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Discussion Starter #1
Hi there everyone. I am trying to build a stand for my 36X18 aquarium and thought I would check here with the pros on a couple of things before I get too deep. The wife agrees I can build it, but said it better not look like crap and better not cost more than buying one. I personally don't care about the cost, as something you build is a reflection of you.

One to the questions and I did quite a bit of searching and read a couple of threads, so I apologize if this is redundant.

Building the frame is not a problem, skinning it in is not a problem, heck even the trim I think will not be too bad.

The problem I am running into is what type of material. I plan to skin it in some type of plywood, but know I will be using flat board for some of the trim and would live to put some crown or chair rail molding on this thing. I'm not really ready to put out a couple hundred dollars for solid hardwood molding that is stain ready, and really want the stand to be stained and not painted. Everything in our house is dark, so was looking to go a darker stain.

I just want to make sure I am not buying a lot of material only to have it come out in 4 or 5 shades different stain b/c its different wood.

I am in no way a pro. I do have a table saw, plunge router (no table) and biscuit joiner. Of course I have some other small tools, but would like to build it with those, just to prove I can.

With that in mind, what material would you use to have a nice stand (capable to hold a separate 30X12 fish tank below) with two doors, open back, and some nice trim to make it look good.

Thanks for any input you see fit.

Mike
 

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Can you post a sketch of what you are proposing. To hold three aquariums is going to be extremely heavy. In my mind it would require a steel frame which you could apply wood over for aesthetics.
 

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I think you're looking at around 400 pounds of water (assuming 18x36x18), sand, and fish there, just in the larger tank. That needs to be an EXTREMELY solid structure, with no wiggle side-to-side or front-to-back.

I'm not going to say you can't do it, or even that you shouldn't, but you should consider how confident you are in your ability to build something that strong that's also attractive.

As far as materials, I think welded steel would be a good choice, but you could build something with a 2x4 or 4x4 frame and fasten a plywood skin to it. Stain grade trim is probably going to be the most complicated part to find, so I would find that first, then buy plywood to match the species. You might need to go to a specialty plywood store, and it might not be cheap, but at least you can be reasonably confident that it will take stain the same way.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Its just one aquarium and plan on using a 2 X 4 frame and then skinning over it. I knew structural integrity would be an issue here, but a store bought stand is only using 3/4" laminated particle board with no internal framing. I'll post sketches and pics of the framing I'm going to do later today. Thanks for the replays.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
The frame will be similar to this. Mine will be a bit deeper front to back. I know this will be plenty of support for just 40 gallons. What I am really needing help on is choosing wood to skin and trim the structure in. If I cant find the trim I need, I guess I can get some one by boards and route some designs and use that, but was really looking for it to be nice. But also, I am trying to keep this below $200.

 

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I build my stands out of 3/4 inch plywood plenty strong.
Have a solid wood face frame.
I like the simple look but add a couple pieces of trim and it would be fancy.
Here is a shot of my 55 gallon stand.
 

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cbravo, I built a frame almost exactly like that one you posted with two MDF shelves underneath for a 29 gallon tank. More than sturdy enough. I used 1/4 inch luan to skin it on the outside and then put corner molding at the corners. Cheapo plastic stuff I wouldn't use again but it did accept the stain reasonably well. It will be more than strong enough for a single tank. I'd consider the ramifications to your flooring of putting multiple tanks in the same location of the floor. At 600 pounds you're really pushing the load limit that floors are designed for without adding some structural support. With only a single tank, you should be okay with the stand and the floor load.

PS it doesn't look anywhere near as nice as croakers. If you want it to look good buy a sheet or two of quality ply and skin it with that. If you want quick and functional (like mine) you can go cheaper until you have the time/funds to do a better job like croaker's.
 

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+1 on weight issues...try to figure out your "dead load" limit for the floor before putting that much weight up. 8 lbs/gallon for the water alone.

Oh, unless you're in California...no basements, almost everything is on concrete slab...first floor holds pretty much anything!

I've had aquariums up to 125 gallons on many stands over the years...a strong base like in your photo will be good, covered with almost anything for looks. Make sure you have both shear and cripple support (side to side and top to bottom)...I use a shelf at the bottom to keep everything square.

Here's the last one I used for my 125 gallon (48x12x12 ), no problems holding the weight (I used plywood and crown moulding)
 

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