Just built a custom stand for my 125 Gallon Fish Tank - What do you guys think? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 28 Old 03-28-2019, 06:20 AM Thread Starter
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Smile Just built a custom stand for my 125 Gallon Fish Tank - What do you guys think?

Hey guys, I am new here and new to woodworking. I have pretty much become addicted to this hobby over the last few weeks. I have spent tons of money on tools for this build but I also made sure to get tools that we could use on our house we plan to buy in 12 months. We are going to be buying a fixer-upper..

It is 2 x 4 construction wrapped with 3/4" Pine Plywood and 3/4" Pine Finishes. I think it came out good for my first piece of furniture.

Complete before Doors Hung




Complete w/ Doors Hung & Fixtures added.


Minwax True Black Stain Added


Wood Grain (Looks awesome!)


I will be adding a canopy over the next few days. It will look something like this but the design will match the stand so it will all flow together.


Two questions I have:

do I need to Poly this and if I do, I do not want it to be shiny. So would that mean I want Clear Poly with a Satin Finish?

And for the Canopy, I need to Paint the inside of the canopy white and I need it to be a waterproof paint that will seal the wood as mold will form if not done properly. Any advice on the best way to do this? I have large fish that tend to splash and I want to make sure that the wood is protected.. This is all new to me so any help you can give is very much appreciated.

thank you in advance & thanks for looking!
Joshua
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post #2 of 28 Old 03-28-2019, 07:38 AM
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Welcome to the forum, Joshua! When you get a minute add your location to your profile.

That's a nice looking stand for your tank - good job! I would use a good oil base enamel to coat the inside of the canopy. You'll get other opinions, as well. Is there a way to make sure plenty of air hits the inside of the canopy? That will greatly reduce the opportunity for mold spores to grow.

We like photos so keep posting. You can show us your shop, tools, projects, etc. whenever you're ready.

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post #3 of 28 Old 03-28-2019, 08:17 AM Thread Starter
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Hi David,

Thanks for the advice. I have a 2 car garage that has never seen a car because it is packed with tools and other stuff. In about a year we are planning to get out of the city and move to a rural area about 20-30 minutes from where we are now. We want to get at least 5-10 acres and our dream is to get an old farmhouse that we can renovate and turn into our forever home. Me and my wife have 5 children aged 4 months, 3, 13, 16 & 17. I am pretty good with my hands and I can follow instructions. YouTube is an amazing resource. I feel confident enough that with the right instructions and tools, I can accomplish just about anything. You just need patience, the right tool and resources to reference. The only area’s I don’t feel 100% confident in is electrical and plumbing.

I will post some pics of my workshop once I finish this current project and clean up a little bit. i have some from a few months ago but that was mainly when my shop was set up strictly for metalworking. I also taught myself to TIG weld using YouTube. As you can tell I am a big supporter of YouTube! Lol

Thanks again & have a good day!
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post #4 of 28 Old 03-28-2019, 08:55 AM
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Very nice. I have a friend in the Detroit area that goes all out with his aquariums. Carves foam for a "rock" background and puts in all kinds of "scenic" effects. The aquarium reminds me that I haven't been to Captain D's in a while.
Looking forward to the finished project.

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post #5 of 28 Old 03-28-2019, 02:01 PM Thread Starter
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Here are some pics of the canopy frame. The main things I need to figure out are how to open the front to feed the fish and how to mount the light.
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post #6 of 28 Old 03-28-2019, 02:15 PM
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if you just went down to the local big box store and bought the dimensional lumber and made the stand, you'll want to allow 6-8 weeks for it to dry/shrink/twist/pretzelize. then lay in the tank and check for flatness/support. glass has very limited bending abilities, and big box lumber has very great shrinking abilities.


125 gal is basically 1000 lbs plus. either it's evenly supported or you'll need a wet/dry vac.
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post #7 of 28 Old 03-28-2019, 03:28 PM
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I assume the glass tank will be strong enough to support the canopy.
It's a great looking stand. In addition to painting the interior of the canopy with enamel or whatever, I would seal the seams with the same silicone caulk that's used to seal aquariums.
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post #8 of 28 Old 03-28-2019, 07:07 PM
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Fantastic job!
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post #9 of 28 Old 03-29-2019, 01:50 AM
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I have a great deal of experience with large fish tanks, not so much with making the cabinet bases, but I would suggest you cross brace the back of the cabinet to stop the whole thing racking sideways if someone leans on one end.
As a vertical down force i think that base would hold up fine but is it strong diagonally?

