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Thread: How to build a stand for a 55 gallon aquarium?????

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    Question How to build a stand for a 55 gallon aquarium?????

    I'd like to build a sturdy stand for our new aquarium. It's 48" long and 13" wide. I'd like it to be coffee table height and about two feet wide as it would replace the coffee table.

    It would be nice to have shelves under it. Even nicer to be able to open the doors to the shelves from both sides.

    I've never built anything like this before. Any help with plans and ideas will be appreciated.
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    Default Re: How to build a stand for a 55 gallon aquarium?????

    55 gallon, eh? You do know how much that's going to weigh, of course. I'd suggest getting the carpenters a bit tipsy in the Pub, and convincing them to build you one (' .... oh yes, Jim, I have video...'). I'd suggest one made from a nice hard maple. Beautiful. I can almost piktur it....

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    Default Re: How to build a stand for a 55 gallon aquarium?????

    Quote Originally Posted by George Jung View Post
    55 gallon, eh? You do know how much that's going to weigh, of course. I'd suggest getting the carpenters a bit tipsy in the Pub, and convincing them to build you one (' .... oh yes, Jim, I have video...'). I'd suggest one made from a nice hard maple. Beautiful. I can almost piktur it....
    The water weighs 440 pounds, plus the weight of the aquarium, gravel, etc. So, it should hold 500 pounds, to be on the safe side.

    Funny you mentioned Jim, he came to my mind as I wrote the post. LOL

    What kind of video do you have?
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    Default Re: How to build a stand for a 55 gallon aquarium?????

    Ms. Spin, I built mine out of 3/4 inch plywood. It lasted for about twenty years. Kind of a coffee table thing if ya know what I mean.
    "para todo mal, mezcal, y para todo bien también" (for everything bad, mezcal, and for everything good, as well.)

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    Default Re: How to build a stand for a 55 gallon aquarium?????

    Quote Originally Posted by Spin_Drift View Post
    The water weighs 440 pounds, plus the weight of the aquarium, gravel, etc. So, it should hold 500 pounds, to be on the safe side.

    Funny you mentioned Jim, he came to my mind as I wrote the post. LOL

    What kind of video do you have?

    Ha! Good one, lil' Red! But I was alluding to the video you had, of Jim, intoxicated in the Pub... it was kinda a visual, 'hey, this could work!' sort of thing. Ya folla?

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    Default Re: How to build a stand for a 55 gallon aquarium?????

    Quote Originally Posted by George Jung View Post
    Ha! Good one, lil' Red! But I was alluding to the video you had, of Jim, intoxicated in the Pub... it was kinda a visual, 'hey, this could work!' sort of thing. Ya folla?
    LOL. Ah see.

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    Default Re: How to build a stand for a 55 gallon aquarium?????

    Quote Originally Posted by Bobby of Tulsa View Post
    Ms. Spin, I built mine out of 3/4 inch plywood. It lasted for about twenty years. Kind of a coffee table thing if ya know what I mean.
    Picture? Plans ?
    Choose wisely -Treat kindly...

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    Default Re: How to build a stand for a 55 gallon aquarium?????

    *crickets*, I see. What you're proposing would be /could be quite nice, though having a book case under 55 gallons of water... that has me wondering a bit! What material you thinking - wood, or metal?

    I'm a bit surprised this hasn't garnered more comments - or maybe you've taken this off=line? I'd offer an assist, but it seems I have difficulty making a 90 degree cut! (that's why I make kayaks - none of those angles, and dookie smutz is the bomb!)

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    Default Re: How to build a stand for a 55 gallon aquarium?????

    Hmmppfffttt!!!!

    "Funny you mentioned Jim, he came to my mind as I wrote the post. LOL"

    See if you ever get steamed lobsters or Kwame's peanut soup again!

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    Default Re: How to build a stand for a 55 gallon aquarium?????

    Quote Originally Posted by Mrleft8 View Post
    Hmmppfffttt!!!!

