Has anyone ever witnessed or heard of a tank stand failure - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-27-2019, 03:57 PM Thread Starter
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Has anyone ever witnessed or heard of a tank stand failure

Curious to hear people on this topic
DIY stands are often way overbuilt while others are of questionable integrity, store bought also don't always look robust but can hold their own
The age old advice of bracing to prevent racking exists for probably good reason, but has anyone actually witnessed a stand gone bad?

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post #2 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-27-2019, 04:42 PM
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Haven't seen the stand itself fail, but I did see one that wasn't level cause a tank to blow a seam.
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post #3 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-27-2019, 05:40 PM
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Never And have sold thousands of those cheap pine stands from all glass I'm talking 220 gallons + extra 4-500 lbs of live rock
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post #4 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-27-2019, 07:30 PM
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When I get those cheap pine black stands, I add 4 4x4 studs in the 4 corners, just to be sure. Also makes it more rigid. Everything is built really cheap with minimal material required, like the cars they make today. The pin stands rarely break, but if someone falls on one or leans on the tank, I can break. All the weight is vertical with no strength in the perpendicular dimension. I did however bend and put cracks in one under a 240 gallon frontosa tank. It's about 2400 lbs given water weighs 8.3 per gallon, plus the tank and rocks, so I added huge studs and 2 4x4 in the middle of the stand, to take weight off the center of the tank. The bottom glass is tempered glass, but having no center bracing adds more weight on the tank corners. When I change the water on my 240, i can hear the wood stretching and popping. 75 gallon tanks are fine, ive got several, but anything larger, I would be careful on the stand. It's kinda like a semi truck, the more axles you have, the more weight is distributed along the length. Less damage to the floor boards, and less push on the glass, for large tank for example. Tanks over 150 gallons have crashed through apartment floors, and thats a fact!
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post #5 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-27-2019, 09:07 PM
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Hurricane Harvey flooding. particle board Stand went kaflooey and fish all over the flood water house

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post #6 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-27-2019, 09:15 PM
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Never seen one go but I know our first tank, a 20g sunk a little into the surface that it was on (a cheap cabinet not designed for it)

My new 55g is on the cabinet that came with it. It is on level but soft carpet so did wobble a touch, for peace of mind I fixed the cabinet to the wall.
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post #7 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-28-2019, 02:03 PM
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I have seen some seemingly overbuilt DIY stands fail spectacularly due to construction choice. You really have to inspect your materials well before committing them to a project that could be holding literal tons of mass. That being said, there have been two tanks(not mine) I’ve seen crack due to the stand surface not being level which have been caused by using 4x4s rather than 2x4s sistered together. Typical reason being that a single 4x4 tends to warp much easier than two separate sections of wood that have then been combined. 4x4 verticals should be fine, especially as secondary support, but I prefer to use the sistered 2x4 method to be sure. Pine is more than sufficient to get the job done, but if you want to support a large tank and are concerned about longevity, go with oak. It will resist denting and knicking as well as warping and decay which means you will be able to enjoy it for a very long time without worry. Regardless of the wood you choose, make sure it is already dry when you purchase it as it is the drying process that causes the warping which is what ultimately caused the tanks to crack.

Back to the sheer mass of some aquariums...I haven’t heard of this happening with aquariums, but I have seen data centers crash through floors because the floor wasn’t rated to hold the weight. Just another thing to keep in mind if you want a truly massive tank.
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post #8 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-28-2019, 02:44 PM
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This gets into what is overbuilt! I do not consider them overbuilt if they are built to do the job. There are lots of folks who are ready to call stands overbuilt but they also are not able to build one that I would trust, so it is very much a matter of what we each want. For commercial stands, I have seen many that I would not buy used as they are no longer what I would want. Many are built with particle board, MDF or wood which is not strong enough or braced well enough. They can look good for a while but totally fail when water soaks in between the joints and the manufactured wood goes bad. Thin, sprayed on finish is often way too easy to knock off.
Even simple construction like stands, does require a certain level of understanding on what methods and materials work best.
If one does not understand how to choose wood that works, the job should be left to others or more study given to the idea. Those who promote using 4X4 or treated wood, should wait! Look at a traffic sign mounted on a treated 4X4 for example?
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post #9 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-28-2019, 11:19 PM
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We had an MDF board stand start to fail under our 57 rimless reef tank. I got a frantic text from my wife who was busy transferring corals and fish into another system in the house. When I got home the tank was listing about 10 degrees on the drain side. There was a very slow leak and the salt creep transferred water to that side of the stand.

