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I'm going to homedepot tomorrow to pick out some 2x4 for a 40 breeder stand I will be constructing. This is my first time, and I really don't know anything about wood or wood types.

Is there a rule I should go by? What should I ask for?

I plan to ask the dude for at least grade 2, untreated lumber 2x4s.
And make sure it isn't "green".

What else should I look out for?

Any tips will seriously help. I feel like I'm overthinking this project.

Thank you.
 

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Carpe Diem
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I think you are overthinking it a bit - any 2x4 should handle the job with the right stand design. If you want to make a "furniture quality" stand, then the wood grade becomes more important.

Enjoy and have fun.
 
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If your budget can do it, I'd ask for hardwood. The cheapest type would depend on location.
Here it is meranti, pretty strong and very water resistant.
 

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You just need basic kiln dried 2x4's, typically pine. Just check each one to ensure it's straight and true. The (simple) basic build design for strength is available on many YouTubes. Your gonna need a (circular) saw and some (3" deck) screws to put it together. You may also wish to paint or stain and poly coat to ensure that any water spills will not warp the wood.
Finally, unless you will be happy with an open design, you may want a cover of a decent plywood and then there's door hardware.

Good Luck with your build.
 

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Just plain wood that is the cheaper type. That will often be the type used most often for building houses, etc.
One trick is to pick through the stack for best value but it doesn't take a keen eye. Look for obvious knots that may get loose. Then find one which looks straight and lay it in the floor. Lay a second next to the first and look if they fit next to each other for the full length. When you find two that do, turn each over to see that ALL sides fit tight together. That proves out that both are totally straight. No need for sighting down the edges and guessing? Once you find one true one, use it to test any more you need.
Check each for things like splits at the end. Those will only get worse with time. Check for chunks knocked off the sides or other defects.
Watch for staples in the ends that can rip a finger and be prepped to do some sorting if you want the best value. DO NOT use treated or wet wood. If it's heavy, leave it. Anything with moisture seeping out is a no go.
 

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Look for 2x3 kiln dried spruce studs, slightly smaller than a 2x4 but with relatively the same strength. They are cheaper too. A 40 breeder will weigh in at approximately 450 pounds when finished. 2x3's will offer more than enough strength. I have been using them for simple stands on tanks up to 75 gallons for years.



Disregard the dimensions on the drawing. For complete story go here DIY - Build an Aquarium Stand
 

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Sadchevy has some good info but there can also be a problem with some of the specifics as stock varies from place to place. Get what ever type wood is commonly stocked whether it is fir, spruce or other in your area. Get whichever is stocked and cheaper when looking at 2X4 or 2X3 as I do not find 2X3 locally in my area. Just go for the cheap, good straight, and dry stuff they use in your area. It can be called "studs" and cut to fit walls or other times the full sized 2X4 is cheaper.
 

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Yup, I bought my 2x4's at Home Depot as well. For what it's worth I just go to the premium 2x4's, they are way straighter and not that much more expensive. As much as I would love to spend an hour or 2 digging through warped, bowed and twisted boards, my time is worth more than that, when I could already be at home building the stand.

Here's my 40b stand I built. I used rocket engineers plan like the photo posted by sadchevy.



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The big box stores typically sell "whitewood" now for framing lumber. Home Depot typically has "premium whitewood" and "kiln dried whitewood". It's not a species, just a generic term for light colored lumber so they can change up the actual species at will without any issues. Any of it that's dry and straight should work fine.

Kind of like talapia. It's not a specific type of fish but a group of over 100 species.
 

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I'm not real sure what home depot's whitewood actually is,but most I've seen looks bad,even for a box store.At least at Lowe's,they have "hem-fir" and I can always find better straighter wood there.Hem-Fir refers to either any of the species of firs,or hemlock.These trees grow together and are pretty much indistinguishable.
 

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...find one which looks straight and lay it in the floor. Lay a second next to the first and look if they fit next to each other for the full length. When you find two that do, turn each over to see that ALL sides fit tight together. That proves out that both are totally straight. No need for sighting down the edges and guessing? Once you find one true one, use it to test any more you need.
I would like to reiterate the above. You would not believe how crooked some of the timbers on the rack are. Whether they be warped or twisted, they will not provide a flat surface for your aquarium to sit on which is bad. Be prepared to spend some time when you go to the hardware store as finding straight boards is an uphill battle, to say the least.
 

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You are technically supposed to plane them square, it is the first thing you will learn in woodwork 101.
So, if you intend to skip this stage, you had better pick straight wood.
 

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Pixel Prestidigitator
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I would like to reiterate the above. You would not believe how crooked some of the timbers on the rack are. Whether they be warped or twisted, they will not provide a flat surface for your aquarium to sit on which is bad. Be prepared to spend some time when you go to the hardware store as finding straight boards is an uphill battle, to say the least.
I've gotten straight lumber from all the box stores. I've matched it up to a steel column in Lowes to make sure it was perfect. At one store the column is right next to red oak I was buying. And I bought a lot of it.

It doesn't matter. Whether it is the red oak or the "white wood" once it acclimates to YOUR conditions it may or may not warp or twist. Some of mine did. I still used it but I know how to deal with the problems.

n many cases it is stored outdoors. Now imagine that here in Florida then bringing it into my wood shop that is in A/C.
 

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Basic 2x4s following a well planned build with wood glue and screws. If you cover the stand in plywood, it makes it much stronger. The 2x4s can support a lot of weight. The issue is we are raising that weight off the ground and having the wood flex will cause it to fail.
 

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maybe for a small cupboard type stand like posted above, would I consider pine or cedar. But, I saw a bank of enamled pine racking thrown out on the fish farm, They all start rotting sooner or later if they get moist enough. They eventually rebuild the shelving using rectangular aluminum pipe, maybe 2 inches across and 1 wide. With tanks just supported on the long seams.
 
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