Structural question for apartment

Agcomptech

Hello All:
I would like to get some feedback on putting a 150 gallon tall tank on the second floor of my apartment. I read the article on and I remember there was a home builder on one of the aquarium forums websites I visited but I don't remember which one it was. I am hoping to get good answers, not answer stating "I have a 200 gallon in my second floor apt and it's fine so you can too". I am providing all the information I can think of to get the best answer. I am hoping my 3 questions at the end would provide options for additional support because I don't know if my apts joists, beams or anything have been damaged by previous tenants and I can't dismantle the floors and walls to verify.



Required information:


I am considering buying a 150 gallon tank. The tank is 48"L x 24"W x 31"H. I have a stand specifically for tank.I am looking at tank weight about 1600-1800 lbs. I live in an apartment built in 2006. My apartment is on the 2nd floor with no one above me. Below me is the garage that has sheet rock finish.





3_488277_2530026.jpg

Questions:

1. Can I build a support frame for the aquarium stand that will support the added weight of the water with 2x6 or 2x8 beams 50"L x 26"W and put a nice piece of plywood over beams for added support, then make sure the frame straddles joists​?


2. The garage below is not mine but I am sure I can get access to it. Can I put 2 jack posts (compression load range of 18000 lbs to 9100 lbs) in the garage on the joists in closest to the area where I want the tank for added support?

Jack post -


3. I would like to put the tank on the wall in the flex space area (instead of patio, enclosed usable space similar to den) on the left hand side. There is a window on the right side of he flex space. There are garages below the whole apartment layout. Is this a good spot provided I do step 1 or 2 or both?




Thanks in advance,
AG
 

Wolf65

Hello there, nice project and good thinking.

First of all you need to distribute the total weight over a large area. Placing beams is a good start. I would use 2 beams for the long side of the tank and than in total 5 beams for the short side, 12 inches one beam.

As you plan to place the tank towards the wall, I don't think you need those jack posts but it certainly add to safety. Do you know the structural build of your house? If there is a beam running beneath the wall of your Flex Space you should be fine.
 

Agcomptech

I don't know the structural dna of my apt complex. Neither does the maintenance people.

I was was going to do some poking around I the garage this weekend in hopes of finding some information.
 

Agcomptech

I did a online search for structural calculators and I found quite a few. Unfortunately, I was not smart enough to figure them out so I did the next best thing - I emailed a variety of university professors asking for help.;D;D
 

ECatch

If you go to your town hall the blueprints for your apt should be public knowledge at least I know they are in my town. Can try that out.
 

Wild Bill

Most garages have between an 8 foot and 10 foot ceiling. Those jacks will work for an 8 foot ceiling, but not for anything higher. I would check the ceiling height before doing anything in the garage. Also I would check with your apartment management to see if you can trade them garages.

Like ECatch, said, check your county or city recorded, they should have blueprints available for purchase. Might not be cheap, but worth checking into.
 

Wild Bill


ImageUploadedByFish Lore Aquarium Fish Forum1459991890.767995.jpg

If that's what you choose to do, you will need to build something along these lines for the support.
 

I3uckethead

Is this an exterior wall? What state and city do you live in?

I'm a contractor.

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Agcomptech

It's not an exterior wall. The exterior wall has 2 windows on that side and while I could possibly make that work, I would have to put up some sun blocking curtain to protect the tank from over heating.

I live in Highlands Ranch, CO.
 

I3uckethead

Colorado has solid building codes. That tank will be fine against an exterior or load-bearing wall. If you're really nervous, you can do either of your plans, but I recommend the 2x6 deck route. I don't know that the person who rents the garage would be happy with having a hazard in it, but you can check I guess.

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Agcomptech

My tank support base is below. I would like to load distribute the tank across as many joists as I can to help balance out the weight.


20160407_065420.jpg
 

Agcomptech

Here are photos of my current tank. It's a 55g. I have ideas for aquascaping my 150 gallon seeing how it's only taller than my 55g, I just have to figure out how to make it work. I still have 1-2 months before I start setting up 150g. My driftwood has been soaking for 1 month for the new tank. I am going to continue to soak it until I put in the new tank.


20160407_051856.jpg
20160406_162548.jpg
20160406_162550.jpg
20160406_162613.jpg
 

jpm995

Do you know which way the floor joists run? The best way would be if you have a joist every 16" along the length of the tank. Keep in mind your stand is probably made of much smaller dimension wood than the apartment. If it can support the tank, the floor can. Oh and I had an 8' long 240 gal tank over a crawlspace for 30 years without issues.
 

