Tall covered back/side shelf for multiple nanos? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-19-2019, 02:39 AM Thread Starter
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Tall covered back/side shelf for multiple nanos?

I'm starting to suspect that even with the windows mostly covered, sunlight might be reaching my fish tanks. My plan is to get an industrial-styled shelf with the back and sides covered; with the back to the wall (that the window is at), that should block out any possible rays.

I've read several posts on here, recommending industrial metal shelves, though I haven't seen any with the back and sides covered up. They also all have vertically adjustable shelves. I'm nervous, because some of the reviews of the shelves I've been looking at mention that despite the products in question saying each shelf (not the entire unit, but specifically saying each shelf) can carry 120-150 lbs, they fall off easily from 10-50+ lbs due to the way it's set up to be vertically adjustable.

Are some techniques of adjustable shelves more reliable than others?

And can anyone recommend some closed (doorless) freestanding shelves that have worked for their aquariums? Specifically any that are at least 70" high with shelving space of 23"+ long, 12"+ deep, and 20"+ high. I plan on using one shelf for a 5 gallon (at least 67 lbs), and another shelf for the two nano tanks: the 2.5 gal is at least at least 39 lbs, and the 3.7 gal is at least 42 lbs. I definitely want to avoid anything that will bow.

Has anyone seen/bought anything like this before?

The ones I've been looking at are:
Shelf #1
Shelf #2
Shelf #3

Would these work? Also, will they bow without central bracing?

Also looking to removable shelf covers, I didn't know this was a thing.

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Last edited by Ryan Mosby; 06-19-2019 at 02:46 AM. Reason: added central bracing comment
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-19-2019, 07:27 PM
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I tend to look at steel as very difficult to use when I need flexible spacing and have to allow for future changes, so I drop back to wood as the easy material. Perhaps a suggestion for review?
We tend to think of tanks stands as needing to be big and bulky to be strong but the weight is always supported in the vertical and just needs enough to avoid moving sideways. That means we can actually get plenty of vertical support from somethings as simple as 3/4" plywood but we DO have to make it solid to avoid sideways movement.
This is one way I might go:
Step one, find a wooden shelf unit that is really wood, not particle or MDF with a plastic cover. I would look for a unit with a covered back using 1/4 " or more of something much firmer than cardboard to cut the risk of side movement. I would also want to have real wood shelves that are adjustable. Since these are prone to using some form of bracket in a drilled hole in the side panels, I would then go for adding simple 1X2 uprights in the corners and any place in the middle of the shelf that looks like it might bow down. These uprights, even though small will support a tremendous amount of weight. Check compressive strength for examples but only if they can't bow. So to make it much more like a solid wood item, I would screw them into the sides or shelves. I f certain I would not want to rearrange them to different heights, I might go for a simple wood glue joint. I like screws as it leaves options for changes, while glued will have to be physically torn out once it sets well.
A bit of DIY but it does give a really strong item which should fit EXACTLY the sizes you have if you do the planning. If short on tools, keep in mind that the big box stores will cut to an exact fit for these short support boards and they are reasonably cheap to change out if/when you might change.
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-19-2019, 10:04 PM Thread Starter
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@PlantedRich Thank you for the reply! I think I'd like to stick to metal, unless I can find something like you described already completed (I'm not a very DIY person).
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-20-2019, 01:31 AM
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What you are describing is easily built if interested in some diy work or even easier to modify an existing shelf. I like Ikea bookshelves that are made of real wood because they are super cheap and easily modified. They do not have something strong enough for your purpose out of the box to my knowledge.

If you are looking for zero diy. Then you are probably looking for industrial shelving. The stuff regular people buy for their garage is not going to do it for you. A quick search turned up this:

https://www.uline.com/BL_481/Closed-...Steel-Shelving

It's expensive and there are undoubtedly many other options out there. But it's a starting point for your search. Might pick up some search terms.
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-20-2019, 05:17 AM Thread Starter
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@minorhero I'm not in a position to be doing diy builds/modifications. I don't mind shelling out a few hundred bucks for a very reliable shelf.

