Petco aquatic fundamentals tank stand--extremely dangerous!

liquidsunset
  • #1
I'm trying to get the word out on this and contacted PETCO yesterday.

I purchased the "aquatic fundamentals black scroll" stand for my 55 gallon. Now just from pictures I wasn't so sure the design even made sense, but its stainless steel, how unsafe could it be? It looked top heavy.

So here's the deal. They basically sent me a box with the pieces, nuts and bolts, and instructions. Now the instructions were easy enough. Then, we suddenly started having problems attaching the bottom brace. The holes wouldn't match up no matter what we did. The manly neighbor managed to force it in, thinking it would all settle itself...wrong.

Then there's additional braces in the back that connect the top and bottom. They were both literally too short. Hmm, strange. But who needs that part anyways? Now despite all the screwing in it was still kind of wobbly. Stranger. But, maybe it'll just settle, I kept saying. We put the tank on. After filling it halfway, it did settle. The wobble stopped. Then...as I just tapped off the tank, and slightly readjusted, all I heard was SNAP. The one we forced in was suddenly failing and the whole stand was leaning. I immediately removed half the water and called PETCO. The guy started questioning if the stand was "defective!" I sent pictures and he said they would send a new one. I don't want this in my house again. I told them they better send a different type. I've looked at the actual PETCO page and no less than 7/13 people had similar reviews stating it was wobbly or unstable.

As objective as possible--this stand does not need to be on shelves. What if it had fallen on myself or anyone? There's way too many people with the same complaint for it to be a coincidence. It scares me people still have tanks on it. I know it was my mistake even bothering with forcing holes, but I read of people redrilling and all sort of things. For me-its hard to really screw up steel--which is why I was so forgiving--but there's something wrong here. I recommend if you have this stand you triple check it is truly safe.
 

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aquatic
  • #2
Thanks for your review of the stand. Any chance you could add a picture of it? I just built my own wooden stand last weekend because even though metal is strong, I am paranoid of what happened to your setup.

Since you don't want the current model and they are trying to resend you the same, are you going to just return it to a local store?
 

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liquidsunset
  • Thread Starter
  • #3

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See the lean? I found the other stand makes sense--I personally believe steel-if put together right--its very safe. The other stand is just a rectangular base, with a rectangular stand and no fancy business. This one has legs intended to bend in--makes no sense! So if its just a long cubicle type shape you're going for I'd imagine it being perfectly fine.

They refunded me and to insult me further--they don't even want this garbage back. That says to me they think throwing my money back at me solved the problem. They don't even want to waste shipping costs taking it back!
 

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pirahnah3
  • #4
Those back braces that you didn't use, would have kept this from happening, That's why the tank is leaning there is no cross support in the back of it. With a span that long you need to cross brace or the weakest point (The joints) will fail.

Be thankful they refunded your money and just rid yourself of the stand, no need to be mad because they don't want it back, just recycle it heck might be worth a buck or two at the scrap yard.
 
liquidsunset
  • Thread Starter
  • #5
Hindsight is 20/20. I definitely wasn't 100% right but I didn't make this product, I was just trying to put it together. The braces were unusable/wrong size as well as holes that didn't line up which is the gist of why I was not happy. Its not like I didn't want them on. Then to find out numerous people had the same problem of the holes and/or wobbling even with braces. Says to me, even the braces on "non defective" aren't completely correct. if I get what you are saying--those braces would stop all wobbling on a properly assembled piece, right? That makes them ticking time-bombs for heavy weight...

Defectives shouldn't be common enough that 15/30 people say the exact same thing. That implies something is not right. I contacted them in hopes it'd be looked into because I'm a newbie and make mistakes but this is a 500 lb support not a cat scratcher--the risk of defects raises the stakes a bit in my opinion.

Beginner and all around stupid mistake was even bothering with it and not sending it back. I understand. But just the build and other people (who rated it higher even and had no assembly problems) make me question how this will hold up a month, a year, etc., when it just seems poorly constructed.

They had to refund it as part of the warranty on defects :s never said I was mad. Just disappointed since I seriously can't risk a defective stand in my high traffic volume house. I thought this was so pretty too.
 
pirahnah3
  • #6
so keep the sides of it and rebuild the back of the stand with some other parts. Right now the stand is free and you could spend a few dollars on it to make it actually work and still look good.
 

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liquidsunset
  • Thread Starter
  • #7
Hmm, didn't even think of that! I was going to use it for my 30 breeder I'm putting my corn snake in. If I can get the back supported it'd be okay I think. I'd have to get someone mechanically inclined to help though.
 
LyndaB
  • #8
I'm not sure how much DIY stuff you are used to doing, but rule #1 is, never ever force parts together. If you do that, the integrity of the piece is lost. I have to agree that it's not that the piece was faulty, but rather was not assembled correctly. That's most likely the case with the other reviewers as well.
 
kinezumi89
  • #9
I'd have to agree. Parts are there for a reason; sure, sometimes products are poorly designed, but generally engineers are paid to make sure that things are relatively easy to put together and that the product will function as intended. If you forced the first part in, it's possible it bowed outwards and that's why the second part was too short. Sometimes at the factory they accidentally drill holes slightly off; in that case, you could write/call the company with a specific complaint (X part won't fit into Y hole because the hole is 3/8" too high, etc.) and they'll usually happily send you a new part.

As an example, my boyfriend ordered a desk that actually looks very similar to your stand - steel bars in various criss-cross patterns, and a glass top. He put it together according to the directions, and has had no problems. But there are plenty of reviews of this desk stating it's wobbly and unstable and leans...because people removed cross-pieces! Those joints are there for a reason; they help prevent the product (whether it be a desk or aquarium stand) from leaning by supplying a lateral force. If you remove those support pieces, the whole desk twists and leans and looks terribly unstable. It's similar to a bridge in that you would never think of removing joists because the structural integrity would be compromised.

