Update: Project Done! Moving My Tank To A New Stand. How Can I Make A Cinder Block Stand Taller?

  • #1
EDIT: Finished the change-over today. Updates and pictures in post #4

Original post:
I'm planning to change out the stand for my 37 gallon tank. Currently it's on a wooden entertainment center, which has held up ok for 5 years:


On that stand the tank is almost annoyingly tall (I have to get on a chair to clean it). But it's breathtaking to look at up close. It pretty much starts at my shoulders and then towers over me!

But I've always been scared that the wood will crack under the weight of the tank. And a bigger concern is that we've had some guests staying with us. Two of those guests happen to be a 1 year old and a 2 year old. While they haven't shown much interest in the tank, should one of them decide to start opening drawers and crawling up the thing I'm sure it could only end in disaster. That's why I've decided to switch to a cinder block stand (money is kind of an issue and these stands are both cheap and sturdy)

Now I've already built one of these for my 20 gallon tank and it worked well:


But what gets me is the height. Stacking 3 8-inch cinder blocks makes only a 24 inch stand. Even with my 22" tall tank I would still be looking down at it. (and seeing a lot of the hood which is kind of grimey) But going to 4 stacked cinder blocks seems like it would be unstable?

What I'm thinking of doing is adding 2 concrete stepping stones which adds another 2 inches each. Would placing stones underneath the cinder blocks to make the stand 4 inches taller be a good idea? I would make sure that the stones are level and completely underneath the entire bottom of the cinder blocks.

I don't want to compromise the integrity of the cinder blocks or upset their balance by adding something underneath, so I'm hoping someone more knowledgeable about these things can give me some ideas on how to safely make the tank a bit taller. I know 4 inches doesn't seem like much, but if it's not going to affect the sturdiness of the stand, then why not go a bit taller? Another idea would be using 2x4s instead of plywood.

Another issue with the tank being so short is that it will probably be MORE enticing for kids to mess with it now that they can see it better. How do you guys deal with kids trying touch your aquariums? How much taller are actual aquarium stands?

I think I have a pretty good grasp on how I'm going to do this: move all fish into a 15 gallon tote, save all of the water in buckets and trash cans. Take everything out of the tank and move it and the entertainment center out of the way. Then build the new stand and put the tank, equipment, gravel, decor, then fish back into the tank.

One tricky part will be catching my Blue Gourami. He's about 6 inches long and then he has those super long and sensitive feelers. How can I catch him without injury? I'm guessing a net is out of the question. I was thinking of cutting the bottom off a plastic gallon jug turning it upside down and taking the cap off so I can glide it easily through the water. It would be like catching him in a bucket... this probably sounds like a better idea in my head lol! Does anyone have an idea for how to catch him?

My last concern is moving the empty tank safely. Does anyone have pictures or advice on where and how to safely lift a tank so that there is no stress put on the frame or bottom panes?

Sorry for the long post. I hope my questions are easy to understand. And I appreciate any advice you guys can give me.
  • #2
Bumping this up for you
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  • #3
Bumping this up for you
Thank you. I debated where to post my questions but figured DIY since I'm building the stand...

Well I did some more thinking about this. I used sticky notes and marked off the different heights of where the tank will be with different numbers of cinder blocks so I could get a visual of how it's going to look. I've come to the decision that I want to go 4 blocks high. Anything shorter than that doesn't look appealing to me. And adding an additional cinder block to each side seems easier than trying to mess with the 2-inch blocks. This will give me a 32 inch tall stand and will be 54 inches tall with the tank on top (not counting the light fixture)

I hope it's ok to post this, I looked on pinterest and found a couple of pictures of people with even larger tanks than mine who went 4 blocks high:


This is someone's 55 gallon found on this page: lldykstra's

My tank is 37 gallons and only 30 inches long. The edges of the tank will be directly on top of the cinder blocks. The tank will be around 400 pounds filled with water and compacted like that I think it will be stable. Editing the from above, here's a mock up of what mine will look like:


I'll add the middle board too so mine can also have a shelf.
If it seems at all unstable I'll go back down to 3 blocks. But for now this is what I'm going with.
My other questions remain: How do I safely lift the empty tank and what's the best way to catch a gourami?
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  • #4
It's done!
We tackled this project earlier today. First of all, cinder blocks are heavy! And they love to scrape up your hands! I'm so glad my brother was here to help me.
The blocks I bought at home depot were smooth on the bottom, but gravelly and uneven on the top. We took some time yesterday smoothing them down and getting them level. What I didn't expect was for the floor tiles to be uneven. There was a wobblyness to the blocks but once the weight of the filled tank was on top it improved quite a bit. The poor fish had to wait in the tote a little longer than I had hoped while we figured that out.

The MVP of the day turned out to be that little scoop I made from a plastic 1 gallon jug. I lowered the water in the tank to the height of the jug and then slid the scoop under the fish and just lifted them out of the tank. There was no harsh netting and even the big gourami took it well.

I reused almost all of the water and let the filters run for a while before putting the fish back in. It was cloudy but cleared up after a few hours. So far everyone is alive and acting normal. For now I'll be monitoring the fish closely and checking for any signs of illness before I know if we're in the clear.

I'm so glad I went for it. I feel much better about having small kids around the tank now. It feels solid and it's still at an eye pleasing height:


The fabric is over the plywood and then there's a clear vinyl sheet over the fabric. This way no spills will ever touch the wood and water droplets can just be wiped away. And yes, the fabric came up a little short! But there's extra bunched up on the sides so I may trim that and add it to the front. I also want to velcro a panel in the front so I can easily access the storage:


Instead of a shelf I opted for this plastic cart ($10 at walmart). It's large enough I was able to fit everything I had in the dresser drawers into it. Pretty nifty!


Gourami: "Hello! I made it back home"
  • #5
We are using cinder block for our stand too. We use a solid oak (yeah it's expensive) board above the first blocks and then with the new tank will have another over the next higher set of blocks. I'm only going 3 blocks tall but 3 sections wide. I'm using 2, 2x8's under the new tank.

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