Building A Tank Stand

Aureus

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I'm not much of a carpenter, but I was thinking about trying to make a stand for a 29-gallon tank, so I do have a few questions...

1) What materials are required? I understand that wood and nails are a must, but how much wood would be necessary? What kind of wood would work the best? How much wood would I need? Is there a particular nail size that would work the best? What would be the price of all of this?

2) How much time should this take? I probably will only have a week or so to work on this with about 2-3 hours each day. Is this enough time to complete it?

3) How tall, long, and wide should the stand be? I know that the average 29-gallon tank is around 30x12x18 but should I make the stand slightly larger in width and length? What would be the optimal height for the tank stand?

I know this is a bit of a long post and I sound like a complete noob (which I am) but I want to make sure I know what I am doing before I jump into this project. I would also appreciate pictures of your own tank stands that you made, along with any plans or illustrations of them. Thank you!
 

Fashooga

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I think it's best to go on YouTube and type in "DIY Aquarium Stand 29 gallons" and go through it. There are a lot of videos out there.

You won't be using nails, you will be needing screws and a high impact drill to put those screws in since your going through two pieces of wood.
 
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Aureus

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Fashooga said:
I think it's best to go on YouTube and type in "DIY Aquarium Stand 29 gallons" and go through it. There are a lot of videos out there.

You won't be using nails, you will be needing screws and a high impact drill to put those screws in since your going through two pieces of wood.
Oh, thank you! I didn't realize that screws would be best. I'll definitely watch some videos on building a tank stand tonight.
 

Baba

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Aureus said:
1) What materials are required? I understand that wood and nails are a must, but how much wood would be necessary? What kind of wood would work the best? How much wood would I need? Is there a particular nail size that would work the best? What would be the price of all of this?
There are multiple options. You can use boards, 2x4's or plywood. It all depends what you want to have in the end.
Like @Fashooga already mentioned, skip the nails and go with screws. Additional safety would be gluing all the joints. This makes them almost indestructible.
The price is again depending on what you choose to build it from. 2x4's would be most economical solution.
Aureus said:
2) How much time should this take? I probably will only have a week or so to work on this with about 2-3 hours each day. Is this enough time to complete it?
This boils again down to what design you choose, your skills and how sophisticated you want to make it. Do you plan to have doors and drawers? This will add a significant amount of time to the project.
Aureus said:
3) How tall, long, and wide should the stand be? I know that the average 29-gallon tank is around 30x12x18 but should I make the stand slightly larger in width and length? What would be the optimal height for the tank stand?
I would make it bigger to have a larger footprint giving more stability, decreasing the risk of tip over. Bigger will also give you more storage underneath the stand and some space beside the tank if you want it for food container or similar.
For the height I wouldn't go higher than 30" assuming you sit in front of the tank, higher will again increase your tip over risk unless you increase your base.
 
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Aureus

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@Baba That's a lot of help, thank you! I'll definitely talk about all of this with my dad when I see him this weekend, as he seems to be more knowledgeable about this kind of stuff. I still have yet to decide on the exact details of the stand (like shelves, doors, etc.) but I'm sure I'll come up with something sooner or later.
 

Baba

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Aureus said:
@Baba That's a lot of help, thank you! I'll definitely talk about all of this with my dad when I see him this weekend, as he seems to be more knowledgeable about this kind of stuff. I still have yet to decide on the exact details of the stand (like shelves, doors, etc.) but I'm sure I'll come up with something sooner or later.
If you like, post your design here. I assume a couple people will come forward with their recommendations.
I am personally planning a stand build for a 120 gallon out of plywood. Always good to see other builds to learn.
 
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Aureus

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Baba said:
If you like, post your design here. I assume a couple people will come forward with their recommendations.
I am personally planning a stand build for a 120 gallon out of plywood. Always good to see other builds to learn.
I'll try to do that tonight! Do you think that 3/4 of an inch is a good thickness for the wood?
 

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Aureus said:
I'll try to do that tonight! Do you think that 3/4 of an inch is a good thickness for the wood?
Do you mean plywood? If yes and you can get your hands on quality 5 to 7 ply sheets, 3/4" is plenty enough for your 29. I build a cabinet for a 22 gallon out of 1/2" thick plywood.
Wood especially plywood is pretty strong, the joints are the critical parts in your design.
 

CrazyPeekles

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Baba said:
If you like, post your design here. I assume a couple people will come forward with their recommendations.
I am personally planning a stand build for a 120 gallon out of plywood. Always good to see other builds to learn.
I am a beginner looking to get into starting an aquarium about 120 gallons and making my own stand, but as a structural engineer I couldn't help but create an account to caution you of building a 120 gallon tank stand out of plywood.

