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Old 01-30-2009, 06:11 PM   #1
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Aquarium safe for Second Story?

I am about to purchase a 110 gallon aquarium which I know after all is said and done weighs over 1000 pounds. So my question is how would I have any idea if it is safe?
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Old 01-30-2009, 09:37 PM   #2
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The only way to be sure is to consult a structural engineer. You need the house blue prints (or at least the construction methods) & where you intend to place the tank

There are general rules on placing a large tank. You want it on a load bearing wall and across (perpendicular to) the joists. However, house building methods & hence load capacity varies. <Eg. My house's 2nd floor started out as an attic, & is not built to take weight at all ... We have to reinforce the joists just to put in a tub ...>

With anything over 60 or 70 gal, I would not feel safe putting it on a 2nd floor without an engineering analysis.

This is about the best I've read on the subject:
http://badmanstropicalfish.com/articles/article28.html
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Old 01-31-2009, 12:16 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by jsoong View Post
The only way to be sure is to consult a structural engineer. You need the house blue prints (or at least the construction methods) & where you intend to place the tank.
I agree 100%
A professional engineer doing an analysis is the only way to really know.
Most have heard of the 40lb/sf standard for home floors. This does not mean if you have a 12'x14' room you can put 6720lbs of weight in that room. A 2009 Ford F-150's GVW is only 6450lbs. Could you imagine that parked in that room?
A 55 gallon trash can filled with 50 gallons of water weighs (50gal x 8.35lbs/gal) 417.5lbs plus the weight of the can. Use 3 of those side by side by side (1252.5lbs) and your close to a 110gal tank. That's quite a bit of weight. (think concert grand piano)
Better to be safe than sorry.
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Old 01-31-2009, 01:21 AM   #4
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how in the world would I get a structural engineering analysis? lol what if I just call the complex and ask if I can have a king size water bed?
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Old 01-31-2009, 01:50 AM   #5
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If you can get the plans for your home, sounds like an apartment to me. You should be able to get a structural engineer to analyze them for a low cost. If it is an apartment you definetly need to talk to your landlord. If something were to happen you would defintley be liable. The percentage of cost for your analysis is small compared to the cost of the potential disaster you may avoid.
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Old 01-31-2009, 01:55 AM   #6
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I'll do some research, it will be a few months before I have the supplies with the big tank to get it up and running.
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Old 01-31-2009, 01:39 PM   #7
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Most apartments have clauses restricting the size of fish tanks <and water beds for that matter>. You might what to check that first. This might be true for a condo as well, look through the fine prints & there might be something. If there is no restrictions, then you can get the plans from the builder <or the condo association, or whoever is looking after the maintenance of the builder> and consult a structural engineer.
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Old 01-31-2009, 03:25 PM   #8
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Is there a way to get the plans without talking to the apartment association? I wanna say I have heard structural designs are made public but I'm not sure... I'm not interested in their permission I just wanna know if its safe. And it turns out a buddy of mine is in his last semester of engineering school and said he could look at it no problem!
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Old 01-31-2009, 03:43 PM   #9
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You will be fine as long as you put the tank along a load-bearing wall.
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Old 02-01-2009, 06:50 PM   #10
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You will be fine as long as you put the tank along a load-bearing wall.
Without the plans, you can't tell what is a load bearing wall .... And I wouldn't be too quick in assuming all will be fine .... Chances are, things won't come crashing down, but it can cause cracks in the ceiling below if the floor starts to sag even a little, & the guy below can sue you for damages. I still say better safe than sorry.

As for getting the plans without going through the association, may be check with the city planning department. In our city (at least), you are required to file the building plans to get a building permit. You might be able to get a copy.
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