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Old 11-08-2009, 10:36 AM   #1
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Multi tier stand - 2x4 strength?

Hi,

I am building a multi tier aquarium stand using 2x4s. The verticals are 2x4s. The horizontals are also 2x4s that are notched into the verticals and then screwed in. The horizontals are placed so that the wide edge faces you (the stronger way).

The shelves are 48 inches wide(the verticals are 48 inches apart). The front and back horizontal 2x4s are 15 inches apart. The shelves are 22 x 48 and made of 3/4" plywood.

Two shelves.

My two questions are:

1. Are the 2x4 horizontals strong enough to support a 40 or 50 gallon tank?

2. Do I need to seal the wood in order to prevent water damage?

Thanks!!
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Old 11-08-2009, 11:06 AM   #2
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I would think that hsould be strong enough, but I would seal/paint the stand, otherwise if any water gets on it it will kind of "puff up", (I had this happen on a dresser when I had my 10 gallon)
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Old 11-08-2009, 11:42 AM   #3
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I'm not sure I'm following you. I think you will need more verticles than the two spaced 4' apart to give the strength. At least 1 additional verticle in the middle or you will be looking at sag. I wouldn't risk it.

I also think you should seal the wood. Then again, I would use plain wood anyway, I would stain it or something to give some color. Possibly use a water resistant stain like for a porch or something??
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Old 11-08-2009, 11:55 AM   #4
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I can't have more verticals because it has more than one level. There is a four foot wide shelf under a four foot wide shelf. Another vertical would cut it in half...no good for fish tanks.
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Old 11-08-2009, 11:57 AM   #5
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If you would like, my Lfs has stands made like that for 120G tanks. I could get some pictures.
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Old 11-08-2009, 11:59 AM   #6
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That would be AWESOME!! Pictures please!
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Old 11-08-2009, 12:08 PM   #7
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Ok, Probably on wednesday, I will be there.
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Old 11-10-2009, 12:37 PM   #8
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I would tend toward overbuild.

If you are simply building a deck, spanning 2x4's 4' apart would give you sag in no time. And a 70 gal is a lot of weight.

Spanning 4' would require minimum of 2 2x6's on edge if I build to code. I would go at least 2x6 if not 2x8's in a multi-level fish tank. If that is too "thick" you can use angled iron (or I-beams) to stiffen up the 2x4's. My lfs has multi-level tanks as well & the stands are metal.

Also, I would not just use a single 2x4 notched like you planned. 2x's have lots of compressive strength, but not enough lateral stiffness. I would use 2 2x4's glued in an L for the verticals. <Or use 4x4's.>

BTW, my stand was built using 4 L-shaped verticals as above. The horizontals consisted of a 2x6 glued & screwed to a 2x4. <Giving me an L-shaped "shelf" so I can rest my tank inside the beam.> All joints are half-lap or bridle. This is prob overkill, but is stable as heck. I have an 80 gal on top & my 30 gal sump in bottom, plus a 10 QT in the bottom if needed ... so this would count as a multi-level tank stand structurally.
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Old 11-15-2009, 12:12 AM   #9
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If you see my pic, I have a 2X6 in the horizontal, and 2X4 in compression as legs, with supports. No fear of failure from this stand.

However I am always amazed at the smallness of commercial stands. I am sure I am overbuilt.

in thinking your design. Instead of notching a 2X4 I would make use two 2X4s face to face. One cut for the horizontals and one uncut. screwed and glued together.
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Old 11-16-2009, 10:17 AM   #10
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Well, the stand is built. We added a 3.5" wide length of plywood glued and screwed to the horizontal 2x4s for extra lateral strength.

Thanks for your input! I took a picture, but it is still on the camera. I'll post it when I get a chance.

Greeny
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