Adapting a base for a tank

NannaLou

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I started off my fish keeping journey with an ‘all in one’ tank. Very quickly, heaters and filters were changed out and the inside modified (removed the internal heater/filter housing block).

I’m planning on having a second, larger tank in the lounge and I’d like the two tanks to look the same so my current tank will need to be changed.

There is a unit that matches the other furniture in the lounge that has a maximum weight limit of 40kgs. The tank I want is an NACD Aquarium 40 x 25 x 30 cms (30 ltrs) so an extra 3 ltrs on what Blue has now. The issue is the unit I want to put it on is only 24 cm deep (1cm to narrow). I contacted NACD and they have quoted £280 to make a tank 1cm narrower than the standard which I can get with sliding glass lid, mat and clear silicone for £50 😳.

So, the plan is to buy 18mm melamine and add an extra layer of ‘top’ to the unit to accommodate the standard size tank…but…can I have the extra top flush with the front of the unit (so the 1cm overhang is all at the back) or will it need to be centrally placed with 1/2 cm at the front and 1/2 cm at the back..?

My calculations on the weight suggest the tank will weigh about 30kgs does this sound about right..?
 

Colin_T

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1 litre of water weighs 1 kilogram.
add the weight of the tank and gravel.
maybe 40kilos total.

put the wood down and sit on it. If it bends then it needs to be stronger.
 

Ch4rlie

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Its very difficult to determine if any cabinet or unit thats not specifically made for aquariums if it would be suitable for the weight of fish tank with their content of water, internal filter, heater, substrate, plant and even the fish has weight as well so it all adds up.

But even more difficult to determine if a unit thats slightly too narrow all round if the tank would be ok with the added pressure of not being supported on all sides, there is a lot of weight pressure on any given tank glass.

BUT I have had expanded certain furniture to accomdate slightly larger tanks due to lack of funds to aquire new wood cabinets or units by adding a new wood top that fits the dimension of the new tank going on top and fit supporting brackets under the wood overhanging edges so its strong and sturdy.

The quote you got for changing the dimension of the tank is pretty eye watering so I understand why you are considering adding a top to the unit to help accomodate the tank dimension.

But to calculate the weight of the tank itself, if you calculate 1 kilo per litre, then add the weight of substrate, then add a kilo or two for plants, and add the weight of the tank itself which for your tank size I would say around 10 kilos, you are at around the 40 - 45 kilo area give or take a few kilos either side.

tank : @ 10 kilos (depends on thickness of glass or acyrlic)
water : @ 25 kilos (substract about 15% of volume due to substrate (30 - 5 = 25) )
decor & plants : 2 - 5 kilos

Then of course add the weight the livestock, heater & internal filter etc , say maybe add another 5 kilos at a guess.

Total : 42 - 45 kilos at a minimum guessimate.
 

wasmewasntit

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If you are looking to adapt an exisiting piece of non aquatic furniture (or aquatic furniture too small), I would use a piece of kitchen worktop (the chipboard type, 3.5cm thick) as the top/base for the aquarium to sit on, making it 1.5cm minimum larger than the footprint of the aquarium.

Inside the chosen unit I would ensure that the interior space is divided into at least two or better three sections by adding 2cm thick vertical supports at equal spacing tween the internal floor of the unit and the underside of the top of the unit. If the unit is already divided vertically I would add extra support to the verticals of around 1cm each side of the existing vertical. I would also add 1cm extra thickness onto the side verticals too.

You would then have the extra strength across the top and internally underneath. The last thing you want to happen is to strengthen the top only and then have the unit itself fold like a pack of cards underneath. Adding strength to the vertical parts of the unit and adding extras to any internal verticals will increase the overall strength and weightbearing ability by spreading the load equally.

(You should check the house contents insurance policy too in regard to any collapse and damage thus caused as many home insurers will void a claim if a unit under an aquarium is a non standard or not built by the aquarium supplier)
 
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NannaLou

NannaLou

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@Colin_T , @Ch4rlie and @wasmewasntit - thank you all for your very informative replies, I hadn’t even considered the weight of the tank etc.

Not really the answers I wanted 🙂 but certainly the ones I needed…back to the drawing board and try to find a purpose built unit that fits the budget (why does everything end up being about money..???) 🤷‍♀️
 

wasmewasntit

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Whoever said that fishkeeping is easy peasy probably has never had an aquarium....a fishbowl, perhaps ;)

Fishkeeping can be an absolute pothole filled minefield
 

Ch4rlie

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@Colin_T , @Ch4rlie and @wasmewasntit - thank you all for your very informative replies, I hadn’t even considered the weight of the tank etc.

Not really the answers I wanted 🙂 but certainly the ones I needed…back to the drawing board and try to find a purpose built unit that fits the budget (why does everything end up being about money..???) 🤷‍♀️
Am sorry I did not come up with something that you would have preferred to have heard! :X

However, I have dropped a whole 5 gallon bucket full of clean water on lounge carpet before and considering the mess and chaos that caused, moving furniture, lifting up carpet and mopping up the ensuing mess took the whole weekend. just because I wanted to do a water change on one of my smaller tank which thought would only take a half hour to do!! Nightmare.

Imagine the mess a dropped small 30 litre tank full of water, plants, substrate and obviously fish in distress would cause, just because of a mistake made with the stand, that really does not bear thinking about to tell the truth!

So always best to err on the side of caution, thats why I usually go overboard in making sure my oak sideboard is strong enough with supporting legs underneath to bear the weight of a 180 litre / 48 US gals tank long term, took a while and a considerable amount of money to get where I wanted to be with that tank! :/

And yes, ANYTHING to do with fishkeeping equipment and tanks tend to cost a lot! Annoying! :lol:
 

wasmewasntit

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However, I have dropped a whole 5 gallon bucket full of clean water on lounge carpet before and considering the mess and chaos that caused, moving furniture, lifting up carpet and mopping up the ensuing mess took the whole weekend. just because I wanted to do a water change on one of my smaller tank which thought would only take a half hour to do!! Nightmare.

Imagine the mess a dropped small 30 litre tank full of water, plants, substrate and obviously fish in distress would cause, just because of a mistake made with the stand, that really does not bear thinking about to tell the truth!
Been there
Done that

Invented a whole new vocabulary of swear words ;)

Then changed to tiled or vinyl laminate flooring :D
 
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NannaLou

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Right, I’ve decided to re-purpose an existing coffee table, it’s a properly made, real wood table. I’ve put it in the middle of the lounge and, taking @Colin_T’s advice sat on it, bounced a bit and tried to wobble it side to side…all with no movement 🙂.

Now, I’m not going to declare my weight on a public forum, suffice to say it’s definitely more than twice the expected finished weight (45kgs) of the new tank 😳😂😂.

Thank you all for your support and advice, its the ‘not wanted’ replies that you need to stop you charging head first into a catastrophe!!
 

Ch4rlie

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That sounds like a plan if you're happy with using a proper sturdy coffee table.
 
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NannaLou

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We just adapted the stand for a 30 G high to a 40 G low by placing thick plywood, painted black, on top of the base. It overlaps the base by a good two inches on all sides & looks fine.
I had that thought, it was the weight bearing capability of the new unit that was the issue…the coffee table has passed the ‘weight test’ 😂
 

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