Instructables

Fish Tank Stand, HEAVY DUTY, for $25 - holds 450 lbs! Thats a lot of fish!

Picture of Fish Tank Stand, HEAVY DUTY, for $25 - holds 450 lbs! Thats a lot of fish!
Fish tank stand 2.jpg
Fish tank stand 3.jpg
Fish tank stand 4.JPG
Fish tank stand 5.jpg
Fish tank side.jpg
This instructable will show you how to build your own SOLID HEAVY DUTY Fish Tank Stand! Mine holds well over 450lbs! My fish tank incorporates a "rustic wood pallet" look for cosmetic appeal and cool lighting effects below the fish tank!

Why I built my own fish tank stand - The selection in many aquarium stores is overpriced and poor quality. Most of the stuff I looked at was made from particle board and cost well over $150.

I decided, "If you want something done right you should do it yourself." So I built my own, saved money, and taught myself some nifty wood-working techniques that I will use elsewhere in my life. SAVE $ and TEACH YOURSELF NEW SKILLS! That is a win-win!

What you need:
- WOOD! Lots of it! I purchased 10 - 8 foot long 2x4's at Home Depot. They were nice enough to cut them in half for me in the store.
- WOOD: I also purchased 2 small pieces of furniture grade flat plywood for the sides of the fish tank (see in photos)
- Saw (manual or automatic) I used manual for a free arm workout!
- Gloves (safety)
- Goggles (optional safety)
- Pen and paper - to plan out your fish tank size (height, width, etc.)
- Hammer
- Nails. - I used 2 1/2" long nails for the main structure. I used 3/4' nails for installing the plywood sides.
- A safe working area
- Wood stain and paint brush (optional)

I started this project with no real plans. I sketched out some ieas on paper, went to the store, and bought a ton of wood and planned as I went.

Difficulty:  Easy .... if you are familiar with basic cutting, sawing, measuring, and hammering.
                   Hard .... if you have never touched tools.


Measuring the fish tank stand and Supplies for your unique fish tank stand:
1. Decide how big you want your fish tank stand to be.
2. Map out the height, length, and width for your fish tank. (pen + paper + math here)
3. Go to the store and purchase all of the above listed items (unless you already have them)
4. The larger fish tank stand will require more wood. Small stands can be made with very little wood.

At the time of purchase, I wanted a fish tank stand for a 15 gallon aquarium. I built my fish tank stand MUCH STRONGER knowing I will buy a larger fish tank in the future. I am glad I did this because I purchased 29 gallon fish tank 2 years later!

*** I understand I am not giving you exact measurements and plans. I am giving you the idea that you can build a cheaper and more reliable solid fish tank stand out of 2 x 4's and basic hammer and nail wood working skills. You decide what size is best for you ***

Cutting
1. After mapping out and planning the height, length, and width of your fish tank, you are ready to cut and piece together your table.
2. Cut the specified length for 4 legs.
3. Cut the specifed length for 2 top vertical supports
4. Cut the specifed length for 2 top horizontal flat supports (what the majority of the fish tank will sit on)
5. Cut cross supports between the legs (both length and width)
You can see most of this process as I work into building the fish tank in my pictures below.
6. Cut the sides to the correct height and width.

Building
1. Loosely fit the pieces together BEFORE NAILING to make sure they are the ideal height, length, width
2. Upon confirming height, length, and width, attach the 4 legs with the top of the fish tank stand with nails (See pictures below)
3. Attach cross supports to legs with nails
4. Attach top (flat) table cross pieces (the table top) with nails
5. Add additional cross supports with nails as needed.
6. More nails can make for better fish tank strength (as long as you do not split the wood)
7. Use small nails to install flat plywood sides. This step will hold the sides together stronger with one huge bond of nails!

Testing
1. Place a chair next to your newly built fish tank stand
2. Carefully place 1 foot on the fish tank stand and one on the chair - "test" to ensure the fish tank can support your weight (you know how much you weigh and what your fish tank weighs....PERFORM THIS STEP WITH CAUTION!)

Staining (optional)
This part gets messy.
1. Basically take the fish tank stand to the garage and load it up with wood stain. You pick the color. Apply the stain generously and the fish tank stand will be very dark. Less stain = lighter finish.
2. Let the wood stain dry at least 2 days. Otherwise you will have some fun getting the stain out of your carpet.....
3. Be sure to thoroughly wipe down the fish tank stand to ensure dryness before moving it back into the house!


