Aquarium Placement in Concrete Condo Building - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-04-2015, 04:10 PM Thread Starter
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Aquarium Placement in Concrete Condo Building

Hi,

I know this type of question gets asked often, but I don't often see information for highrise buildings with reinforced concrete slab floors.

I will be moving into a concrete condo that will be completed next year and I am thinking about getting an aquarium.

The developer says the floors are 8" thick concrete and are designed for a liveload of 40psf. I think that means that a 10'x10' room can safely support a uniformly distributed load of 4000lbs.

The aquarium I am looking at would weigh about 600lbs including stand, equipment, contents etc. I would like to place it against an interior wall (not load bearing). Based on drawings I've been given, the nearest concrete pillar is about 8ft away from the centre of the aquarium.

I realize strength wise the floor will have no problems supporting 600lbs.

However, I do wonder about the deflection and sag in the floor over time since the aquarium will be there for years.

Does anyone have thoughts on this? Any structural/civil engineers?

Thanks!
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-04-2015, 04:38 PM
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What are the dimensions of the tank, and how far is the second closest pillar (in the other direction)?
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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-04-2015, 05:05 PM Thread Starter
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What are the dimensions of the tank, and how far is the second closest pillar (in the other direction)?
The foot print of the tank would be about 30"x18". I would put it on a stand that distributes the weight evenly.

The second closest pillar is approximately 12ft away.
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-04-2015, 05:14 PM
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That would be a surface area of 3.75 sq.ft. I've only taken an architecture class, that's as far as my experience takes me hahaha. Though 40 pounds per foot seems a little low. Knowing how much rebar is in the floor could make a difference though.
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-04-2015, 05:16 PM
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I think you are worrying much too much. 600 pounds is nothing, your fat buddy from college can stop by, jump up and down and generate more load.

8" of reinforced concrete distributes load very effectively.

Another way to think of it is that the concrete itself on a 10'x10'x8" slab weighs in just shy of 10,000 pounds, not including the rebarb. Your little tank is 6% of the load it is carrying already.

House floors are much more problematic as, especially as they age and get homeowner work done, in that they may have weak spots, little more than a thin sheet of plywood. Put a tank so it sits between supports on it and ... splash.

But reinforced concrete... I just wouldn't worry about a 600 pound tank.

I WOULD worry that you are covered for leaks or floods that ruin your downstairs neighbor's leopard skin carpet. Concrete is strong but rarely waterproof. Mistakes and aquariums go together better than peanut butter and jelly.
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-04-2015, 06:36 PM
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I keep a 220g with a 6' x 2' footprint in a concrete slab high rise. The only issue was when it leaked to the eighth floor.

Concrete does not deflect much so nearness to columns would not concern me. My father was a structural engineer and we discussed this back in the day.

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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-04-2015, 07:16 PM
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You're probably making a mountain out of a mole hill here. What size tank is this (in gallons?) A footprint of 30x18 footprint is not all that large of a tank (unless its really, really tall), so chances are that 600 pound figure you're using is a big overestimate. But, better to do this kind of figuring using the largest numbers possible. Would you worry about having 3 or 4 full grown men standing very close to one another in the house?

Also worth noting that the 40 psf liveload is probably a conservative estimate as there is a safety factor worked in there as well. Meaning the failure of the floor probably wont be seen until more than twice the liveload is applied. the 40 psf is also essentially the average across the whole floor . The actual number likely changes dramatically based on where the support columns are as well as the various other structural elements.

As far as sag or deflection; i dont think you have much to worry about with an 8" concrete slab.

A lot of good info regarding this kind of information as it relates specifically to the aquarium hobby can be found here: http://www.african-cichlid.com/Structure.htm
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-04-2015, 10:17 PM
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Something major wrong with the numbers? A floor that supports 40 pounds per square foot? How much does a 200 pound guy put on the floor when he stands on one foot? Most buildings have proven to hold a guy that size!
New concrete buildings will hold far more than the tank.
If the building can't hold two fat people setting on a couch--- don't move there!
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-04-2015, 10:37 PM Thread Starter
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Something major wrong with the numbers? A floor that supports 40 pounds per square foot?...
I think 40psf is a standard rating for residential buildings. It just means that the floor can support 40psf of pressure over the entire floor. So a 10'x10' room could support 4000lbs if it was distributed evenly. But in reality loads are more concentrated.

