cement block stand

Discussion in 'DIY - Do It Yourself' started by klogue2, Dec 27, 2012.

  1. klogue2

    klogue2Valued MemberMember

    Instead of getting a store bought stand, which I was going to do first but remembered they aren't all very good quality for holding up aquariums, I decided I'd make my own again. I was going to build one out of 2x4s like I did with my 29, but came across an article about using cement blocks and 2x4s and plywood sheets as a super-sturdy aquarium stand! So I think this time around I'll try that and see how it goes :) I like the look of spray-painted black cement blocks under a black trim aquarium, not to mention I'll be using black sand and a black background. I think it would look nice.

    My only question so far is, do I need a styrofoam sheet underneath the tank? Here's what I planned to do so you guys know -

    3 stacks of 3 cement blocks, one stack on each end the third in the middle
    1 plywood sheet between the stacks for a shelf
    three 2x4s across the top of the cement blocks
    plywood sheet on top of 2x4s

    Do you think I should add a foam sheet to be safe? I've read varying threads about people who use it and don't use it, but I'm still unsure.
  2. monkeypie102

    monkeypie102Well Known MemberMember

    I used this method for my 29 until my brother finally gave the stand back... I didn't have foam so i used towles instead...
  3. OP

    klogue2Valued MemberMember

    Alright, maybe if I get a large slightly thick sheet, I could cover the whole thing then set the tank on top? That would still make it look nice, and I wouldn't have a bunch of foam left over and nothing to use it for (my home depot only sells large sheets, and not sure if they'd discount if you cut a small piece off).

    Edit: From the article here:


    I will past a bit of what the author said, which I didn't see for some reason when reading it haha.

    "One reader suggests foam as another layer of protection but I cannot be sure that it would not settle uneven over time. The tank is built to be on a solid surface and you do not see foam topped stands in stores. The plywood helps the tank settle more even across the bottom than if there were gaps between the wood under the tank. I have not had any trouble without foam and I cannot say how well it works since I have not tried to add foam under my tanks. Solid surfaces have worked for me for nearly 15 years."

    So I think I'll just forget about the foam and see how that works, then maybe staple or tack a sheet around the outside of the stand to cover it up. I actually think I like that better than the cement blocks!
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2012
  4. jetajockey

    jetajockeyFishlore VIPMember

    You don't HAVE to have styrofoam under it, a level surface is enough.

    I built a cinder block stand for my flatback hex tank, although in the end it cost a bit more than just building one out of 2x4s.

    I'll make a thread with the build if you want to check it out :)
  5. psalm18.2

    psalm18.2Fishlore LegendMember

    My 55g is built the same way, 3 colums of block, 2x8 wood, and 1/2" plywood on top.

    It's been set up this way for over a year.

    I used a waterproof rectangle tablecloth to hide everything.

    I'm using the same set up for my 135g too.
  6. OP

    klogue2Valued MemberMember

    Thanks everyone! I know what I'll do then :)
  7. LyleB

    LyleBWell Known MemberMember

    An alternative to foam if your stand is only slightly out of level is to place a small, 1"X1" square of glass under each corner. That holds the tank up just enough to relieve any stress caused by a not perfectly flat stand. The corners are all that really need to be supported. I've used this method for years. It was given to me by a retiring LFS owner who had himself use the method for decades. Quarters also work in place of the glass squares.

    I've used it for up to 4 foot tanks, not sure how large your's is.
  8. OP

    klogue2Valued MemberMember

    Mine's 4ft as well :)

    I have one more question about this; I'm looking at plywood sheets (if that's what you call them) and have focused on a "7/16 in. x 2 ft. x 4 ft. Pine Oriented Strand Board Plywood" sheet. The problem is the total length of the aquarium is 48-1/4", whereas the board is 48". Will the 1/4" be a big problem? Or should I get a large piece?

    Edit: if I can line up the board and the tank PERFECTLY, that's only 1/8" hanging off on each side. Then again it has to be completely perfect..

    Edit2: I measured the corners of the trim of the aquarium, the actual corner, with no excess trim, is 1/2" square. So that means if I line it up mostly perfect, 3/8" (or 3/4) of that 1/2" will be supported. I think that might be good enough, or should I not risk it?
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2012
  9. LyleB

    LyleBWell Known MemberMember

    I would guess you would be fine, but not guaranteeing that.

    If it were me, I would probably invest in a new sheet of Plywood and cut to exact or slightly larger. Having a little shelf/ledge around the tank to set things while doing maintenance is handy.
  10. OP

    klogue2Valued MemberMember

    Thanks! I haven't bought the stuff yet, just planning out before I buy, so no harm done. I was thinking it would be a little nicer to have a lip.

    Also considering if I'd like another 2x4 stand... There I go, changing my mind again!
  11. cichlidman

    cichlidmanWell Known MemberMember

    I did this a few years ago on a 125 gallon tank. I only did two stacks on each end the middle one was not needed (i needed the room for the sump anyway) and i just sat a piece of plywood on top. Made sure it was level and filled it up. Worked great until i moved!
  12. Thunder_o_b

    Thunder_o_bFishlore VIPMember

    Rather than foam sheeting, maybe a bit of pond liner would be better?
  13. psalm18.2

    psalm18.2Fishlore LegendMember

    I wouldn't have an overhang, makes me nervous.
  14. OP

    klogue2Valued MemberMember

    Thanks everyone! I did decide to just get a larger piece of plywood cut to about 1-2" longer and wider on each side, to give me some wiggle room.

    Also I decided to leave it bare between the aquarium and the plywood, as long as I get a nice flat piece of plywood (will take a level to it and see when I get it). If not, I would think the weight of a filled aquarium would level it out for me? As long as it's not too un-level, like a noticeable large gap between the tank and the plywood.
  15. OP

    klogue2Valued MemberMember

    Alright, another question. I've decided to just do the cement block stand, however the biggest cement blocks they have in town are 16x8x8 inches. And most people stack blocks by threes, so that would only be a 24 inch tall stand (if I stack the blocks with the holes vertically, where you can't see them). I like my stands to be kind of tall, at least 30".

    Would it be too hard on the center of gravity to do 4 blocks tall? Or would an odd number be better? I just feel like if you do even numbers, it's more likely the stand will double over, since you could metaphorically "fold the stand in half". Not sure if you guys get that but I tried to explain lol...