120 gallon stand

  • #1
I am trying to bulid a stand for my 120 gallon tank would be gald to have any input on how to do this
  • #2
well I'm not quite sure how to
I'm in a woodworking class right now and am probably going to be building a stand for a ten gallon
my recommendation would be to use oak, a waterproof stain, and waterproof glue ar stainless steel nails/screws
oak is cheap wood and it is very strong. Make sure you have a lot of support posts though
  • #3
I just finished building a stand for my 45 I'm putting together. I used Pine 2X2s to build a frame.Then I used tongue and groove Aspen 1X6s to enclose it. For the top I used pieces of Poplar 1X6.

Heres the thread with Pictures.

It was all pretty straight foward. Build a minI baby crib with an openning for a door. Slap siding on it, stain or paint, and BAM your done lol. I wish it was that easy. I'm a lousy carpenter.
  • #4
welcome to FishLore! unfortunately my DIY skills would give you an indoor pool. but it looks like our DIY experts are at work to help out with that project.
  • #5
Take into account the weight, that's an exceedingly heavy static load. Just the water is almost 1,000 pounds, plus gravel, decorations and whatnot. Add around 100 for the tank itself. First, pick a load bearing wall (exterior wall or over a supported beam) and decide what sort of stand do you want? Open storage underneath? Closed with doors? How good are your fabrication skills? What sort of tools do you have at your disposal?

I'll be glad to give some advice if you know what you're looking for in the end product. Thing is, It most likely will be more attractive than the store bought stands, but also, more expensive. If Budget is a concideration, buy one. If pride and decor are, email me with specifics and I'll give you whatever help I can.

I built my 55 gallon tank into my rustic shelving (1 x 10 pine spanning columns of stacked bricks) and there has been no sag since I first filled it in 1992. I'll post pics later.
  • #6
if yer lookin for cheep just go with 2x4s
I can send u a pic of my 120 gallon 2x4 stand and u can get a idea.
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  • #7
I don't know who to email you on this forum MagpieTear so can you tell me also I have a table saw, router, clamps. also rone can you send some those pictures
  • #8
Sorry 'bout that, I turned on my email in my profile... :-\
Building a decent looking stand out of dimensional lumber and trimming it out with Luan or even oak or cherry ply would be an easy task for someone with basic carpentry skills. And you'll be able to customize it to your requirements and tastes. With a 120 gallon, it should be long enough to have three or four doors, shelves and cubbies for all your supplies. Just make the perimeter frame out of good, straight 2x4s on edge, and cross brace it well on the verticals of the sides and back. Run the bracing under the tank itself on at no less than 16" centers, and have everything glued and screwed together, leave nails for the final trim work. Your verticals on the face where the doors will be, I would do as doubled up 2x4's to distribute the load a little better. As I said before, it won't be any cheaper than one you would buy, but the self satisfaction will far outweigh the savings... And it will be a good bit sturdier than the particle board atrocities the pet stores try to sucker you into a package deal with...
  • #9
Paswed, email me direct, your PM box is full...
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  • #10
I sent the email direct thanks
  • #11
I am trying to bulid a stand for my 120 gallon tank would be gald to have any input on how to do this
HI there,
It sounds like you have all the right tools for your shelf/tank stand, now if you have the skills needed you should be able to build one yourself. If you would like some advice I'm sure that my husband who is a carpenter can give you some ideas. here is a photo of the stand/bookcase that he made for me. If you would like any help or ideas or run into any problems, just PM me and if we can help, we will do what we can. ;D Good luck!
~ kate
  • #12
This is what I drew up real quick to see if this is the basic idea of what you're looking for... Three doors, Center is 18x24" tall are, two outers are 16" wide by 24 tall. Stand and hood are actually 4" deeper than tank to allow hoses, wires etc. to fall cleanly without rubbing on the wall behind. If this is good, I'll work out construction details, cut lists and what not. Do you want your shelves adjustable, or fixed? Adjustables are easier to install but add nothing in strength. Fixed do, but are, well, Fixed. We can work out surface mount or flush doors as we go, I'm not sure what you're comfort level is with woodworking. I can go as complex or simple as you wish.


BTW, I'm a Patternmaker for a Bronze Signage foundry and occasionally build mission style furniture on the side, in case you wanted credentials...
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  • #13
that is right on the money , I woild like fixed thanks for all your help my wood working skills are in between beginner and just enough to be a threat to my shelf and others lol
  • #14
LOL, that's a fair assesment. I'm at the advanced threat to others but still screw up measurements on a regular basis stage.

