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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
SCA 85 Gallon Custom ADA Style Stand

I’ve been keeping planted aquariums for a while now, and I’ve decided to use my accumulated experience to do a new build, top to bottom, and to do it right!

Within the past few days, I received my brand new SC Aquarium 85 gallon rimless aquarium (18x18x60in). It's going to have to wait in my garage until I'm able to build a custom stand and move my 125 gallon to the other side of my basement. I'm planning to use a sump with this setup, along with C02 injection and a heavy emphasis on a three dimensional jungle hardscape with overhangs and arches.

I have my initial stand design together and could use some feedback about structural integrity, design, and any other practical concerns. Key design goals include:
1) Matching the dimensions of the stand to the footprint of the aquarium exactly.
2) Maintaining as much space as possible inside the stand in order to fit a large sump (standard 55 gallon tall) and a 20# C02 tank.
3) Having ADA style full width doors that hinge at the very corner of the aquarium.
4) Being at least a little, if not a lot, over-engineered for structural strength.
5) Being able to hold at least an inch or two of leaked water in the bottom of the cabinet without suffering any damage.
6) Facilitating clean cable/wire/pipe routing
7) Looking classy AF!

Secondary goals include:
A) Muffling sound inside the cabinet as much as possible.
B) Prevent light leakage from inside the cabinet.
C) Keeping the wires neat and orderly within the cabinet.

I haven't finished modeling my plumbing, the sump design, or the cable management yet, but I wanted to figure out whether I need to radically change the layout in the cabinet to accommodate thicker supports.

The exterior paneling will be walnut hardwood, planed/sanded down as little as possible from inch-thick boards. I'm guessing I'll end up somewhere between 3/4 of an inch and 7/8 of an inch on the walnut. The interior wood will be 3/4 inch plywood, connected with pocket screws and wood glue, though I made sure to avoid relying on screws to bear weight. The pictured designs show two layers of plywood forming a beam along the top front of the cabinet, but that could easily be three or even four layers. I plan to glue the walnut and plywood layers together with wood glue, and then paint the interior plywood with a white, waterproof paint or epoxy, hence the white surfaces in the diagrams above (Although unlike the renders, I plan to paint all of the plywood surfaces.)

I've seen some guys do some pretty large custom stands made out of MDF for what I think are ADA 120p aquariums, so I think plywood and hardwood glued together would be even better? I'm not sure if the longer span (5 ft vs 4ft) makes a difference though. If anyone is interested, I can post a public Fusion360 link for the design but that's a lot of installation just to view a file if you don't have it installed already.
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