Really crooked tank - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-05-2015, 11:34 AM Thread Starter
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Really crooked tank

My tank has a .75 in/ 1.9 cm difference in water level between the front right and back left corner. I've read that shimming is done to correct tilted tanks. I'm not sure if this is possible with this crooked of a tank. Anyone can chime in? If I can solve this with shims, what's the proper technique for a tank tilted diagonally?
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-05-2015, 12:22 PM
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Racking can put serious pressure on a tank's outer (between the panels) silicone seals and 3/4" is a pretty good tilt. Lower the water level considerably and shim the stand. The box stores sell composite shims(very cheap too) now that take a little more of a beating if you have to use some force and don't compress at all over time. But I would correct that soon. A flat pry bar would work fine to lift the low end. Make sure you get it under a sound section of wood on the stand. If you can't find one to borrow, it's a good tool to have around. If this is a store-bought particle board stand, I would empty it altogether to correct this. A pry bar would most likely damage those cheap stands and the material won't stand up to this.

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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-05-2015, 12:27 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Bushkill View Post
Racking can put serious pressure on a tank's outer (between the panels) silicone seals and 3/4" is a pretty good tilt. Lower the water level considerably and shim the stand. The box stores sell composite shims(very cheap too) now that take a little more of a beating if you have to use some force and don't compress at all over time. But I would correct that soon.
The tanks been up for 3 years, luckily nothing has happened to it yet. Decided to redo the tank recently and finally was done with the tilt. Never heard of racking. Can you explain more?

Will buy some shims tomorrow hopefully and get this fixed.
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-05-2015, 03:26 PM
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Racking might be called twisting?
Don't want to have one of the four corners not level with the rest. This is when a good sturdy stand will be good to have. We hope the stand top is all level, so rather than put pressure on the tank and have the shims show, it's better to shim the stand at the bottom. Draining the tank down so that the water is level or nearly with the bottom trim gives you a level which works much easier than moving one level from side to end and such. If you have a gap larger than 3/4 to make it level, it does make sense to use a board for the large gap and then shims to do the final level. Level the four corners and don't worry about the middle. That big hunk of glass that makes the side of the tank will not bow down!
Correct way to shim to get a level top on the shims is by using two. Put one under and add the second on top with the small ends pointing in opposite directions. Then tap the one in over the other until the correct height is reached. This leaves a flat top which doesn't put torque on the bottom board of the stand like a single shim does. If it gets too bad looking, add a trim board around the bottom to cover the gap and shim ends. Most cabinets have trim around the bottom to hide the shims.
Add a 1X or even a 2X to get to the right height to finish with the shims.
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-05-2015, 04:07 PM Thread Starter
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Racking might be called twisting?
Don't want to have one of the four corners not level with the rest. This is when a good sturdy stand will be good to have. We hope the stand top is all level, so rather than put pressure on the tank and have the shims show, it's better to shim the stand at the bottom. Draining the tank down so that the water is level or nearly with the bottom trim gives you a level which works much easier than moving one level from side to end and such. If you have a gap larger than 3/4 to make it level, it does make sense to use a board for the large gap and then shims to do the final level. Level the four corners and don't worry about the middle. That big hunk of glass that makes the side of the tank will not bow down!
Correct way to shim to get a level top on the shims is by using two. Put one under and add the second on top with the small ends pointing in opposite directions. Then tap the one in over the other until the correct height is reached. This leaves a flat top which doesn't put torque on the bottom board of the stand like a single shim does. If it gets too bad looking, add a trim board around the bottom to cover the gap and shim ends. Most cabinets have trim around the bottom to hide the shims.
Add a 1X or even a 2X to get to the right height to finish with the shims.
Lots of good information, thanks! How do I get the shim under the stand if one half needs to go high side in first?
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-05-2015, 05:48 PM
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Some depends on the stand but I normally would have it pried up a bit to make it easy to move the shims around at first. Then if there is a good solid corner, I like to place the shim at an angle so that it is under both the front and side. That way I am supporting both but still have enough shim sticking out so that I can grab it. Not that it doesn't get knocked under and have to be fished out at times!!! If you are in a tight spot so that the shims are hard to reach, you can fold a loop of tape to put between the shims and it will make them just sticky enough to be easier but still move when you are tapping them.
Kind of a finesse type thing that may take a few tries? That's where I like to use the tank water as a level as I can see down both side and end while crawling around.
When you get it all just where you want it, with shims under 2-3 corners or whatever it takes, you can let the weight fully down on the shims to check. If it is carpeting, it's hard to tell how different spots may sink a bit off. Makes a nuisance as you may not get it totally where you want on the first try.
When you're done you will have ends of shims sticking out too far. A sharp knife is good to score the shims and break them off. A hacksaw blade held in the hand can be handy, too. I don't like the man-made type shims as they are harder to cut. Soft wood shims are pretty easy to score and lift so they break off pretty close to the stand edge. Look at the shims and avoid those that have knots in them. They never break in the right spot.
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-06-2015, 01:39 AM
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I do the same double shim technique, but without the tank on the stand. Then I can lift the stand, and keep on re-setting the shims until it is right. (and there is ALWAYS a shim or two lost under the stand)
Most of my stands (well, all of them now) are on firm flooring, not carpet, so whatever the level shows the stand is doing it will not get compromised when I add the tank.

If you are trying to make this work over carpet you may have to do your best on the stand, then fill the tank and check again. Carpet or pad may squish flatter in some areas than others when the weight of the tank is added.

Yes, the composite shims are a bit harder to cut, but the knife or hacksaw does a pretty good job of scoring them, and they are already grooved, too.
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-06-2015, 07:59 AM
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There are plastic shims sold in the plumbing section of hardware stores that are meant for shiming toilets but work really well in all sorts of applications. They are are easy to cut/trim with a razor knife or hacksaw blade. They are ridged so they don't slip when stacked.
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-06-2015, 02:25 PM
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Having a yardstick handy when shimming does help for those that slip away underneath!
Setting cabinets where the end cabinet is against the wall will make you invent all kinds of ways to deal with it.
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-06-2015, 11:07 PM
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Quote:
Having a yardstick handy...
Ahh... THAT is why I hung onto that old fashioned stick of wood with numbers on it! Now, if I can only find it...
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