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Old 05-03-2010, 10:54 AM   #11
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Sorry to hear about the aquarium. Jsoong is right. A stand is only as good as the surface it's placed on. Figure a 180g weighs around 1800lb. That's a lot of force, especially if one of the panes is stressed from being twisted due to being out of level or a lack or rigidity. Many people with large aquariums place them on sheets of foam used to insulate house foundations. It absorbs some of the irregularities of the stand.

You guys are making me crazy nervous. I've got plans for a big build in the next six months or so. I think I'm going to be building some cinderblock foundations in the crawlspace.
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Old 05-03-2010, 12:30 PM   #12
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six 2 x 4s will hold a 180 gallon tank with no problem. i also agree that something was either wrong with the stand, or the tank.
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Old 05-04-2010, 03:07 AM   #13
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I need help!

Well I got it all cleaned up now, and after I took everything out of the aqauirum I see a big 3 foot crack on the bottom of the tank! After examining everything I think I came to the conclusion of why it cracked. The surface that the tank is sitting on is not completely flat! It kinda "bows" in, and right where it bows in the crack is right there!

Regardless of how strong/sturdy a stand/foundation is, if the surface which the glass tank sits on, which is suposed to be a flat surface is not flat/level, there is a good chance the glass will crack. Which is what sounds like happened in this situation. With glass tanks it is important to support around the bottom frame on all the sides whether it is a framed surface or completely flat surface.
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Old 05-04-2010, 10:51 AM   #14
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six 2 x 4s will hold a 180 gallon tank with no problem. i also agree that something was either wrong with the stand, or the tank.
Depends on how you use the 2x4's. Although 2x4's will support a compressive load at over 20,000 lb, it is not nearly as strong with a perpendicular load (ie when used as a beam). It all depends on how long your span is. I personally, will not use a 2x4 to span more than 12". <When we put in our jacuzzi tub (~150gal), building code called for double 2x8's to span 10'.>

At any rate, it is not just the breaking strength. 2x4's will deflect under load, and that movement is what break tanks. Also, as wood dries (and also with seasonal changes) it will move. A cabinet maker will take that into account when designing furniture. You want to have no wood movement with a big tank on top.
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Old 05-04-2010, 02:16 PM   #15
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I'm sorry to hear about your tank disaster, but now I'm really freaking out. This is literally my worst nightmare, I want to build a new stand now. Hahaha
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Old 05-04-2010, 04:42 PM   #16
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Depends on how you use the 2x4's. Although 2x4's will support a compressive load at over 20,000 lb, it is not nearly as strong with a perpendicular load (ie when used as a beam). It all depends on how long your span is. I personally, will not use a 2x4 to span more than 12". <When we put in our jacuzzi tub (~150gal), building code called for double 2x8's to span 10'.>

At any rate, it is not just the breaking strength. 2x4's will deflect under load, and that movement is what break tanks. Also, as wood dries (and also with seasonal changes) it will move. A cabinet maker will take that into account when designing furniture. You want to have no wood movement with a big tank on top.
is this a guess, or do you have experience with this?
i have suspended tanks from the ceiling, and built all sorts of stands for 100+ gallon tanks without issue.. building codes are way overkill.
the next time you go to the lfs, take a look at a storebought stand for a 150. it's not even 2x4s it's 2x3s.
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Old 05-04-2010, 08:59 PM   #17
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2x4

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six 2 x 4s will hold a 180 gallon tank with no problem. i also agree that something was either wrong with the stand, or the tank.

I used 8 kiln dried 2x4 for the legs in a "L" shape and 3/4" plywood for the top. Before I first filled the tank I leveled and shimmed the tank. When the tank was half full the floor settled so I drained and re-leveled. It's still a little off as one of the two overflows does 80% of the water flow. My tank is plexi you might want to go thicker on the top for a glass tank.
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Old 05-04-2010, 09:18 PM   #18
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That's my worst nightmare.


Geeez, so sorry to hear that happened.
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Old 05-05-2010, 01:14 AM   #19
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is this a guess, or do you have experience with this?
i have suspended tanks from the ceiling, and built all sorts of stands for 100+ gallon tanks without issue.. building codes are way overkill.
the next time you go to the lfs, take a look at a storebought stand for a 150. it's not even 2x4s it's 2x3s.
I have experience building all sorts of furniture. But I must admit, I am all for overkill. OTOH, none of my furniture break or sag .... And I expect them to last generations.

I am not arguing about 2x4's used as legs, it is using it as a beam that is worrisome. And yes, I do have experience with floors sagging This happens with older houses, and I do have to shore up the support for my piano when the beam sagged over 3/4".
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Old 05-05-2010, 02:50 PM   #20
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Keep in mind that water weights 8.35 pounds per gallon, so your 180-gal weighs 1,503 pounds, and that does not include the weight of the glass or the gravel inside. The glass fractured from the stress of an uneven surface. (Note: why didn't you buy acrylic, which is more flexible?) For a tank that size make sure the surface is strong enough to support the weight without distorting or bowing.

Also, the tank should rest on a one-inch thick layer of styrofoam, felt padding, or some other surface that "gives" in order to distribute the weight evenly and avoid stressing one part of the tank.

Forget about granite or any brittle material that is likely to crack or shatter under 1,500 pounds of weight. I would suggest a layer of heavy oak plywood or marine plywood at least one-inch thick, strongly cross-braced to support the weight.
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