Weight distribution in aquarium stands - using a big stand for a small tank - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-22-2017, 06:20 PM Thread Starter
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Weight distribution in aquarium stands - using a big stand for a small tank

Hello. I am a newbie* who just bought a 40 gallon breeder tank and wants to get into this hobby. I had a question about stands if I may beg your indulgence.

Somewhere, I read someone give a piece of advice to newcomers saying that when they were starting out, they wished they had bought a stand larger than what they needed, so that they could upgrade their tank more cheaply.

Although I bought a 40g breeder, I intended to buy one of PetSmart's Marco 75-90g stands (49" long x 19" wide), so I could easily upgrade to a 75g if I take to the hobby (and it takes to me!) I figured since the stand has a solid top, and since its width is correct for the 40g breeder, who cares if it is a foot longer than my 36" tank?

Then it suddenly dawned on me that, even with a solid top, these stands may be designed to support the weight on their outside edge, and that having a tank that is 12" short may pose a problem in terms of the structural integrity of the stand.

Does anyone have any thoughts? I am not averse to screwing in some additional support under the top, but I do not know how particle board would take to that.

Thank you. This site is an incredible resource.

*-Well I had a 10 gallon tank when I was a kid 30 years ago and having spent weeks reading this site, I have since learned I did literally everything wrong.
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-22-2017, 09:57 PM
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This depends a lot on how the stand is constructed. Many stands have most of the support around the edges, where they expext the tank to be.

Take a look at the solid top and see what it is made of. If it's fairly thick, you be just fine. If it's thin, then you can add a piece of something like 1" plywood cut to the same size of the stand to support your tank.

You could also return the 40 gal tank and just get that 75 or 90 gal tank you really want. (grin)
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-22-2017, 11:19 PM
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Look under the top of the stand, inside the cabinet section. Is there a solid vertical support piece in the center, dividing the cabinet area into two sections? This should be a solid wooden wall vertically partitioning off each open cabinet section. If the stand has this piece in the middle, underneath it, it should provide adequate support even if the tank doesn't rest on its outer edges. If there is no center support piece underneath, have one built into it, and make sure it's sturdy and securely in place. If the cabinet has more than one interior vertical support, so much the better. It will mean that the compartments within the cabinet will be smaller, but better that than insufficient support.

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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-23-2017, 12:10 AM
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Particle board does not like screws much. If you have to add supports and use screws, make sure that you drill pilot holes for the screws. The screws will not make a safe grab in the particle board without some type of anchor in the screw hole. Since you mention particle board, I say either reinforce or get the proper sized aquarium for the stand. Particle board is just that, particles of wood glued under high pressure to form a "board". The engineers designed the stand to accomplish the intended goal of supporting the intended stand, and only added minimal extra tolerance. Is it just me, or does anyone else think that particle board should be illegal for use in aquarium furniture? Good luck.

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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-23-2017, 12:19 AM
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You could probably build a stronger stand for about $30 worth of 2x4s and screws.

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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-23-2017, 09:04 PM
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Particle board is unsuitable for supporting aquariums. Real wood, and preferably HARD wood, is needed. I would ditch the idea of a particle board stand, and opt for a real aquarium stand. Here's a clue, however:

The stand that came with my 65-gallon was the standard type that was open in the middle with only the edges for the tank to rest upon. I didn't like that. I wanted a solid top. So one of my BILS built a solid top onto it, and added a vertical support in the middle, underneath it, inside the cabinet area. He glued laminate onto the solid wooden top, and painted the additional wooden parts black to match the rest of the stand.

The problem I have with open stands is that there is nothing else to support the tank. There's nothing in the middle to bolster its bottom. You can get an open stand like that and build a solid top onto it, and add the vertical support wall beneath it, in the center.

But particle board is definitely out for aquariums.

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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-15-2017, 06:28 AM
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Atleast for the way my ADA style stand is constructed, its important the tank be the same size as the stand.
When you use 3/4 inch plywood and put a lot of weight in the middle it is going to sag.
Luckily most of the weight is on the perimiter and so its a compressive load on the four walls instead of a point(tensile) load in the center.

Thats just from an engineering stand point though.

all things being equal, yeah getting a bigger stand sounds like a good idea, especially if you are aware that you may be starting with a small tank!

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