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RickRS 03-10-2011 05:44 PM

75 gallon tank stand build
Have a new 75 gallon tank to replace a 40 gallon Long on a metal stand in the family room. To clarity sizes, the 40 gallon Long is 48 inches long x 12.5 inches wide x 16 inches tall and the 75 gallon is 48 inches long x 18 inches wide x 21 inches tall. The wife insist that any stand has to contain both tanks, as she doesn't want the 40Long taking up space in another room. I want something that looks classy, aka "furniture-like".

So design parameters are firming up; plan is to construct something like the typical metal stand, only looking like a wood table. Problems with the design, no place for filters underneath, bottom tank will be difficult to work on, not as nice a view as top tank. Can't think anything to change problems 2 and 3, but problem 1 could be simply constructing a cabinet to sit next to the tank stand to hide two canister filters and store whatever stuff accumulates for tank maintenance. Also, I hadn't join the CO2 world, these will be low-tech.

The idea will be to built the support "bones" with framing lumber, then cover with something a little better looking. To support the 75 on top, I decide to double up with 2x4 instead of a single 2x6 for the unsupport span in the front. The 40Long will require only single 2x4 frame to support it's weight.

What I put together as the bones:
Front view

Side view

There a mistake already, but nothing major. I am planning a solid 3/4" plywood back, and the 75 back frame was going to be supported by a single 2x4 and the plywood. Forgot and did front and back top rail both as doubled up 2x4. To fasten everything together I used 3.5 inch stainless steel deck screws. The square drive head and a drill make driving these long screw easier. The top rails were glued together with Titebond II, clamped, and then 3.5 screws driven in. The screws tips will come out the other side in the rails. I just filed the sharp tips flush with the wood and didn't worry.

Because of the single rails for the bottom shelf and double rails for the top shelf, I fill out the space with 2x2, as you see in the side view. The bottom rails are sitting flush on a second 2x4 so I get a little more elevation off the ground, while having the rail supported over its entire length. With the plywood shelf, the bottom tank will be 5.75 inches off the ground.

The cross pieces inside the vertical 2x4 legs are not touching the legs. They are spaced to be under the end of the 48 inch long tanks, and with the need to have legs out enough to allow a second 48 inch tank between them the top is about 55 inch long.

The three pieces making up each legs (two 2x4 and the 2x2 filling space between) are fastened together with the 3.5 inch deck screws.

RickRS 03-10-2011 06:00 PM

Re: 75 gallon tank stand build
Next is plywood for the sides, back, and the bottom shelf. Used birch, Home Depot's cheap C-3 grade. The 2x4 structure was already rigid, but added panels seem to tighten up the stand another notch.

The sides are nailed on with 2 inch finishing nails, the back is fastened with those 3.5 inch deck screws.

Notches were cut in the plywood for the bottom shelf to fit around the outside front and back leg pieces, then I used 2 inch finishing nails in just a few spots to hold it down. I seem to have missed taking a photo, but a second panel of 1/2" plywood covers the 2x4 on the inside. Just happen to have enough from a previous project that I didn't have to buy another sheet. That's about 50 pounds of plywood, this thing is getting heavy.

RickRS 03-10-2011 06:33 PM

Re: 75 gallon tank stand build
Next is starting to cover the 2x4. I used poplar, mainly because it inexpensive, but with stain can look nice. Picking thru the boards at the store, I did have to settle for some green mineral stains. A tip if you find yourself looking a lot of ugly green poplar: the green turns brown if you set the board in the sun. Not too bad looking when that happens.

The legs covered over with poplar:

Using edge glued boards, not mitering the corners. Glue on the boards to secure to the 2x4, and finishing nails at the top and bottom only to fasten in place, so the nails will be covered by the final trim pieces.

The poplar in place, front view:

As you can see, the board covering the bottom rail was one of the pieces with mineral stains, as well as the top edge of the right leg. Hoping it finishes out ok with stain.

The legs have flutes routed into them to class up the joint. ;)

A view of the side:

I messed up the left leg's fluting. These were being done with a hand held router and edge guide after the board was in place. I got the router's cord in my way at the end of the cut and mess it up. Then, I proving I can always make things worse, I did it again and then allow the router to wander at the other end of the cut :frusty:

Was going to take it off and start that cover piece over, but attempts to ply the board off show I might tear everything up, so I decided it wasn't as bad as I thought. Will rethink this, as I might redo the fluting with a larger bit to cut out my mistake. That's for this coming weekend.

And for the record, this took 5 days over two weekend to get to this point.

The next items with be adding the top shelf, then final trim pieces, and lastly the finish.

And then I've got to do a light hood, and the equipment cabinet.

More to come!

mindnova 03-10-2011 07:45 PM

Re: 75 gallon tank stand build
That is absolutely stunning work. Gives a little bit more nerve to try my own.
It also gave me an idea that if I want two aquariums in the style you have built to extend the stand out on each side enough to house a canister filter on each side.
The problem is I have the ideas but not the nerve or skill.
Can't wait to see the finished product.

RickRS 03-10-2011 08:40 PM

Re: 75 gallon tank stand build

Originally Posted by mindnova (Post 584201)
That is absolutely stunning work. Gives a little bit more nerve to try my own.
It also gave me an idea that if I want two aquariums in the style you have built to extend the stand out on each side enough to house a canister filter on each side.
The problem is I have the ideas but not the nerve or skill.
Can't wait to see the finished product.

Thanks for the encouragement, mindnova. I'm only a middling carpenter, but have done some DIY furniture work in the past.

The idea you suggest with two outboard cabinets surrounding the bottom is very good and could work as well. I think having a wider tank on top would be better as to visual balance so the stand doesn't become quite wide in comparsion to the tanks it supposes. As it is, the top shelf will finish out extending about 6 inch past the end of the 75 gallon on either side just to accommodate the same width tank on the bottom shelf plus the legs and trim. I unsure just how that is going to look.

And now that I'm thinking of it, maybe increasing the base with cabinet areas and doors on the sides opening to compartments to utilize the area between the legs for canisters.....

I'll save that for another day. Thanks!

jdcha2005 03-10-2011 10:37 PM

Re: 75 gallon tank stand build
Looking forward to seeing the finished stand.

mike dunagan 03-11-2011 06:52 AM

Re: 75 gallon tank stand build
looks nice, best most of all looks strong

killacross 03-11-2011 09:10 AM

Re: 75 gallon tank stand build
you definitely overbuilt the stand for a 75gal...but i would much rather overbuild than underbuild it

good work!

psusaxman2000 03-15-2011 05:29 PM

Re: 75 gallon tank stand build
The stand looks sharp, but it has to be heavy as a ...... I like the Birch and Poplar wrap, but I agree that you probably have way to much 2x4 framing. If you ever go to a 90 or 120, as long as it doesn't over hang, this stand would work too.

Looking forward to the finished project.

jerrybforl 03-15-2011 06:53 PM

Re: 75 gallon tank stand build
Thats bad a$$ !!! Great work.

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