The Planted Tank Forum banner

Custom Fish/Shrimp Farm Shelving Unit (Pic Heavy)

4024 Views 15 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  fibertech
Hey All,

OK! So I found my stand! I walked into HD and looked around for a while and came across this industrial shelf.

The specs say 4,000lbs total and 800lbs per shelf. I figure I might use 1/2 of that on some shelves and not even a 1/4 on the rest. I still don't know what tank sizes I am going to use which is another reason why I like this stand. The shelving is easily modified and has holes spaced every 1 1/2".

I noticed the shelves that the unit comes with are particle board, a big NO!NO! when it comes to water (and fish tanks :proud: ) So I asked the lumber guy what was the strongest sheet wood he sold that was also water proof. He led me to pressure treated 3/4" plywood. He cut me two sheets into 8 shelves (more than this unit needs). I did not even take the particle board shelves out of the box, but immediately set it up with the plywood.

I can confirm this thing is incredibly strong. Both my brother and I stood on top of it at the same time which is around 350lbs total. Not bad! It felt like I was standing on concrete, no lie, had no give to it at all.

I will put some more pics below, you can also find the rest if you want along with some other fish related galleries at my flickr page.

My Flickr

Orignial Post:

I am debating between buying one of those home depot industrial shelves which probably cost a million dollars or building my own stand.

This stand will hold a few fish tanks between 3-10 (depending on size of each tank) I might just do a bunch of 5-10 gallon tanks or i might do 4-5 20 Gallon tanks. I'm not sure what all it will hold yet, but I know that it needs to hold a ton of weight, almost litterally :help:

Do any of you have any suggestions to building a stand such as this? Lumber used? Paint? Grade of wood? I used to do a ton of wood work in high school, years ago, and feel pretty good with power tools. I would not call myself a wood artisan though by any means.

Thoughts, opinions, criticism appreciated.

See less See more
1 - 16 of 16 Posts
Just thought I'd mostly chime in because I'm looking to do a rack as well and would love to see what you end up with.

A couple thoughts though. I'm not sure how much money you'll save as it seems workable shelves can be had in the 100 dollar range. Costco is another place to check.

Some of the racks would need to be reinforced though.

I'd really think about what you want to do ahead of time tank wise. Think about what your goals are concerning whether you want to be space efficient or more aesthetics oriented, etc... Also, consider the livestock choice and what tanks sizes will be most appropriate. You very well may have considered all of these things already so I don't mean to sound like I'm teaching you something you already know. Just some things to contemplate in case you hadn't as I'm going through the same process.

I'm trying to decide on tank size and if I'll configure the tanks short side out or maybe a mix. This really comes into play with shelving unit depth as often times it seems to that in the 4 feet lengths the units are only 18" deep and you have to go even longer to get 24" deep shelves. I need to look around more and I'm sure more unique sizes can be had online somewhere. If you build you won't that issue.

I look forward to seeing how it goes for you and good luck!

Also, interested to see your filter choices, etc...
See less See more
Those are some good things to think about. Glad I'm not the only one in this boat :D

I haven't gone shopping for the insudtrial stand yet, but I didn't think they would be that cheap, it may be in my best interest to just go with a steel structure. I'm not talking about those thing sheet metal shelves though. I'm talking about the kind that use welded beams, the same shelves home depot uses to hold their products. I used to work with these at my old freelancing job in our warehouse.

I think I am going to try and start breeding shrimp locally for people in my area and for myself. I'm not getting into it to become my primary job, but for the fun of it and to help out people in the area. Which would mean I could use smaller tanks and more of them to allow for a variety of shrimp without interbreeding.

Aesthetics aren't so much an issue for me as this will be stored in my computer lab, picture to be included eventually ( need to clean it first :D ). I think I want shelves no more than 2' deep, you will see why when I post a picture, and I can handle 5' wide and 8' tall.

For filtering I will be testing my experimental Central Filtration System that I have been discussing all throughout this forum and a few spare canister filters and HOB filters.

Hopefully some breeders on here can chime in as well. Would appreciate as many ideas as possible.
See less See more
Well, I'm sure if you've been discussing your filter idea you know the downfalls of a central system. Too much risk for me, disease and interbreeding wise.

I'd go with something simple and low maintenance. Either mattenfilters or sponge filters. Can be run off one or two air pumps, much more efficient and simple.

Also, consider planning around 4 foot lights. Much cheaper and more efficient. Could light 5 feet of tanks if put higher if you didn't have any need for high lighting.