If you're building a small stand for tanks 3' or less you can get 20mm (about 3/4") shipping crate lumber dirt cheap off Craigslist or Facebook, about $3 for a 1 metrex1.5 metre piece.

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the old phrase has a literal meaning: We are all in the same boat."

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post #10 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-29-2019, 04:16 AM
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I purchased this 'overbuilt' cart to house a 10 gallon aquarium that I was doing some testing on (developing methods of testing water parameters and displaying results, publishing to the internet, etc..). I liked this cart because it was on wheels and would allow me to move around my 80 lb 'testing rig' to different parts of my office.

What I found is that my tank was splashing small quantities of water onto the bamboo top. I thought nothing about it and just dried what I could with a towel... Except that it swelled just every so slightly... enough to make the 10 gallon spring a small leak at one of the bottom seams.... That bamboo top cannot get wet at all!

Tank now sets on Styrofoam (I know, it should have in the first place... I got over confident with a small 10 gallon tank) and I never spill water.

learning never stops...
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post #11 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-30-2019, 10:41 PM
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Yeah I agree with the 4x4 rule, they do warp. If you are building from scratch, I'd definately use smaller wood and glue it together, and run all the boards through a planer. Large 4x4 tend to split on the top and bannana over time, but you also aren't supposed to use treated wood indoors. 4 x4 are great for adding support to an already built cabinet, and I use faux wood, and if you stain and seal everything, it shouldn't warp. None of mine have. Pine 4x4 are rubish in my opinion,too many air pockets and hard to find one perfectly straight. Oak is solid and one of the strongest woods known to man, but it's also very hard to work with, everything has to be pre drilled and the cuts and carpentry have to be close to perfect, or you will get ugly gaps everywhere. Very hard to sand, and heavy. I've worked with oak and an oak cabinet for a 75 gallon can easily 500 to a thousand bucks depending on how fancy you want to get. Oak is generally recommended for experienced carpenters .

The traffic signs on treated wood remark by Rich made me laugh, because it's true. Here in chicago and most of Illinois they are on galvanized unistrut


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post #12 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-30-2019, 11:08 PM
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Here is a stand I built with an older friend 7 years ago. No screws, and no nails, only wood glue and biskets. Only 140 bucks in material and hardware, all pine 2x4s were run through a planer and a router. You build an upper and bottom base, where the miders are joined using glue and biskets, so you need to borrow a bisket joiner. Before you glue the bases together with the paneling(We used maple paneling) and the corner, you run the 2x4 used for the bases through a table saw using special blades called dado blades to cut "channels" into the boards. The paneling slips right into these channels, and the whole cabinet is tied together like a lego set. The 4 main corners are 3 seperate pine 2x4s ripped down on the table saw to get a cleaner dimensions. Cheap, very light weight, and professional. Covered with acrylic semi gloss sealer. We also ran whatever glue was left over all the gaps, corners, and seams. That's why after 7 years, it hardly has any splits or warps anywhere.
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post #13 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-31-2019, 03:59 AM
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That is sooo well built. Wow!

learning never stops...
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post #14 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-31-2019, 03:49 PM
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I truly like the idea of overbuilding stands for tanks. I've got about 35 tanks up and running in my house and 85% of those are on stands/racks that I built. Most are definitely a LOT stronger than they need to be. Sure a stand constructed differently might hold the weight of the tank(s); but I like the idea of being able to bump into a stand and not watch multiple tanks sway back and forth!

Thankfully I've never seen one fail. But I do still have one single pre manufactured MDF (pressboard maybe?) stand. It had been in storage with nothing on it for a while and once I went to use it I noticed all the corners were coming apart. It was essentially being held together by the laminate "fake wood" sheet they apply over it all So I basically built a 2x4 stand on the inside of this "nice looking" stand to be used in my kids' playroom.

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Curator of an ever growing fishroom that currently houses 30 different tanks. Most full of at least water....some even have fish!
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post #15 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-31-2019, 04:16 PM
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Originally Posted by ngc1672 View Post
Here is a stand I built with an older friend 7 years ago. No screws, and no nails, only wood glue and biskets. Only 140 bucks in material and hardware...
Wow, that is beautiful work!

For the OP question: Personally I've seen waaay more tank failure than stand failure over the years. Looking back, one probably led to the other in most cases (as in, a bad stand ruined the tank)

92% of all statistics are made up on the spot.

Last edited by KayakJimW; 01-31-2019 at 04:47 PM. Reason: clarity
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