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Jason Baliban 05-28-2007 04:29 PM

Building ADA
Well some months ago I picked up an ADA 120H. Sadly, it sat on the floor in my office for almost 5 months before I got around to putting it together. When it finally came time to put it together, I needed to find a stand that would both fit the metric size of ADA as well as not take away from the sleek look of the tank. Really, the only solution that would accomplish both of those would be to get an ADA stand. Well, they are really pricey!!! ...not to mention shipping. So the next option was to build one. This is a brief account of the 40 hours it took me to build my ADA style stand over the last two weeks. I hope you enjoy.

I decided to cover the stand in formica. Here are the sheets of formica after I picked them up. ....rocking hard with the marshall cab!!!

The early stages of the build. Notice no front piece or hole in the dividing support.

Wood work is is putty, sand, and formica.

Puttied and the interior is stained.

This was the first piece of formica i ever glued and trimmed, so it was quite an accomplishment for me. I hope that you feel the same excitement just looking at the pic:D

Next was the back.

The front was slick....i cut out the trim from one solid piece. No seems!!

Ready for the last piece!!

Formica is complete on the body.

Drilling the holes for the wire/tubing portals. This was challenging.

The stand is complete!!!!

Lets add the tank!!!

Final Product!!

Final shot of the seams....for Erik (Troy McClure)

Hope you had as much fun looking as i did building!!

Oh, and my last tip...

Freshly routed Formica is very very sharp!!! My hands are completely messed up from the last two weeks.


yoink 05-28-2007 04:36 PM

Re: Building ADA
WOW, nice craftmanship. It looks to be worth the cut up hands.

Left Coast DJ 05-28-2007 04:53 PM

Re: Building ADA
Pimpin! Now I'm inspired too.


xcooperx 05-28-2007 05:52 PM

Re: Building ADA
how much it cost you?what are the materials you use? im debating if im gonna buy the ADA metal stand or just build a wooden stand ada look a like? its for my 90cm ADA tank

snickle 05-28-2007 05:54 PM

Re: Building ADA
Very nice.

Jason Baliban 05-28-2007 06:04 PM

Re: Building ADA
Thanks for sharing my excitement everyone:) I am really pumped with the way it turned out. Only towards the end did i really get sick of it. It was the doors....they were the most challenging and frustrating.

It cost me just over 300 in materials. There were some other costs in there for tools and things like that, but if you have them, there is no worries:)


-3 pieces of 3/4 higher grade plywood
-4 eurostyle hinges
-Contact cement
-Wood glue


-Cheap table saw
-Decent circular saw
-Laminate Router Bit
-Really crappy cordless drill


Jason Baliban 05-28-2007 06:17 PM

Re: Building ADA
There was some questions where i got the plastic grommets for the wire/tubing portals.

I got them here....


Troy McClure 05-28-2007 06:20 PM

Re: Building ADA
Thanks for the edge shot, J! I'm throwing this on here for future reference -


slickwillislim 05-28-2007 10:05 PM

Re: Building ADA
How close is the tank size compared to the top of the stand. It seems to me the thicker formica would force you to have a larger piece sticking out from the stand.

I tried to make an ADA stand myself but I painted it because I never thought of using formica. After having small pieces of the paint flake off because it sticks to my tubing I wish I had considered it.

Very well done. The plastic grommets are a nice touch and a great idea.

BTW: Are you going to be hanging your lights from the ceiling or attaching a light stand to the stand?

John P. 05-28-2007 10:09 PM

Re: Building ADA
Great work. I'm pretty close to finishing mine, too. Only been about a year! :)


Originally Posted by slickwillislim (Post 305606)
r having small pieces of the paint flake off because it sticks to my tubing I wish I had considered it.?

Did you prime first? Oil paint is the only way to go.

Paul Higashikawa 05-28-2007 11:56 PM

Re: Building ADA
Awesome job, Jason! 'Course, ya know that means you might have to take orders from some of us here in the future:p I like mine gun metalic just fine, haha!

But seriously, good effort and great work! It is ADA-worthy:) Amano would be very proud!

TNguyen 05-29-2007 05:31 AM

Re: Building ADA
Nicely done! 5 month on the floor? That's it! I'm with John, little over a year and counting. Thanks for showing. Maybe now I can start getting thing together and start building.


slickwillislim 05-29-2007 06:15 AM

Re: Building ADA
I don't want to get to off topic but I used oil based primer, but I didn't use oil based paint. You live and you learn.

Bert H 05-29-2007 09:19 AM

Re: Building ADA
Nicely done, Jason. :thumbsup: When are you going to start setting up the tank?

Jason Baliban 05-29-2007 10:51 AM

Re: Building ADA
Troy McClure - no prob, i hope it helped you picture what was going on:)

slickwillislim - The formica is only about an 1/8 of an inch thick...if that. I would say there is about 1/4" inch of a lip on all side of the tank after the formica was added. Its not a perfect fit, but i really wasnt going for 100% flush. I dont have the tools to do that. I literally have about 250 bucks worth of tools to work with, and for you tool people, you know that is terrible!!! HAHAHA The grommets were thought of after i started the stand. I was sitting at my desk and just looked at one on my desk, and got googling....and their they were:) Im not sure what i am going to do with the lights yet. I have two solar I's to hang over the thing. I am leaning towards building something into the stand or around the stand to hang them. I doubt i will do the ceiling thing.

