standard for many many years and worked quite well as it does the main things needed. It supports the four corners of the tank and keeps the uprights from shifting.
Keep in mind what it takes to make oneself a "king" in the internet world. It doesn't mean one has to have talent, but more likely simply the brass to declare themself the king!
So when one looks at square tube as much, much, harder to bend than angle, your stand design is way, way over built for holding a tank.
Support for the four corners and some way to avoid the tilting and it is plenty strong with almost any thickness of metal. Keep in mind that tanks do not bow down in the middle as it is nearly impossible to bend the glass sidewalls down if they can't bow out and they are made to avoid bowing out to hold the pressure of the water! Like a railroad bridge, the middle can't go down if the sides can't go out.
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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-26-2020, 07:31 PM Thread Starter
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So i can go simple Top frame Bottom frame and 4 legs? No middle supports or anything? With 1.5x1.5 1/8?
Yeah i get the 4 conners are the most important in tank.. But still tank can crack in middle if there to much presure.. No?
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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-28-2020, 02:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fishess View Post
So i can go simple Top frame Bottom frame and 4 legs? No middle supports or anything? With 1.5x1.5 1/8?
Yeah i get the 4 conners are the most important in tank.. But still tank can crack in middle if there to much presure.. No?
If it is a rimmed tank no middle support is needed. In fact I've seen these tanks on concrete blocks only supported on the 4 corners.
I love the metal stands and have many of them. The largest tank I have, a 90, is on one. I can't believe how small the angle iron is on that stand holding that weight. All of the other large stands are 1x1 angle. This one is .5 x .5

The pictures are of one of the 55 stands. My oldest stand is probably 50 years old. I bought it used at least 30 years ago.
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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-28-2020, 11:52 AM Thread Starter
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It looks so sketchy.. But hey, if it works then it's alright xD
So i can go something simple like this?(image) But what tube size and thickness i should use? Like i said i don't have any clue how strong is steel xD
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post #11 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-28-2020, 01:27 PM
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Structural Engineer here, hopefully I can give you some useful feedback.

A lot of your "how much can this hold" questions depend highly on the type of steel you are using. For standard structural tube shapes, the material is usually A500 Grade C. In terms of tube size, a single 2x2x1/8" of this material with a height of roughly 3 ft can withstand a vertical load of nearly 21,400 lbs (at 4ft you're at about 18,800 lbs). The 1.5x1.5X1/8" actually isn't a "standard shape" for structural steel, although you may be able to find it in home depot. The capacity will still be well over what you will need to hold the tank though. But the moral of the story is that the vertical capacity of the member isn't usually what determines if the stand will be strong enough.

The much more important aspect is the lateral stability. Think of bumping up against the stand, or more extreme, shaking during an earthquake. To achieve the lateral stability there are a couple of different ways you can go about it. Option 1 would be a "braced frame" which is essentially what you have in your first picture in the thread. With a braced frame, you have diagonal members that transfer lateral loads at the top of the frame into vertical loads at the bottom. This technique is usually used when you bolted connections (that can rotate) as opposed to welded connections.

If you have the ability to weld, the welded connection forms what is referred to as a "moment connection" Since welded connections are unable to rotate, the lateral loads are transferred to the base via the vertical members bending. (in the brace frame model, the vertical members only carry vertical/axial load, and the diagonal members carry the lateral load.) If you have the ability to get QUALITY welds, then I'd go that route as it's just less work. However if your welding skills are non existent, or you are bolting the tubes together, then go with the braced model.

Because of the nature of how braces work, the braced material actually can be pretty minimal relative to the columns/beams. If you're unable to do either, you can use the diaphragm method, and actually fasten a large sheet of metal/plywood to the outside edges of the frame, and they will act similarly to how the brace system works. This is also useful if you want the cabinet enclosed, as it kills two birds with 1 stone.