    "Funny you mentioned Jim, he came to my mind as I wrote the post. LOL"

    See if you ever get steamed lobsters or Kwame's peanut soup again!
    Sweetheart, you were on my mind too. I apologize for not mentioning you.

    ....and YOUR lobster dinner and peanut soup will always stay as two of my favorite meals.

    So, how would YOU build this? Any suggestions, please. <3
    Choose wisely -Treat kindly...

    A secret to a good marriage is to have a quick mind and a slow mouth...


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    Default Re: How to build a stand for a 55 gallon aquarium?????

    Quote Originally Posted by George Jung View Post
    *crickets*, I see. What you're proposing would be /could be quite nice, though having a book case under 55 gallons of water... that has me wondering a bit! What material you thinking - wood, or metal?

    I'm a bit surprised this hasn't garnered more comments - or maybe you've taken this off=line? I'd offer an assist, but it seems I have difficulty making a 90 degree cut! (that's why I make kayaks - none of those angles, and dookie smutz is the bomb!)
    Wood. I'm hoping to hear from some of the woodworkers.

    Doug, Jim, David, others.... Calling all woodworkers and other bright minds... Please respond with your ideas...
    Choose wisely -Treat kindly...

    A secret to a good marriage is to have a quick mind and a slow mouth...


    S/V ORCA 38' Herreshoff Ketch

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    Default Re: How to build a stand for a 55 gallon aquarium?????

    The mass of the water is a major consideration.

    I've built them in inch square steel tube - but you need to be careful of the point loads on the floor (!!!) - and it's wise to include a layer of styrofoam between the frame and the tank - saves needless damage to the tank.


    http://saltaquarium.about.com/od/diy...tand_Plans.htm <<< Huge pile of links to stand designs.
    Even when they work, they don't work well. I blame engineers.
    The only thing engineers have done to the toaster in the last 80 years is make it disposable. I think it applies to a lot of things

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    Default Re: How to build a stand for a 55 gallon aquarium?????

    STrong!

    Have you looked at what's available for purchase? I have to believe if they sell the tanks they sell something to put them on.

    If you build it yourself, remember some basic stuff you learned, like the strenth of triangles.

    If you want a quality government, you must be prepared to pay a fair price. If all you want is tax cuts and spending cuts, the government can't work well.

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    Default Re: How to build a stand for a 55 gallon aquarium?????

    Quote Originally Posted by Spin_Drift View Post
    Sweetheart, you were on my mind too. I apologize for not mentioning you.

    ....and YOUR lobster dinner and peanut soup will always stay as two of my favorite meals.

    So, how would YOU build this? Any suggestions, please. <3
    Oooh, yer good! Snared that rascal in one shot! Fitting, really. :P

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    Default Re: How to build a stand for a 55 gallon aquarium?????

    I built one several years ago. Overbuilt it really, but I wanted to make sure it would hold the weight.

    I used 2 x 4 legs and cross pieces for the frame. I think I notched them, glued them and screwed everything together. I think the top was 3/4 ply. The back was ply, the ends were covered with vertical pieces of lumber, pegged and edge glued. I made a panel of the same material for the front,cut it in half and hung it as doors. I had a narrow shelf near the top to hold the pump etc and then there was a big shelf at the bottom. Holes in the back let the cords and air hoses into the stand.
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    Default Re: How to build a stand for a 55 gallon aquarium?????

    There are a lot of videos on utube about building aquarium stands and even how to build an aquarium out of plywood.
    "para todo mal, mezcal, y para todo bien también" (for everything bad, mezcal, and for everything good, as well.)

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    Default Re: How to build a stand for a 55 gallon aquarium?????

    Guess that plywood aquarium is for those fish you really don't want to see, eh?

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    Default Re: How to build a stand for a 55 gallon aquarium?????

    Quote Originally Posted by George Jung View Post
    Guess that plywood aquarium is for those fish you really don't want to see, eh?
    You cut windows into to Doc.
    "para todo mal, mezcal, y para todo bien también" (for everything bad, mezcal, and for everything good, as well.)

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    Default Re: How to build a stand for a 55 gallon aquarium?????