I3uckethead

I'm confused by your drawing. You have a super over-built support deck, but you list 50"x26"... For 150gal? What's going on here?

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Wild Bill

My tank support base is below. I would like to load distribute the tank across as many joists as I can to help balance out the weight.

View attachment 193334

Your going to have to spread the weight out beyond the length of the tank, maybe more like 8-10 feet. The way the floor joists are designed, with fire blocks and such, you can't just support only where the tank is. The weight is supported by the whole floor. 4X4 beams laid on their sides are not a good idea either. Not enough to strength there, that's why I suggested 2X12's.
 

Agcomptech

my tank is 48"L x 24"W. it's a tall 150 gallon tank (basically a 55 gallon tank but taller and more width)

My longest boards for the support frame would be 50 inches and I will have 4 - 26' boards attached making sort of a rectangle type support platform.

I am a network engineer. I can't draw!
 

Agcomptech

I can do the 2x12x8 but I don't want 8ft extending from the wall. can I use 2x12x3 for the 4 center supports?
 

I3uckethead

You gain nothing from that base.
If you're going to build a support deck, the goal is to spread the weight to additional floor joists. So to gain anything structurally, you'd need to make a longer deck. Can you attach a picture of the area(s) where you're considering putting this? Also, do you know which direction the floor joists run?

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I3uckethead

A 150 gallon tank weighs roughly 1,500 pounds when full and stocked. Get 6 friends and all stand along the wall you want to put the tank on if the floor doesn't move you're fine.

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Wild Bill

I can do the 2x12x8 but I don't want 8ft extending from the wall. can I use 2x12x3 for the 4 center supports?

Your not extending from the wall, your spanning across the floor joists. Yes, you'll need to know the direction the floor joists run, and hopefully it's not the same direction as the wall above.
 

Agcomptech

I mean I don't want it to stick out from the wall too much. The area is 119sf (close to 12'x10') where the tank is going so. I want to be able to relax and make that area my little zen room.

with the platform build with 2x12, I am looking at the area sticking out from the wall at least 5'.
 

Agcomptech

I don't think I would be trying the 6 friends idea. My friends are too weak. I would need 6-8 He-Man type men.

I am find with building a platform the entire width of the room to better distribute the weigh. I will look at the joists this weekend and let everyone know what I find out.
 

I3uckethead

2x12 is overkill. A lot of overkill. I would grab 3 2x6s that are the length of the room.
Make the platform the same width as the stand so the weight is directly on the outside 2x6. Cap it in furniture grade hardwood plywood, and run a finish grade 1x8 down the front, trimmed to size. Paint or Stain to to preference. That will give you a super sturdy deck with a good finish so it doesn't look dinky when you bring a date back.


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jpm995

Making the platform about the same size as the tank adds zero strength to the overall structure. lf you feel the floor can't support the tank you would have to extend the platform to distribute the weight to another floor joist or two. Keep in mind their 16" on center apart so extending the platform 16" will pick up one more joist. You need to know which way the joists run. Whats the stand made out of? Hopefully it has a frame of at least 2x4's.
 

Agcomptech

I3uckethead is this what you are saying:
buy 3 beams the length of the room abt 9.9Ft
1x8 beam
plywood to put on top.

do I need to buy something to place in between the 3 beams to make the width of the stand or just evenly space out the 3 beam to make them the same width as the stand?
 

jpm995

Also agree with bhead, 2x12 is overkill, especially with a high tank, you'll need a ladder to work on the tank. 2x6 is plenty, double them up for even more strength.
 

Wild Bill

We have some architects and engineers here at work, I'll talk to them about this.
 

Agcomptech

I don't know what the stand is made out of other than wood.

Below is where my brother got the tank from last year:
 

Wild Bill

Also agree with bhead, 2x12 is overkill, especially with a high tank, you'll need a ladder to work on the tank. 2x6 is plenty, double them up for even more strength.

