DIY stand problems - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-13-2005, 08:18 PM Thread Starter
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Question DIY stand problems

I've just finished the construction of my DIY stand for my new 75 gal tank. The problem I have is that when I test fit the aquarium I noticed very small gaps between the tank and the top of the stand. Despite using levels and squares to check myself at every stage of buildong this thing somehow the 3/4" plywood top isn't sitting perfectly flat . So either my cuts weren't prefect or the 2x4's and 4x4's I used weren't perfectly straight. I tried to use my belt sander to even everything out, but it seemed that I was just creating a gap everytime I fixed one so I gave up on that figuring I was just going to end up making things worse. I used a set of feeler gauges and found the worst gap to be 1mm (which occurs for about a 4 or 5 inch stretch along one 48" side of the tank). Then I tried slipping a piece of paper between the stand and tank and was able to fit it in a total of about 50% of the time around the tank. I know that the stand should be perfectly flat, but I'm wondering how critical the 1mm gap really is. Would using some sort of thin styrofoam make up for the 1mm or not? If styrofoam can be used what kind should be used? Any other ideas would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks,
Greg



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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-13-2005, 08:28 PM
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Welcome to the perils of DIY stand construction.

Did you use standard 2x4's and 4x4's or did you use Cabinet grade hardwoods? Standard 2x4"s are seldom perfectly straight and are not completely dry, so over time they warp and bend slightly (either as a factor of drying, or weight).

The common methods for smoothing out this kind of irregeularity include using a thin sheet of Polystyrene (the dense pink stuff works really well), cork (the thin stuff you make bulletin board out of), carpet, or carpet underlay (the most dense you can find).


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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-13-2005, 08:33 PM
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1mm?? Is it the top that isn't right or the tank itself?? I'd put some water in the tank while it is on the stand (and in your garage/workshop) and see if the extra weight causes it to settle/conform to the top - it seems there would be enough flex in the glass/plastic/silicone to take up the gap without any problems.

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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-13-2005, 08:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KevinC
it seems there would be enough flex in the glass/plastic/silicone to take up the gap without any problems.

Kevin
Thats what I thought untill the bottom seam of my 135 gallon tank pulled free and dumped its contents into my living room.

Generally speaking, as long as that gap isnt in the center of the long edge.. or a corner (thats the worst, it causes the tank to twist slightly) you "should" be fine.


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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-13-2005, 09:00 PM Thread Starter
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All the load bearing areas of the stand are made using Hem Fir 4x4 posts(the 4 corner uprights and 4 top pieces that connect them ). I used some standard 2x4's in non load bearing areas as well. The shell was then covered in 3/4" Birch ply. My stand is somewhat of a JohnP "replica". Thanks John .

As far as the tank itself or my stand being the issue, I'm not really sure. I guess I just assumed the tank was perfectly flat on the bottom and that my stand was the problem. I'll have to check the tank and see if it is or not.



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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-13-2005, 10:32 PM
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As Gdominy said... Use something under the tank and then run a decorative strip around the bottom to hide the foam or material that you used. Thats what I did basically after putting my tank in the wall. I spent hours getting the truest boards I could find, leveled everything and still wound up with a 3mm difference between the center and ends of the front. THe pad took up all the inperfections and I'm cetain the tank is now being supported evenly.

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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-14-2005, 02:45 AM
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Ran into something similar with my new Oceanic 50G. The gap was in the center along both front and back edges. I used 1 1/8" plywood for the top of the stand to avoid twisting in case the supports were'nt level.
I talked to Oceanic about the gap, it seems they design their tank with a gap in the center to allow for bowing of the glass under load.
After adding 80lbs of subtrate and about 6-8" of water it sit perfectly flat along all edges.
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-14-2005, 04:14 PM
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When I made my stand for my 55 gallon tank I ran into this problem. Fixing it in my case was very simple. I just put the tank on it and filled it up. The gap was gone after all the weight was put on the stand.
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-14-2005, 04:18 PM
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why not get a pice of styrofoam and put it either under your plywood base, or ontop of it and it will spread out the load evenly and will keep you from lossing the bottom off your tank.
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-24-2005, 07:08 AM
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Similar prob. here. Is this pink polystyrene 1/2 inch thick or what? Which material do you think would be the very best.

I have just have finished my DIY stand for a 90 (3/4 birch ply and beefy 2x4 frame). Its mostly level, but a bit out here and there, less than a 32nd of an inch - or about the thickness of a sheet or two of copy paper . Very frustrating.

I was thinking perhaps the weight and the tank's plastic frame might allow the glass to settle in safely, but I don't want to take any chances. Anyone know if AGA tanks are designed to flex a little. Luckily I have at least an inch extra to trim some molding to hide the fix. Thanks alot. Bob





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post #11 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-24-2005, 05:12 PM
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The pink foam you speak of is used very often. I would have used it, but I had 1000 sq ft of foam underlayment from when I istalled my hardwood floors. So I used that wrapped around cardboard and it worked just fine.

And I wouldn't trust AGA with a bowing stand. Long story short: I had a 75 that the bottom cracked on. After running a level over the AGA stand, I found that it was bowed. After AGA got this info I wound up getting credited for the 75 and stand toward the 125 I have now.

Currently tankless for the first time in 24 years... Getting the itch again
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post #12 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-25-2005, 03:51 AM
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Do you lay a piece of the pink foam a little bit over 18"x48" ? Or do you cut strips a little bit wider than the tank's frame - to lay under the frame? thanks, bob





Three Tanks...Eheim 2128 & XP3-90G, Eheim 2128-65G, Eheim 2232-25G.... Tek 4x54 watt T5-90G, Aqualight 96watt PC 65G low tech, 65 watt Aqualight-25G.... Hydors-90G & 65G ... Flourite in 90, 65, & 25 Gallons, .... Auto Water Change/Auto dosing on 90 & 65 gallon..... AGA member......

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post #13 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-25-2005, 08:15 AM
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All those that I have seen simply cut it to the exact dimentions of the tank, all one piece under it.

Currently tankless for the first time in 24 years... Getting the itch again
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post #14 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-30-2005, 04:17 AM
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I personally feel that slight imperfections in the stand are not that big of a deal. Think about what you are placing the stand on. Is it going to be on carpet or tile if it is carpet you have some room for error as the padding under the carpet should help, but rember there is usually a tac strip around the edges of the carpetso your stand would not be on a level surface
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post #15 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-30-2005, 04:20 AM
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Oh yea, I built my own stand for a 90 gallon and it was not perfect by any means, but compare the materials that we are building out of to that of a store bought stand, there is room for error.
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