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Old 03-08-2004, 11:34 AM   #1
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Question on Tank Placement

Ok, I am just about to get started with my first tank ever...a 55g marine system (starting with LR, but moving to full reef if this goes well). I am still educating myself, but feel that after reading a few books and talking to the local fish shops that I have a handle on the basics. But I have a problem with tank placement:

I want to put my tank in an alcove over a gas fireplace (relax, i don't use the fireplace!). The alcove is designed for a large TV...the opening is 50" wide by 45" tall by 24" deep. My plan is to put a 48x12x21 tank into the opening. Now, this tank will probably weigh in at 600lbs+ The question is: can the alcove handle this weight for a long period of time? I have jumped up into the alcove, and it feels very solid (I weigh about 250lbs). The shelf itself is plywood, and it rests on a 2x4 ledger on the back and sides, and the front is supported by a 2x6 header which goes over the fireplace and sits on some 2x4s. There are also some 2x4 joists under the plywood, but they are just toenailed into the studs...don't think they provide much support.

Would I be crazy to put a 55g tank on here? I have thought about ripping out the plywood, and sticking a couple of 4x4 posts underneath as extra support, but that would be a big (and risky) headache...

What do you think?

This is my first post, so thank you for the help!!!!!

PS: since i cant hide the filter underneath, I was planning to use the 9-12 inches behind the tank for an ehiem pro2 filter and a protein skimmer...yeah, it'll be a pain to get to the filter, and I would love to do a wet dry but the size and noise are issues, since this will be out in the open (though hidden by the tank)...
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Old 03-08-2004, 05:19 PM   #2
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If the alcove is part of the fireplace structure I would personally think you would be fine as the fireplace support structure is usually made to support the entire chimney. I figure the max weight for a 55gallon is around 800 lbs or so if you loaded it with substrate and liverock. The 50 - 100 bucks it would cost to have a chimney sweep out to give you more information might be peace of mind and something to consider.
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Old 03-08-2004, 07:19 PM   #3
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A 55gal tank when stocked as a reef will weight well over 600lbs. Figure 8lbs per gal. Plus the wight of the tank. Plus another 75-100lbs of live rock. Plus 100-150lbs for the sand.

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question is: can the alcove handle this weight for a long period of time?
Your the best to decide this. You may seriously want to have a GC (general contractor) that you trust come in and give that area an inspection. If it was designed for a large screen tv then im sure it was made to support a couple hundred lbs but it could very well not be made to support the 750+ lbs of a tank.

Course you could ask 4 of your bestest/heavy friends to come over and have all of you get up in the space at the same time.

From what you describe it sounds like it might hold but the question would be the span of this space. The 2X6 header should be ok as long as its siting on top of some 2X4 supports and its not just nailed into place. The middle supports are useless if they are indeed nailed in but if you can install some legs under these middle supports to take the vertical weight and place it onto a solid part of the floor then that would help.
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Old 03-09-2004, 11:40 AM   #4
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Well, I am going to have a GC come out and give me a bid on getting this up to snuff...I was going to just rip out the plywood in there now, and try and stick a couple of 6x6 supports down in there, with a couple of 2x10's sandwhiched as a beam...but I think this will be trickier than it looks...the only problem is that I want to get started NOW! I figure that from the time I get the tank I'll still have 4-8 weeks before I actually have a cycled tank ready for fishies! So I want to get going!
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Old 03-09-2004, 12:44 PM   #5
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To span 50" you should have a 4x6 header on both front and back IMO. There should also be kingstuds below the header. Tried to draw it here you go. Then I would put 2x6 between the studs on 12" centers to carry the load. The general contractor may say this is overkill but it beats a big puddle on the floor if the shelf collapses. Good Luck. I am building my 225 in right now and can send you a picture if you are interested.

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Old 03-09-2004, 01:22 PM   #6
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Sorry the drawing did not come out right. Let me know if you want a picture of my setup. Mine will be a bit bigger but will give you the general idea.
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