The 2X12's go in the garage under the floor, not under the tank.
 

jpm995

I think you would make a 9'x2' rectangle frame with cross joists every 16". To determine which way the joists run in the room use a studfinder. If it doesn't work in the room because of a hardwood floor or ceramic tile you can check it in the ceiling of the garage below the apartment. It should pick up a stud every 16". I would suggest making a lip on the top of the platform and seal it to protect against a water spill or leak.
 

jpm995

The 2X12's go in the garage under the floor, not under the tank.
I mean I don't want it to stick out from the wall too much. The area is 119sf (close to 12'x10') where the tank is going so. I want to be able to relax and make that area my little zen room.

"with the platform build with 2x12, I am looking at the area sticking out from the wall at least 5'."

I seems to me he is talking about making the platform out of 2x12's.


"
 

Agcomptech

Ok Wild Bill.
 

Agcomptech

jpm995 - a lip? I was going to waterproof the whole platform but I don't know what a lip is.
 

I3uckethead

The first thing you need to determine is which way your joists run. If tank is lining up like "A" then you can use a deck to distribute the weight. If your tank is lined up like "B" the only option is to secure it to the wall with a diagonal brace. Load distribution will be fairly irrelevant since they stay on the same boards.

AB.png

I still say that your tank will be perfectly fine with absolutely 0 structural modification, but If you want to build a deck, detail drawings below.

Adeck.png
Deckdtl.png
 

jpm995

Just an edge to hold the water before it spills on the floor. No matter how careful you are accidents will happen. Water is the one thing that can undermind a wood structure. You could just cut the fascia board an inch or two higher than the platform. For waterproofing I guess you could use an epoxy sealer or put rubber carpet runner on top of the platform and silicon around the edges. Hope you have long arms, maintaining a tall tank is a pain. You may want to run a metal strap from stand to a stud in the wall to prevent tipping.
 

jpm995

Bucket, wouldn't it be better to run joists every 16" on the platforn instead of 3 long beams? I would worry about twisting. Also op should position tank to the "A" position if possible so the weight is distributed to 4 joists instead or 1 or 2.
 

I3uckethead

Bucket, wouldn't it be better to run joists every 16" on the platforn instead of 3 long beams? I would worry about twisting. Also op should position tank to the "A" position if possible so the weight is distributed to 4 joists instead or 1 or 2.

Overthinking it. There is absolutely no need to run crossbraces every 16". There is actually no need for the deck, but if the OP wants to do it, this is how.

The three long boards distribute that 1500lbs out over the length of the room. The same as taking 6-8 adults and standing them along the wall. There is no danger of twisting as the whole structure is locked together by the decking and sandwiched against the floor. Crossbracing would only be beneficial if the OP obtained very warped/twisted wood.
 

Agcomptech

I took these few photos of the garage a few doors down from my apt. I am hoping all are built the same.

I hope you can tell something from the drawing or I will have to take some sheet rock down this weekend.


20160407_155803.jpg
20160407_155734.jpg
 

Wild Bill

Joists are running from left to right I believe. Sheetrock should be run the opposite direction as the joists for strength.
 

I3uckethead

There is your answer regarding joist orientation. Joists run under the red lines.

z.jpg
 

Agcomptech

I took these few photos of the garage a few doors down from my apt. I am hoping all are built the same.

I hope you can tell something from the drawing or I will have to take some sheet rock down this weekend.

View attachment 193385View attachment 193386
 

Agcomptech

Wow bucket head, how did you know that from just looking at the photo?
 

I3uckethead

I'm a contractor. I do this for a living. For the joists to run the other way (really unusual) the screws would have to all line up perfectly 16" OC all the way through.
 

Agcomptech

thank you to all for your help with this. I would rather be safe than sorry as far as my investment (the tank not the apartment) plus I like using power tools

I will take a photo of the finished product once it's complete.

Once again thanks.
 

Agcomptech

The wall I am putting the tank on will use all the joists like A in the drawing.
 

Agcomptech

Tank is up!
Thank you all for your help.





20160704_134904.jpg
20160704_134855.jpg
 

jpm995

Looks great but how about some pics of the platform?
 

Lynx

I might be a bit late chiming in here, but you want to take a look at your lease contract first. I work in the apartment industry (as maintenance) and at least in my area the lease contracts state that no aquariums or exotic pets (insects, spiders, snakes/reptiles, fish, etc.) are allowed to be kept in the apartments. As far as apartments within the U.S. go, I think that's a pretty universal clause in the contract. Of course, not many people follow the rules (even me), and I've seen at least 5 large saltwater aquariums and numerous smaller freshwater aquariums in various apartments while working.
 

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