I'll play around with the framing dimensions and cut list over the next few days and post up what I come up with along the way.
  • #15
WOW MagpieTears, I'm quite impressed. Mighty fine piece of furniture you've conjoured up there.
  • Thread Starter
  • #16
I went and dusted off all of my tools and wax up everthing and I am ready to build
  • #17
Working on it, I need to double check all my dimensions and orders of assembly. Nothing worse than having the glue spread only to find a piece is an inch too short.
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  • #18
I know that is why I always have to buy extra cause I mess up the measurment all the time.I was just having funny I know it takes time to get it all worked out
  • #19
Sorry about the delay, I've been tied up at work all week with a big job for the Re-dedication of St. Paul's Cathedral in Pittsburgh. I have no hope of hitting the deadline... Pulled my hair out (what little I have left) all day trying to miter custom moulding around a pair of cast columns...

I stopped at Elmer's on the way home today and scoped out the cheapies and realized I overlooked a few obvious items and drastically overengineered the stand. Going to pare down what I have to save you a lot of $$ while still looking nicer than the AG stand.

Dumb question, do you have Poplar available at an affordable price nearby? A good bit stronger than pine and usually cheaper than that Kimberly Bay precut clear pine the big boxes have... I may be able to knock 40 or 50 pounds off of the weight of the stand that way.
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  • #20
Thanks a lot I have the tank sitting on four chair in the middle of the living room till I can build the stand then I have to buy and put my son paino in the living room. I do have Poplar here for an affordable price .
  • #21
If I figured everything correctly, this stand should be drastic overkill for the weight you will be supporting, allowing you to use it for an even larger tank in the future. If I miss an obvious step or am not clear enough on a detail, please let me know. I'm not used to designing things for others and may have overlooked something that I just would do without thinking about it. Assume any time I refer to poplar that it is surfaced to 3/4" thick.

Material list: (assuming 10% over for waste and grain selection)
2 sheets 1/2" A/C ply (open back) or 1 sheet 1/2 A/C and 1 sheet 3/8 B/C ply (solid back)
2 sheets 1/4" luan or hardwood veneer ply
8 lengths of FAS Poplar 3/4" thick by 8" wide and 8' long
2 1/2" drywall screws
#8 x 1" flathead wood screws
3/4" finish nails
Paint or stain.

• Start with the face of the stand.
TrI'm the four straightest pieces of poplar you have to 72" long by 4" wide (A). Set two aside for the base.

TrI'm 4 pieces to 27.5" by 4". (B) Notch the ends so they rabbet onto the top and bottom as shown in the picture. (narrow face facing forward) Pre-drill and screw them together to form a rectangle. Double check for squareness before attaching the door framings. (C) Measure the actual opening for each framing, they will be close to 19.5" but may vary a little. The framings can be anywhere from 2.5" wide and up, but really shouldn't be any less. They will be put in wide side towards the front. You can screw them to the top and bottom with pocket screws, or cut them overlong and half-lap and screw them into the upper and lower rails (preferred). No glue for this assembly except for the half laps if you do them. All the joints are end grain to long grain or opposing grain and glue will add little to no strength or cause expansion and contraction problems as the wood moves with seasonal humidity changes. Double check the squareness and set aside.

• The rear of the stand will use the two 72" rails (A) you cut earlier, and the same sort of notched end pieces. If you wish a solid back, glue and screw a piece of 3/8 or 1/2" plywood to the frame. If you want openings the way most commercial units have, use 1/2" ply, one centered at 24" by 27 1/2" (E) and two pieces on the ends at 15 by 27 1/2". (D) 1" by #8 flathead wood screws will be more than sufficient, space them every 5 to 6 inches, rechecking squareness of the assembly frequently as you go. Set it aside to let the glue dry.

• Cut four pieces of poplar to 22 3/4 x 2.5" (F) and four to 16 by 1.25". (G) These will be the stretchers to connect the two assemblies you built already. Notch (F) the way you did (B) to catch the uprights. Glue and screw (G) to (F) on the notched side. Use these to assemble the face and back together, making sure piece (F) is towards the top on all four.

• Cut six pieces of poplar to 22.5 x 2. Two will be for the bottom, pre-drill and screw them in now, narrow edge up. Cut a piece of 3/8 ply for the interior floor, drop it in and screw or nail it in. Nailing may be easier do to space issues, unless you're a contortionist. If so, I want pictures of you building it. If you are going to put in interior shelves, now is the time to brace for and install them. You will have an open frame to work around and to set your filters etc. on to visualize what you need, and also to prevent the contortionist requirements. After that, attach the four top braces, narrow edge up. Cut and attach a sheet of 1/2" ply with glue and screws as the top, making sure it covers everything without hanging over. If you are going to pass hoses and wires through the top behind the tank, drill/cut the holes now. It's a lot easier to vacuum out the sawdust and chips with no sides or face. Also, cut two pieces of poplar at 16 x 1.5 and one at 18 x 1.5 (H) Screw and glue them in the bottom of the door openings.