From a very quick calculation you have over a ton of water, glass, and rocks, and equipment there. If its going to back onto a wall, make sure its screwed to the wall.
And make sure the tank is NOT seated onto bare wood. That sized tank needs polystyrene strips to absorb and irregularities and or dust fragments.
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post #10 of 28 Old 03-29-2019, 01:10 PM Thread Starter
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I have never Actually heard of polystyrene. Where do I get it?
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post #11 of 28 Old 03-29-2019, 02:32 PM
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Great stand!! You do nice work. Been a long time since I had a tank and my largest was only a 25gal I built myself. I was partial to African Cichlids. What kind of aquarium will you set up? Make a great salt water set up with all that room.

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post #12 of 28 Old 03-29-2019, 08:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joshualaliberte View Post
...Two questions I have:

do I need to Poly this and if I do, I do not want it to be shiny. So would that mean I want Clear Poly with a Satin Finish?

And for the Canopy, I need to Paint the inside of the canopy white and I need it to be a waterproof paint that will seal the wood as mold will form if not done properly. Any advice on the best way to do this? I have large fish that tend to splash and I want to make sure that the wood is protected.. This is all new to me so any help you can give is very much appreciated.

thank you in advance & thanks for looking!
Joshua
Hey Joshua,

Welcome to the forum...!!!...

That looks like a fantastic stand for a "first time" at woodworking...???...I know "pros" in the aquarium and pet industry that make there own stands. Yours is one pare with the best of them!!!

I will validate a little bit, so perhaps my advise will be better understood within that context...

I "was" a life science major about "thousand years ago"...LOL......and ended up reaching my goal of becoming a Zookeeper before even finishing a degree. One of my passions, then (and now) is "enclosure systems" with a focus mainly on sustainable vivaria. My other passions in traditional arts and outdoor adventure activities finally won over, and why I work now professionally in "wood." I still "dabble" in the world of enclosed biome and enjoy it very much...

Now, for your first question...

As to finish...if you ask 10 people (or 100...LOL...) that is how many different answers you will get...

My perspectives on finishes are rooted in two primary foundations...one as a tradtional woodworker...and the other is as a Zookeeper and designer of enclosure systems (wet and dry.)

I don't use...plastic finishes...(aka poly and related urethane)...on wood for any reason...

For some applications, I do (and have to) use certain...very specific!!!...formula of epoxy...(more on that in a bit!)

So for a cabinet like that I would use either a tradtional paint (that I blend myself) and/or a oil-wax-rosin finish...These can then develop a natural patina (like antiques get) that plastic finishes do not allow.

Because this is an aquarium a finish can get splashed on. As such, I explain to clients that they just have to be more diligent about "mopping up" if they do spill water on the finish. Yet, the other nice part about natural and traditional finishes is they some of the easiest to do well and take care of...I can expand on any of this if you are interested...

If you go with a "poly" or related other members here can help you with that...

As to the "white epoxy" that is a great idea and a standard in the industry for not only light reflection but also the reasons you have listed. Please note though, molds can (and will) still grow on these surfaces and epoxy is not 100% water proof without a great deal of effort. That isn't something a hood needs anyway. It just needs a good "splash guard" type of coating that facilitates clean up and light reflection. I have used clear coat epoxies to over a "glued in" Aluminium Mylar layer but that's kind of a "trade-secret" of mine...LOL! You would have promise not to do this kind of work professionally and send me an email if you want more details on how to do that...

I have used Polygem "Zoo Epoxies" for over 3 decades...but recently also started using Ecopoxy because they are such a great little company, are "plant based" and really make a great product line. They will also "spec" my epoxies to what I am needing for a design (i.e. artificial wood, stone, finish load types, etc...) Contact either company (the first is a huge company with lots of history in this work...the second will really works hard to help you directly...) for specifics and feel free to come back here to discuss what you learn and/or with quesitons...

Your frame looks strong enough (for the most part) to me...Its well shy of weight a ton (??) and I have it calculated (total weight) at about 1350 lb give or take 100 lbs.

I would ask that if you know at this time:

Your point load restrictions in the floor frame under the tank fully set up?

What type of flooring will be under it?

Is it a corner setting?

Will it be wall attached?

Does the back of the stand have a solid attached ply backing or some other diaphragm resistant to racking?

Yours set up looks like it might be for saline, but you wrote its for "a large fish"...What do you plan on putting in the tank?

What lighting and filtration system are you going with?

I can't wait for my next project in this realm!!! I'm really excited with the break through in LED systems and plan on using one of the Kessil systems!

Again...great job!!!

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post #13 of 28 Old 03-29-2019, 09:10 PM Thread Starter
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Jay C White,

I will answer all your questions when I am on my computer tomorrow. Tonight my wife is working So I have my hands full with 5 kids and 1 of them is 4 months old. I managed to get some more on the canopy done when he was napping. Here are a few pics. I added some supports and mounted the light. Cut all the 1/4” plywood to wrap it. Now I am done for the night as the baby is up. More to come tomorrow!! Enjoy the weekend!!
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post #14 of 28 Old 03-30-2019, 01:29 AM
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An all glass tank must have the base cushioned. The smallest piece of grit under that base will cause the glass to split under the weight of the water in the tank. even a warped board could crack the glass.
The most common method of protecting the base is to lay strips of white polystyrene across the base layer. This might be called styrofoam where you live, its fairly rigid but can be slightly depressed by your finger.

