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DIY Aquarium Stand

Just an intro more detailed plans follow

Stands follow the same basic philosophy as hoods do; their designs are mostly personal
preference. Regardless of the aesthetic appeal though, the stand must be capable of hold large
amounts of weight, and therefore, must be very well build. Figure 5.0.0 shows some basic stand
designs and a migration pattern. Model is simple, basic and Spartan. Model ! builds on by
adding a solid top and shelf. " adds doors and # is the complete enclosure. $arious levels of
ornateness can be had for the doors and moldings. %nly your imagination limits you.
&he stand should be constructed of at least '()s. '() side bars and )() legs is good, but usually
not needed for most applications. lso, screwing the wood together offers greater stability in the
long run and allows the stand to be disassembled with little effort.
&he most critical element in the stand construction is that it is sturdy and this can not be stressed
enough. *owever, the stand must be level as well. +f the tan, rests on an uneven surface,
pressure points will build and a crac, most li,ely will develop. ny solid top stand can be
enhanced by placing cardboard or some moderately fle(ible material under the tan,. &his will
allow the tan, to -settle- into place once it is filled. +f something is placed under the tan,, it should
be under the entire tan, body not .ust one side or corner, thus reducing the stress on the tan,.
Model is regularly offered in pet shops for /50 or more when in actually it costs about /00 to
build. %ne final note on the construction, the wood should be dried. +f the wood is damp during
construction, it will dry and warp leading to uneven surfaces.
%ther tips from a carpenter1
Some general recommendations:
1) Build a strong frame. After the frame is made you can attach plywood,
molding, trim or whatever to make it look good.
That is the way modern uildings are designed and uilt.
!) "veruild it. #se more lumer than you think you need. $ommercially
availale stands for %&'s use one !() at each corner. So my stand has
two !()s as legs at each corner. *ach pair is utted together like an
angle iron. A tank over ) ft. in length should proaly have si+ legs.
,) Screw and glue. -on't even think aout using nails for any part that
ears the load. #se large wood screws or olts as Tony recommends along
with glue for any important .oint. /ultiple screws at a .oint are a good
)) #se lots of glue. 0f glue does not s1uirt out when you put the parts
together, you don't have enough. Also e aware that end grain soaks up
glue. They will literally suck the glue out of the .oint efore it sets.
The way 0 was taught to deal with this is to smear some glue on the end
grain efore putting the .oint together. 2et this sit for aout 1341&
minutes. Then reapply glue as normal and put the thing together 5with
screws or olts.)
6"T*: this is only if you don7t plan on taking the stand apart in the
&) A good cordless drill 5with a clutch) will make drilling all those
pilot holes and screwing in all those screws a whole lot easier. The
structural part of my stand has aout %3 screws in it. 0magine doing
that y hand.
8) Buy good lumer. 0f you talk to older carpenters, they will loudly
lament the 1uality of lumer availale today. 9ou can find good stuff if
you look around. Sight along each piece and evaluate how strait it is.
2ook at the grain. 0t should e relatively strait and travel the length
of the oard. 2umer reaks along the grain. So pieces with grain
cutting across them are not nearly as strong. 2arge, loose knots are
also ad. Small tight knots are ":. ;o to several lumer yards and dig
through the whole pile of lumer if you have to.
%) Build it right and it will e level. /aking the stand level 5and
flat) really should not e that tricky. <aving straight lumer is
important. /ake certain that every piece is cut to e+actly the right
length and that the cuts are s1uare. Then assemle it carefully on a
flat surface. 9ou can check that the corners of a rectangle are s1uare
5=3 degrees) y measuring the diagonals. They should e e1ual. Also
reali>e that no matter how strong you uild your stand it will have some
fle+iility. 0f it is very close to eing flat, the weight of the tank
and water will make it flat. Also, you'll hear stuff aout using
styrofoam under the tank to compensate for a stand that is not flat.
That makes me feel 1ueasy. -o that weight calculation again. All of that
weight should e sitting firmly on the stand. 0f the stand is not flat,
maye you need a new stand.
?) Buy, orrow or rent a power miter saw. 9ou really can rent this kind
of e1uipment. 0t will make things much easier, faster and precise. There
use to e carpenters that could cut a oard s1uare with a hand saw.
They're all pretty much dead y now. Also, the guy at the /ega <ardware
-epot isn't going to cut the wood as e+actly as you should want it.
@ractice cutting on the same S0-* of your pencil mark. 9eah, it should
e that e+act. Aememer what we said aout getting the thing levelB
@lease e very careful with power tools and wear protective goggles.
=) -on't e afraid to start over. 0f it isn't going well, use what you
have learned on the ne+t try. Cood isn't that e+pensive. Think aout
that weight.
13) 9ou asolutely can uild a stronger, etter looking stand than the
ones they sell at the local pet storeD