• Wrap the sides and face with the 1/4" thick ply of your choice. Luan will be fine if you are going to paint, Oak, cherry or other decorative ply if you are going to stain. Glue and nail with finishing nails, sides first, face last. If at all possible, lay a single piece over the face, drill pilot holes and use a bottom bearing straight cut router bit to open up for the doors. Save the cutouts to make the panels for your doors.

• Rip the poplar down for the doors, 7 # 18" x 2.5, 2 @ 16x 2.5 and 3 @ 18 x 3. On the tablesaw, half lap all intersections and glue/clamp them up, verifying the squareness. Once dry, route a rabbet on the back side for the panels 3/8" deep by 3/8 wide. Cut the 1/4 ply scraps 1/8" shy of the size of the rabbets. Nail them in (NO GLUE!) or trap them in with scraps on the backside of the doors. When all is dry and done, plane or joint 1/16" off of all four sides of each door to allow clearance to open and close once you hinge them. Tack on scraps of ply as stops on back of frames. You may want to route in a detail to the opening if you wish to dress it up.

• A finishing decision is needed here. If everything is to be painted or stained one color, ignore this step. If you want something a bit different, paint everything you have done so far except the door frames your primary color. The trim and doorframes can either be painted or stained a different color for dramatic effect.

• Rip 3 strips of poplar @ 1 3/8 wide by 8' long for the top trim. Route a decorative profile across the wide face (Ogee or classical profile is nice and breaks up the lines), and miter to trim out the top. Have the profile pointing down when installed.

• Rip the base trim at 4 3/4" wide. Route a profile in the top edges. Again miter them to fit around the cabinet, but do not attach them yet. To make the cutouts for visual interest, strike a line 3/4 or 1" up from the bottom on the face. Mark 6" from each end and 6" centered for the feet. Mark up a nice radius (Coffee cups work great if you don't have drafting tools, or Nyquill cups if you want a ogee style notch)
Jigsaw or band-saw out the waste. The feet help balance out the load if your floor is uneven and give dust bunnies a place to breed instead of under the couch. Then rip 1" strips to attach to the inside of the base trim. Glue and screw the strips to the trim, and then attach the trim to the base through these strips and from the inside of the base to the inside of the trim.

• Finish sand and stain or paint. Get three men and a boy to put it in place and to lift the aquarium onto it. Fill, cycle and act nonchalant when people ooh and ahh after casually replying "I made the stand myself."
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  • #22
I file like santa came early this year more than I ever hoped for thanks so much I will buy the stuff tommorrow and start building. I will post picutes as I go so you can see if I am mess anything or making mistakes as I said before I am so thankful for this x
  • #23
looks like you should be good
good luck with the tank
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  • #24
I have goten all of the stuff and I am now working on the frame at this point or as my son says I have become a danger to myself and others I hope to have pictures up next week of me and my helper chewy the dashound
  • #25
Woohoo! Let the sawdust fly!
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  • #26
The saw dust is flying high and long
  • #27
Magpie Tear, WOW, you must have spent many hours on your design, that was really nice.
I agree with you about the particle board bases the store sells with a 'set up'. I bought one used from someone, and the base was really scary. The tank set on a lip of particle board cut out of 1/2" particle board! I really can't imagine it holding anything up. My husband built me a cabinet. He too is a carpenter, and built ours out of 3/4" oak plywood with oak mouldings and a 2x4" frame, 1/2 melamine? you get the gist..... bottom to hold everything you stuff under. Now all lit up it is the nicest piece of furniture in the living room.
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  • #28
The saw dust has been flying and I am almost finish

what kind of stain would you use a gel or a oil based or water based
  • #29
Well, At this time of year, Oil based (my favorite for popping any ray fleck or wavy grain) tends to stink up the house with everything being closed up for winter. If you have a lot of pine or any cherry or exposed poplar, go with the gel stain. Those three tend to suck the stain in irregularly and develop a blotchy appearance.

Gel helps minimize that and if you leave a bit in the corners around the trim, it adds a bit of an aged patina to the project.

Oil is my favorite, it is the most transparent, letting the most grain of the wood through. It is also the most compatible with many of the clear coats out there. But it does stink and is slow drying in temps below 75 degrees ambient.

Water based is almost there with oil in terms of transparency and vibrancy of color, but not quite yet. It does not highlight waviness of grain or ray fleck like oil, since it is the oils refraction of light that makes those things "pop." But you can get close by going two light coats of the water based and then using a good lacquer as the clear coat. But that isn't a good idea with a tank stand, non-catalyzed lacquer and water aren't best of friends. BTW, if you go water based, dampen the surfaces to be stained with a damp sponge. This will cause a bunch of little "fuzzies" to pop up. Sand them off with 220 grit or finer. Then do a maximum of two light coats of stain. If you don't pop the fuzzies first, they come up with the first coat of stain and you end up sanding off most of your first coat to get rid of them. And the reason I say no more than two light coats is, one heavy coat or three or more light coats tend to get really muddy looking and blotchy. And you end up soaking the wood and it takes forever to dry out.