    A distributed load of 500# isn't that much. Think two large men sitting on it. Decent ordinary solid wood construction would be fine (maybe with a plywood top to better handle humidity?) Make sure the stretchers under the top are pretty solid, and use a strong wood like oak. No problem. Something like this would be nice, although quartersawn oak is prettier.


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    for nature cannot be fooled."

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    Default Re: How to build a stand for a 55 gallon aquarium?????

    Lil' Red, I do believe you have a winner. As I read it, Mr. Wilson is making you as I speak a customized, superduper, oak stand, capable of holding two Mr. Wilsons, for your aquarium. Very nice.

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    Default Re: How to build a stand for a 55 gallon aquarium?????

    Heh. Sorry, I'd love to but I have WAY too long a list of projects, the shop is still cold, and shipping to Alaska might be a bit much.

    "For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations,
    for nature cannot be fooled."

    Richard Feynman

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    Default Re: How to build a stand for a 55 gallon aquarium?????

    Shipping? I don't think so! It's called a Road Trip, Wilson. Man, gotta tell you everything! Hard to believe you're a child of the 70's....

    BTW, I know what yer thinkin'..... 'lotta talk from someone who's not doing nothing' (where's Donn when ya need him?)

    But as previously alluded to - my projects tend to run off the tracks.....

    My last:

    Last edited by George Jung; 04-21-2013 at 06:28 PM.

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    Default Re: How to build a stand for a 55 gallon aquarium?????

    Quote Originally Posted by Keith Wilson View Post
    A distributed load of 500# isn't that much. Think two large men sitting on it. Decent ordinary solid wood construction would be fine (maybe with a plywood top to better handle humidity?) Make sure the stretchers under the top are pretty solid, and use a strong wood like oak. No problem. Something like this would be nice, although quartersawn oak is prettier.

    You wanna' use that beautiful Roycroft copy library table to hold up a tank of water?

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    Default Re: How to build a stand for a 55 gallon aquarium?????

    Quote Originally Posted by Cuyahoga Chuck View Post
    You wanna' use that beautiful Roycroft copy library table to hold up a tank of water?
    Slabsawn oak and a lipped drawer...I'd staple chicken wire around that table and raise guinea pigs in it.

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    Default Re: How to build a stand for a 55 gallon aquarium?????

    I built one for a tank just a bit bigger than that as part of a big remodel a few years back. But that wasn't a coffee table height, it was taller, and used as a room divider. We built it out of koa, to match the new kitchen cabinets and dining room set. That'd be a fun project. Although... I wonder about the practicality of having everything down that low - for maintenance and feeding. BoT... how did yours work out, as a practical matter?
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    Default Re: How to build a stand for a 55 gallon aquarium?????

    Quote Originally Posted by David G View Post
    I built one for a tank just a bit bigger than that as part of a big remodel a few years back. But that wasn't a coffee table height, it was taller, and used as a room divider. We built it out of koa, to match the new kitchen cabinets and dining room set. That'd be a fun project. Although... I wonder about the practicality of having everything down that low - for maintenance and feeding. BoT... how did yours work out, as a practical matter?
    I think that it was great for maintenance. and it was at eye level when you were sitting down. If you have ever tried pouring a five gallon bucket of water that you have to hold chest high or high or higher you will see pretty quickly that lower is better.
    "para todo mal, mezcal, y para todo bien también" (for everything bad, mezcal, and for everything good, as well.)

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    Default Re: How to build a stand for a 55 gallon aquarium?????

    I had a thought.It might be good if the stand would catch and hold water should tank develope a leak.

    If you want a quality government, you must be prepared to pay a fair price. If all you want is tax cuts and spending cuts, the government can't work well.

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    Default Re: How to build a stand for a 55 gallon aquarium?????

    I wish I'd taken a picture of the one I made 25 years ago..... After the tank broke (A messy divorce apparently...) The guy called me up to turn it into a coffee table that his ex wouldn't be able to steal while he was off at work...
    Try sneaking off with a 4" thick, 22" wide, 50" long piece of pink granite...


