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Old 08-28-2006, 05:44 PM   #1
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Who have seen aquarium fall through the floor?

Hi,

I originally started looking for some guidelines as to how heavy of a tank can a typical 2nd floor supports, and did found a lot of good info. But the more I read into it, the more it seems there will never be a definite answer - position of the tank (if its close to a load bearing wall, if its parallel to the floor joists, etc. etc.), its footprint, type of stand, which floor its on... The bottom line is that after reading everything I could find and doing all the math, my only conclusion is just that what we are doing "should" be OK.

Therefore, since we can "never be sure" until the day our tank falls through the floor, I thought maybe I should ask the question differently...

Have anyone seen / heard / read about an aquarium broke through and landed on the floor below, because the floor couldn't support its weight? If so, what was the damage and can you provide as much information (size of tank, floor type, etc.) as possible? I mean, will it just goes "ka-boom" and fall 9 feet straight-down and then exploded on the floor below? Since our tank is going into a second floor of an office building, we will not be able to reinforce the floor joists and I am at a point that I just want to know what is the worse case scenario, and how often it happens. If its only a 0.001% chance it will crush the floor, I am not going to worry too much about it. But if every other person had heard horror stories about it, maybe I should think twice... I don't want to kill the nice receptionist lady downstairs. (She is kind'a hot.)

Thanks!



Wallace

p.s. Mods - if you think this is in the wrong forum, please feel free to move it... since its neither salt or fresh water specific I thought this is the best place for it. Thx!!
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Old 08-28-2006, 05:55 PM   #2
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The biggest concern isn't that it will actually fall through the floor (possible, but unlikely). The problem is that it can cause structural damage to the floor, and cause the floor to sag. When the floor sags enough, the tank will be far out of level, the pressure on the seams will increase, and the tank will fail. The tank won't fall through the floor, but all the water will be on the floor.

If the office building was recently constructed, find out about it's load capacity - the building owner/builder HAS to have this information. Also, check your local building codes - they have minimum requirements, and generally these are much higher for business construction. I wouldn't worry too much about a tank up to 125 gallons for a modern office building. They usually use steel beams and pre-stressed concrete. If the 1st floor has acoustic panel ceilings, go downstairs with a ladder and look up in the ceiling - you should be able to see how the floor is supported.

If this is a converted house, then you are back to residential construction, which means timber framing, which means all bets are off.
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Old 08-29-2006, 02:34 PM   #3
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I'll second src's comments. I've never heard a tank falling straight through the floor. You need to be sure not only will the floor not sag, etc, but that it will be firm. I am having this problem with my 55 gallon in my home. The floor is plenty strong enough to support the tank, but I wasn't thinking when I placed the tank and it is running parallel to the floor joists. If anyone runs past the tank or jumps by the tank, you can see the tank rock back and forth. That's the kind of thing you DONT want. The weight of the water in the tank shifting like that can cause the seems to fail and burst. It won't kill the receptionist down stairs, but you can be sure whoever owns the building will be very unhappy. Not to mention the loss of the tank and its in habitants.
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Old 08-29-2006, 03:03 PM   #4
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Just a quick question....relating to this matter.

I have just installed my new 28 gallons tank in my leaving room, the floor is hard wood.
I live on a second story of a 1960's duplex.

When we pass by the tank it dosen t rock back and forth but I do see the water moving in the tank.... More than my other tank (45 gallons) in the kitchen. Should that be a concern ?? Or is it normal ??

The tank is sitting on this kind of stand...

http://www.bigalsonline.ca/BigAlsCA/...tand20x12black
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Old 08-29-2006, 03:22 PM   #5
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Unless your building uses concrete and steel, you will see some movement in the water. It's just a fact of using wood to build floors.
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Old 08-30-2006, 02:33 PM   #6
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Things only fall through floors in movies. It's a special affect gag. The way building are put together they don't just break in a hole shape in one spot. You can do some structural damage if the structure is weak or the tank is excessivly heavy.
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Old 08-30-2006, 03:47 PM   #7
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this has pretty much cleared up my problems on this since im getting a 55 gallon and im on the 5th floor of an apartment building.but my floors are cement covered in wood and ive checked for support beams and im pretty sure its metal beams but ill check
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Old 09-01-2006, 08:25 AM   #8
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Hello,

Thanks for all your reply, I went and looked at the floor joist in the basement and they are made out of 2x4 (yes its not a typo)... the floor joists are like two pieces of 2x4 running parallel, with a bunch of 2x4 cut and connecting them in a "V" pattern. So it looks like:

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(But the "V" are much "wider", and their top tips are connected... if that make sense.) Its kind of looks like the support of some bridges. I am sure there is a technical name for it, but I have no clue what it was.

Does anyone know if these joists are stronger or weaker then 2x10 joists that I found in my house? Also, the office building is part of an office complex that is very "condo" like, I think its at least 20 years old (if not close to 30/40 years old). I will try to look for the building code.

Finally, as of today we have filled the tank to half full (or half empty... depends on your viewpoint) and so far the water is still perfectly level. Haven't seen any sagging yet or heard any cracking noise from the floor joists disintegrating. Maybe we can just monitor it as we fill it up? Since its not going to just "snap" and fall through, if the floor do start to sag and we immediately remove the tank, is that ok? Will there still be any permanent damage that way?



Wallace

p.s. I did have a 150 gallon glass tank at my house before (6ft wide), it sits across several floor joists (not parallel) but the right side of the tank which sits next to a load bearing wall is almost half inch higher then the left side, based on observed water level. Is that sagging of the floor? Or just poor builder? Any suggestion of "how much" sagging is "too much"?
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Old 09-01-2006, 09:07 AM   #9
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Does the supporting system look like the ones pictured at the bottom of this page:
http://www.abctruss.com/floor.htm ?

If so, that system is a bit stronger, IIRC, than a simple 2x10 on edge and you shouldn't have anything to worry about.


In regards to your 150 gallon, the sagging could very well be the result of the tank. A 150 gallon tank is adding over 1,200 pounds of weight. If you can, take a look at the floor where the tank is from underneath and see if you notice any cracks, gaps or other signs the floor is sagging there. You might want to consider a secondary floor support beam for that area. You can get them at a Home Depot or such and is basically a "permanent jack" to counter act that sagging.
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Old 09-01-2006, 09:32 AM   #10
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YES! Thank you, those floor trusses are exactly what the stuff looks like under the office basement. So that's good news for us, I guess? Especially considering its "only" a 110 gallon, not some 300G monstor. lol

Regarding the 150 gallon in my house... I sold that tank about 2 years ago, so its no longer there. I did just look down in the basement though, and I can't find any cracks on either the joists or subfloor under where the tank used to sit. Am I safe?



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