Last but not least, you also need to consider the bending capacity of the top span beams (where the tank is going to be sitting.) Using the same material we talked about earlier, a 2x2x1/8" tube a 4 ft long can carry about 1000 lbs/ft, which again indicates that you really don't have much to worry about regarding capacity of those elements.

The biggest thing is the lateral stability that I discussed before. Let me know if you need more info.

Josh
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post #12 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-28-2020, 03:45 PM
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I built my 4' long 55 gallon stand, (when I worked at a tandem bicycle frame builder) from rejected 0.028 wall thickness CroMoly 1.125" diameter straight gauge tubing. The only reason this tubing was rejected was because of dimpling from the ovalizing press that would have made the tubing unaesthetic.

I built the tank stand as practice to improving my technique in thinwall TIG welding.

It had midpoint legs and was 33" from ground to base top with a "ring" of 1/2" angle iron in 12 gauge high carbon for a shelf area about 14" off the floor, welded to the legs as additional bracing.

I had it tested it with a box of scrap steel we estimated weighed about #1400 it didn't even move, and you couldn't make it wiggle or oscillate.

Welded steel is always far superior to wood. My present 20 gallon stand is made of thinwall square 3/4" high carbon steel tubing and was brazed up by a friend. Both it and the 55 gallon tank stands withstood the 1993 Scots Mill spring break earthquake without failure and only sloshed a little water The 55 gallon walked a half inch away from the wall.

As they say in the bike industry. "Steel is Real."

P.S. Are you sure you want the stand to be this tall with a very tall 50 gallon tank?

My 50 gallon tall was on our kitchenette's island table, it was at least 42" from floor level and I needed to work on it from a low chair. You will have to work on it from a foot-stool, unless you're taller than 6 feet, maintenance will become a dreaded chore.

Starting small, keeping it simple..(?)
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post #13 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-28-2020, 05:41 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stlhokie View Post
Structural Engineer here, hopefully I can give you some useful feedback.

A lot of your "how much can this hold" questions depend highly on the type of steel you are using. For standard structural tube shapes, the material is usually A500 Grade C. In terms of tube size, a single 2x2x1/8" of this material with a height of roughly 3 ft can withstand a vertical load of nearly 21,400 lbs (at 4ft you're at about 18,800 lbs). The 1.5x1.5X1/8" actually isn't a "standard shape" for structural steel, although you may be able to find it in home depot. The capacity will still be well over what you will need to hold the tank though. But the moral of the story is that the vertical capacity of the member isn't usually what determines if the stand will be strong enough.

The much more important aspect is the lateral stability. Think of bumping up against the stand, or more extreme, shaking during an earthquake. To achieve the lateral stability there are a couple of different ways you can go about it. Option 1 would be a "braced frame" which is essentially what you have in your first picture in the thread. With a braced frame, you have diagonal members that transfer lateral loads at the top of the frame into vertical loads at the bottom. This technique is usually used when you bolted connections (that can rotate) as opposed to welded connections.

If you have the ability to weld, the welded connection forms what is referred to as a "moment connection" Since welded connections are unable to rotate, the lateral loads are transferred to the base via the vertical members bending. (in the brace frame model, the vertical members only carry vertical/axial load, and the diagonal members carry the lateral load.) If you have the ability to get QUALITY welds, then I'd go that route as it's just less work. However if your welding skills are non existent, or you are bolting the tubes together, then go with the braced model.

Because of the nature of how braces work, the braced material actually can be pretty minimal relative to the columns/beams. If you're unable to do either, you can use the diaphragm method, and actually fasten a large sheet of metal/plywood to the outside edges of the frame, and they will act similarly to how the brace system works. This is also useful if you want the cabinet enclosed, as it kills two birds with 1 stone.

Last but not least, you also need to consider the bending capacity of the top span beams (where the tank is going to be sitting.) Using the same material we talked about earlier, a 2x2x1/8" tube a 4 ft long can carry about 1000 lbs/ft, which again indicates that you really don't have much to worry about regarding capacity of those elements.