120 gallons of water alone weights 1000 lbs and that is excluding the actual self weight of the tank and the rocks, sand, decors that you will be putting inside. Simply using plywood is NOT enough to withstand this especially at a height of around 25-30 inches. It might one day buckle causing your tank to shatter in your house.

I reckon for a 22-30 gallon tank, plywood alone would suffice, but even then I would recommend adding at least 1x4 construction lumber for the actual framing. Plywood in general should only be used as additional shear capacity attached to framing and not alone.

As far as connection goes, wood screws in this case would work best and glue can also be used concurrently to strengthen the connections further.

So to summarize for a 120 gallon, I would definitely look at building a frame with 6 columns using lumber size no less than 2 x 4 or even 2 x 6 and 3" wood screws. Use plywood to cover the framing up and top for additional load capacity. I have done some preliminary calculations and this set up should provide way more than enough load capacity for a set up 120 gallon tank. Please do not hesitate to ask me if you have any questions.
 

Baba

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CrazyPeekles said:
I have done some preliminary calculations and this set up should provide way more than enough load capacity for a set up 120 gallon tank.
I would be interested to see your calculations.
I plan to build the stand out of double-uped .75" 7-ply birch plywood. So in total it would be 1.5" thickness. Both panels glued and nailed. The same material I want to use for the vertical panels.
My tank has a 48x24 foot print and the stand will be the same. The vertical panels are roughly 5" in from each side, so the total span would be 38".
My calculation shows a max deflection of 2.3mm but I used the lowest value for the E-modulus I could find for plywood and overestimated the weight to be 1300 lbs. I didn't include the back panel, which would also contribute to reduced deflection. According to a DIN standard the maximum permissible deflection (including safety) is L/500. In my case that would be 1200/500 = 2.4mm. Borderline but within spec with worst case calculation.

upload_2018-5-3_13-40-58.png

upload_2018-5-3_13-41-30.png


edit: I just saw that I have the vertical supports even 0.75" further out than they would actually be. With the correct location the deflection would be only 1.9mm
 

CrazyPeekles

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Baba said:
I would be interested to see your calculations.
I plan to build the stand out of double-uped .75" 7-ply birch plywood. So in total it would be 1.5" thickness. Both panels glued and nailed. The same material I want to use for the vertical panels.
My tank has a 48x24 foot print and the stand will be the same. The vertical panels are roughly 5" in from each side, so the total span would be 38".
My calculation shows a max deflection of 2.3mm but I used the lowest value for the E-modulus I could find for plywood and overestimated the weight to be 1300 lbs. I didn't include the back panel, which would also contribute to reduced deflection. According to a DIN standard the maximum permissible deflection (including safety) is L/500. In my case that would be 1200/500 = 2.4mm. Borderline but within spec with worst case calculation.

View attachment 435098
View attachment 435099

edit: I just saw that I have the vertical supports even 0.75" further out than they would actually be. With the correct location the deflection would be only 1.9mm
Hey Baba, interesting calculations you have there. I was actually more concerned on the vertical panels on your plywood as they will be taking all of the weight. Your deflections might be minor, but have you done any analysis on the compressive axial force on the vertical panels? I worry that your actual panel strength might not be enough without bracing and framing. With studs you use the bearing capacity of the wood and unbraced length to calculate that. Also, I would look into the corner plywood connections.

I don't have my calcs on hand atm, but with a simple framing system I mentioned above, you can save costs in doubling the plywood as plywood costs are much more than construction lumber. This way, you can just use a thinner piece of plywood instead of two 0.75". I want to state that my design approach is totally different than yours and not saying yours won't work, but I think my design may be more efficient in terms of cost and performance.
 

Baba

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CrazyPeekles said:
Your deflections might be minor, but have you done any analysis on the compressive axial force on the vertical panels?
I am not sure if I can use the Euler buckling formula for this but if I do, I have plenty of capacity.
upload_2018-5-3_14-47-33.png
I would need to use case 4, both side restrained.
For E I used the low value I found for plywood, 6960 MPa. For I I get 609mm (~24") * 38mm^3 (~1.5") / 12 =2.785 x10^6 mm^4 .
The height is 30.5" (~775mm)
The calculated critical force would be then 4*pi^2*E*I / L^2 = 1274kN . That would be almost 450 times the load I have calculated above (2850N).

CrazyPeekles said:
Also, I would look into the corner plywood connections.
The panels will get dado cuts and will be glued. This will give ample stability for the joints.
upload_2018-5-3_15-5-51.png


I know that 2x4 would be significantly cheaper but I like to have as much space as possible underneath my stand for my sump and equipment. Using 2x4 framing would cut into this.
I also can never find really straight construction lumber and I do not have a planer and jointer to make it straight.
 

CrazyPeekles

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Ahh if you need the space under your cabinet then the framing wont work. Those dado cuts will most definitely be needed. Either way good luck with your project and please post pics when finished. I would like to see how it looks like.
 
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