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    Default Re: How to build a stand for a 55 gallon aquarium?????

    Just build a box out of wood or plywood. It can have an open bottom as well as a partially open top. If appearance is important make openings in the sides as well. As long as the joints are strong a box (with or without openings) will be plenty strong.

    I'm not sure how you would use a coffee-table height aquarium as a coffee table, though. Put a lid on it and set out your books and magazines and doodads and doilies?
    Goat Island Skiff and Simmons Sea Skiff construction photos here:

    http://s176.photobucket.com/albums/w...esMan/?start=0

    and here:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/37973275@N03/

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    Default Re: How to build a stand for a 55 gallon aquarium?????

    Slabsawn oak and a lipped drawer...
    OK, OK; flatsawn oak is indeed pretty ugly; that was just a photo I found. Like I said, it would make an OK aquarium stand. Here's something similar done properly.


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    Default Re: How to build a stand for a 55 gallon aquarium?????

    I always thought that an aquarium in the ceiling would be very cool.....

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    Default Re: How to build a stand for a 55 gallon aquarium?????

    I'd look for one like Keith showed and put a copper drip pan on spacers between it and the table top.

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    Default Re: How to build a stand for a 55 gallon aquarium?????

    I don't know how many aquariums you guys have had or if ya know any thing about them. I like mine abot 18 to20 inches off the floor if they are larger than 30 gallons. Things tend to get unstable and dangerous the higher they get Most of the aquariums are long narrow and high so pouring water from a bucket or someone bumping them or a child trying to pull themselves up to see in can change things really quick. That is just my opinion.
    "para todo mal, mezcal, y para todo bien también" (for everything bad, mezcal, and for everything good, as well.)

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    Default Re: How to build a stand for a 55 gallon aquarium?????

    The base is easy. It's the top of the aquarium, the "coffee table" part, that's tricky. I made something like this for a 60 gallon tank with a matching top. Don't spill any drinks, the fish don't like it.


    The air pump was hidden under the table top.

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    Default Re: How to build a stand for a 55 gallon aquarium?????

    Quote Originally Posted by John of Phoenix View Post
    . Don't spill any drinks, the fish don't like it.
    Goldfish make their own alcohol if you run them slightly anoxic!
    Even when they work, they don't work well. I blame engineers.
    The only thing engineers have done to the toaster in the last 80 years is make it disposable. I think it applies to a lot of things

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    Default Re: How to build a stand for a 55 gallon aquarium?????

    Ms. Drift - I had to go back and re-read. I was thinking you wanted the aquarium to BE the coffee table. That could be done, but was the source of my concerns about working height. Sounds, instead, like you want the 'coffee table' to SUPPORT the new tank - 13" X 48". How high, and what sort of top will the tank have? One of those that opens from both sides, and has a light down the middle?

    Building a coffee table, with shelves & doors below, shouldn't be too hard. When carrying that much weight, though, one must be sure to incorporate enough shear strength, so the whole support doesn't fold like a house of cards if the tank gets bumped from the end. It's the old: rectangles are unstable, triangles are stable thing.... some sort of diagonal will be needed.
    David G
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    Default Re: How to build a stand for a 55 gallon aquarium?????

    The aquarium is 48"long x 13"wide x 21"high. So I'd like the table to be anywhere from 10" to 12" wider than the aquarium so I would have a space for "coffee table top" too.

    That table Keith showed last, looks very nice.

    Thanks for all your ideas and links. Keep them coming, I'm still undecided.
    Choose wisely -Treat kindly...

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    Default Re: How to build a stand for a 55 gallon aquarium?????

    Sigh.................

    As usual I'm just ignored, or disregarded......
    That's OK...... I'll just sit in the dark, over here by the gas leak......

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    Default Re: How to build a stand for a 55 gallon aquarium?????

    So far you've offered up peanut soup, a two ton slab of rock and an aquarium in the ceiling. That would all be great stuff if you can weave it into a coffee table.

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    Default Re: How to build a stand for a 55 gallon aquarium?????