Use strips about 4" wide x 1/2" thick, front to back on the base, with a gap of about 1/2" between each one. This will even out all the pressures on the glass. Dont use a whole sheet. The foam can only compress at the edges and if an entire sheet is used the edges will sag but the middle will not, causing the glass to bend and most likely break.
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post #15 of 28 Old 03-30-2019, 02:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joshualaliberte View Post
Jay C White...I will answer all your questions when I am on my computer tomorrow. Tonight my wife is working So I have my hands full with 5 kids and 1 of them is 4 months old. I managed to get some more on the canopy done when he was napping. Here are a few pics. I added some supports and mounted the light. Cut all the 1/4” plywood to wrap it. Now I am done for the night as the baby is up. More to come tomorrow!! Enjoy the weekend!!
I look forward to it!!!

The photos are great...thanks...

Wow...5 kids and find the time to build "tank stands"...you generation's version of a "Super Dad?"...Bet they'll love the aquarium too...

>>>

Quote:
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An all glass tank must have the base cushioned.....
Hello Sunnybob,

I'm not sure of the language here in context to the OP's Aquarium Stand Project...???

An aquarium-tank, irregardless of size (I've designed, built and set up from 1 gal to 100K L) does require a fully supported base/foundation in most designs (not all.) That is true of "wood tanks"...plastic, masonry or the sundry of glass/slate designs as well...both contemporary and vintage...Like some of the remaining "Victorian" period tanks that pop up ever once in a while for restoration...

The OP's tank appears to be a standard built commercial "rimmed tank" and not a custom "rimless" design...of which I do like for many of the vivarium I design. He only built the stand and hood from what I have gleaned in his posts about the project. As such there is no "cushioning" required, nor have I ever heard, read or experienced the term "cushioned" in regards to the frame support for any size aquarium? I would also offer, just as an experienced perspective/observation that any kind of "compressible material" under a fully loaded tank very well could create an uneven load differential within the glass diaphragm of the bottom!

Polystyrene (aka bead board) and or any other "foam" is not something personally I would recommend under any tank.

However, if you have literature, or new research evidence to the contrary, I would very much enjoy reading it...

What I do know well, and recommend to clients and DIYers getting in to all this is that a glass "rimmed" tank must have it primary load paths correspond to the design of the tank. The "point loads" typically are at the edges...and...if the designer/manufactures has also place secondary spans within the bottom section of the frame that forms the "rim" then that area should have secondary support within the stand itself...which is often customary. If these aren't present, then the gauge of the glass (aka thickness) is robust enough not to require these secondary spans. The only think I could think of that could be construed as "cushioning" is the bead of silicon that is employed to hold the frame onto the primary diaphragms of glass that forms the sides and bottom...Beyond that, it the geometry and the glass material that transfers the effective loads to the support frame under it...

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post #16 of 28 Old 03-30-2019, 04:40 AM
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The tank in that picture does not have a frame. You are seeing the ends of the other sides of glass which appear to be black.
As such, everything I have stated stands.
I do NOT recommend styrofoam beads unless there is a side lip to stop the edge beads popping out from under the tank.

It's rare to find framed tanks nowadays because the silicone is strong enough to take the weight.
My first aquarium (41 years ago) was 6 ft x 18" x 18". It was home made with 2" angle iron frame and had 1/2" shop front glass and was difficult for two people to move when empty.


If an aquarium does have a steel or heavy duty plastic frame which lifts the glass off of the base support, then of course, that does not require extra support for the bottom.
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post #17 of 28 Old 03-30-2019, 06:41 PM
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...If an aquarium does have a steel or heavy duty plastic frame which lifts the glass off of the base support, then of course, that does not require extra support for the bottom...
On this point, we can agree...

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post #18 of 28 Old 03-30-2019, 07:22 PM Thread Starter
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Just so Everyone knows, the tank has a heavy duty plastic trim around the base therefore nothing is needed between the wood and it. If I were using a glass only aquarium I would be using something in between the wood. I still haven’t had a chance to get to my computer but I will soon and I’ll answer any questions I might’ve missed. If I can get this little guy to sleep I could go out in the garage and get some work done!!
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post #19 of 28 Old 03-30-2019, 07:25 PM Thread Starter
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Some pics of our other tanks
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post #20 of 28 Old 03-30-2019, 07:27 PM Thread Starter
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The new tank and stand will be going behind the couch. I built it tall enough so that even with the couch in front of it you can see the entire tank.
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125 gallon tank stand, 6 foot tank, custom fish tank stand, laliberte family aquatics, minwax true black

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