29 Gallon or similar tank
List of materials for a basic 29gal stand
2 - 8" 2x4s (if you get a 2x6 you only need 2x4!
- 8" 2x6 (if you want to" you can #ust use 2x4s!
- $t stain" and
- $t polyuret%ane &arnis%"
or paint
'ox of exterior wood screws or (ails (not recommended for load bearing 2x4s- but you
could nail plywood or trim on!
2 - 8" x6s
- 4x8 s%eet +2" plywood (good one side!
2 - pairs of %inges (for doors!
2se the #+3 directions on page 5 but you can simplify a lot4 you don5t need to support the stand
with cross '()s unless you get close to a 50 gallon tan,, then + would.
2se e(terior wood screws, pre4drill the holes with a little smaller drill bit and counter sin, the
holes with a larger bit or countersin, so the wood screws don5t stic, up.
&he measurements for a standard rectangle '6 gallon tan, are 0' 7 wide by 80 9 long by 06
high. So you add 8:; to 0 inch
to the width and length to ma,e the top and bottom frames, !2&
subtract the width of ' '()s <appro(. ) inches= for the cross pieces. + forgot to do this but you can
.ust cut them again but it wastes time and a little bit of your '()s. See below on page 5 ,-./
0tand 1ro#ect23
>ith my '64gallon tan, + dropped the bottom '() to the ground and actually added another '()
on the outside to increase the footprint and ma,e it more stable since + didn5t wrap it or add doors.
3ou don5t need a top because the outer part of the tan, is elevated and that is where all of the
weight rests. + then painted it with oil based blac, paint and it loo,s nice.
+ actually ended up using some M#F on non weight bearing sections, which + painted to seal
when + ran out of '()s. &his stand cost me /0 because + used all leftovers from my pantry

4%is depends on personal preference56+8 will gi&e you a flus% stand" inc% will gi&e you approx3 a 7 of
stand wider t%an t%e tan83 .f you plan on wraping t%e top 2x4 wit% plywood (again personal preference! go
wit% t%e smaller measurement of 6+83
DIY 55 or 75 gal Tank Stand Project
-9ost* :bout ;6< -
)ne of t%e big money sa&ing -./ (-o .t /ourself! pro#ects is t%e tan8 stand33 4%e stand
for a reef tan8 needs to support alot of weig%t so" don=t cut corners on t%e materials
needed for a sturdy tan8 stand33 4%e stand also needs to be large enoug% to %ouse your
sump and external pump (if applicable!33 . use %alf t%e storage under my stand for my
sump and pump and t%e ot%er %alf for storing salt" 8al8wasser" buffer" calcium c%loride"
reef carbon" p%osp%ate sponge" bac8-up power%eads and test 8its33 >y wife li8es most of
t%is stuff stored out of sig%t *-!
"?ood drawings are wort% a t%ousand words"
"List of materials for a 55 or 75 gal stand"
6 - 8" 2x4s
2 - 8" 2x6s
2 - 8" x6s
- 4x8 s%eet +2" plywood (good one side!
2 - pairs of %inges (for doors!
- $t stain
- $t polyuret%ane &arnis%
'ox of exterior wood screws or (ails
Hint: @%en using a circular saw" cut your wood wit% t%e good side down to pre&ent
splintering3 4%en sand and stain eac% piece before assembly3
DIY Aquarium Canopies