The biggest thing is the lateral stability that I discussed before. Let me know if you need more info.

Josh
WoW so much info thanks alot. <3
I will be odering the stand from steel manufacturer (as i don't have the welders and skill ) so the welds i hope will be good..
All inside welds will be left as is for more strength.. All outside welds will be smooth..
The steel has these letters and numbers (S235) if helps?
The max shaking will be from train going by my house You can see water shaking in the "water bottle" on my desk.
Let's say i don't want any "braces"(that you mention i had in my first post..) Can i go simply lagger diameter tubbing to increse stability? Example 2.36 inch tubes? Still 1/8 thick, will that work out for simple 4 legs?
Overall the max weight will be only 55-65 gallons. I think that would be so strong.
(Also less material and weight from stand with 2.36 inch tubes)

Last edited by Fishess; 07-28-2020 at 06:23 PM. Reason: Missed something
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post #14 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-28-2020, 06:00 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by GrampsGrunge View Post
I built my 4' long 55 gallon stand, (when I worked at a tandem bicycle frame builder) from rejected 0.028 wall thickness CroMoly 1.125" diameter straight gauge tubing. The only reason this tubing was rejected was because of dimpling from the ovalizing press that would have made the tubing unaesthetic.

I built the tank stand as practice to improving my technique in thinwall TIG welding.

It had midpoint legs and was 33" from ground to base top with a "ring" of 1/2" angle iron in 12 gauge high carbon for a shelf area about 14" off the floor, welded to the legs as additional bracing.

I had it tested it with a box of scrap steel we estimated weighed about #1400 it didn't even move, and you couldn't make it wiggle or oscillate.

Welded steel is always far superior to wood. My present 20 gallon stand is made of thinwall square 3/4" high carbon steel tubing and was brazed up by a friend. Both it and the 55 gallon tank stands withstood the 1993 Scots Mill spring break earthquake without failure and only sloshed a little water The 55 gallon walked a half inch away from the wall.

As they say in the bike industry. "Steel is Real."

P.S. Are you sure you want the stand to be this tall with a very tall 50 gallon tank?


My 50 gallon tall was on our kitchenette's island table, it was at least 42" from floor level and I needed to work on it from a low chair. You will have to work on it from a foot-stool, unless you're taller than 6 feet, maintenance will become a dreaded chore.
Yeah i know it will be high, Mine will be 43 inches after top wood under tank. I like the tank to be my somewhat eye level xD If the tank is to low.. how do i see the fishes, i need to kneel down each time i wanna see them? xD

What maintenance are you talking about? Weekly water change/filter cleaning?(Change prefilter 3 mins done/Put in tube to drain in shower) Okey gravel cleaning i can use a stool once a month.
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Last edited by Fishess; 07-28-2020 at 06:17 PM. Reason: <3
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post #15 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-28-2020, 07:33 PM
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Some thoughts on bracing that make give a different idea. Bracing is oft6en as simple as an added piece of wood here and there but if you do not like the idea of a single board which "looks" like a brace, consider adding a piece of plywood on the back as it has some added advantages.
Any wood run across the back and attached well to the steel uprights will form a box which is very hard to move sideways, so a piece as small as 8 inches high will do the job, but having near full cover on the back is what I prefer as it hides all that "stuff" like wires and tubing which I don't want to see.
Setting up a box to try to push the top over as we might worry about with the tank will show how difficult it is to collapse sideways---until the cardboard bends or tears which the wood won't.
But if you like the simple square look in your picture above, I would call it plenty strong. Think of what it would take to collapse it sideways? To break one welded corner all eight corners would have to be broken. Since good welds actually melt the metal together, tearing eight welds would really take extreme pressure.
For the worry about the center of the tank bowing down, the metal stands of old were very weak in the center as we could actually see them bend if we pressed down on the top front horizontal piece. They are actually only there to steady the legs and really do not support any weight.
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