How high off the ground would you say a tank needs to be to easily gravel vac/siphon the bottom? And other stand questions.

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OliveFish05

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How high off the ground would you say a tank needs to be to easily gravel vac/siphon the bottom? Of course most stands are between 28-34 inches. I am looking to potentially build a double tank stand that put the top tank (36.25x18.25x16) 40 inches off the ground and the second tank (30x12x12) 12-15 inches off the ground. Would this likely be a pain to maintain? I know 5 inches is too close to the ground to easily gravel vac/siphon.

A few other questions.

Would a stand made entirely out of 2x4s be sufficient for a 40 gallon and a 20 gallon, or should I make the top shelf out of 2x6s? I am looking at this basic design, but somewhere around 36x18x40

1635983392497.jpeg


Would it be better to screw the screws in from the outside screwed into the wood going in or going out? From a visual standpoint, it would look nicer not to see the screws heads from the front of the stand, but if that is more secure I can get self sinking screws and wood fillter, or cover it with decorative paneling or contact paper.


As I am updating this I realize I probably should've posted this in the freshwater equipment section.
 
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realzalio

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Would a stand made entirely out of 2x4s be sufficient for a 40 gallon and a 20 gallon, or should I make the top shelf out of 2x6s?
it's personal preference usually until you start getting into bigger tanks without center supports
Would it be better to screw the screws in from the outside screwed into the wood going in or going out? From a visual standpoint, it would look nicer not to see the screws heads from the front of the stand, but if that is more secure I can get self sinking screws and wood fillter, or cover it with decorative paneling or contact paper.
i always put my screws in the front of the wood - i don't even think putting them in through the back is possible unless you have 90 degree drill attachments or something
if you're looking to hide the screws you can put on some plywood or some kind of board on the sides and paint them (also, i always use these wood screws, but any wood screws of 8/9/10 diameter and 2 1/2 or 3 inch length will probably work - it should be noted, though, that screws with a star attachment are easier to work with)
 
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OliveFish05

OliveFish05

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i always put my screws in the front of the wood - i don't even think putting them in through the back is possible unless you have 90 degree drill attachments or something
I’m sure it depends on the design, and there are some places you wouldn’t be able to hide the screws. I’ll just plan to use some wood filler or paneling to hide them if I end up making a stand.
it's personal preference usually until you start getting into bigger tanks without center supports

i always put my screws in the front of the wood - i don't even think putting them in through the back is possible unless you have 90 degree drill attachments or something
if you're looking to hide the screws you can put on some plywood or some kind of board on the sides and paint them (also, i always use these wood screws, but any wood screws of 8/9/10 diameter and 2 1/2 or 3 inch length will probably work - it should be noted, though, that screws with a star attachment are easier to work with)
I am looking at these ones. They are counter sinking, which as far as I understand means they will rest just below the surface Of the wood, which would make it especially easy to use wood filler to get a nice smooth, level surface.

 

Naterjm

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I have a few thoughts on this design if you will give me a few minutes to more carefully review your post.

Could you post a better picture of those plans? I can’t seem to enlarge it on my phone…
 

Naterjm

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Also, the design should be based on what kind of tank you have and whether or not the trim is carrying the weight, or the whole bottom panel of glass/acrylic is meant to carry weight.
 
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OliveFish05

OliveFish05

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I have a few thoughts on this design if you will give me a few minutes to more carefully review your post.

Could you post a better picture of those plans? I can’t seem to enlarge it on my phone…
Sure, I can try. I pulled that one from the web, here is an almost identical one that @Slaphppy7 showed me in a previous thread. Ignore that black streak on it put that there and don’t know how to erase it.
9C00CC6A-DDAF-4D06-8BDB-F6316239D01B.jpeg
 
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OliveFish05

OliveFish05

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Also, the design should be based on what kind of tank you have and whether or not the trim is carrying the weight, or the whole bottom panel of glass/acrylic is meant to carry weight.
I have a standard 40 gallon with trim/rim on the top and bottom. I would assume this means the trim is carrying the weight as I don’t see how the glass could!
 

Naterjm

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As a carpenter that has now built 4 of these 2x4 stands, I think before you go out and buy lumber we need to consider a few things about the design
 

Naterjm

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Sorry for the delay, I’m cooking dinner for tomorrow and doing laundry as well as reviewing your plans.

