There is no magic to building an aquarium stand. In this case I want it
to be able to hold 2 tanks measuring 48"L x 30"W x 18"H
each (or smaller tanks totaling these measurements) so that is a total of
about 225 U.S. gallons. If you estimate at 8.5 lbs per gallon and add the
weight of the tanks that's about 2,200 lbs. Because of this I want to
ensure that I overbuild where possible and avoid a disaster in the future.
I will list the materials that I used and then describe how I built the
2 of 3/4" 4' by 8' pieces of plywood cut into 3 pieces of 48" by
8 of 8' 2x6 pieces of wood
8 of 8' 2x4 pieces of plywood
2 of 48" single bulb fluorescent fixture
200 of 2.5" deck screws
100 of 1.25" deck screws
100 of 2.5" deck nails
10 of 8" nails
Total cost of materials $ 180 Canadian.
I took 2 sheets of plywood and layed them on top of each other and screwed
them together with the 1.25" screws, I used about 9 (3x3). I did this
with 2 sets of plywood and produced the 2 weight bearing shelves this way.
Then some 2x4's were cut to build a frame around the plywood. First I
screwed 2 48" pieces of 2x4 to the underside of the length of the
shelf. The I screwed 3 27" pieces of 2x4 on the sides and middle of
the underside of the shelf. This created a frame for the underside of the
shelf including a center brace. (Figure 1)
The bottom shelf will just hold the trickle filter and is necessary for
the stability of the stand. I just used a single piece of plywood and
built a similar frame of 2x4's under it. This will keep it off the ground
when the inevitable water builds up on my floor. The top will just be a
single piece of plywood.
Next I made the sides of the stand. I used the 2x6's to do this. I cut
them down to 84" to fit in my room. I have 3 2x6's along the back of
the stand (the back being one of the 48" sides). Then I had 2 2x6's
on each side of the stand and a single 2x6 in the middle of the front of
Initially I just screwed a single 2.5" screw through each 2x6 and
into the bottom shelf. Then I measured down from the top of the board to
allow 24" for the height of the top shelf. I actually measured down
27" to allow for the height of the shelf itself. I loosely screwed in
a corner brace in each corner between a back 2x6 and a side 2x6 so the top
of the brace was at the 27" mark. I also placed a brace on the front
2x6. Then the shelf was laid on top of these braces. Amazingly enough it
was level. The shelf was then screwed into place at each 2x6. I repeated
these steps for the lower shelf again allowing 24" height between
shelves. This left 28" height between the bottom shelf and the lower
shelf, which is necessary for the trickle filter.
In order to provide more support I cut some 2x4's into 28" pieces.
were lodged under the lower shelf alongside all 2x6 directly under the
plywood and then screwed to the 2x6's. This means that the entire weight
of the lower shelf is now sitting on upright 2x4's rather than just being
supported by screws into 2x6's. (Figure 2)
I drilled pilot holes through the 2x6's into the supporting frame of
the upper and lower shelf at each corner and the center bracket and then
nailed in the 8" nails. I also used the 2.5" nails to nail the
2x6's further to the shelves.
The upper shelf is not weight bearing and was just screwed into the top
of the 2x6's. The stand was then placed against the wall and the
appropriate 2x6's were then screwed into the wall studs. The 2 fluorescent
fixtures were wired and screwed into the shelf top towards the back of the
shelf. (Figure 3) Since there is only going to be 6" of clearance
between the tank top and the shelf top I can't have the fixture getting in
the way while I am cleaning the tank.
The stand is now complete and waiting for the tanks and fish!!!