    The aquarium is 48"long x 13"wide x 21"high.
    Starting at 21" high and adding to that is not the usual height of a coffee table. Maybe display the tank on a credenza to that includes storage would be more appropriate.

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    Default Re: How to build a stand for a 55 gallon aquarium?????

    I see a solid block of flame cut New Zealand Basalt, 15" high, by 27" wide, by 62" long.... With adjustable bronze spacers threaded into the top to keep the tank elevated enough for dust to accumulate between the tank bottom and the slab top, but not enough space to fit a swiffer into..... It would also have 2" solid bronze roller bearing inset ball feet so it can be scooted around on the polished hardwood floors like a skateboard.....

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    Default Re: How to build a stand for a 55 gallon aquarium?????

    Now we're getting somewhere! How 'bout a mug holder for some peanut soup?

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    Default Re: How to build a stand for a 55 gallon aquarium?????

    About 2800# of basalt? Ball rollers would leave pretty big trenches in the floor. (Yes, I know you were kidding.)

    "For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations,
    for nature cannot be fooled."

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    Default Re: How to build a stand for a 55 gallon aquarium?????

    Quote Originally Posted by Keith Wilson View Post
    About 2800# of basalt? Ball rollers would leave pretty big trenches in the floor. (Yes, I know you were kidding.)
    Believe it or not, a local architect actually "designed" a liquor cabinet very much like I described, except it had a dovetailed Walnut box on top of the stone (which was Stony Creek Pink Granite, not Basalt) instead of a fish tank..... I built it for him. The owner/customer sued him for the damage to the floor. Somehow I got left out of the equation, thank god...... Probably because of all the correspondence where I told the architect that the roller bearings would sink into anything softer than granite, like a cheap New Jersey hooker's spike heels into chocolate pudding.....

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mrleft8 View Post
    ... It would also have 2" solid bronze roller bearing inset ball feet so it can be scooted around on the polished hardwood floors like a skateboard.....
    After A-school I converted my drafting board, which was a 40x60 light box, into such a skateboard for use as a coffee table. Even on 4" casters it did a number on a pine floor.

    Still pretty awesome. Flip the switch and its a PARTY!
    We must go too far in order to know how far to go. Yeah.

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    Default Re: How to build a stand for a 55 gallon aquarium?????

    Quote Originally Posted by John of Phoenix View Post
    Starting at 21" high and adding to that is not the usual height of a coffee table. Maybe display the tank on a credenza to that includes storage would be more appropriate.
    The aquarium would sit on top of the table.

    Current antique coffee table is 17" high. I'd like the aquarium stand/table to be about that height or up-to couple of inches taller.

    The aquarium will be kind of a room divider. The fish will be visible from all four sides. And have especially close viewing from the couch and the lazy chair.... But also all parts of the living room and the open kitchen area.
    Choose wisely -Treat kindly...

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    Default Re: How to build a stand for a 55 gallon aquarium?????

    I've built a lot of very very custom aquariums and stands. When I get a chance I'll post some pictures.

    My advice, if you want something really artistic, start from scratch, the tanks you buy are very weekly engineered, if you over engineer the glass you can do all kinds of crazy things with the stand. Either go buy the biggest tank you can and slice and dice the glass down to what you need or just order up some pieces and do your own gluing, its really not that hard.

    You can bridge with glass if its well enough over engineered and build a stand the likes of which will just stun visitors

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    Default Re: How to build a stand for a 55 gallon aquarium?????

    This is one that I found by doing an image search on "aquarium stand" on Google. You could do something like this, but leave out the drawers to make it shorter and then make it wider and hide the pumps and filters in the cabinets.

    http://myartsandcraftshome.com/photo...d?context=user

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    Default Re: How to build a stand for a 55 gallon aquarium?????

    Thats very nice. I have to make something simpler as this will be my first woodworking project.

    Ive already bought the tank.

    Thank you all for your feedback.

    Choose wisely -Treat kindly...

    A secret to a good marriage is to have a quick mind and a slow mouth...


    S/V ORCA 38' Herreshoff Ketch

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