20 Gallon Tank Alternate Stands

Saturn

HI there,

I am in the process of setting up a 20gLong tank within the next couple of months and the biggest hurdle I have to overcome at the moment is a stand. For some reason stands seem to be so expensive so I've been researching alternative methods to getting a stand. I know I could make cheap stands out of cinder blocks and 2x4's or build one, but I'd love something a little more *aesthetically* pleasing. I know that might make some of y'all gag but I just want the tank to look good in my room! lol.

Are there any pieces of furniture from like (for example) target or ikea or something could bear the weight of a 20gLong tank? How do I know if a piece of furniture is aquarium safe? Or is my best bet just purchasing a stand/making one?

Let me know! Thanks in advance.
 

86 ssinit

I’ve bought furniture off Craigslist for cheap to use as stands. Your looking for something to hold 200 lbs.
 

CrazedHoosier

I used to have a 20 gallon long on my (really old) wood dresser. A 20 gallon aquarium is usually 200-300 pounds when filled, so if you are or you know someone in that range, find a piece of furniture and sit on it for awhile. I sat AND jumped on my dresser to make sure it was sturdy. Also, Petco sells cheaper metal stands from Imagitarium for 29 gallon aquariums, which would fit your 20 long. They’re $52 I believe.
 

SM1199

I got my 55 gallon stand from a used furniture store. Small TV stands with a structurally sound base seem to work very well. The piece of furniture itself was around $40, and we spent a few extra dollars to get some 2x4s to reinforce the inside support structures with. Total cost, about $50. It makes for a great fun project and saves you money!

I second the "sit on it" practice. Even better, get another person to sit on it with you. If it can hold two average-sized people wiggling around on it and it doesn't bow or shift, it's probably good for a 20 gallon tank.
 

JayH

Just because the structural base of your DIY stand is a bit crude doesn't mean the outward appearance needs to like that. Have you ever been to a nice banquet in a hotel where the room looks amazing, with all the tables having these long tablecloths draped over them? Ever peaked at the actual table underneath? They're often very crude. Hang a nice tablecloth or some drapes around your stand and it will look elegant without costing you a bundle. Try to figure a way to make the drapery removable so you can wash it periodically. If you leave the overlap in the front center you can still use the space under the stand for storage.
 

MomeWrath

I have a 30 gallon on this from Ikea. $70. It has also held a 29, and another 30 in the past. Had it for almost ten years and had three aquariums on it. Solid as a rock.
 

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kallililly1973

I used cinderblocks for my 20 long you can always paint the cinders or place fabric over the front and the blocks will disappear...if someone is looking at your stand then the tank isn’t very interesting... no disrespect intended that’s just how I feel.my 20 long stand is ugly I know but it’s what’s inside that matters ..and cinders will be stronger and more water resistant than anything else out there
 

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JayH

I have a 30 gallon on this from Ikea. $70. It has also held a 29, and another 30 in the past. Had it for almost ten years and had three aquariums on it. Solid as a rock.
I just today put together a cabinet from Ikea. Your experience certainly suggests your Kallax unit is sufficiently strong, but I have to say that after seeing the materials used for my cabinet and the way it's joined together, I would not trust anything from Ikea to hold an aquarium unless I knew for sure it was made of solid wood and had far better joinery than my cabinet.

The cabinet is made of particle board and held together with posts that are only screwed into the particle board about a quarter inch and held by what looked to be a pot metal cam screw. Because the "finish" is nothing but contact paper, I couldn't even glue it except in a very few spots where it was wood on wood. Most of the joined edges were wood on contact paper. It'll hold what I intend to put in it as a cabinet, but no way I'd trust it with a dynamic load of 250 pounds.

I just looked up Kallax on Ikea. The currently sold unit is made of particle board and fiber board. From the picture it appears to be joined the same way my cabinet is, with screwed in metal posts and cam screws. I can see the cam screws on the ends of the top and bottom shelves. And not very many of them. It's clearly intended to be a light duty shelving and storage unit. Perhaps yours being older was better constructed. I know many of their products used to be made of solid wood and used much better quality fasteners. The unit they're selling today I would not trust to hold more than a 10 gallon.
 

MomeWrath

I just today put together a cabinet from Ikea. Your experience certainly suggests your Kallax unit is sufficiently strong, but I have to say that after seeing the materials used for my cabinet and the way it's joined together, I would not trust anything from Ikea to hold an aquarium unless I knew for sure it was made of solid wood and had far better joinery than my cabinet.

The cabinet is made of particle board and held together with posts that are only screwed into the particle board about a quarter inch and held by what looked to be a pot metal cam screw. Because the "finish" is nothing but contact paper, I couldn't even glue it except in a very few spots where it was wood on wood. Most of the joined edges were wood on contact paper. It'll hold what I intend to put in it as a cabinet, but no way I'd trust it with a dynamic load of 250 pounds.

I just looked up Kallax on Ikea. The currently sold unit is made of particle board and fiber board. From the picture it appears to be joined the same way my cabinet is, with screwed in metal posts and cam screws. I can see the cam screws on the ends of the top and bottom shelves. And not very many of them. It's clearly intended to be a light duty shelving and storage unit. Perhaps yours being older was better constructed. I know many of their products used to be made of solid wood and used much better quality fasteners. The unit they're selling today I would not trust to hold more than a 10 gallon.
It's the same one made of particle board and melamine foil held together with cam bolts. I was a skeptic as well at first. My husband is much smarter than I am about these things, and I argued with him a lot, which I should know better by now, but finally he said: "OK get on top of it." So I crawled up and sat down, and then he crawled up and sat down beside me. A combined weight of over 350 lbs., and the thing didn't even creak. As long as the cam bolts are tight, the unit is square and level, I feel like it's fine. The vertical shelves underneath the actual tank are what is carrying the load in my case, and the thick sides aren't in any danger of bending. We also have the shelves loaded with books and all the normal things one would put on a bookshelf. FWIW I have also put a 20 high on a similar shelf sold at WalMart, (Better homes and Gardens brand) and would do so again without hesitation.
An aquarium is heavy, but so are people, books, cinder blocks, televisions... a stand doesn't need to hold up the whole house lol just the fishtank. If a piece of furniture can't hold 200 lbs it's a pretty garbage piece of furniture if you ask me
 