Most beginning a?uarists are content with using the everyday @erfecto hood or no hood at all.
*owever, as interest grows and you want to ,eep live plants or invertebrates, the need for a high
?uality hood and lighting system is greatly accented.
*ood designs boil down to personal preference in many cases and most all designs are
functional for their needs. &he re?uirements for a hood are that it can house the lighting of choice,
withstand the environment <e.g., water, salt=, it can be cooled if re?uired, and be moved:opened
on a regular basis. lso. the construction must be sturdybecause the hood will most li,ely be
opened on a daily basis for tan, maintenance. !ecause the design of a hood is so personal
<different lighting systems, different re?uirements for space and siAe=, a detailed design wal,4
through wonBt be given here. Rather, various designs will be given and one detailed design will be
presented. &he detailed design is of a fluorescent hood with a flip top. &he design can be altered
to include metal halide lamps and fan cooling if desired.
!elow is depicted various designs that + have seen and heard about from other a?uarists. &hese
are not the only designs and certainly should not be thought of as the only approach to a hood
#esign is the basic flip top model. +t has a base unit and the lights are attached to the top which
opens for maintenance. Model ! is similar to , e(cept it is split in two vertically and half of the
hood flips open. +n this case, the front half may be opened and rested on the bac, half. &his has
great advantages over model , which needs to be supported while it is open. Model " and # are
variations on commercial hoods. Model " is simply a piece of glass with two strip lights resting on
top. +t is simple and cheap, but offers little aesthetic appeal and it ma,es it very difficult to do
maintenance. Model # is an illustration of the basic plastic commercial hood. Model C is similar to
, e(cept the front panel flips forward instead of the top. &his has the distinct advantage that the
lamps do not have to be moved for daily maintenance <Model # also has this advantage=.
DIY Canopy Project
-9ost* :bout ;6A -
)ne of t%e big money sa&ing -./ (-o .t /ourself! pro#ects is t%e lig%ting canopy33 .f
you=&e priced ready made %oods for a reef tan8" you=&e seen prices from ;6<< to upwards
of ;6<<33 .f you %a&e () ((ormal )utput! flourescents" you can easily build t%is %ood
from x6s and use 6" fan in place of t%e 2 4" fans33 .f you=re using BC) (Bery Cig%
)utput! or 19 (1ower 9ompact! lig%ts" you s%ould build t%e %ood out of x8s and use 2
6" fans for cooling33 .f using >C (>etal Calide! lig%ting" you s%ould build t%e canopy
from x2s to allow room for t%e 2 4" fans and 8eep t%e >etal Calide bulbs 8" abo&e t%e
surface of t%e water33
": ?ood -rawing is @ort% a 4%ousand @ords"
"List of materials for a 55 or 75 gal hood"
- 8= x2 (front" and bot% sides!
- A= x8 (for bac8!
2 - A= x<s (for top lid!
2 - 8= x2s (top trim and inside support!
2 - pairs of %inges (for t%e lid!
- $t @%ite epoxy paint (for inside %ood!
- pint stain
- pint polyuret%ane &arnis%
Hints: @%en using a circular saw" cut your wood wit% t%e good side down to pre&ent
4%en sand and stain eac% piece before assembly33
Making the Lid: 4%e lengt% of t%e x<s used for t%e lid s%ould be cut to A +2" (or
+2" longer t%an t%e rest of t%e %ood! and you lay t%ese out and screw 6-4 strips of x2
(inside or outside (your preference!! to ma8e a one piece lid33 4%en set t%e lid on t%e %ood
and lea&e a 6+4" o&er%ang for t%e front and bot% sides and mar8 t%e bac8 and rip cut t%e
excess off t%e bac833 4%en add your %inges33
Wrapping things up: (ow you add t%e top x2 trim boards to t%e top of t%e %ood (front
and sides! under t%e o&er%ang of t%e lid33
@%en assembled" apply t%e epoxy paint to t%e inside and allow it to cure o&ernig%t33 4%en
apply 4 or A coats of polyuret%ane (inside and outside!33
>ount your lig%ts and fire it up33 en#oy *-!
: 0imple 'uild-.t-
/ourself :$uarium
3 'uild a rectangular box
slig%tly larger t%an your tan8
top (so t%at it will slip o&er
t%e tan8!" using 6+4" x 4"
boards (A and B!3 (ote t%at
B is %oriDontal3 4%is
pro&ides space in t%e bac8
for %ang-on filters" and for
water and air %oses to pass
23 :ttac% s%ort 6+4" x 6+4"
s$uare rods (C! to t%e inside
of t%e box about 6+4" abo&e
t%e bottom of t%e A boards" and &ertically from t%e B board so t%at t%e bottom of
t%is rod reac%es down to t%e same le&el as t%e bottom surfaces of t%e ot%er rods3
4%ese rods will support t%e canopy on t%e tan8 top3 (/ou may need to &ary t%e
distance from t%e bottom of t%e box to t%ese rods" or add additional molding to t%e
bottom of t%e box" to %ide t%e waterline3!
63 9ut a lid out of A+8" plywood (D!" slig%tly larger t%an t%e outside dimension of t%e
box3 :ttac% " molding (E! to t%e front and two sides of t%e t%e lid to bloc8 lig%t
43 1aint t%e inside of t%e box and bottom of t%e lid w%ite to maximiDe lig%t reflection
(w%ite paint is &ery close to a perfect reflector and is muc% simpler to apply t%an
mirrored reflectors!3 Einis% t%e ot%er surfaces to your taste3
A3 :ttac% lid to box wit% %inges3 :ttac% bulb clips (F! to t%e inside of t%e lid (two
loc8ing clips or four non-loc8ing clips per bulb!3 1lace canopy on a$uarium and
add lig%t bulbs and prewired waterproof end caps (G!F3
FNote: Prewired waterproof endcaps can be purchased from your local aquarium stores, or from
Pet Warehouse.