Solid wood IKEA furniture for tank stand - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-16-2020, 09:45 PM Thread Starter
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Solid wood IKEA furniture for tank stand

Has anyone used the solid wood pieces IKEA offers as an aquarium stand?

IKEA IVAR


IKEA TARVA

IKEA RAST

Obviously most of their stuff is particle board and not good for aquariums, but these are solid wood.
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-17-2020, 12:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AutumnSun View Post
Has anyone used the solid wood pieces IKEA offers as an aquarium stand?

IKEA IVAR


IKEA TARVA

IKEA RAST

Obviously most of their stuff is particle board and not good for aquariums, but these are solid wood.
It wood be really cool if they were strong enough because of cost. They are nice looking as well and could be painted whatever you would like.

Although, have you ever put Ikea furniture together? Oh what a pain in the bum.

Do any of them give numbers for maximum weight capacity?
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-17-2020, 03:52 AM
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I wouldn't trust anything IKEA for concentrated load capacity. Ive had furniture in the past that appeared to be solid wood, only for it to break and find out and that it had particleboard core, which is a terrible idea with anything aquarium related.
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-17-2020, 04:08 AM
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Personally, I wouldn't risk it with those IKEA units. Not so much for the wood material itself, but because of the fixings which aren't always the most secure (depends a lot on how well assembled of course). Unless you intend to add additional cross-bracing or bracketry that is, but I still wouldn't be too confident. Those shelves will bow over time which would concentrate the loading at the ends of the tank and... well let's not even think about it!

That said, my 45 litre tank sits on a chipboard IKEA BESTA drawer unit which is rock solid. It's actually two low-rise drawer units stacked on top of each other and screwed together with an extra 5th leg added in the middle.
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-17-2020, 12:34 PM
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That Ivar pine cabinet is pretty nice. It does state it has a particle board backing. As en7jos stated, you'd need to Macgyver some more strength into it.


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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-18-2020, 02:51 PM
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I have been using 2x2 KALLAX for my 20g, no issues. I have even seen a youtube video that uses the same cabinet and they cut a part of middle horizontal part to allow for filter/co2 tank height.
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-18-2020, 05:30 PM
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I too have been debating using an Ikea stand for a 20 gallon long. What size tank do you have?

26G BF
40G Breeder (soon to be planted)
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-21-2020, 03:23 AM
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I wonder if you could sort of harvest the IKEA unit parts as a skin to use over a typical 2x4 framed stand? That would certainly be tempting, to get the nice finished outside without having to do all of the prep and design work yourself!
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-21-2020, 03:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AutumnSun View Post
Has anyone used the solid wood pieces IKEA offers as an aquarium stand?

IKEA IVAR
I just modified and reinforced an IKEA HAVSTA cabinet and it turned out very nice. It was a little too deep for my space, so I cut the depth down to 14", then added a center support to increase the weight capacity. I added some blocking and bracing here and there to stiffen it up even more. The cabinet is solid wood. Attached is a pic of the finished product. I can post more detailed photos if you're interested. FYI, the tank on the black cabinet to the left is the one being replaced, and the cabinet to the right is the matching cabinet from IKEA which came in a 14" depth, so that was another reason I wanted to cut the depth of the new one (to match).

https://www.ikea.com/us/en/p/havsta-...hite-70388620/
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-21-2020, 01:45 PM
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Nice job. I would like to see more photos if you are up for it.

Thanks!
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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-21-2020, 02:37 PM
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This might be a good time to throw in some points on what makes a strong stand and what makes a poor stand as it does depend on detail more often than type of wood. Wood type does matter and pine is one of the weaker woods but how it is put together matters even more.
The first big thing to look at is how the weight is supported and that often makes us look at the joints as the vertical pieces are almost always strong enough if braced to avoid bowing in or out. So let's look for what we can see from ads?
I took a snip of a critical point in the Ivar ad. When dealing with a tank we need to make sure all four corners are well supported and level by wood which runs all the way from the top to floor with solid wood. That leaves different tank length to work better than other sizes might. Looking at the top of the Ivar we see the board is supported , not on the sides and front but by a screw in the corner, so this leaves the item totally bad for a short tank which doesn't extend far enough left/right to put the weight on the vertical boards. Even a ten gallon short tank may mean the weight is supported only by that single screw! But something longer might work if the sides hold the load rather than the top!
So look carefully at what is supporting the weight, is it laying on a board top which is on top of the sides or is it only the fasteners holding the weight? Screws tend to be good for holding from pulling out but very brittle and tend to snap if the pressure is put on the screw side. BAD one? Depends on tank length!
Same issue with the Rast pictured.
But then we have the Tarva which may/may not work, even though it is a different piece, it has some of the same problems. If we have a long enough tank, the weight rests on the verticals and those are a stack of wood and not prone to bowing down, but if we have a short tank, set in the middle of a thin board, not supported by any other horizontal I can see, the weight is only held by the top board and the more weight we put farther in from the side, the more likely (almost certain) the board will bow down. A short ten gallon is likely to crush this one while a tank long enough to let the weight rest on the sides might be better even if much heavier!
Notice how wide each of the growth rings are in pine? This indicates a fast growing tree which leaves these wide rings being much weaker than a slow growing hardwood tree which has much closer spacing on the rings. Wide rings bow quicker and split easier!
These could be made to work but then I can find much better, safer options for far less money if I look at the thrift stores for good solid furniture that is built in the best way and most of it will be far better wood type.
The devil truly is in the details!
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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-26-2020, 04:35 PM
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Not the greatest depiction, but this is the bracing I added to the HAVSTA. Center post in the middle with lateral bracing along the top middle (and blocking on top rear sides to stabilize the lateral brace), lateral brace along the rear bottom (also serves to prevent objects from falling out the back), and extra blocking on left, middle, and right to support bottom "shelf", since otherwise the bottom shelf would have only been supported by hardware. Used leftover dowel pins here and there and everything was nailed and glued. If anyone missed it, I cut the depth down to 13-3/4" to match the adjacent HAVSTA cabinet.
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Last edited by mossman77; 08-26-2020 at 06:55 PM. Reason: Correct photo attachments
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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-03-2020, 08:05 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you all for your input, especially @mossman77 and @PlantedRich for the lengthy, informative posts! Much appreciated
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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-05-2020, 12:26 AM
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I think it is doable. I like the bracing @mossman77 shows. You definitely want to add up all the weight of your tank (I did not see what size). Like a 50G I think is going to be around 8x50 = 400lbs. So in that situation, if the furniture seems plenty strong enough to have two large people sitting on it permanently you are probably ok.

One thing I have done with IKEA furniture in situations like that, where I wanted extra strength and durability, is to wood glue the pieces together in addition to using the screws and fasteners they include. Regular white Elmers wood glue, properly used, makes a joint stronger than the wood it connects. You have to be careful as gluing is a one way street. So if you glue in a piece backwards or upside down (a common mistake I make when building IKEA furniture, especially if you are ADHD and don't read directions), you are in a bit of a jam. If that happens, break it apart fast before it dries. And you have to make sure you are ok never disassembling it again, i.e. make sure you don't need to break it down to get it out of the room eventually. Glue will make it one solid piece of furniture and you don't have to worry as much about their fasteners coming loose or getting stripped when/if you have to tighten them.

The very back piece/backboard if probably either particle board or masonite. That you might be able to treat or replace with something more water resistant. You could probably wax (if already finished) or treat the furniture to make sure it doesn't absorb any water.
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