The big issue is going to be the clear coat. I'll recommend a satin polyurethane here. A catalyzed lacquer would be ideal, but you need a spray booth, expensive equipment low humidity and a lot of practice with spray guns and some chemistry knowledge. But poly can look good and be durable in this application, with the bonus of being cheap, easy to apply and to repair. And if you are concerned about runs and drips, try using a wiping poly. Dilute the poly with the recommended thinner to roughly 50/50, and apply with a rubber (a ball of cotton wadding about the size of a golfball or slightly larger wrapped in a square of white cotton t-shirt material, not what first came to mind when I said that ) Several coats will be needed if you do it this way to build up the depth you want and need to seal the wood, but being so diluted, it dries rather quickly. You may even be able to start the second coat as soon as you finish the first. If it's warm and humidity is low. Worst case scenario is go have a sandwich and come back to do the next coat. And, you get a very smooth and silky finish this way, almost Danish Oil smooth! and since the coats are so thin you are much less likely to get that nasty yellowish tint often associated with multiple coats of polyurethane.

Hope this Helps.
  • Thread Starter
  • #30
I have oak for the face and sides

do you think the gel stain wouls do good for that
  • #31
Yes, Minwax and Bartley's Gel stains both work well on oak. I'm fond of Minwax's Aged Oak, but whatever color you pick, they work great on red and white oak.
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  • #32
I picked honey maple gel stain you and the man at the hardware said the gel is the best stain and do you think I need a pre stain conditioner for the oak wood everthing I have read say no but the guy at the hardware store said I do
  • #33
Gel is a very good option for the DIY person who isn't passionate about about the process of woodworking, but rather over what they have made. Honey Maple is a very pretty color, bit bright for my tastes, but then I'm odd.

I can't think of any reason to use a conditioner on oak. It takes a stain readily, and gel stain is gelled specifically to slow down how fast the wood absorbs the color. If you condition it, it will be very, very light. If you have the conditioner, try it on a piece of scrap, condition one side and stain both sides. (make sure you mark which is which before you apply the stain with a sharpie or pen.) Now if you plan on staining the interior poplar and ply shelving, conditioner won't hurt them at all. Poplar is a positive sponge for stain compared to oak.

And may I suggest that you paint the interior, at leat the back wall and the underside of the top a satin white? Makes it easier to see what you're looking for and to find that errant API test tube easier to find when it rolls to the back corner...
  • #34
Magpie tear, anyway you could, you know whip up something not necessarily as amazing as that for me? I have a 33 gallon in need of a stand but don't really want to buy one. We've got lots of oak as hubby owns a pooltable building company, and hence any tool I need is readily available as well....

I would love to have the 4 inch overhang too
  • #35
LOL, I need to sit down and draw up a bunch of different sizes and start selling them to fund the 125 gallon I want... Let me see how Paswed's turned out and I can take care of any oversight's I may have made.
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  • #36
I like the oil base to I thought I had a oil base but when I got home I realized that it was a gel. I like the dark colors to but my living room walls are dark so my husband said I had use a light color stain. It is going next to a piano so I want it to look nice. I was really scared about building a fish tank stand because I have never did this before and I did not have a plan. Thanks god for you . I have made a armoire and a TV center stand and a bed and some other stuff I have medium woodworking skills just enough to be a danger to myself and others lol. . I really like woodworking but I need a plan to work off of to be able to do it . I also will be painting the inside white I was going to ask you about that you beat me to it great minds think alike I can not wait to oick my film up and post the pick so you can see them I want to ahve a nice pretty finish the best I can

so the oil base is the best finish if you are passionate about about the process of woodworking also I think magpie should start his own business to I bet he could make a lot of money if he did .

the person that build pool table where are you at
  • #37
I'm slowly working my way back towards self-employment. Tried it once, failed miserably and almost lost my home. But I remember what mistakes I made and am growing weary of the shenanigans the middle management at my employers. But it is hard to walk away from 16 years, decent pay and 4 weeks vacation. (And I despise paperwork!)
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  • #38
I have my own business and I know what you mean about almost losing the house thank god my husband has a pretty good job or me and the kids would be on the street casue some times it is a lot of work and sometimes it is not any work and the paperwork takes up a lot of time I could be doing something else

also what kind of work do you do
  • #39
My day job is as a patternmaker for a foundry, I make patterns for signs and grave markers, on the side I make furniture and other odds and ends. Chairs for Santa's, flag cases for veterans, Trophy displays, stuff like that.
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  • #40
I want back to the store to get the honey maple in a oil they did not have it now I have to pick another stain color that is light to bright up the room since it is painted such a dark color any thoughts on this

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