New Stand and Canopy for 55g - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-12-2006, 02:33 AM Thread Starter
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New Stand and Canopy for 55g

Well, I finally decided to start up a new 55g planted tank. After admiring all the posts on this forum for the last year, and experimenting with DIY co2 in a 2l coke bottle on a 20g, I think its time to take a small step up to a 55g with pressurized Co2.

Since Im starting from the beginning, I thought I'd share a few photos. I've started with the stand and canopy.

The front and sides of both the stand and top are Oak, and the back and inside walls are Birch.

A few ideas went into the design of the stand. First, I have a simple 55g tank sitting in the garage. I decided that since I will be running PVC over the back of the tank, and I want the stand/tank to be flush against the back wall (without light leakage) that I would trim out the back to compensate for piping/etc.

We've built an inside wall for extra (overkill) support, and to contain the electrical outlets/conduit. (Actually, I'm not to good with woodworking, so my brother in-law deserves most of the credit)

At this point we simply need to finish the doors, and get the stain flowing.

As always, I'd really appreciate your thoughts/input.


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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-12-2006, 02:49 AM
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What kind of framing was done on the inside? Four foot seems like a long span to be resting 500-600lbs on. I have always designed 4 foot long stands to have a support in the middle to drop the span to 2 foot. It also helps to break up the appearance of the front and gives the doors something solid to close to. Also a good place to mount the hardware that keeps the doors closed tightly if you are not using the self-closing type of hinges.

The only other nitpick I have with it is the grain of the wood on the front. I am picky and prefer the grain on the lower portion to be vertical and not horizontal. That is the way all fine cabinets are made and the way I was always told to do it. But to be honest I have never seen the grain oriented the other way so I am not sure it is any big deal. I suppose I would have to see it to judge. The workmanship looks very nice though from what I can see. I am sure it will look better than anything you would be able to buy in a store.

How does the hood open? Since you will not ever be able to take it completely off I hope you have allowed tons of space when it is open and that it opens easily. If tank maintenance becomes a chore, you will be much less likely to do it.

Don't let my cautions about the framing worry you too much, just so long as it is plenty sturdy. I tend to overbuild things usually. I have a stand for a 15XH that you could probably drive a semi over. But the way I look at stands is that you should be a framing carpenter when you build the stand and then convert yourself over to a cabinet maker to make it look nice.
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-13-2006, 01:31 AM Thread Starter
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The back and sides of the stand are actually 3 sheets deep of 3/4". We went with the building a frame inside a frame methodology. Then I spaced the side walls out enough for placement of the internal outlets. Front wall is a single 3/4". Very solid. Also, the stand is deeper than the dimensions of the tank which helps distribute the load a little more as well.

As far as the grain direction goes, I dont think there is a right or wrong way to go. I've seen both and in this specific case, I think the grain direction on the front looked better horizontal. It just seemed to match better with the flow of the trim. Again, probably one of those judgement calls you make when crafting...

The hood can come off completely, as it sits on the tank as well as the back wall. However, since thats not very practical in the day to day routine, it is hinged on the top. It tilts back from the front based on center hinges across the top. Only the front lifts. The sides (and back of course) stay solid, supporting the top. There is enough height to support the AHS lights that will be ordered soon (4x55s?), leaving plenty of room for me to dig in and manage my future "aquatic jungle."

Picked up the stain today. Will show you a new photo over the weekend. :-)
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-13-2006, 01:51 AM
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The front is single thickness 3/4" plywood looking to be about 5" in width spanning over 3'? I am not sure I would trust that. In fact, I know I would not. If it did not have the opening in the front, then yes. It is the openings that scare me. 600+ potential pounds of pond water, fish poop, fish and glass partially resting on a span that long?

But, as I said, I tend to overbuild things. Perhaps someone more knowledgeable than myself would have better advice?
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-13-2006, 12:21 PM
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No advice, but it looks great I love the trim work it looks very sharp. Do you have lots of practice with woodworking?
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-14-2006, 03:55 AM Thread Starter
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The left and right dimensions are 8 1/4" each, and the width of the door opening is 31 1/2". Also, the front is one solid piece. The photo may appear a little deceiving as the trim on the front is over the surface of the plywood, and the inside walls are built out to hold the outlets and add extra support.
It certainly seems more solid than the junk I see in the LFS...

No, I dont do much woodworking, but my brother in-law creates custom crafted western furniture for the Aspen and Southwest market. I liked the leaves on the trim. Appropriate for a planted tank.

Thanks for the comments/input.
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-17-2006, 08:50 PM
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Holy crap that is a great looking tank stand/canopy! You should start a side business!

~Pink's Tank:~
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Picture link Soon
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-17-2006, 10:46 PM
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That is a beautiful stand and canopy! When I made mine I forgot that it has to stand out from the wall enough for the top to hinge back without hitting the wall. I hope you are allowing for that. It looks plenty strong to me. Wood will hold a lot of weight when it is in compression like that, as long as it is braced so it won't "rack" (twist), and your's looks like it is. How many NFL linemen does it take to move it?

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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-18-2006, 02:45 AM
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Nice job on the stand n' hood!!
Just about to the same stage with the stand for my 120, just got to add the trim which I aready have. Was pretty suprised when I looked at this thread & saw the exact same trim
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-02-2006, 04:05 AM
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were is the update of this tank. The hood, stand, and framing looks like good work. I would love to see this tank progress.



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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-03-2006, 02:50 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the interest! The stain is looking good. A regulator and ph monitor came yesterday. The co2 tank is due in Saturday.

I'm headed out of town for vacation, but I'll be sure to get some updated photos posted when I get back in a few weeks.
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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-05-2006, 03:24 AM
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The stand look great!! I like the design to conceal the light, but you will need to watch the heat build up from the lights! I once had a 100 gal setup as a room divider with a solid top to hide the light, and I wound up having to use cpu fans to circulate air to keep the tank cool. Other than that it is inspireing me to build a similar settup!

Keep us posted!,
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