I would also be pleased if my money was sent back. If you don't want the stand, toss it in the garbage! Or, if you didn't permanently modify it, try reassembling it from scratch; maybe you'll have better luck a second time. It may be something as simple as having two pieces that looked identical switched! Either way, you got back what you put into it (well, besides the time, of course) and if you don't want to use it, you can use the money to buy a new stand.
 
liquidsunset
  • Thread Starter
  • #10
I get what everyone is saying but I'm beginning to feel invalidated by my admitted mistakes. Ill even own up to my frustration from the tank being put on it because I shouldve just taken it all apart and sent it back. I'm a bit stubborn, can't you tell? Hehe. I, along with three others, followed directions to a tee--albeit with wrong sized parts. It was like playing ball in a cup with a ball six times the size of the cup. Basketball with a triangular ball. Lol. Parts were faulty, which is why I was stupid and left the braces off. Once more I will try to reiterate:

The stand tells you to attach the top rack to its legs. Had no problems there.

The next step was to assemble the bottom brace to the legs. Three of the four holes attached easily, but the fourth was slightly off--this is the factory error many people complained about. This is the one we got in, but like I said, with maneuvering. At that point, the instructions said to attach the back braces (two bars). They did not reach the span from the top brace to bottom brace at all. If I could guesstimate, the distance was about 24 inches and these were 22-23. I flipped, jiggled, and flipped some more (actually, three of us did, even the handyman) before giving up. They aren't the correct length.

How I know it wasn't an assembly issue is there are 13 reviews on the site. I got it on amazon and didn't see these prior. 6 reviews had literally no problems assembling (ranging from inexperienced teenager to average Joe) while the other 7 all reported holes not matching up, short braces, and wobbliness. Here's the first quote on petco's site--
" The alignment holes are off by a full quarter inch on one side of the stand. It was a struggle to get the top brace attached to all four legs. I cannot get the bottom shelf attached due to the holes being of. Iwould never buy this product again."
That's almost identical to mine, it was always "just a bit off" like the machine making them was off. Why doesn't anyone believe me? *cries*

But in all seriousness I get it, I made a mistake, learned my lesson, shame on me...but something is funky here. Had the braces and holes been right this stand is perfect. Defects happen. But in half the products? Not to mention most of the negative ones were recent? If that's the risk someone wants to take with a 55 gallon tank then go ahead, you've been warned. You shouldnt have to hope yours came out right. I'm glad I got my money back and all-but as someone with kids and animals in my house I think I have a right to be terrified of receiving another with defects (that aren't so apparent).

I just figured when I told PETCO there's a potentially dangerous lot of defective stands floating around, they'd care. They made it pretty clear they didn't and that makes me a bit sad. Instead my response was "yeah yeah, whatever. Take your money and go. Some of the stands are OK so that's good enough." Is that who you'd trust with a pet's life and safety?
 

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kinezumi89
  • #11
I've always thought the stands at Petco and Petsmart (well, some of them) looked a bit unstable. The one I have (particle board) isn't wobbly, but it isn't exactly well-made ;D

There are definitely mistakes in manufacturing all the time, and I feel like drilling holes in the wrong location is pretty common. That happened with my boyfriend's desk. That is pretty lame that they weren't willing to replace the defective parts, at least. Sometimes parts are even missing in the box; usually you can just call them up and say "I'm missing X part" and they'll ship you a new one.

I DEFINITELY wouldn't take the chance with a wobbly stand... Every time I read threads about tanks breaking, my heart goes out to the poster! I can't imagine having 55 gallons of water in my apartment.

Sorry if I sounded accusatory; I'm studying engineering and I get a little carried away sometimes
 
Cichlidnut
  • #12
You can always build your own stand ;D

I bought an industrial rack that can hold 2000lbs per shelf. I trust it far more than anything I could buy at a pet store. Whats funny is that it's construction is far, far superior to stands they sell in pets store but cost almost exactly the same!
 
kinezumi89
  • #13
Whats funny is that it's construction is far, far superior to stands they sell in pets store but cost almost exactly the same!

But.. is it decorative? ;D
 
liquidsunset
  • Thread Starter
  • #14
Kinezumi89 its okay! I understand the lack of interest on their part is what freaked me out. I read plenty of things on this forum about PETCO and its typical lack of interest simply for the fish in its store and I guess its like that all the way up the chain. The desk you mentioned is perfect example--if that had faulty parts and collapsed, it only had about 25-45 pounds Max on it. That falling isn't pleasant. But a stand needs to be able to hold 500 lbs just by its name. and once you find out it does that only half the time for the people who buy it, those aren't confident odds its just kind of crazy they were indifferent to the fact that these defects could prove dangerous for people who (like me,) took it upon themselves to just deal with the wobbling/no braces. They should put measuments of everything so people can check it is correct--that's all I'd ask to forgive a defective piece. That led to most confusion. The way it is all set up could convince even the smartest it wasn't a defect, it was something you did wrong.

Cichlidnut I was going to do a concrete/ 2 by 4 type stand, only to realize I can't lift a concrete block! Lol. I was wondering about other stuff that would work. I'll have to look into those industrial stands!
 
Cichlidnut
  • #15
Heres what mine looks like $160 at Costco. Soooo worth it for me. Although, you may not be exactly looking in to this level of fish keeping lol. No, it is not exactly decorative. I zip tied a 48" double bulb light fixture to the bottom of the top rack.
 

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