Last time I was at Costco they did have some really heavy duty stuff. Might have been priced more around 150, I can't recall specifics. Some of the wire racks and even the heavy duty racks that have wood shelves are rated for a lot of weight, but they still sag and I feel would need reinforced. That can be done rather easily though.
See less See more
If you're at all handy, a few long 2x6 wood pieces can be sawed, glued, and screwed together, with the help of some metal "L" brackets, to create whatever you need. There are plenty of diagrams if you do a simple DIY aquarium stand schematics search, and you can adapt it however you'd like.
Search the DIY forum and you will find several threads about that type of project.
Check out wire shelving. Its available online is a large variety of sizes and robustness. A industrial grade stainless shelf unit could easily support a large tank and is stylish to boot.

I have one which is 5 feet long 7 foot high and 3 feet deep in my kitchen. I could jump up and done on it with any fear of failure.
Thank all for the recommendations and ideas! I actually found a perfect fit stand in HD today. I will update the first post with pics of my build and info on the stand along with the total cost.
Figured it out!

Original Post:

Can anyone help me figure out why my flickr photos aren't loading? I am brand new to flickr.


See less See more
I bought something similar from Lowe's during the Christmas break and set it up in my garage to house my fish tanks. I got two 48" wide X 24" deep X 72" high unit and really like the results. One of the advantage for 48" wide shelf is that common shop light can be used.

The shelves I had are made of MDF so I painted them with primer and a few coats of ppolyurethane. I am not sure how well it will resist water for the long term though. One mistake I made was to put all shelves almost equally-spaced so I end up selling my tall tanks because it is so difficult even just trying to pour water them. You need to make sure you have enough space for it.

Don't forget to anchor the shelf to the wall. It is very important to me because I am in earthquck country (California.)

Another thing about pressure-treated plywood you are using, does it look greenish? I know that most of pressure-treated wood used for outdoor is treated with arsenic and copper so it has to be handled carefully. It might be a good idea to put some coat of paint on it.
See less See more
I've stayed away from those types of racks precisely because of the particle board and the fact that you'll have to buy wood to replace them, raising the cost. Might have to with some other racks as well though.

What was the total cost?

Why does the plywood stick up above the shelf? Kinda ruins the clean look. I assume it's because the board it's designed for is thinner than 3/4?

I'd look into what the other poster said about the pressure treated wood. I had never heard of that until yesterday and now someone else is mentioning it again. It's said that it gasses off arsenic.

I'd find out how much weight that wood can hold over time. Standing on it is one thing, holding a lot of weight over long periods of time is another.
I would buy that rack simply because its made in usa :icon_smil
Thanks for your replies, I will answer the questions as best as I can.

IWANNAGOFAST - Yes, but they are not for my planted tanks, separate project.

calfish64 - Those are the same dimensions as this stand and it came with particle/mdf? board. One thing I have noticed with particle board over the years is paint does not adhere very well (in my experience) and can chip or wipe off easily. The last thing I need is a fully loaded rack + 1 scratch on pain to open up a world of disaster. The scratch could easily allow in water and if it is on a shelf bearing weight, not good. However, I sincerely hope your works out in the long run. Totally agree on the vertical spacing and securing to wall (stud). As for pressure treating, yes it is indeed arsenic + other chemicals. I have never seen or heard of pressure treated lumber "gassing" and ,as far as safety, don't lick it and your good. Or don't rub your hands all over it constantly and drop your hands in the tank. :p

aman74 - Total Cost was $140, $75 for stand + $65 for replacement wood. I don't consider that bad at all. Especially considering this will easily hold anything I can fit on it. Plywood sticks up because I upgraded from 1/2" mdf/particle? board to 3/4" Plywood. HUGE strength increase. I can also care less about the looks as this is in a back room of my house where my computer lab is located. I have 0 concerns about pressure treated wood. I wasn't load testing it by standing on it, I wanted to feel how firm it was. Let's put it this way, if 1/2" particle board can hold 800lbs on that shelf, much less less say 50% advertised weight, 400lbs, then a 3/4" sheet of pressure treated plywood is going to far exceed that weight capacity. 0 concerns about weight capacity.

scape - +1 :D

See less See more
Thanks for your thoughts. You gave me some things to consider for mine and now I have more options. You're probably right about the weight, but I worry unless I know for sure. That is, I probably worry too much :)

Keep us updated if you can.
I'll bet you kill the plastic plants within a week :hihi:

I keeed, I keeed
1 - 16 of 16 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.