Introduction: Aquarium Stand With Bookcase
I have been in the aquarium/paludarium hobby for a little while now. I have made many different types of tanks and setups. I have an extra bowfront tank that I want to setup and put in my son's room as he loves looking at our 65gallon tank in our living room. After looking at different designs for inspiration and input from my wife, I have decided to build an aquarium stand while making a "magazine style rack" for books.
- Deck/Construction screws
- Mitre saw
- Pencil (for marking where to cut wood)
- Measuring Tape
- A Square
Step 1: Measure Twice and Cut Once
Started off by measuring out the dimensions of the aquarium. Being a bowfront tank, I have seen multiple designs where the stand is the same shape as the aquarium. I am looking to do a more straight forward "box" style stand.
The measurements that I need the stand to be are" 36" Wide x 16" Deep (at the deepest point) x 36" High
Using the mitre saw, I cut the pieces to the specific lengths that I needed to make for a quicker assembly.
Step 2: Assemble Bottom and Top Pieces
I laid out the pieces that would become the bottom frame to ensure that everything fit together (they did!).
Starting in 1 corner, I used the square to ensure that when I started screwing everything in, that everything remained at 90 degrees.
Each joint received 2 deck screws. After assembling the 2 end pieces, I inserted 2 additional supporting beams. These should be a tight fit and hammered into place. (I used a spare piece of 2x4 to do this).
After assembling the bottom frame, I did the same steps for the top piece frame.
Step 3: Attach Leg Supports to Bottom Frame
I laid the bottom frame on the floor and then stood up the leg support in place. Using the sqaure, I ensured that everything was squared before attaching with screws. I used 4 screws to hold this piece in place. After doing the same thing to all the other legs, I moved onto attaching the top frame
Step 4: Attach Leg Support to Top Frame
I slide the top frame over the 4 legs and used some extra wood to hold it in place. This allowed me to level the top as I assembled it.
As you can see in the pictures, the support did not hold it up to the exact height that it would be screwed in at. Starting in 1 corner, I attached with 1 screw (not too tight to allow movement). I went to the opposite corner and attached it to the leg, ensuring that everything remained level. I did this for the other 2 corners, and then secured all 4 with additional screws.
Step 5: Cut and Attach Extra Support
Because water is really heavy, I wanted to ensure that this stand would not fall apart with the amount of weight of everything that will be in the stand, I added some extra support at each corner. These should be cut to exact fit, and should be hammered into place. This will ensure the stand will make use of the extra support.
Once this is done, the basic aquarium stand frame is completed.
Step 6: Cut and Attach Plywood Bottom
I measured the length of plywood that I would need for the bottom of the stand. Cut it to size and attached using screws.
Step 7: Cut and Assemble Bookshelf Pieces
I used the spare pieces of 2x4 to build the magazine rack style of bookshelf. This allowed me to place the pieces in different ways to figure out the best way to assemble it. I started off my screwing a couple pieces to the bottom that will act as a frame to the shelf. I created a couple "U" shaped shelves that the books would stand in. Using smaller pieces I was able to create the staggered looked of the shelf. Using screws, I attached the pieces together.
Step 8: Add Backing to Shelf
For this part, I simply took spare pieces of wood and created a side and back panel for the books to lean on. This will also give me a place to hide the electrical socket so it is out of sight.
Step 9: Move to Room and Setup
This step was pretty easy. I just moved it to the space that I made in my son's room for it. After putting the stand in place, I added the aquarium on top to make sure it was in the right place. I also added some books to make sure that everything fit.
Step 10: Setup Aquarium and Fill
After I was satisfied with the placement of the stand, I began to place all the equipment.
Warning: Please refer to manufacturer's manual when setting up equipment to ensure it is done properly.
I used a Smart WiFi power bar to connect everything to. This allows me to be able to control everything in the aquarium even when I am not at home. This will also allow me to use Google to control everything. The power bar sits behind the book shelf with all the power from the heater, pump, air pump, and lights connect to it.
Water Heater - For this, I placed it in the middle of the tank. Set it to 72F and ensure that the water level is in between the 2 operating lines
Light - I am using a LED light that is full spectrum. This will allow life to grow better. This will be setup on a 12 hour cycle (12 hours on / 12 hours off). I am using routines on Google Home to control this
Air Pump - I used an air pump that has dual outlets. I ran the tubes to 2 different ends of the tank and used rocks/wood to hold it down into place. This will help provide oxygen to the fish that will eventually be calling this place home.
Water Filter - I am using an Eheim cannister filter. These are very easy to setup and get going. For this particular model, it has an inlet hose and an outlet hose (that has a spray bar). After I put everything into place and got the hoses where I wanted them, the next step is to prime the filter.
Prime Filter For Usage:
Note: Again, please follow the manual on the right way to prime your filter. These steps work for the one that I am using.
1. Turn the levers for both Inlet/Outlet hoses to the ON position
2. With inlet hose in the water, take the spray bar off of the outlet hose
3. Suck on the outlet hose until you hear water pouring into the cannister (It is now siphoning water into the cannister
4. Power on filter
5. Reconnect Spray Bar
6. Place Spray bar into desired position
Step 11: Add Decorations and Begin Water Cycle Process
For decorations, I used some spare driftwood and some rocks from another aquarium that I have. This is good because it already has moss growth on them and bacteria from my other aquarium. This will ultimately help the health of the overall aquarium by bringing in "good bacteria".
It is super important to cycle the water if you are going to be having anything live in the aquarium. Without going into the long reason as to why it is important (You can google this), the short is that it helps eliminate bad bacteria from the water that can be harmful and allows good bacteria to grow to help sustain life. At the end of the day, if you do not do this and just simply add fish, they will likely die.
To begin the water cycle process, all you really need to do is run everything as if there were fish in it. Run the lights on the timer, let the pumps, filters, heater, etc run. You will need to do this for at least 3-4 weeks (in my experience) before you can safely put fish in the tank. Since I have many fish that breed in my other tank, I will usually take a couple fish around the 3-4 week time and put them in as testers. If they are still alive and swimming after a couple days, then you are good to continue to add more. (I have been 100% successful with doing this across many years in the hobby).
Other ways to avoid waiting this time is to use water from an aquarium already. I did not go this route as carrying water up that many stairs that often was too tiring and I don't mind waiting as I will be playing around with the layout of the decorations in that time.
Step 12: Clear Water
After a couple days, the haze in the water has disappeared
After the water has been cycled, I will be adding fish and some more decorations/plants
Step 13: Plant Growth and Adding Fish
The tank has now been cycled properly and as you can see there is moss growth starting on the substrate and on the logs. For this tank, I plan to have the bottom covered with moss, to look almost grass like. This will take some time to achieve this.
In the meantime, now that the tank has been cycled, I can start adding some life into the tank. I added a couple Plattys from my other existing tank. I plan on adding some ghost shrimp, a pleco, more plattys, and other various colourful fish
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