Be proud and show people your fish tank that YOU built! I love showing people my aquarium and fish tank stand and they always ask where I got it. I enjoy telling them I built it :) 

One disadvantage: The fish tank stand may be extra sturdy but it weighs about 30-40 pounds. Keep this in mind when you decide how large you build your stand! Be prepared for one heck of a rough move....

On the bright side: You will have some happy fish knowing you built them a SOLID fish tank stand!

Please visit my exercise education website below. I use 13 years of personal training experience to offer workout advice without the per session price! You now have a free personal trainer for life! :) Take care!

Justin Stobbs
Founder, www.GymInvention.com
codereflection made it!2 months ago

I made a variation of this over the weekend, adding two shelves for books. It's VERY sturdy, and as you said, heavy. :) Thanks for sharing this on Instructables!

CAM01007.jpg
klee27x8 months ago
That looks really nice, Justin.

One word of caution. It is recommended to place a layer of foam underneath a large aquarium for stress relief. Your 30 gallon tank might be ok, or maybe not so lucky.

I was not so lucky when my 55 gallon tank started leaking after a year or two. Oh, boy, I wish I had used the $5.00 worth of foam.
TheGeniusCreates (author)  klee27x8 months ago
klee27x,

I am sorry you had a bad experience when your 55 gallon tank leaked.

Thank you for the kind advice. Foam is a great idea for insulation. How do you suggest one would use foam to support an aquarium?

My 29 gallon aquarium is holding strong after 1 1/2 years. More importantly the aquarium stand is built sturdy like a tank and could probably handle more weight but I am not trying to find out. 29 gallons is enough for me!

Thanks for the tip :)
- Justin S.
The idea is to cut a layer of foam to match the footprint of the tank and put it under the bottom of the tank.

Unless you ran all your lumber through a planer and built it perfectly, it's not perfectly flat. And even if it started out flat, it can warp over time, putting pressure points on the tank. The weight of the water actually makes the tank bend, ever so slightly, and this puts extra stress on the joints. The foam is supposed to alleviate this issue.
klee27x klee27x8 months ago
Long and boring story:
I was into saltwater aquariums for a number of years, even moving that 55 gallon tank with me across the country. I put all my fish into a 10 gallon tank and I blew bubbles into it while I drove. Each night, I would bring it into my hotel room and plug in the filter. LOL. I got all 9 out of 10 of my saltwater fish from the east coast to the west coast, alive and happy. Only my moray didn't make it. Once, I found him flopping on the floor, but I got him back in time. But another morning I found him dead. He managed to get his head stuck into the filter return tube. I had to remove the end of it to get it to fit into the 10 gallon tank, so it was an open tube near the bottom. I guess he wanted to see what was on the other side. :(

A couple years later, when my tank sprung a leak, I finally called it quits. I had gotten another friend into the hobby, so I gave him all my fish.

Ahh, memories. That was over ten years ago, but I still remember a lot of those fish. I had a blue tang, 2 tomato clowns, the brown spotted moray eel, a huge hermit crab that periodically ate my smaller fish, a small trigger, can't remember the type. And best of all, I had Snoopy. He was the greatest puffer fish, ever.

I've looked him up many times, but I could never identify the species. He was the size and shape of a blue spotted hawaiin puffer (so a small fish, maybe an inch and a half long), except he was pink all over. And his independently moving eyes extended farther out, like they were on stalks. And unlike a blue spotted, this fish changed shape and color. Any shade of white or pink or brown, he could do. He could make his skin angular and bumpy. At night, he'd curl against a rock and become part of it, nearly invisible. Best of all, he spent all day carefully and slowly observing his surroundings, hovering slowly through the water, eyes focusing on this or that. He always looked like he was thinking about something! I'm convinced this fish was self-aware. Blue spotted's are not like this at all. They appear to be dumb as rocks.

Anyway, if you made it this far, sorry for boring you!
TheGeniusCreates (author)  klee27x8 months ago
klee27x,

Thank you for the foam advice. I never thought about that!

Sorry to hear you lost your precious salt water babies! I would probably stop the fish tank hobby if I encountered the same experience too!

So far, so good! I am keeping it at 29 gallons (fresh water) and not going any larger until I have a house I know I will live in for 10+ years!

- Justin
Pro

Get More Out of Instructables

Already have an Account?

close

PDF Downloads
As a Pro member, you will gain access to download any Instructable in the PDF format. You also have the ability to customize your PDF download.

Upgrade to Pro today!