Aquarium stand is cracking - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-19-2014, 12:34 PM Thread Starter
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Aquarium stand is cracking

I recently built an aquarium stand and the posts are cracking... my wife and I are pretty concerned.

The stand was built 10 days ago using six 4x4 as support. The dimensions are approximately 49" high x 50" wide x 14"deep. The wood used is untreated pine bought from a lumber yard. The stand was built first and stained afterwards.

The stand is also anchored to the wall behind using metal braces to ensure greater lateral stability.

The tank that rests on it is a 55-gallon tank with quite a few rocks, gravel, and large driftwood. I don't know the exact weight, but it is quite heavy.

A few days after it was completed, we noticed a few cracks in the wood. On a few occasions, I actually heard the wood crack. Last night we both heard it and it is VERY disconcerting to say the least.

I read-up on vertical load bearing capacity of 48-inch 4x4s and that seemed to indicate that the stand was safe. I also read up on a phenomenon called "checking" which is wood cracking as it dries, but I am really worried and would like some advice.

Should I reinforce it with vertical steel beams? Should I use thru bolts? Please help me. If this thing breaks and causes damage to the house, I might find myself out of it...
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-19-2014, 12:50 PM
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My 4 footer is on a stand made from the cheapest "cls" timber... Also bolted to the wall, and it's survived 10 years so far.
I'm sure the loading is just fine, I suspect it's the wood "weathering" as you bought green wood.
This would keep me awake at night too, if the wood doesn't "age" at the rate, you can could be homeless!
How have you created the platform that the tank sits on?
I'd redo it...

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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-19-2014, 01:29 PM Thread Starter
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The platform that the tank rests on is a single piece of 3/4" treated pine resting on 6 pieces of weight supporting & level adjusting coaster-type inserts. According to the manufacturer, each coaster supports 2500lbs.

What about epoxy injections in the cracks as opposed to redoing the entire stand? Not being lazy, just want the redo to be a worst-case solution...
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-19-2014, 01:43 PM
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Your wood is checking. It is common in larger lumber. The wood is trying to find equilibrium and is getting rid of internal stresses. It is generally not a structural issue but it is why you see most woodworkers using a glued up piece instead of a solid 4 x 4.
(BTW never use treated wood in a stand.)

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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-19-2014, 03:25 PM
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You have a pad between the tank and your platform I trust?
That should iron out small differences.

I once had a 3 foot tank on a steel stand, and one of the legs "settled" against a joint about half a millimetre... And that took all four corners off the tank bottom! Slivers of glass fell off about an inch long... Luckily the silicone held it, but since then I won't gamble.

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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-19-2014, 03:35 PM Thread Starter
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GraphicGr8s: How long does the checking process last?

Rooster: What pad??? I have another 55-gallon tank that I set up on the aquarium's manufacturer's stand (Hagen) and there is no pad Under that one either...
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-19-2014, 04:18 PM
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It will last until all the internal stresses are gone. The 4 x 4s I used on my fish house are checked all over the place but I am going to cover with Hardie Board. Someday. If I ever get it finished.

I've got a bunch of "wrought iron" stands and I've never put anything between it and a tank. My 75, 6 55s and some 10s are all on metal stands and no trouble in all the years they've been there.

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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-22-2014, 01:50 AM
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I use the Styrofoam sheets sold for insulation, 1/2" thick.
Other options are out there. I have seen thinner, nicer material at a store that specializes in tool boxes and many other things for work trucks. Some sort of rubber (or synthetic) mat.

You can avoid this problem by using kiln dried lumber.
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-22-2014, 02:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Diana View Post
I use the Styrofoam sheets sold for insulation, 1/2" thick.
Other options are out there. I have seen thinner, nicer material at a store that specializes in tool boxes and many other things for work trucks. Some sort of rubber (or synthetic) mat.

You can avoid this problem by using kiln dried lumber.

In the 4x4 and larger you still stand a chance of checking. I've seen KD oak check. That's why most woodworkers use glued up lumber.

Dilution is the solution for the pollution.
Quote me as saying I was misquoted.
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Here's to our wives and sweethearts - may they never meet.
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-22-2014, 12:21 PM
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you don't need a pad under a rimmed tank; it does nothing for weight distribution, and won't help in this case.

your 4x4 posts are drying out and will eventually settle at the same moisture content as the air in your house. I wouldn't worry about one of them blowing out. I would worry about warping and the tank itself becoming unlevel by a little.


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