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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Built In

Dennis; Could'nt stand it, had to show you my "built in". I do have a question tho. If you look at the cover over the tank, its just a shelf with a piano hinge front piece. Do you have any ideas on how to make it easier to prune the plants with having to tear the whole shelf off?...Jimjim
 

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Nice built-in JimJim, did you do the work yourself? How is the shelf connected to the sides?

You say the front panel is just a piano-hinged cover. If you have enough clearance, why not place another piano hinge in the rear of the shelf so that the whole shelf lifts up? This should give you a enough access. This way you have a hinged front for daily feedings and what not plus, the whole top could hinge up for weekly maintenance.

If you don't have enough clearance for the whole shelf to hinge up, why not cut the shelf in half and place a piano hinge in the middle of the shelf. This should allow enough room for maintenance. You could leave the back half in place and hinge the front half up for maintenance. When closed the front half of the top could rest on wood blocks screwed to the sides or existing shelf pins(if they are present).
 

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JimJim,
I'm not sure if it is feasible (I haven't stopped at the local Rockler's to ask), but you know the entertainment centers that have the doors that, once opened, can be pushed back into the cabinet? Maybe the rail system that works on could be mounted in place of your piano hinge. With an extremely short "door", it should be able to slide straight back and out of the way.

--Mike
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Built in

Thanks all; I did build it myself but I've never been satisfied with the way the shelf over the tank works. The piano hinge is about 8" back creating a angled part for raising. In order to work on the tank I have to remove the swords and slide the whole shelf out and put it on the floor just to be able to get to the back. I seem to have a mind block about how to solve this(I'm getting to old to be lifting it out every week) I'm hoping someone will come up with something that could work. I'm a pretty fair wood worker myself but like others, will get a block about solving a problem. The tank is a 120 gal(same as a 75 just 4"deeper)...Jimjim
 

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Very nice Jimjim. Thanks for sharing:)

I think Matt's advise is good. You have the perfect example of what hte weakest part of aquarium euipment is, IMO. The hood. You need to remove it generally for cleaning, and other maintance, but when you remove it yo have no light. I often find myself with my hands in the water and the hood perched across on end for light. That could be very bad.

Short of hanging the light from the ceiling and then raising it up for maintance I have never had a good answer to your problem. Having the whole hood flip back sounds like a great idea. Maybe you could have most of the hood tip back but leave enough if the top in the back to hold one light. That would solve the light/maintance problem. Having only 5-6" at the back should not be to much in the way either since the tanks is ~24" deep (right?). Also the slight angle would allow you to tip it all the way back to the wall and gravity would keep it there because it was tipped past 90`. If I did this I would wire up the back bulb on its own plug/switch so you can keep it on for cleanning but have the rest off so you are not blinded:)

Not a great answer but atleast its brainstorming right:)
 

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Both of my tanks with hoods are piano hinged close to the middle of the hood. I have lights mounted on both the front and back of the hood. These can be turned off separately as Dennis suggested. If I need to do maintenance on the filter tubing, heater, etc I can lift the back of the hood up and rest it on the front half. For general maintenance, I lift the front of the hood up and rest it on the back half.

Looking at your built-in, I don't think this idea is very feasible since the back half of the top would not be able to lay on the front half due to the arch in the built-in.

I would look into cutting the unhinged portion of the shelf in half again (check clearances for the arch and also filters/tubing, etc) and placing another piano hinge midway between the back wall and the front hinge. This would give you clearance for maintenance at the rear of the tank. It will require you to build some sort of support (I assume what is over the tank is just a shelf) for the shelf. Full sides (like a hood) or a simple piece of bracing attached to each side of the built-in would suffice.

Did this make any sense?
 

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Jim,

I'm a little curious about the front lower support. I would think that the front beam in not stiff enough to resist the weight of the tank. You may be supporting the front of the tank by just the front corners. This would not be too good structurally. Any lack of support at the front center would tend to put bending stress on the tank. In other words the front piece of glass becomes the support beam, not a good situation.

Steve Pituch
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
support

Steve, What you dont see under the finish is 8 2x4s with a 1/2" peice of plywood between each pair, glued and screwed together as beams under the tank. They would probably hold up a large truck. The uprights are 4x4s (a little overkill but I wanted stiffness with strength) On top of these is a 1" thick piece of plywood....Matpat, Your idea of hinging at the center of the shelf is better than mine. I think that I could very carfully measure where the top swings to and adjust at what point to put the hinge. That would give me the clearance to work and also keep me from having to take out whatevers on the shelf every time I'd like to clean the tank, thanks....Jimjim
 

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Jim,
Sounds good. Probably as good as a reinforced slab of concrete from your description. Its just that I've seen people only use a 3/4 inch piece of plywood for the top and a piece of 1x6 pine for the front and it has been a disaster. I also think a lot of professional cabinet makers don't realize the loads involved. Often they only build the unit like it is to support a TV; it may be about the same size, but not the same weight. Dennis has the advantage of being in the hobby, and knowing the loads involved.

Steve Pituch
 

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Well,

Just a quick bit of info. Water, in a pure distilled form weights about 8.35 lbs per gallon. I generally figure 9-10 lbs by the time you add in gravel, wood, rocks, etc. 10 lbs is nice and easy, and safe.

Wood is a very strong material generally. IF used correctly and good, sound joinery is utilized, a cabinet can be constructed to handle an incredible amount of weight. As long as the structure of the stand is constructed to allow good distribution of weight, you will never have a problem with any size tank. Its hard for me to come up with hard and fst rules about material size to weight, distances that could safely be spanned, etc. as much of it is by "feel" and intuition. There is also a lot of variables. Ash or oak will span a larger distance safely than will pine. Maple is a very hard wood but it does not actually have a large tensil strength. The list goes on and on. Its easier to deal with things one at a time than it is to try to make a list from the top of my head.

ALso, If I don't know something, I wil say so and give over advise that is very safe.
 
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