Paul - I dont think i will build many more. Really, it did take me a lot of time to make. Im sure with some nice tools, i could cut that time in half, and then it might be worth it to make more of them. HAHA

Bert - I am setting it up at the next meeting....june 16th. I better get working on the lights:)

Thanh and john - Its funny how we can resist setting up these tanks right away:)

Thanks guys


David Hui 05-30-2007 08:27 PM

Re: Building ADA
Jason, beautiful stand.

jazzlvr123 06-03-2007 03:26 PM

Re: Building ADA
you just inspired me to build a custom stand for my new 60x30x36cm ADA tank, im going to follow your plans as intricately as i can you did a great job!!

net 06-09-2007 05:22 AM

Re: Building ADA
Good job!

marke14 06-13-2007 12:32 AM

Re: Building ADA
This stand looks awesome.

DIY done right - the cuts on your hands are worth it!

Jason Baliban 06-13-2007 02:40 PM

Re: Building ADA
Next I had to hang the lights. I was pretty sure that i didnt want to drill into my ceiling, so i needed to make a stand. This is what i came up with.


Jason Baliban 06-14-2007 04:46 PM

Re: Building ADA
Here is one for scale.


John P. 06-14-2007 07:05 PM

Re: Building ADA
Definitely larger than I thought!

hooha 06-14-2007 08:24 PM

Re: Building ADA
beautiful work, as usual :cool:

TRDMCV20L 06-16-2007 11:26 PM

Re: Building ADA
Looks super nice. How did you attach the lights to the stand? Maybe a pic from the side?

hoppycalif 06-17-2007 11:36 AM

Re: Building ADA
Heh,heh....She does look very nice, and the light arrangement is nice too. </dirty old man thoughts>

hedson_25 06-26-2007 11:25 AM

Re: Building ADA
nice tank and nice model to present it...

Jason Baliban 06-28-2007 04:34 AM

Re: Building ADA
Thanks Hooha

TRD.. I just used standard conduit clips for the side. I belive they come in a couple different versions, but all work about the same. You just screw the clip in the surface of whatever you want the conduit this case, the side of the stand.

HAHAHA - Thanks guys, i will tell her she is now famous!! :)

I set this tank up at the last meeting. The thread is here.


hedson_25 07-25-2007 09:41 AM

Re: Building ADA
how is that tank doing?

Yeaulman 08-03-2007 08:51 AM

Re: Building ADA

Freshly routed Formica is very very sharp!!!
What did you use to make the edges dull?

FelixAvery 08-04-2007 09:11 AM

Re: Building ADA
omg totally smokin hot! the girls nice aswell

spypet 08-04-2007 12:04 PM

Re: Building ADA
is that 30" high? it's going to be a bitch
to get your arm down there to scape it.

dirrtybirdy 08-07-2007 09:25 PM

Re: Building ADA
im going to make one soon.

gotcheaprice 10-10-2007 01:40 AM

Re: Building ADA
Really nice stand. I wanna make something just like this except black for my 55 gallon. Where did you find formica? And if you have any instructions on how you built this or the material, it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks :D

hoppycalif 10-10-2007 12:37 PM

Re: Building ADA
Home Depot used to sell 4 x 8 sheets of a few formica patterns, including plain black. I don't know if they still do that. And, working with formica is a skill to learn. That material can shatter easily if handled roughly, but it is so flexible and in such large sheets that it is awkward to handle. I found the first thing to learn was how to rough cut it without destroying the sheet - I destroyed a couple while learning. But, the finished product is very well worth all of the effort, as this stand shows.

Jason Baliban 01-25-2008 06:49 AM

Re: Building ADA
I get a bunch of PM's for the materials on this, so hopefully this will help some people.

-3 sheets of 3/4" plywood - I got the best quality i could find.
-2x2" studs for extra inside corner support.

2 sheets (8x4' - they actually give you an extra inch on each side, so its really 50x26") of formica from lowes. $85 each

I glued the plywood together to create 1.5" plywood. I used this for all of the stand except the front doors. I glued all the corners and screwed into the corner studs for extra support.

-Contact Cement (Gel variety)
-Formica router bit (straight)
-Wood Putty
-Plastic Oval Grommets from
-Euro Hinges

Light Stand
-1/2" Conduit
-1/2" Conduit Set Screw coupling
-1/2" Conduit Mounting Strap

*Use a conduit bender to bend the conduit

-Table saw (cheap one)
-Circular Saw (good one)
-Power Drill
-Conduit Bender

Stand Dimensions

Hope this helps.


nationof2 01-25-2008 08:03 AM

Re: Building ADA
Nice... really well done. I bought a custom stand from ADG and it was nice but didn't fit my 120 cm tank exactly like the ADA ones would have. I wish I had the tools/experience to have built my own. You should start selling them.

MARIMOBALL 01-25-2008 08:09 AM

Re: Building ADA
Jason thanks for all the details. Im gonna give pics and instructions to a local builder to see if he can do it. Ill be tearing down my 120gal planted tank and get a 120P.

twilothunder 01-31-2008 12:29 PM

Re: Building ADA
Thank you much for the additional info!

I'm getting very close to building something similar for my 90p, and this thread has been a huge help in my preparations.

Hope the tank is still doing well, please post updated pics when you can :D

Jason Baliban 02-06-2008 06:58 PM

Re: Building ADA
Here is the final shot of this tank.

You can check out more about the layout here...


Tex Gal 02-06-2008 07:09 PM

Re: Building ADA
That is really neat! How did you get the grass to curve like that on the top

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