86 ssinit

I would never put a tank on ikea furniture. But that being said the stands being sold at PetSmart and Petco are made the same way. My 45 I bought at PetSmart came assembled and I didn’t realize it till the tank was full. It’s in my basement and I have no young kids at home. But I would not trust this thing to take any kind of bump in the side. It actually moves side to side with the magnetic algae cleaner. Yes it may hold the weight but may collapse with a side hit.
 

MomeWrath

Well I won't argue it any further except to say we have four kids and had an 80 lb dog in the house and my husband is visually impaired...it's been bumped, believe me. Ten years later it's still standing. The proof is in the pudding. :shrug: It's been holding aquariums from 5-30 gallons almost the entire time we've owned it. Y'all have fun with your cinder blocks and plywood. A stack of blocks will fall if bumped from the side, too. Cinder blocks are heavy that's all. Lead is heavy too.
You're telling me it won't possibly work except it totally has.
Here it is in 2012 with my first reef tank - this was for two years until I up-sized tanks:

kallax with reef oct 2012.JPG

Here it is two years later in 2014 after I tried a 90 and went back to a 29- granted it was only a year like this until I got the 75, but then I put a 5 gallon on it, and also moved it across the room in between this photo and the first one.

kallax with reef tank.JPG

Then it held the 5 gallon Fluval for a couple of years until I just put a 30 back on it. I trust it more than the stand that holds the 75. But I've said before....how many threads are on fishlore about stands failing? I haven't seen one yet. If the factory stands were that weak, we'd be hearing about it and they would have to change the way they manufacture them because they usually only warranty the tanks if they are on a factory stand. It would make no sense to sell and warranty a product that was incapable of doing its job.
 

86 ssinit

Well as you say...proof is in the puddin!!! That some good puddin .
 

trinity28

I bought this Amazon shelf for about $55 and split it into two. Mine holds a 20 gallon on the bottom of one and a 29 gallon on the bottom of the other with two 10 gallons on top. You could reinforce it with plywood if you were worried. I put my heaviest tanks on the bottom so that if something were to happen they're only about an inch or two above ground. Excuse the mess in the photo, it was maintenance time and the dog likes to "help."
 

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JayH

Well I won't argue it any further except to say we have four kids and had an 80 lb dog in the house and my husband is visually impaired...it's been bumped, believe me. Ten years later it's still standing. The proof is in the pudding. :shrug: It's been holding aquariums from 5-30 gallons almost the entire time we've owned it. Y'all have fun with your cinder blocks and plywood. A stack of blocks will fall if bumped from the side, too. Cinder blocks are heavy that's all. Lead is heavy too.
You're telling me it won't possibly work except it totally has.
I'm not saying it won't possibly work. I'm saying that my knowledge of the materials used and the method of joinery make me not trust that it can be relied on to support a heavy load. It depends entirely on the fasteners to hold it together. Those fasteners depend on a very short length of screw thread to hold them in place in a material no one in their right mind would use as a primary structural element. The load on those fasteners is parallel to the threads, so the only thing holding it together are the threads and their grip in a material made of small pieces of wood held together by glue.

The only positive I can see is that the tank provides a compression load on the fasteners. The cam screw is pulling on the fastener thread, but the aquarium is pushing in the other direction so it's not adding to the strain on the threads. As long as it isn't knocked side-to-side, there should be little additional load on the fastener threads.

If it were me, I'd consider adding a couple metal angle brackets to each corner. A flat corner brace at each corner on the back would be a hidden way to stiffen it up significantly. It's unlikely to fail simply from the downward load of the aquarium since that's being transmitted through the length of the side panels, in the direction they're strongest. Failure would be far more likely from side to side movement causing the fastener threads to pull out. Corner braces would prevent the side load from being transmitted to those fasteners. Something like this flat corner brace is what I'm thinking. $10 for four of those and some screws might be cheap insurance.

As to "it's worked up to now", somebody said that about every great structural disaster in history, right up until it failed. I sincerely hope you aren't put in that position.
 

angelcraze

I put my 20 gallon long on my old dresser in the spare bedroom. The dresser is very well made, but not actual solid wood, it has a finish on it. So I will just caution you that you'd have to be careful not to get water under the tank or anything. I ruined my bedroom dresser top with my 5.5g, i'm too scared to take it down and reveal what I've done! So for the 20g, I covered the dresser top with a clear plastic tablecloth before I put the tank on it.
 

Saturn

Wow! This thread exploded while I was away. Thank you all for the replies! I have a lot of thinking to do. I might see what I can find with a friend and do the weight test! Otherwise, I'm leaning towards using the cinderblock method with either fabric or Velcro and some boards to match

I actually love the kallax! How long is the Kallax Magicpenny75 ? In inches?

Again thank you everyone for the replies! It has seriously helped out so much. Anymore suggestions are welcome
 

JayH

I'm leaning towards using the cinderblock method with either fabric or Velcro and some boards to match
A couple thoughts here. As shown in one of the pictures here you can paint the cinder blocks and dress them up that way. You could also wrap them in some sort of covering. Once they're in place stick some contact paper on the columns to improve the look. If you want a much nicer look, cover them with 1/4" plywood and paint the outside. With enough patience you can get whatever look you'd like that way.
 

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