Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Washougal, Washington
It will be dependent on the original construction of the dresser. Some of the older stuff was overbuilt, but not all of it. I would not even consider a modern built dresser. The stands I have built were all 3/4" plywood, 2X4 construction is overkill for most tanks. you would have to look at the dresser and see what material it is built out of, if it is a plywood box say 1/2", then remove all the drawer hardware and add a layer of 1/2" plywood inside the existing panels. This would not be easy you may have to remove the bottom or face to pull it off, the other thing it would need is a full height load bearing bulkhead between the drawers to carry the load in the center front. The top may need reinforcing, once again depending on what it is to start with, but if you put in the center bulkhead the top only is spanning 1/2 of the length and there is not that much load there anyway, the glass front would have to bow vertically to load that spot. I was told once by a LFS owner, then it was backed up by his tank supplier that a glass tank can be supported by just the 4 corners and it will be fine. I would never test this in my living room but the LFS had a metal stand with a 125 Gal glass tank on it that you could slide a business card under the long sides except for the 2" at each corner. That tank was there for many years until the shop closed.
The thing to remember is that the 4 corners have to be coplanar not just level, the tank can be out of level a fair amount as long as the 4 corners are coplanar. The tank killer is twist, just a little bit of twist and the glass can break.
Yes it can be done, is it eaiser than building from scratch? probably not. The only reason I would do it would be to match a furniture style.
If you have the tools and skill to do this, you also have the skill to build from scratch. Unless you find a dresser that was way overbuilt, the amount of retrofit would be to much IMHO.