Hang tight, I’m working on it
 
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OliveFish05

OliveFish05

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Sorry for the delay, I’m cooking dinner for tomorrow and doing laundry as well as reviewing your plans.

Hang tight, I’m working on it
There is no rush at all! You don’t even have to respond tonight if you aren’t able to. I’m in no hurry. I hope the dinner is delicious!
 

Naterjm

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There is a lot to cover here…

First off, let’s look at the second picture you uploaded.

The turquoise which will now be named blue, are boxes top and bottom.

The yellow pieces are guides, meant to set the height for the entire structure, flush on top and bottom of the blue boxes.

Pink and green pieces are the load bearing members and are what’s transferring the weight down to the bottom box.

The problem with a plain 2x4 stand here is that using screws has hold down power, meaning it pulls two pieces of material together. If all the force is going down, it’s fine, but if there are shifts in the floor due to expansion and contraction of materials, the stand might twist and torque.

At this point screws are weak and will shear off before they bend.

If you want to continue with the 2x4 design, I would recommend covering the outside with plywood, as plywood would tremendously reduce the frame’s ability to twist, saving strain on your fasteners. If plywood is too expensive, nails would be better suited to reduce torsional stress on the frame.

As far as heights are concerned, 36” is a long span to carry almost 400lbs of water and glass, so I would also recommend that you use a 2x6 at least for the top - front aquarium box. Save yourself some maths and make the entire box out of 2x6. Single tank stands, I would put a prop block in the middle for cabinet doors, and that would be great. But your bottom is being left open for a tank below, I would upsize to 2x6.

You also wanted the bottom aquarium to be 12-15” off the floor. Which means you would have to have another box in between the top and bottom one. This tank also has a smaller foot print which means your framing is carrying the weight on different spots. And this tank I would not trust to support the weight with screws. You would need hanger on the cross members of the third box you would need to build.

Now having carefully read a couple times your original post, you want the top tank to sit 40” high, I’m assuming that’s the bottom of tank. Add 18 1/2” and now we’re at nearly 5’ off the floor. You can sit the tank directly on the frame, but I never build a stand with anything less than 3/4” plywood for a top. It will help with weight distribution and maintaining square.

12” tall tank on the bottom would leave you 5”ish of clearance to the top of the tank for space to perform maintenance on the bottom tank. Assuming you wanted this tank 12” off the floor.

Cheaper option would be to build the stand as currently designed, have it 4” off the floor and invest in a pump or power head to siphon the bottom tank. This would be a very tall and slim stand to support that weight and potential movement.

That’s my 2$/hour worth of opinion, I’m not saying it won’t work, but I don’t trust screws as mechanical fasteners, and I dont trust water not to twist and turn to shear screws off.
 

Naterjm

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There is no rush at all! You don’t even have to respond tonight if you aren’t able to. I’m in no hurry. I hope the dinner is delicious!

I don’t know how to use the fancy design software some of these people use to make plans, but I I certainly wouldn’t be opposed to sketching up some plans.

It would do you some good knowledge to research the difference between nails and screws and why plywood wrapping would significantly increase the durability of the stand.

I’m glad there’s no hurry to this, because I would like to make sure that if you follow my advice, you can build a stand that will hold my truck up. Which I lost the paper work, but the last stand I built for a 120gal would literally hold the weight of my truck.
 

Naterjm

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I would also like to take this second to say that using screws is 100% good, as long as they are used in the right fashion, every stand I’ve built was made out of screws, but it’s the plywood wrapping that gives these stands the strength.

I spat out a lot of information here and writing back and forth can be difficult with details over the inter webs, so keep me posted, and if I got details wrong, let me know, I can work you through this.
 

Colin_T

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If you are gravel cleaning water out of the bottom tank and into a bucket, you want the bottom of the tank to be about 12 inches off the ground.

If you are gravel cleaning the water out the door, then the bottom of the tank can be 6 inches off the ground.

Make sure the bottom of the stand is at least 4 inches above the ground so you can get under it to clean.

Make sure you have 10-12 inches above the tank so you can work in it.
 
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itiwhetu

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In my opinion over engineered, just make sure that the legs go all the way to the floor. 4x4's on each corner 5x2's for the rest, and it will be fine.
 

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