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Originally Posted by lksdrinker View Post
You're probably making a mountain out of a mole hill here. What size tank is this (in gallons?) A footprint of 30x18 footprint is not all that large of a tank (unless its really, really tall), so chances are that 600 pound figure you're using is a big overestimate.
Yea I'm thinking of a 30 to 40 gal tank. I added weight for a sturdy stand, hardscape, equipment and a fudge factor. So yes, 600lbs is an overestimate.

Thanks for the comments and the reference link! I guess I'm just being over worried.
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-04-2015, 10:40 PM
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I guess I'm just being over worried.
Always better than the opposite.

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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-05-2015, 12:26 AM
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40PSF is standard for WOOD floors but new concrete is normally much stronger. It also gets much more complex to figure but even at worst a floor should easily support two large linemen standing sideby in a closet!
2X6 closet=12SF X 40= 480pounds so the lineman can only weigh 240 each to be safe? Not very realistic numbers are they? Heaven help the pro QB that invites the line over for a steak dinner!!

But the point for most of us is that it really is not a problem. There are many larger tanks in far worse buildings and we never drop them through the floor. Sleep well and go for it with a clear mind.
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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-05-2015, 12:29 AM
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Heaven help the pro QB that invites the line over for a steak dinner!!
Well, it depends on how big their shoes are. If they have really big feet it spreads the load out.

There is a little known NFL guideline, however, that when dining together on an upper floor, they are not allowed to wear high, stiletto heels. This concentrates the weight too much.

If you watch social events carefully, you will see all teams carefully abide by this guideline.

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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-06-2015, 02:35 PM
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The 40psf is the minimum requirement for residential live loads. I doubt that's the actual calculated live load for your floor merely a minimum specified limitation. A mobile home has to have a live load of at least 40psf.

I agree with Linwood. Don't worry about the weight instead what happens when it leaks. You may want to check with the condo association. Many condo associations require insurance on aquariums and water beds. Some don't even allow them!
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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-06-2015, 07:02 PM
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This seems to be one of the areas where the specs and the real world may not fit too well. Just for grins, I did a little looking at some numbers.
I think we can all agree that a floor should not strain to hold up a normal refrigerator? So let's do some math.
I took 30" by 30" as a normal size and a quick search says 300 is a "normal" weight.

2.5' X 2.5= 6.25 Sq Ft. so using the 40PSF figure gives us a safe weight of 250 pounds

So using the specs, does the frig drop through a new wood floor if we add a 100 pounds of frozen food? I'm gonna be watching who I set next to at Thankgiving this year!!! I have a couple friends who shake the ground when they walk but I never worried about them crushing the building.
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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-06-2015, 09:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PlantedRich View Post
This seems to be one of the areas where the specs and the real world may not fit too well. Just for grins, I did a little looking at some numbers.
I think we can all agree that a floor should not strain to hold up a normal refrigerator? So let's do some math.
I took 30" by 30" as a normal size and a quick search says 300 is a "normal" weight.

2.5' X 2.5= 6.25 Sq Ft. so using the 40PSF figure gives us a safe weight of 250 pounds

So using the specs, does the frig drop through a new wood floor if we add a 100 pounds of frozen food? I'm gonna be watching who I set next to at Thankgiving this year!!! I have a couple friends who shake the ground when they walk but I never worried about them crushing the building.
Valid point about the fridge. But one thing to keep in mind is that the placement of those kinds of appliances are usually pre-planned and a builder might reinforce certain areas of the floor in these specific locations. Especially if corners are being cut elsewhere! But I guess this comes more into play in older wooden home construction. Areas where more weight was to be expected (bathtubs usually) would often get some beefing up of the floor in that spot.

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