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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-20-2019, 08:24 AM
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In that case I really think industrial shelving is the way to go. Let us know what you pick and if you are happy with it.
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-20-2019, 02:34 PM
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If you find a shelving unit that you like and its not covered I'm sure you could easily cover the back and sides using thin plywood (or anything thin enough that doesn't let light through) and magnets.


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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-21-2019, 03:27 AM Thread Starter
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Does anyone think this shelf would work?

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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-21-2019, 03:44 AM
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According to their description the weigh should be ok. I would still worry about water since it probably are mdf
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-21-2019, 09:11 AM Thread Starter
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@25cube2019 It says it's steel with a powder coat finish.

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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-21-2019, 11:28 AM
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That shelf doesn't have the best reviews but it could work if it lives up to the specs. What are you going to do about cords?
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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-21-2019, 11:29 AM
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Another option could be to just cover the sides of the tank with a black or tinted film. They do it for tinted windows and car wraps all the time.

3M makes lots of different colors, patterns and it is easy to install. The kind that the used to bulletproof the windows in our home and tint them a company came over and used baby shampoo to apply it with a squeegee.... I think the installation was 100.00 for my home which is ALL the front windows (which is A LOT).

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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-21-2019, 01:39 PM
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Window film is a good idea. That way you don't need to spendhundreds of dollars on a shelf that may or may not work for your purposes. A quick search for privacy film on Amazon showed this product.

https://www.amazon.com/Artviva-Block...ou+window+film

It applies with water and can be removed if you don't like it or mess up.
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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-21-2019, 11:09 PM Thread Starter
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@livebearerlove @minorhero But I still have to move the tanks to the area I mentioned before, and they would need a shelf for that. As it is now, I would have to cover up the front and sides of the aquariums if I want to be sure there's no chance of sunlight hitting them. Due to the arrangement of my small room, the only thing I can think of is to shift furniture away from that wall and put the shelf against it. There's a really huge window on that wall (takes up a lot of the wall); a shelf with a back or a cover will likely protect the tanks from the heat of the sun, as well as the rays. I can't use the other side of my room because the wall there is entirely made of large sliding closet doors.

I'd like to add that I don't want to hide my tanks away (such as in the closet), I want to keep them by my desk. So for this plan, my desk would move farther from the wall and the shelf would occupy that area, so that I can keep an eye on the tanks while I work.

The setup of the tanks currently is one on the nightstand, one on top a low bookshelf with a divider in the middle under it, and one on the desk. It's all a very cramped space. But the way they are, I realize that even with half the window boarded up, there's still some light in that direction when the sun is at midday to evening. I think it might be the reason I'm having so much algae problems in my 5 gallon, because I didn't have them before when it was on the dresser on the other side of the room (moved it because I wanted to be able to see it).

I'd board up the other side of the window except that my elderly cat only keeps herself to my room and she loves looking out the window.

Update: Going to go by Home Depot today to look at the shelves they have in stock. I'll take the advice from above and look not only for metal, but sturdy wood as well.

Update #2: Been thinking it over (haven't gone to HD yet), and I'm thinking it might be better to get two low shelves rather than one really tall one. I couldn't mount a tall shelf properly being that the window is mostly behind it, but also it would have a lower center of gravity, and allow the cat to walk on top to her cat tree (I love dis kitty). So I'll look for a sturdy wooden or metal shelf that's around 46" tall, and put the aquariums on the top shelf, and use a divider on each shelf below.

get out of my house

Last edited by Ryan Mosby; 06-22-2019 at 12:23 AM. Reason: addition
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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-25-2019, 09:17 PM Thread Starter
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I went with an edsal shelf, replaced the particle board with plywood, and put a tarp on the back and sides. So far so good!
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